June 20-21, 2019: UK-US Computational Archival Science Datathon in London

The National Archives, Kew UK:

Organizers:

Left to right

  • Ryan Cox, Research Archivist, Maryland State Archives, USA.
  • David Beavan, Senior Research Software Engineer, The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Pip Willcox, Head of Research, The National Archives, UK.
  • Prof David De Roure, University of Oxford/The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Prof Richard Marciano, Director of Digital Curation Innovation Center, University of Maryland, USA.
  • Dr Mark Hedges, Senior Lecturer, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London.
  • Dr Eirini Goudarouli, Digital and Technology Research Lead, The National Archives, UK.
  • Greg Jansen, Research Software Architect, University of Maryland, USA.
  • Dr Sonia Ranade, Head of Digital Archiving, The National Archives, UK.
  • Not shown — Alex Green, Digital Preservation Services Manager, The National Archives, UK.

Welcome:

Dr Mark Hedges, Senior Lecturer, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London and Dr Eirini Goudarouli, Digital and Technology Research Lead, The National Archives, UK.

Computational Archival Science (CAS) AHRC Network

King’s College London’s Department of Digital Humanities, together with The National Archives UK, the Digital Curation Innovation Center at the University of Maryland iSchool and the Maryland State Archives in the US, were awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council one-year International Research Networking grant for UK-US Collaborations in Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions, running from February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020. See: http://dcic.umd.edu/cas_network_launch/

This AHRC-funded network addresses the field of Computational Archival Science (CAS), specifically the application of computational methods to the contextualisation of records within archival collections, at a time when the archive is becoming an increasingly digital space.

Through a series of events held in both the US and the UK, the network will explore how collections can be made available, digitally, for large-scale computational research. For more information about the network and its activities, you can visit the network’s page at computationalarchives.net.
 

Workshop: Exploring data, investigating methodologies

Working in small groups, the multi-disciplinary teams explored selected datasets from The National Archives’ collections under the leadership of experts in these research areas.

The main focus of the event was to unlock the black box of digital research: to understand and explore the conceptual and methodological challenges and ethical implications that digital brings to our understanding of the record and the archival context, and to suggest new ways for archives to become more accountable, collaborative and transparent.

The event encouraged experimentation, collaboration, engagement and discussion between the group leaders and working groups, enabling opportunities throughout the two days to discuss how we can explore the data and the decision-making involved, based on specific challenges.
 

Outcome

One of the main aims of the workshop is to publish a white paper based on the data exploration and discussions which will take place in the working groups and open discussion. This work will be published under Open Government Licence terms, with the overall piece to be issued as Crown Copyright except where otherwise indicated. Follow us on Twitter @UkNatArcRes and @umdDCIC, or keep updated with the network’s news via the network website, listed above.

Audience

The workshop hosted 45 participants from the institutions mentioned above, but also from:

  • The Alan Turing Institute,
  • King’s Digital Lab,
  • City University,
  • University of Edinburgh,
  • University of Surrey,
  • University of Sheffield,
  • University of Oxford,
  • University of Exeter,
  • The British Library,
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles, and
  • The University of Liverpool.

Working Groups

More details at the July 9, 2019 “Exploring Data, Investigating Methodologies” blog post by Dr Eirini Goudarouli

Group 1 — Datasets: Videos and images — Research Area: Visual Search

Leaders:

  • Ian Henderson, Digital A/V Preservation Specialist, The National Archives, UK.
  • Dr Tu Bui, Computer Vision Team Leader, University of Surrey.

 

Participants:

  • Dr Lora Angelova, Head of Conservation Research, The National Archives, UK.
  • Dr Kaspar Beelen, Research Associate, The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Oscar Frith-Macdonald, PhD student, University of Surrey.
  • Dr Jacqueline Christmas, Senior Lecturer, Computer Science, University of Exeter. ● Lucia Pereira Pardo, Senior Conservation Scientist, The National Archives, UK.

Group 2 — Dataset: Cabinet Papers — Research Area: Topic Modelling

Leaders:

  • Prof Seth van Hooland, Associate Professor and Digital Information chair, Université Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Dr Santhilata Venkata, Digital Preservation Specialist/Researcher, The National Archives, UK.

 

Participants:

  • Matt Hillyard, Senior Systems Data Analyst Developer, The National Archives, UK.
  • Dr Katie McDonough, Senior Research Associate, The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Ashleigh Hawkins, PhD Student, University of Liverpool.
  • Ben Pelling, PhD student, King’s College London.
  • David Oulton, CAHSS Digital Innovation Team, University of Edinburgh.
  • Mathias Coeckelbergs, Researcher, Université libre de Bruxelles.

Group 3 — Dataset: Legislation data — Research Area: Visualisation

Leaders:

  • Dr Arianna Ciula, Deputy Director & Senior Research Software Analyst, King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London.
  • Catherine Tabone, Data Manager, The National Archives, UK.

 

Participants:

  • Dr Jack Roberts, Research Data Scientist, The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Dr Miguel Vieira, Principal Research Software Engineer, King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London.
  • Dr Ginestra Ferraro, Senior Research Software UX/UI Designer, King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London.
  • Paul Young, Digital Preservation Specialist/researcher, The National Archives, UK.
  • Tamara Izzo, Legislation Data Analyst, The National Archives, UK.

Group 4 — Dataset: War Diaries — Research Area: Visualisation

Leaders:

  • Dr Alfie Abdul-Rahman, Lecturer, Computer Science, King’s College London.
  • Mark Greenwood, Research Associate, University of Sheffield. ● Steven Hirschorn, Technical Architect, The National Archives, UK.

 

Participants:

  • Johannes Liem, PhD student, City University.
  • Myriam Fellous-Sigrist, PhD student, King’s College London.
  • Dr Mia Ridge, Digital Curator, The British Library.
  • Dr George Hay, Head of Military Records, The National Archives.

Group 5 — Dataset: Web Archiving — Research Area: Network Analysis

Leaders:

  • Dr Giovanni Colavizza, Senior Research Data Scientist, The Alan Turing Institute.
  • Mark Bell, Big Data Researcher, The National Archives, UK.

 

Participants:

  • Tom Storrar, Head of Web Archiving, The National Archives, UK.
  • Leontien Talboom, PhD student, UCL/The National Archives, UK.
  • Dr Rafael Henkin, Research Associate in Visual Data Science, City University.
  • Alex Leigh, PhD student, City University/The National Archives, UK.
  • Rossitza Atanassova, Digital Curator, The British Library.