Monday, 15 November 2010

eResearch Australasia 2010

I spent last week at the eResearch Australasia conference on the not quite as sunny as expected Gold Coast.

A lot of the value of conferences comes from talking to people but there were a number of presentations I thought were particularly interesting:

Helen Bailey : e-Dance: pioneering e-research in the arts

Those who know me will know I'm not noted for my tolerance of touchy feely waffle and I did start out feeling fairly negative about this presentation but I warmed to it when she began to describe how the methodology they had devised to allow two dancers in separate studios to dance together over the internet had also given them a way of recording dance choreography.

I remember a discussion with Allan Marret one evening in Darwin about recording indigenous dance as part of the NRPIPA. At the time there was no clear solution, but one could see that Helen Bailey's work could be adapted to provide a mechanism for doing this, not just for Australian Aboriginal performance but for indigenous performance worldwide.

Bryan Lawrence: Provenance, metadata and e-infrastructure to support climate science

Very simple, very straight forward but very interesting presentation on the value of provenance, and implied trust when dealing with older datasets

David Carlin, Jane Mullett : Performing data: the Circus Oz Living Archive

Fascinating, and witty paper asking fundamental quiestions about what does one do with this archived stuff in a performing arts context?

René van Horik, Dirk Roorda : Smart migration of file formats: the MIXED framework

Document formats change over time, meaning that we need to store them in a well known format to be able to read them later. Very interesting solution especially in the light of Pete Sefton's work on using ePub as an intermediate storage format for text documents.

It's since struck me that the (manifest+contents) model can be extended to cover things like spreadseet data by saving the columns and then saving a description of the meaning of the document as part of the saved archive - portable metadata

Andrew Wells : Growing virtual research environments in the fine arts: tricks and traps

Interesting presentation on how what started off essentially as building a digital version of an existing print resource turned developed a life of their own

Toby Burrows : Archiving Humanities Data for E-Research: Conceptual and Technical Issues

An interesting presentation from a practicing historian that explained what a medieval historian would want out of a solution, rather than what people taking/extending the scientific model of data sharing might think. Especially enlightening both in the light of my personal dabbling with Sighelm, and with my involvement in project Bamboo

Simon Porter, Lance De Vine, Robyn Rebollo : Building an Australian User Community for Vivo: Profiling Research Data for the Australian National Data Service

Vivo is an interesting product as it allows one to automagically tie together researchers publication data, research projects, and HR information to generate such things as researcher hompages, citation data, and link directly to content, and thus help build a research community, as well as satisfying sunding council reporting obligations.

There were a lot of other papers, some were less fascinating but none of the ones I went to was a complete dud. And as always there are a few presentations one wished in retrospect you'd gone to:

Anna Gerber,Roger Osborne, Jane Hunter : Visualising Australian Literary Networks

Pauline Mak, Kim Finney, Xiao Ming Fu,Nathan Bindoff,Ming Wang : Building the Polar Information Commons Cloud (on a Shoestring)

And I couldn't go without mentioning the ATSIDA poster session - a really good example of archiving cultural artefacts and a project I'm deeply envious of and wish that I'd done when I was with AIATSIS ....

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