It has been apparent to me for a while that it is quite difficult for students and young researchers to get training in digital techniques. Given the emergent nature of the technology, it can be challenging for academic staff to keep apace and pass on innovation in their teaching. In my specialist area of performance scholarship, I have noticed a degree of ingrained bias against technological mediation of artistic work.
Yesterday’s session was led by Ed Pinsent from University of London Computer Centre. Listening to him I came to understand that you have to be interested in the minutest details of data arrangement and file storage if you want to manage a large-scale digitization project. He demonstrated ways to save multiple copies of images in different file sizes and how to store your image metadata in a standardised database. Horror stories from big projects that have failed to link their digital files and record keeping databases properly, provided evidence of how time consuming and costly digitisation work can be rendered useless when appropriate processes are not implemented from the start. It was all a little bit mind blowing for someone like me who is accustomed to working with an A3 scanner and a USB drive!
As well as mine and Ella’s presentation, today we will also be listening to Jim Mussell from the University of Birmingham talking about the ‘theoretical implications of digitization and the problem of embedding critical digital skills in the curriculum.’ I’m also excited to hear Helen Rodgers from Liverpool John Moores talk about Writing Lives, her collaborative project with the BA English Degree.
Lets please see more research seminars like this one on digistisation for post-grad students. There is so much innovation to keep up with, we need all the help we can get!