Call for Papers: ‘Versioning Cultural Objects’


**UPDATE** The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to 31 August.

A call for papers has been issued for a DAH-funded symposium entitled ‘Versioning Cultural Objects: Concepts, Structures and Expressions’. The two-day symposium will take place from 1-2 December 2016 at An Foras Feasa, Maynooth University.

The aim of the symposium is to bring together experienced and early-stage researchers to engage with the versioning of cultural objects. The version of a cultural object is identified, articulated, and analysed through diverse mechanisms in different fields of study. The study of versions allows for the investigation of the creative processes behind the conception of the object, a closer inspection of the socio-political contexts that affect it, and may even provide the means to investigate the provenance and the object’s circulation. The symposium will provide a platform for scholars from different research areas  to exchange ideas across different forms of media, including  text, image, and sound. The proposed symposium considers the term “versioning” in the broadest sense; while the understanding of versions differ in disciplines, this dialogue will explore  the convergences and variances in its conception. The conversation will  highlight  the range and depth of existing studies  and  provide an inter-disciplinary understanding of the term.
The symposium will focus on three primary areas:
•         What is a version?
•         Methods used  in the electronic modelling of versions of cultural objects
•         The representation of these digital versions


The symposium will be limited to 12 participants who will be selected based on a short abstract. Upon selection, participants will be asked to submit an extended abstract of 3000 words or a draft paper (no more than 8000 words) by 31 October 2016, which will be circulated to symposium participants in advance. The working paper will then be presented and discussed at the symposium. Additionally, every participant will be asked to read two working papers in advance of the symposium, review and prepare questions and comments for the authors. Completed articles will be considered for publication in an edited volume after the symposium.

Applications and deadlines

Proposals of up to 500 words are invited by 15 August 2016 from any disciplinary area which engage with either theoretical or practical applications of versioning. The symposium aims to challenge existing silos of disciplinary knowledge providing a platform for dialogue and debate, creating  a more coherent understanding of the subject. We welcome applications from Irish, European, and international researchers  and applications are welcome from both project-based and theoretical research. In particular, we encourage students and graduates of the Irish Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) PhD Programme to apply.

Abstracts should be sent by 31 August 2016 to Dr Vinayak das Gupta and Dr Roman Bleier (contact details below).

Areas may include, but are not limited to:
Textual studies, Variorum editions and collation methods, Musicology, Soundscapes, Film, studies, Religious studies, Bible studies and theology, Classical studies, Archaeology, Literary criticism, Translation studies, Manuscript studies, Oral history, Art history, Art criticism, Library Sciences, and Archiving


31 August: extended deadline for submission of abstracts
15 September: confirmation of acceptance
31 October: deadline for submission of extended abstract/draft paper


Bursaries for accommodation and transportation are available on request. For further details, please contact the organisers.


Dr. Roman Bleier
University of Graz, Austria

Dr. Vinayak Das Gupta
Maynooth University, Ireland

For more information, see the Call for Papers on An Foras Feasa’s website.

DAH Digital Conference 2016


The DAH Digital Conference 2016 will take place in Trinity College Dublin on Friday 18 November 2016. The conference is open to current students of the Digital Arts and Humanities PhD programme and will feature workshops, discussion panels and keynote speaker on the theme ‘Digital entanglements: the post-digital present’. 

The full programme will be published closer to the time; in the meantime to read more about the conference theme click here.

Masterclass: ‘Multimodal Engagements with Cultural Heritage’

Date: Monday, September 26, 2016 to Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Location: Maynooth University

An Foras Feasa, The Research Institute in the Humanities at Maynooth University, is organising a Masterclass on ‘Multimodal Engagements with Cultural Heritage’ that will take place from the 26th to the 28th September 2016 at the Iontas Building, Maynooth University. The aim of this three-day masterclass is to introduce participants to methods of creating and reusing cultural heritage artefacts at the intersections of digital and physical methodological approaches. It will provide participants with the theoretical background, best practices and hands-on experience of converting physical objects to digital and printed interactive 3D models and querying and visualising online cultural heritage through user interfaces.

