Dr Kevin Page presented at Digital Humanities 2016 conference

Dr Kevin Page presented at Digital Humanities 2016 conference

Dr Kevin Page, Senior Researcher, presented a paper at the Digital Humanities 2016 conference in Krakow (11-16 July), organised by The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). The conference has been held annually since 1989 and is the largest annual meeting of international Digital Humanities researchers, this year with over 850 attendees.

In a Music, Sound, Film session which took place on Friday 15 July, Dr Page presented a paper on 'Digital Annotation Tooling for Opera Performance Studies', reporting research carried out through the AHRC-funded Transforming Musicology project. Co-authors on the paper are the Centre's Visiting Academic Dr Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller and Research Associate Dr David Weigl, and Carolin Rindfleisch, a DPhil-student jointly supervised by the Centre and the Faculty of Music.

The paper describes the Musical Score Annotation Kit (MuSAK) - a multi-device digital annotation environment for assisting musicologists in recording the ephemeral phenomena of a specific staging during its live performance (see demonstration video below). The kit comprises a touchscreen tablet for score annotation, a digital pen, a server that receives and stores annotations, and audio-visual media recordings; further software temporally reconciles and relates the digital constituents into a coherent semantic navigable hyperstructure. In particular, we reflect upon the utility of MuSAK as recounted by a musicologist who used the tools during a complete performance of Wagner's four opera Der Ring des Nibelungen by the Mariinsky Opera at the Birmingham Hippodrome in November 2014, and consider how quantitative measurements gathered by the system can inform both interpretation of the annotation data in a musicological context, and the efficacy of the toolkit itself.

Carolin Rindfleisch also presented a paper in this session based on her DPhil research activity: 'Modelling Music Reception: An Ontology For Representing Interpretations of Richard Wagner's Leitmotifs'.

In a session on Semantic Technologies, J Stephen Downie (University of Illinois) presented 'A Comparative Analysis of Bibliographic Ontologies: Implications for Digital Humanities', a short paper co-authored by Dr Nurmikko-Fuller and Dr Page, and Jacob Jett, Timothy Cole and Chris Maden (also University of Illinois).

This paper reports work jointly undertaken by the Centre and the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) through the Workset Creation for Scholarly Analysis and Data Capsules project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. With digital access to the Hathi Trust's 10 million+ volumes of texts, the project aims to engage scholars in designing tools for exploration, location and analytic grouping of materials, so they can routinely conduct computational scholarship at scale, based on meaningful worksets.

In this paper, the researchers compare four ontologies: MODS/MADS RDF, BIBFRAME, Schema.org, and FRBRoo. Each is contrasted against the others in terms of both similarities and differences - alignments between the models are described in terms of five different types, and the idiosyncratic elements of each structure are summarised. Their analysis has highlighted the need for processes to formalize and document not only the structures but also the heuristics and best practices associated with their use in the context of the Digital Humanities.