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DigiCULT
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we can look forward to significant develop-
ments in the near future. Some of the high-
lights under this theme were papers by:
- Barker and Corti on using TEI and DDI
to access qualitative data;
- Bia,Vélez, Sanchez-Quero and Garcia
demonstrated the use of TEI-compliant
XML DTD and XSLT for manuscript
description and interchangeability (e.g.
automatic generation of descriptions from
MARC records);
- Burnard considered the extent to which
the revised XML-compliant TEI guide-
lines could be used for authoring new
material, particularly Web pages;
- Efron, Fenton and Jones on the use of
LSM-style metadata, Dublin Core, OAI
and Universal Decimal Code in enhan-
cing access to digital libraries;
- Walsh on accessibility to XML-based
resources and using XSL to transform
XML texts into a variety of output for-
mats such as HTML, PDF, eBook,Vector
Graphics and VRML amongst others;
- Yeo, Hockey and Sexton on a generic
toolset to integrate TEI and EAD.
Projects
P
ast humanities computing conferences
(and DRH is not alone in this) have
tended to have a large proportion of papers
describing small scale projects with limited
technical applications. From an advanced or
expert user's perspective these projects can
seem at best mundane and at worst irrele-
vant. However, such projects often provide
a useful entry point for those new to the
discipline and disorientated by the barrage
of acronyms and technical jargon.They
represent simple, real-world examples of
what can be done with digital or electronic
technology. One of the trends evident at
DRH 2002 was that, although there were a
range of small project based papers, by and
comprehensive abstracts of all papers
referred to in this report can be found at:
http://www.drh2002.lib.ed.ac.uk/
Users
O
ne of the most welcome develop-
ments was evidence that user consul-
tation and evaluation are playing an increa-
sing part in the development and provision
of digital and electronic resources. It has
been well recognised that system design
should be built around user needs and not
vice versa. However, user consultation and
evaluation has been conspicuos by its
absence in project development or too
often has been paid lip service.Tyacke made
reference to the value of user consultation
in her opening keynote addresses, and user
evaluation was the subject of Anderson's
paper on historians' information-seeking
behaviour.There was also evidence of user
consultation becoming embedded in project
development.The paper by Yeo, Hockey
and Sexton on integrating TEI and EAD
for user access to archives was an excellent
example of this.
Standards
P
apers on standards such as TEI and
EAD have long been a feature of
DRH conferences.What was evident this
year was the number of papers that sought
to explain and analyse the application of
such standards rather than describe the stan-
dards themselves. Of general significance
was the wealth of projects in all sectors
implementing some form of XML. On the
evidence of DRH 2002, the prophecy that
XML would become the information for-
mat of choice, particularly over SGML, is
coming true, there remain significant issues
of front end delivery of XML material but
as more software becomes XML compliant
Introduction
D
RH2002 (8-11 September 2002),
hosted by the University of Edinburgh,
represented a distinct maturing of the
humanities computing sector.This was evi-
dent by an emphasis amongst participants
on users, standards and the wider implica-
tions that the use of technology has beyond
the confines of an individual project.
T
he conference itself was reasonably
well attended, with 183 delegates from
15 countries present.This is still down from
the peak of 200-plus delegates several years
ago but was a healthy attendance neverthe-
less. More conspicuous was the change in
the nature of the delegates over previous
years.Whilst there was still a good number
of familiar faces, the proportion of younger
and first-time attendees was noticeable.This
is an extremely encouraging development
and confirms the witespread interest and
relevance that DRH continues to hold.
A
s ever, the conference appeals to a
diverse audience, from a range of
disciplines, projects, service providers and
vendors. Not only does the conference
need to cater to this diverse audience but
sustain different levels of dialogue, from the
novice to the expert. It is to the credit of
the programme committees that DRH
continues to achieve this.
Themes
T
hree strong themes emerged from the
papers at DRH 2002:
- The importance of users and user evaluation.
- Emphasis on the use and application of
standards.
- Addressing wider issues from the
experience of individual projects.
D
etails of individual papers are beyond
the scope of this report. However
B
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E C H N O L O G I E S F O R T H E
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U M A N I T I E S
, HATII, U
N I V E R S I T Y O F
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L A S G OW
D
IGITAL
R
ESOURCES FOR THE
H
UMANITIES
2002 - C
ONFERENCE
R
EPORT