This masterclass is aimed at people working in the fields of Digital Humanities and Digital Heritage who are interested in developing a hands-on understanding of multimodal interactions with cultural heritage datasets. No previous knowledge or skills are required. Submissions are encouraged from:

  • Scholars and early career researchers with projects that would benefit from knowledge and skills on physical and digital interactions with cultural heritage.
  • Museum professionals interested in exploring how digital technologies revolutionise conventional research and practice.
  • Students and graduates of the Irish Digital Arts and Humanities PhD Programme.
  • Students in computer science and related disciplines who would like to explore the potential of digital technologies in cultural heritage.

Accommodation and transportation will be covered for all selected participants up to a maximum of €250 for participants based in the Republic of Ireland and up to €400 for participants outside Ireland.

For more information and details on how to apply, see the Masterclass brochure.

Deadline for applications: 8th July 2016. 

Bursaries available to Digital Humanities scholars for DH2016 workshop


The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Europe is offering three travel bursaries at €500 each to support participation at a workshop at the Digital Humanities 2016 (DH2016) conference in Krakow, July 12-16, 2016.

The workshop, ‘Evaluating Research Data Infrastructure Components and Engaging in their Development’ is organised by RDA and the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), with co-organisation by Digital Repository of Ireland, whose Director Dr Natalie Harrower is one of the workshop’s facilitators.

The purpose of this workshop is to conduct a meaningful examination of the data fabric and infrastructure components being defined by the Research Data Alliance, to test their relevance and applicability to the needs of the digital humanities community, and to discuss opportunities for humanities engagement in further solutions development. It will be a full day workshop in the format of a hand-on round-table and open discussion.

In order to apply for this grant, applicants must reside/work in Europe. The purpose of the grants is to encourage participation by individuals who have a strong interest in adopting one or more of the RDA EU outputs to enable data sharing by or from their project.

Application requirements and evaluation criteria can be found at this link. A full description of the workshop can be found here.

The deadline for applications is 31 May 2016. For more information, see the above links or contact Lindsay Poirier at

Call for Papers: Postgraduate Symposium for the Humanities


A call for papers has been issued for New Perspectives: Postgraduate Symposium for the Humanities (NPPSH), organised by An Foras Feasa in Maynooth University. This is the first year of this symposium, which is designed and organised by postgraduate students, for postgraduate students. It aims to highlight the diverse and varied scope and depth of Irish postgraduate humanities research, especially research that illuminates collaborations between disciplines and the role of the humanities in the 21st century. It will take place on 13 – 14 October 2016.

NPPSH is currently seeking abstracts for short papers, long papers and posters  that highlight the different ways in which humanities researchers collaborate, between themselves and with other disciplines. A particular area of interest is how humanities and STEM intersect.

The deadline for abstracts is 30 May 2015. More information and the online submission form can be found here. Information about registration will become available in the coming weeks – keep an eye on the NPPSH Twitter account for details.


Digital art installation as part of Deleuze conference



From ‘Precarity’ by Mieke Bal & Michelle Williams Gamaker

As a part of the upcoming Deleuze + Art: Multiplicities |Thresholds |Potentialities conference, taking place in Trinity College Dublin on 8-10 April, 2016, an art installation by world-renowned artists Mieke Bal & Michelle Williams Gamaker will be made available to the general public.

The video installation. ‘Precarity’, will be viewable in the Arts Technology Research Laboratory in Pearse St, from Friday 8 April 2016 13:00 to Sunday, 10 April 2016 16:00.

The opening hours are: Friday 13.00 to 17.00, Saturday 11.00 to 18.00, Sunday 11.00 to 16.00. For a free ticket, visit Eventbrite.

There are also tickets available for the Deleuze + Art conference available for those who wish to attend the conference without presenting. In this case the registration rates apply.

DAH blog nominated for Digital Humanities Award 2016-02-23 11-24-09

A blog associated with a project by DAH student Orla Egan is nominated for the 2015 Digital Humanities Awards. Orla’s blog describing the Cork LGBT Archive is nominated in the Best Blog Post/Series of Posts category of the Digital Humanities Awards: Highlighting Resources in Digital Humanities. The awards are intended as ‘an awareness raising activity, to help put interesting DH resources in the spotlight and engage DH users (and the general public) in the work of the community.’ Voting continues until February 27th and the winners will be announced at a later date.

