Showing posts from September, 2014

2014-09-25: Improving Accessibility of Archived Raster Dictionaries of Complex Script Languages

The Internet Archive (IA) and Open Library offer over 6 million fully accessible public domain eBooks. I searched for the term "dictionary" while I was casually browsing the scanned book collection to see how many dictionaries they have. I found several dictionaries in various languages. I randomly picked  A Dictionary of the English Language (1828) - Samuel Johnson, John Walker, Robert S. Jameson from the search result. I opened the dictionary in fullscreen mode  using IA's opensource online BookReader application . This book reader application has common tools for browsing an image based book such as flipping pages, seeking a page, zooming, and changing the layout. In the toolbar it has some interesting features like reading aloud and full-text searching. I wondered how could it possibly perform text searching and read aloud an scanned raster image based book? I sneaked inside the page source code which pointed me to some documentation pages. I realized it is using

2014-09-18: A tale of two questions

(with apologies to Charles Dickens, Robert Frost, and Dr. Seuss) "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, ..." (A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens). At the end of this part of my journey; it is time to reflect on how I got here, and what the future may hold. Looking back, I am here because of answering two simple questions.  One from a man who is no longer here, one from a man who still poses new and interesting questions.  Along the way, I've formed a few questions of my own. The first question was posed by my paternal uncle, Bertram Winston.  Uncle Bert was a classic type A personality.  Everything in his life was organi

2014-09-18: Digital Libraries 2014 (DL2014) Trip Report

Mat Kelly, Justin F. Brunelle and Dr. Michael L. Nelson travel to London, UK to report on the Digital Libraries 2014 Conference.                            On September 9th through 11th, 2014, Dr. Nelson ( @phonedude_mln ), Justin ( @justinfbrunelle ), and I ( @machawk1 ) attending the Digital Libraries 2014 conference (a composite of the JCDL (see trip reports for 2013 , 2012 , 2011 ) and TPDL (see trip reports for 2013 and 2012 ) conferences this year) in London, England. Prior to the conference, Justin and I attended the DL2014 Doctoral Consortium , which occurred on September 8th. The main conference on September 9th opened with George Buchanan ( @GeorgeRBuchanan ) indicating that this year's conference was a combination of both TPDL and JCDL from previous years. With the first digital libraries conference being in 1994, this year marked the 20th year anniversary of the conference. George celebrated this by singing Happy Birthday to the conference and introduced t

2014-09-17: NEH ODH Project Directors' Meeting

On Monday (Sep 15), Michael and I attended the NEH Office of Digital Humanities Project Directors' Meeting at their new location in the Constitution Center in Washington, DC. We were invited based on our "Archive What I See Now" project being funded as a Digital Humanities Implementation Grant . There were two main goals of the meeting: 1) provide administrative information and advice to project directors and 2) allow project directors to give a 3 minute overview of their project to the general public. The morning was devoted the first goal.  One highlight for me was ODH Director Brett Bobley 's welcome in which he talked a bit about the history of the NEH (NEH's 50th anniversary is coming up in 2015).  The agency is currently in the process of digitizing their historical documents, including records of all of the grants that have been awarded (originally stored on McBee Key Sort cards ). He also mentioned the recent article "The Rise of the Machines&

2014-09-16: A long and tortuous trail to a PhD

(or how I learned to embrace the new) I am reaching the end of this part of my professional, academic, and personal life.  It is time to reflect and consider how I got here. The trail ahead. When I started, I thought that I knew the path, the direction, and the work that it would take.  I was wrong.  The path was rugged, steep, and covered with roots and stones that lay in wait to trip the unwary.  The direction was not straight forward.  At times I wasn't sure how to set my compass, and which way to steer.  In the end, there was more work than I thought in the beginning.  But the end is nigh.  The path has been long.  At times the was direction confusing.  The work seemed never ending.  This is a story of how I got to the end, using a little help from "a friend" at the end of this post. Bringing the initially disparate disciplines of graph theory, digital preservation, and emergent behavior together to solve a particular class of problem, is/was non-trivial. 

2014-09-09: DL2014 Doctoral Consortium

After exploring London on Sunday, I attended the first DL2014 session: the Doctoral Consortium. Held in the College Building at the City University London , the Doctoral Consortium offered early-career Ph.D. students the opportunity to present their research and academic plans and receive feedback from digital libraries professors and researchers. Edie Rasmussen chaired the Doctoral Consortium. I was a presenter at the Doctoral Consortium in 2012 with Hany SalahEldeen , but I attended this year as a Ph.D. student observer. Session I: User Interaction was chaired by Jos é Borbinha . Hugo Huurdeman was first to present his work entitled "Adaptive Search Systems for Web archive research". His work focuses on information retrieval and discovery in the archives. He explained the challenge with searching not only across documents but also across time. Georgina Hibberd presented her work entitled "Metaphors for discovery: how interfaces shape our relationship with