Advancing Cultural and Heritage Informatics

University College London, 10 – 11 November 2015

Main organisers: Adam Farquhar, Melissa Terras, Jon Oberlander, Paul Calleja

The cultural and heritage sectors hold rapidly increasing volumes of data regarding human society and culture, past and present. They have invested substantially in digitising and cataloguing analogue sources and are now gathering born-digital content including electronic personal archives and digital information published by different sectors of society, making sure that today’s digital legacy can be captured and preserved for future generations. These digital collections provide a foundation for new research into both historical phenomena and contemporary life. However, the large amount of data collected by the sector is poorly understood as data sets are noisy, fragmented and, in most of the cases, produced in formats difficult to handle.

This workshop brings the Alan Turing Institute into a much needed area: how to deal with digital cultural and heritage content in such a way as it can be analysed, processed, and understood. The workshop will help to share experience across boundaries as it will address the needs of humanities researchers to exploit digital data and highlight sample research questions and challenges. It will bring theAlan Turing Institute into contact with a range of big data providers and scope out activities in an under-researched area of data analytics with much potential to not only change our understanding of culture and history, but also our understanding of how to approach and use cultural and historical data sets.

Some of the key questions to be addressed in the workshop are: What methods enable researchers to integrate large-scale cultural and heritage data? How can large-scale cultural and heritage data be combined, reorganised, and reassembled using methods that are context-aware and culturally sensitive? How can we ensure that the best current techniques are appropriately used by humanities researchers?