Blog: DAH student Orla Egan reflects on the DPC Student Conference


On 22 January 2016, UCC DAH student Orla Egan attended the Digital Preservation Coalition’s annual Student Conference, facilitated by a scholarship granted by the DAH programme and the Digital Repository of Ireland. In this blog post, Orla reflects on the conference and its relevance to her experience as a Digital Humanities student.

Entering the Digital Preservation arena can be scary – it is a place full of “fancy words and acronym bingo.” (Sharon McMeekin)  However, the DPC 2016 Student Conference ‘What I Wish I Knew Before I Started’ offered some reassurance. Speaker after speaker stressed the fact that you don’t need to know everything, that it is impossible to be an expert in every aspect of digital preservation and that no-one has all the answers.  Collaboration is the key – asking questions, sharing information and learning from failures as well as successes.


Steph Taylor

Collaboration and information sharing are particularly important as digital preservation is a fast evolving and changing field. As Steph Taylor from ULCC,  put it: “It will all change.  You learn useful things, but it all changes. It is fast moving and changing all the time.” Her advice is to just do it, get started and have a go. “Don’t wait for perfection; you learn a lot from failure as well as from success.” Learn basic technical skills and play: “It should be fun, not scary.” And share what you are doing so that we all continue to learn from one another.

It is important, however, to think critically about models and approaches to Digital Preservation.  As Steph Taylor cautioned: “One size doesn’t fit all.  It might not work for you or your project even if it is good.” You have to judge what is the best approach for you depending on a number of factors, including your content, what is available to you in terms of staff and resources and what your users want.  You have to remember, however, that Digital Preservation is not just backing up!!!!


Matthew Addis

Similarly Matthew Addis from Arkivum emphasised that what the big organisations can do isn’t necessarily what you are in a position to do. He warned that Preservation Envy (not being able to do what the big guys do) can lead to Preservation Paralysis, which can lead to Digital Data Dereliction! Explore what you can do now, even with meager resources – be thrifty. The sooner you start the better as the longer you leave it, the more expensive and harder it becomes. He recommends Parsimonious Preservation – based on the paper by Tim Gollins “Parsimonious preservation: preventing pointless processes! (The small simple steps that take digital preservation a long way forward)”  In this paper Tim Gollins states that “By applying the principle of parsimony to digital preservation, institutions can find ways forward that are incremental, manageable and affordable, and which achieve the goal of securing our digital heritage for the next generation.”

Matthew Addis recommended that you start small and move up, do the basics first and move on. You need to know what you have got, and keep it safe. He recommended a number of tools and resources that can help. Data Asset Framework provides assistance and tools to help organisations to audit and manage their research data assets. DROID is a software tool developed by the National Archives to perform automated batch identification of file formats. Exactly is a tool which will generate checksums and enables the safe storage and transfer of digital data. Archivematica provides open-source software tools that allows users to process digital objects from ingest to access – a one-stop shop! Arkivum provides a range of data archiving services and supports for projects with a budget to pay for it.


‘Practical Digital Preservation’ by Adrian Brown

Adrian Brown, author of the popular and practical handbook Practical Digital Preservation, noted that digital records are hugely diverse and that they often don’t come in nice, standard, complete, discrete packages; the challenge then is how to make sense of them.  He pointed out that Ingest accounts for up to 90% of digital repository activity – getting the data in and understanding it. Characterisation is a key task – understanding what you have got. Metadata should be kept as simple as possible. Adrian emphasised that digital preservation is not just (or mainly) about technology – it is also about people, processes and policies.  There is no one right way to do digital preservation – you have to find what works best for you and your project.


Glenn Cumiskey

Glenn Cumiskey from the British Museum stressed the need to build the human, technical and knowledge infrastructure needed to support the important digital resources that we are working with.  Don’t be afraid, he advised, as no-one knows everything about digital preservation: support networks and collaborations are important. He highlighted the importance of developing your soft skills, your communication skills, in order to get buy-in and support from managers and key decision makers and also to be able to effectively engage with user communities.


Helen Hockx-Yu

Helen Hockx-Yu‘s advice was to remember that you can’t be a perfectionist; you have to do the best you can and keep learning.  It is challenging, but is rewarding when you come up with a solution.

