Following an invitation by my colleage Kimmo Elo, a contemporary historian and social scientist with an interest in network analysis and text analysis, I went to meet members of Turku’s DH community, taught an introductory workshop on network data extraction and visualization and gave the first public live demo of the redeveloped histoGraph at the Connect! Perspectives in Digital Humanities workshop series.
Kimmo and his colleagues have started to implement Digital Humanities research and education at Turku’s two universities, the Finnish-speaking University of Turku and the Swedish-speaking Åbo Akademie. Interest in both universities is fostered by a series of cross-disciplinary workshops and will be driven further by new research projects which bring together linguistists, computational linguistists, sociologists and scholars in digital cultural studies.
After teaching my workshop on network data extraction and visualisation (this time using Palladio) at the University of Turku, I attended the Connect! Perspectives in Digital Humanities or Connect!-työpaja: Näkökulmia digitaalisiin ihmistieteisiin workshop at Åbo Akademie which was organized by Marjut Johansson. I was up first and presented the first public live demo of the new histoGraph.
Among the new features is a filter to narrow down relations based on document type, mentioned entities and time period. These are powerful means to narrow down a selection of relations following a specific interest. histoGraph also makes it easier now to explore and stumble across potentially interesting entities or documents which stand in between a selection of nodes. Stay tuned for more soon..
Kimmo Elo presented his preliminary analyses of the #grexit Twitter hashtag. Titled “From “hairballs” to New Knowledge: Methodological Thoughts of How to Visualize Content-based Data from BigText” his talk outlined the difficulties in the detection of meaningful patterns in such data but also pointed to interesting new possibilities, such as the analysis of community building and the distribution of information over time.
Lauri Viinikkala presented his talk “Reconstructions of the Past or Digital Lies? – Mixed Reality Technology and Historical Research” on an augmented reality game for a local history museum. The application combines the visitor’s desire for “authentic” places and objects and adds a virtual layer to the historical places and objects.
Tomi Suovuo’s intrigueing talk titled “Designing Reality Guides” circled around his fascinating overall research interest in the ability of technical systems to generate closeness between people. Juhani Luotolahti presented the ParseBank Project, large ressource for Finnish language tools. Finally, Katriina Heljakka presented her talk “Toy-based Play in the Age of the Ludic Turn” on adult playing culture – not primarily digital in nature but nevertheless a fascinating talk.
Workshops like these let different academic cultures clash and even though there might not be a direct link between all presentations, they offer fertile ground for the emergence of new ideas and future collaborations. Digital Humanities initiatives at Turku are in active development and the potential which was displayed by representatives of both the humanities and the technical departments is tangible – things are happening in Turku!