For obvious reasons, KDL collaborations tend to be rooted within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities or with colleagues external to the College experimenting with the digital but associated mainly with art and humanities disciplines. Today, however, in connection with the project mentioned in this post, Geoffroy and I headed to the Department of Informatics (Algorithms and Bioinformatics) to have a chat about the challenges of text alignment and of detecting patterns of texts in translation.
There are certainly confusions and misunderstandings over terminologies and epistemic traditions, but there is also recognition that what are big challenges for DH projects are more often than not big challenges also for informatics. So for example, in the specific case we were discussing, processing multilingual texts in translation present fundamental mathematical challenges whereby on top of performing probabilistic or uncertain string matching one also has to deal with Abelian groups and permutation.
Over a white board and notepad we got to map our different views on similar problems spanning from disease patterns in gene strings to idiosyncratic translation variants.
This morning I came in to find a large box on my desk. My new desktop screen had arrived. Had our daily morning standup, checked my emails, conversed with other team members on slack.
Had a little get together with Arianna, Paul, and Geoffroy, to discuss the design and UX process of my current project, Culture Case Data Portal, a collaboration with the Cultural Institute and Department of Informatics (Data Science programme). Got some good feedback from them.
Unpacked the screen along with another arrival of colour pens for sketching. Took out a couple of books from our lab’s library about data visualisation; something we plan to work more with. Set up my screen, trying it in portrait, which has sparked a few glances. Received email feedback from the partners so the rest of the day will be dedicated to working on the Culture Case Data Portal project.
I spent the morning training, and explaining relational databases to a project
It always takes a little while for the partners to see the potential of modelling their data in this way and before you know it, they are coming to you with suggestions about new object relationships. Their relief at not having to enter any more information into a spreadsheet is tangible, and it’s fun to help them discover the optimum workflow for the task.
I’ve met with Arianna and the King’s College sponsorship and consultancy services team to discuss KDL’s strategy in those areas, reviewed key strategic documents we’re producing to guide us through the 2017 – 2018 year, and updated our draft annual report. In the afternoon I’ll be attending the steering group meeting for the georgianpapersprogramme.com project.
Administration, but some project work too! In the interests of the Day of DH I’m hoping to push some changes I’ve made to jamessmithies.org to my test server on AWS tonight.
Following Agile methodology in software development and project management, every day KDL staff meets in front of the dashboard to discuss the work scheduled for the day i.e. tasks (often self) assigned to each one of us, issues emerged during the previous day, problems and bottleneck to discuss. Typically the dashboard includes detailed development work on all the active projects as well as some maintenance work and more general project management activities sometimes related to ideas and projects that are only in the planning stage.
Today we were less than usual but often who is not around joins in via other channels such as Slack. I had to rush off to a meeting on sponsorship and consultancy hence the quick shot. We are working to make our lab space greener hence the aspirational green leaves….
A new screen arrived today for our new UI/UX Designer, Tiffany Ong, who joined last month.
First task of the day for me is to think of how best we can plan a small interdisciplinary project with Digital Humanities Department (DDH), Informatics and KDL to enhance the excellent work of a DH PhD thesis on the analysis of frequency data across languages.
The project will be short but should lead to something bigger. KDL role will be both to glue the several components of the project (linguistic and stylistic analysis with algorithm criticism, tick descriptions with exploratory yet impactful graphics) as well as to experiment with some concrete prototypes of data extraction and visualisation.
What I am looking at at the moment to draft our term of reference, requirements and associated costing for the project (yep, that’s what analysts do) are some alluvial graphs created with RAW such as the ones used by Miriam Posner in her teaching and blog posts:
Good morning! Today I will try and keep a minimal journal of the activities at the Lab. No gift of ubiquity yet but lines of communication are ever expanding so I’ll make the best use of that. Forgive the simplicity of ideas and of all the layers of the posts that will follow.