Ann MacDonald, University of Kent Archivist, emphasised the benefits of connections and collaborations between collections and archives. She advised that you “connect to other collections when you can’t collect yourself.”


Dave Thompson

Dave Thompson, Wellcome Collection, advised “Preservation by a thousand little actions.  Preservation is not a single thing;  it is the summation of 1000s of little things we do every day.” We need to be clear about what we are doing and why: “With purpose and passion comes clarity.”  We need to ask questions:  what is being preserved, for whom, what materials, why?  We need to use our imagination: imagine how the data will be used.

Data is used by people: Digital preservation is a social activity, not just about technology.  “Digital preservation is not a technical problem, it is a social opportunity.”  Dave Thompson stressed that you need to make your data sociable – available in ways that it can be widely used, and in forms that it can be widely used, and with clarity about the right to use it.  His advice was to try to make the steps for preservation an easy activity so that it will be done and is not too much of a burden.


Senate House, London

The key messages emerging from the conference are to link in and keep learning. There are lots of resources and training available to help with this process. Twitter was advocated as a useful means to keep up to date on an ever-changing field. You could join the Digital Preservation Coalition and engage in their various events and access their resources. The DPC Technology Watch provides a useful way to track developments in the digital preservation field.  And the Digital Preservation Handbook provides an overview of the key elements of digital preservation. DigCurV provides a curriculum framework for training in digital curation. The University of London Computer Centre are offering a free online course in OAIS.

In the Irish context, the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) offers a wide range of supports and resources for digitisation projects. For example, Caring for Digital Content identifies exemplars of international repositories, repository projects and organisations with expertise in the management of digital data. The Guide to Choosing Content Management Technologies helps organisations and projects decide which management system is right for them. First Steps in Digital File Transfer and Storage provides a step-by-step guide to this process. The DRI Guide to using Dublin Core is valuable for anyone using this internationally recognised metadata standard. DRI also produces a growing body of valuable Factsheets and How-to guides, including information on file formats and long-term preservation.

At times I felt like an interloper at the DPC 2016 Student Conference, What I Wish I Knew Before I Started – it seemed to be geared primarily for students on archival courses.  There were barely a handful of DAH (Digital Arts and Humanities) students in the room! I also felt that it would have been more beneficial to have had more time and opportunity for discussion and engagement rather than a day full of papers and presentations. Yet I came away with a head full of useful advice and links to further information and resources.  Sincere thanks to the Digital Repository of Ireland and the DAH PhD programme for the scholarship which enabled me to attend the conference.

Scholarship to attend DPC conference awarded

The scholarship to attend the Digital Preservation Coalition Annual Student Conference on 22 January has been awarded to Orla Egan. Orla is in the second year of her DAH PhD in University College Cork and her research involves the development and expansion of the Cork LGBT Archive, which she created during her MA in Digital Arts and Humanities, also in UCC.

Best of luck to Orla at the conference!

DAH Scholarship for DPC Student Conference


The Digital Repository of Ireland, in collaboration with the Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) PhD Programme, is offering a scholarship to attend ‘What I Wish I Knew Before I Started’, the 2016 Digital Preservation Coalition Student Conference, taking place on 22 January 2016 in Senate House, London.  This is a one-day conference on practical workplace skills in digital preservation, and will bring a select group of leading practitioners together with the next generation of archivists, records managers and librarians to discuss the challenges of digital collections management and digital preservation.

There is one scholarship available for a student of the DAH Programme to attend this conference. The scholarship will reimburse vouched travel and accommodation expenses up to the value of €200. To apply, please submit a paragraph outlining how this conference will benefit you in your research (maximum 300 words). The paragraph should cover the following criteria and the winner will be chosen based on how best they respond to the following points:

  • The importance of digital data preservation to your DAH PhD research so far,
  • How this conference would benefit your research project,
  • Outline the method(s) and infrastructures you have investigated for long-term preservation of your research data, and how these fit into current best practice.

Please send your paragraph and a short cover letter including  your name, institution of study, year of study, title of research project and contact details in an email to DAH Knowledge Transfer Co-ordinator Clare Lanigan by 10am Monday January 4th, 2016.