Digital Humanities Research Infrastructures in Australia

Thanks to Curtin’s Faculty of Humanities and Computational Institute I attended the Australian Academy of Humanities 2 day Humanities Arts and Culture Data Summit, 14-15 March, hosted by the AHA at the National Film and Sound Archive (NSFA), Canberra.

The below is from a brief report but may be of interest to those who’d like a quick guide to what is happening regards digital humanities research infrastructures at a National level in Australia.


Quick guide to social sciences/sciences platforms and RIs

  • Dr John La Salle, Director, Atlas of Living Australia biodiversity data
  • Dr Merran Smith, Chief Executive, Population Health Research Network
  • Andrew Gilbert, General Manager, Bioplatforms
  • Professor Bert Roberts, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, 1 year into Centre of Excellence  “Now is the time to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant human and environmental history of Australia. We like to call it, Australia’s Epic Story. The ARC Centre of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) will undertake research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture, connect with communities and inform policy.”


  • Professor Linda Barwick FAHA, University of Sydney – PARADISEC has funding issues but well respected, may require more computing to scale. “PARADISEC (the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) is a digital archive of records of some of the many small cultures and languages of the world”
  • Professor Julian Meyrick, Flinders University – AusStage “AusStage provides an accessible online resource for researching live performance in Australia. Development is led by a consortium of universities, government agencies, industry organisations and collecting institutions with funding from the Australian Research Council and other sources.”
  • Professor Mark Finnane FASSA FAHA, Griffith University – Prosecution Project “The criminal trial is the core of the Australian criminal justice system. It is the product of police investigation and its outcomes include the sentences of imprisonment that populate our prisons.” It is an impressive historical database. Overseas law researchers and historians (UK etc.) use it because it is better than theirs, apparently.
  • Alexis Tindall, Research Engagement Specialist – Humanities and Social Sciences Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (HASS DEVL “Humanities, Arts and Social Science researchers will get access to cutting-edge online tools and services thanks to $1.1 million in new funds for a collaborative virtual laboratory project. The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (DEVL) will bring together fragmented data, tools and services into a shared workspace.”

Others included (but there were more)

  • Adam Bell (very good talk on problems funding and running archives), Canberra. “The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is a world-renowned research, collections and publishing organisation. We promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present.”
  • Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian, Australian National University, showed the library books destroyed by flood, said to applause that infrastructure included people.
  • Alison Dellit, Assistant Director-General, National Collections Access, National Library of Australia. Discussed the National Library’s Trove “Find and get over 569,383,366 Australian and online resources: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more”)
  • Professor Rachel Fensham, Chief Investigator Social and Cultural Informatics Platform, University of Melbourne “SCIP responds to current demand and future growth in the digital humanities, arts, and social sciences by providing the necessary informatics skills and technology platforms to support researchers, research students and strategic research activities.”




new Book Chapter (Arqueología Computacional)

My new chapter, A Schematic Division of Game-Learning Strategies Relevant to Digital Archaeology and Digital Cultural Heritage (in Spanish) is out. Diego the editor informed me he will see if all chapters can be available via PDF.

Champion, E. (2017). Una división esquemática de estrategias de aprendizaje relevantes para el patrimonio cultural basadas en juegos digitales (A Schematic Division of Game-Learning Strategies Relevant to Digital Archaeology and Digital Cultural Heritage). In D. Jiménez-Badillo (Ed.), Arqueología Computacional. Nuevos enfoques para el análisis y la difusión del patrimonio cultural (pp. 217-224). México: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, RedTDPC, CONACYT. Chapter 14_Champion_PDF




Notes: paucity of architectural theory in virtual place design

Learning from essentialism in architecture:

Essentialist Polemics in Architectural History, 2006:

…major architectural theories are fundamentally representational, and can be summarized as theories of semiotics, empathic projection, material symbolism (as tectonic glorification, or territorial protectionism), or as reflections of a community (and the related notion of archaeological structuration). This paper will argue that even if there are particular features of architectural design not shared by other related disciplines, that the above major theories, (as well as non-representational formalist theory), are all open to an accusation of impoverished essentialism…I suggest the followingargument: that with one notable exception, major architectural theories are fundamentally re-presentational. These theories can be summarizedas theories of semiotics, empathic projection, ma-terial symbolism (as tectonic glorification, or territo-rial protectionism), or as reflections of a community(and the related notion of archaeological structu-ration).The above classification of these theories is to high-light problems common to architectural aesthetics

One does not have to be essentialist about essentialist theories in architecture, one can mix match and modulate

These theories avoid discussing architecture intertwined with a sense of place, they concentrate on representation and form (see Wittgenstein, Family Resemblance argument).

19thC architectural theory started addressing changes in style and the role of empathy but was overtaken by industrialization, painting and sculpture and light-weight furniture, industrial, portable, stackable.

(Mention in passing the advantages and disadvantages of Horta, and Gaudi).

When you consider all the aspects of building buildings and how so many other disciplines are involved, it is still hard to extract the relationship and inter-relationship of architecture as building meaningful places and inter-places.

