eCampusOntario Open Publishing

Jun 30, 2017. | By: Dean Irvine

Agile is partnering with eCampusOntario, Pressbooks, and Ryerson University on an open publishing infrastructure prototype designed to enhance and expand eCampusOntario’s Open Textbook Library. This library, developed and shared by BCcampus, will provide access to high-quality, academically reviewed textbooks and open education resources (OER) for Ontario post-secondary students.

Co-ordination and leadership of this project is driven by a cross-functional team at Ryerson, including the Office of E-Learning, Ryerson University Library & Archives, the Chang School of Continuing Education’s Digital Education Strategies, Computing and Communications Services, and the Learning and Teaching Office. Agile is honoured to be invited to join this extraordinary team of OER innovators.

eCampusOntarioeCampusOntario Office, Photograph by Creative Silhouettes

Together, we’ll be prototyping an open publishing system for post-secondary institutions across Ontario. Agile will be responsible for the design and implementation of a WordPress theme that accommodates the Open Textbook app, Pressbooks plugin, and DSpace repository, as well as annotation, Lime Survey review, and Piwik analytics services. We’ll be collaborating with the Montreal-based Pressbooks development team at the Rebus Foundation and design team at Plank. Pressbooks is a GPL-licensed plugin that transforms a WordPress multisite install into a book production content management system, which exports in multiple formats: ebooks, web books, print-ready PDF, and various kinds of XML.

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Digital 1828 Catalogue Collection

Jun 16, 2017. | By: Dean Irvine

With thanks to Loren Moulds and Jim Ambuske at the UVA Law Library for the project backstory

In 1820, Thomas Jefferson believed the new University of Virginia (UVA) would empower the “illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of its contemplation.” Jefferson envisioned the library as the centerpiece of university life and the foundation of his grand vision for American education. In 1824, he selected 7,000 volumes, including over 700 law books, to fill the library’s shelves. Jefferson believed that enabling access to these texts at UVA would overcome economic disparities and create educational opportunities for a broad audience. “Great standard works of established reputation, too voluminous and too expensive for private libraries,” he wrote to the university’s purchasing agent, “should have a place in every public library, for the free resort of individuals.” In Jefferson’s mind, an easily accessible library should be one of the cornerstones of a democratic society by allowing citizens and scholars convenient access to knowledge and the tools to create new knowledge.

1828 CatalogueBill Ferster, Visualizing the 1828 University of Virginia Library

The Digital 1828 Catalogue Collection Project reconstructs the original corpus of 721 legal texts purchased for the first UVA library and listed in UVA’s 1828 Catalogue. The UVA Law Library has been working for forty years to collect these rare legal titles, most of which were originally selected by Thomas Jefferson. The Jefferson Trust has underwritten a student-centered project to build a digital version of this collection using a new tool called the Virtual Bookshelf.

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Living Lightly on the Land: A Virtual Sea Ranch Design Collection

Jun 15, 2017. | By: Dean Irvine

The Environmental Design Archives (EDA) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), in collaboration with the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), have been awarded a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Under the Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects grant program, the EDA and UPenn will digitize approximately 650 images from collections that highlight the design development of The Sea Ranch, a breakthrough example of environmentally sensitive design that continues to grow in influence and relevance to architects and the public at large.

Lawrence Halprin Collection, Eco Score, Architectural Archives (UPenn) Lawrence Halprin Collection, Eco Score, Architectural Archives (UPenn)

Living Lightly on the Land: A Virtual Sea Ranch Design Collection will result in an interactive virtual collection documenting the unique and prescient design and development of The Sea Ranch, through the inclusion of digitized material including: drawings, photographs, essential documents, and ephemera, from the holdings of the EDA collections of Joseph Esherick (EHDD), MLTW, Marquis & Stoller, Dmitri Vedensky, and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon; and drawings, notebooks, moving images, photographs, and project files from the Lawrence Halprin Collection at UPenn.

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This DH Went to Market

May 29, 2017. | By: Dean Irvine

This post is based on a presentation to the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities, at the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ryerson University, May 29, 2017. You can also navigate the StoryMap that accompanies this script.

Branding DH

Beginning at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) in 2001 and migrating to the University of Victoria in 2004, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) has become a kind of UNESCO heritage site for DH pilgrims. As one of those perennial DH travellers returning year after year to the west coast, I’ve landed at the registration table on the edge of the parking lot at the Craigdarroch Residences and traded my name for an ID badge and institute swag. After a decade I’ve accumulated a sizable collection of mass-produced relics: a cupboard of thermal mugs and a drawer of flash drives. All bear the signature brands of DHSI – its unregistered trademarks, or to put it another way, its marks of trade.

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Facilitating Practices of Fair Dealing Online

Jun 13, 2016. | By: Dean Irvine

This work will provide a model for managing the challenges of creating digital archives of copyright protected work in an open, publicly transparent manner that fosters relationships of trust. 

—Rosemary J. Coombe, Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture

We’re proud to announce that Facilitating Practices of Fair Dealing Online, co-directed by Rosemary Coombe and Christopher Innes at York University, has been awarded a CIRA Community Investment Program grant for 2016-17.

Agile Humanities Agency will build the project’s open-source Islandora platform of digital archiving, attribution, and licensing tools to manage and identify rights in digitized Canadian cultural resources. Uncertainties surrounding the copyright status of complex multimedia cultural forms often constrain online public access to cultural works with great educational and research value, restricting the development of Canadian culture online.

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Digital Humanities and the unsung entrepreneurs of academia

May 19, 2016. | By: Dana Wheeles

Interviews from the recent series by the Los Angeles Review of Books called The Digital in the Humanities have been filling up my news feeds of late, and they have re-kindled familiar conversations about the field. Although I left academia several years ago, I still believe strongly in the importance of the work being done by researchers, librarians and other scholars to integrate new technologies into our study of the cultural record. I even took the principles I learned in DH with me to start my own business, where I help companies with large repositories of data to streamline their workflows, and to create new products from their holdings. If I get to work with a university program, or a DH Center, then my work is even more fulfilling. But my days as a participant in the world of promotion and tenure are long gone.

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From Modernist Commons to Agile Publishing Engine

Apr 29, 2016. | By: Dean Irvine

Modernist Commons is an Islandora-based digital repository, editorial workbench, and critical-edition publication platform designed by Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC). It integrates a wide range of open-source systems and tools (Islandora, Tesseract OCR, CWRC Writer, Shared Canvas, Internet Archive Viewer, Open Seadragon Viewer, Calliope, and CollateX). With these tools, users can ingest images and generate transcriptions, as well as edit and mark up both transcriptions and images using a single graphical interface, which supports overlapping TEI-XML and RDF markup. Users can also perform algorithmically generated collations of transcriptions, which can be visualized in different ways using Calliope and CollateX. The Modernist Commons provides a critical-edition interface so that editors can assemble images, audio and video, critical apparatus, and variant visualizations in a configurable reading environment.

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A Business Prototype for the Digital Humanities

Sep 3, 2015. | By: Dean Irvine

do not change IBM into International Busa Machines

– Thomas J. Watson, in conversation with Father Roberto Busa

Contrary to anachronistic origin stories of the digital humanities, Father Roberto Busa’s earliest experiments in humanities computing were conducted using analogue technologies and mechanical instruments. In the preface to his first machine-generated concordance, the Varia Speciminaof 1951, Busa foregrounds the analogue mechanics of its computation and production: “The concordance which I am presenting as an example is precisely an off-set reproduction of tabulated sheets turned out by the accounting machine.” Already a specialized type of counting, his concordances enlisted and evolved into instruments of accounting.

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