Saturday, September 10, 2011

Compatible Data Meeting to Highlight Network Visualization Challenges

The Compatible Databases Initiative will meet September 23-25th in New York City to consider how to foster interoperable data for network mapping and data visualizations of intellectual and creative communities.

Data visualization leader Katy Börner, Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Science at the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University, will launch the weekend meeting with a public keynote address on “Envisioning Scholarly Data” on Friday evening, September 23rd at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.

Saturday will kick-off with a keynote by Daniel Pitti, Associate Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, focused on two projects he leads: the Encoded Archival Contexts Initiative and the Social Networks Archival Context Project.  Pitti's talk will be followed by presentations on several data visualization and research platforms, including The Crowded Page, The Orlando Project, Phylo Project, Project RoSE, and Yaddo Circles. The weekend will conclude with breakfast planning session on Sunday morning.

Yaddo Circles alpha. 
Programming/design: Aditi Muralidharan, Charles Forcey,
and Asik Pradhan. Project director:  Micki McGee.
Why compatible data?

At a recent meeting of digital humanities scholars, a representative of a major university library noted: “We no longer do projects based on scholars’ databases because we want to do projects that are first of a kind, not one of a kind.” The multiplicity and incompatibility of data and database formats that individuals and scholarly teams have independently developed have begun to encumber the development of the field. There is a pressing need to bring together the architects of these projects to consider how to address these questions of data(base) interoperability. The Compatible Data Initiative aims to begin this conversation.

What are our goals for this meeting?

The Compatible Databases Initiative inaugural meeting aims to identify and prioritize the key issues and needs facing the architects of database-driven digital humanities projects mapping intellectual and creative communities and other key figures in database architecture, especially: (1) archivists involved in the development of the recently released standards for archival contextual information, and (2) data visualization experts, regarding data design standards and practices. This working group will exchange best practices in this growing and innovative field and encourage all stakeholders in this area—scholars, archivists, designers, and programmers—to employ inoperable data in their new and ongoing projects.

The Crowded Page proof of concept, developed by
Andrew Jewell, Edward Whitley, and Jeff Heflin.
Questions that may be considered in the working meeting include: While many scholars continue to work in databases, what new possibilities are opened by considering data design within the context of the emerging possibilities for the semantic web and the linked open data movement?  How are relationships of artistic, literary, or intellectual influence represented or recorded in a data set? What standards of evidence are required for suggesting a relationship of influence? When multiple relationships exist amongst two individuals, are all the relationships recorded, or are some privileged over others? How are digitally encoded data sourced back to primary documents?

Participants include:
  • Katy Börner, Indiana University-Bloomington (Spaces and Places and multiple projects)
  • Susan Brown, University of Alberta (Orlando Project, Mandala)
  • Terry Capatano, Columbia University
  • Craig Dietrich, University of Southern California (Scalar, ThoughtMESH)
  • Richard Edwards, Indiana University (Yaddo Circles, Yaddocast)
  • Charles Forcey, Historicus, Inc. (Exploring Thomas Cole, Yaddo Circles)
  • Jon Ippolito, University of Maine (ThoughMESH, The Pool)
  • Alan Lui, UC Santa Barbara (RoSE Project)
  • Micki McGee, Fordham University (Yaddo Circles)
  • John Melson, Brown University (Women Writers Project)*
  • Aditi Muralidharan, UC Berkeley (WordSeer, Yaddo Circles, New York Times Visual Explorer)
  • Daniel Pitti, University of Virginia (SNAC: Social Network Archival Contexts Project)
  • Asik Pradhan, Indiana University (Yaddo Circles)
  • Harvey Quamen, University of Alberta*
  • Doug Reside, New York Public Library*
  • William Stingone, New York Public Library
  • Chris Alen Sula, Pratt Institute School of Library and Information Science (Phylo Project)
  • Ben Vershbow, New York Public Library
  • Robert Weidman, Lehigh University (The Crowded Page, The Vault at Pfaff’s)
  • Edward Whitley, Lehigh University (The Crowded Page, The Vault at Pfaff’s)

The Compatible Databases Initiative meeting is hosted by Fordham University and the New York Public Library in collaboration with The Corporation of Yaddo. The meeting is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, through a Digital Startup Grant to Fordham University; the New York Council for the Humanities through a grant to the Corporation of Yaddo; the Fordham University’s Dean of the Arts and Sciences Faculty; and the generosity of the New York Public Library's NYPL Labs.

For additional information, please contact Micki McGee at mmcgee [at] fordham [dot] edu.

* not confirmed