Architecture also pioneered the use of transition spaces, interstitial places, and objects that created transitional viewing and acting spaces/translucent and perforated visual barriers and so on (mention here Villa Mairea, Asplund’s diaphanous work inspired by Strindberg’s set design in A Ghost Play.., the transitional wall in Utzon’s housing estates)

Virtual places typically lack transitional spaces, breathing areas, the diaphanous, the moulded, in brief, the interplaces. They concentrate on form, colour, light.

Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships FREE preprint chapters

Preprint versions of chapters appearing in Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Labor, Network, and Community. Eds. Robin Kear and Kate Joranson. Chandos, 2018.

Final versions of all chapters appear in the published version of the book, available here:

Introduction, Robin Kear and Kate Joranson:

Chapter 2: “Our Marathon: The Role of Graduate Student and Library Labor In Making The Boston Bombing Digital Archive” by Jim McGrath and Alicia Peaker.

Chapter 3: “Digital Humanities as Public Humanities: Transformative Collaboration in Graduate Education.” by Laurie N. Taylor, Poushali Bhadury, Elizabeth Dale, Randi K. Gill-Sadler, Leah Rosenberg, Brian W. Keith, Prea Persaud:

Chapter 4: “Exploring the Moving Image: The Role of Audiovisual Archives as Partners for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage Institutions” by Adelheid Heftberger. In Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Labor, Network, and Community, edited by Robin Kear and Kate Joranson, Chandos, 2018, 45-57.

Chapter 6: Glass, E. R. (2018). Engaging the knowledge commons: setting up virtual participatory spaces for academic collaboration and community. In Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Labor, Network, and Community. UC San Diego. Retrieved from

Chapter 7: Miller, Karen, Erik Champion, Lise Summers, Artur Lugmayr, and Marie Clarke. 2018. “Chapter 7 – The Role of Responsive Library Makerspaces in Supporting Informal Learning in the Digital Humanities.” In Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships, 91-105. Chandos Publishing. Retrieved from

Chapter 10: “Digital Humanities as Community Engagement: The Digital Watts Project” by Melanie Hubbard and Demrot Ryan:

Chapter 11: Russell, Beth. “The Collaborative Project Management Model: Akkasah, an Arab Photography Project.” Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Labor, Network, and Community, edited by Robin Kear and Kate Joranson, Chandos, 2018.

The Role of Responsive Library Makerspaces in Supporting Informal Learning in the Digital Humanities

Our chapter (Miller, Champion, Summers, Lugmayr & Clarke) entitled”The Role of Responsive Library Makerspaces in Supporting Informal Learning in the Digital Humanities” in Robin Kear & Kate Joranson, (Eds,) “Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships” has just been released.

The book can be bought or reviewed at

Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780081020234, 9780081020241

Cite (APA):

Peeling the Onion, Part One: Gamification

Thinking about museums

10905871104_848f7a074e_b Red onions. image by Flickr user Gwendolyn Stansbury CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The kinds of leisure activities available to potential museum-going audiences have multiplied exponentially over the past twenty years. Games and gaming have moved from being the domain of children to becoming a multibillion dollar global industry. Alongside this, visitation at cultural heritage organizations in Europe and North America continues to decline at a steady, alarming pace. Gaming clearly has something to offer heritage professionals, but what? And how to separate hyperbole and sales pitches from substance?

In trying to pick apart the pros and cons of gamification, I wound up exploring game theory. That led quickly into examining the relationship between games and play, and underneath all that, the concept of fun and how it relates to learning. So, let’s start peeling the onion. Hopefully without too many tears!


I first want to briefly go over where I come…

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#CFP Digital HERITAGE 2018 San Fran USA

Digital HERITAGE 2018 Conference

New Realities: Authenticity & Automation in the Digital Age
3rd International Congress & Expo
26-30 October 2018, San Francisco, USA


The leading global event on digital technology for documenting, conserving and sharing heritage—from monuments & sites, to museums & collections, libraries & archives, and intangible traditions & languages. Featuring keynotes from cultural leaders & digital pioneers, a tech expo, research demos, scientific papers, policy panels, best practice case studies, hands-on workshops, plus tours of technology and heritage labs.


Culture and technology fields from computer science to cultural preservation, architecture to archiving, history to humanities, computer games to computer graphics, archaeology to art, digital surveying to social science, libraries to language, museums to musicology, and many more.


Some 750+ leaders from across the 4 heritage domains together with industry to explore, discuss & debate the potentials and pitfalls of digital for culture. Heritage and digital professionals, from educators to technologists, researchers to policy makers, executives to curators, archivists to scientists, and more.


In the heart of the digital revolution on the waterfront in San Francisco, USA. For the first time outside Europe following our 1st Congress in Marseille in 2013 and 2nd in Granada in 2015.


Workshop, Tutorials & Special Session Proposals Due online: 15 April 2018
Papers & Expo Proposals Due online: 20 May 2018
Notification: 15 July 2018
Camera Ready Deadline: 1 September 2018