Mia Ridge & Kaspar Beelen: Living with Machines. Scaling up historical practice with digital machines

The Living with Machines project (2018-23) was a data science and digital history project between the British Library and The Alan Turing Institute with partner universities. Funded by the UKRI and AHRC in 2018, the project brought historians, data scientists, geographers, computational linguists, library professionals and curators together to examine the human impact of industrial revolution with sources such as digitised newspapers, census records and maps. Living with Machines was a data-driven history project, and a historically-informed data science project. It was also the biggest digital humanities project in the UK to date, and created outputs from books to code and datasets to an exhibition.  

Its focus on the impact of mechanisation in the long 19th century was in part inspired by the Library’s access to newspapers digitised for The British Newspaper Archive, a long-standing public-private partnership between the British Library and Findmypast. The project not only aimed to create a ‘radical collaboration’ within a multi-disciplinary community, but to reach volunteer communities via crowdsourcing.

In this presentation, Mia Ridge will introduce the project, outline its goals and discuss some key outputs. For the British Library, this collaboration was an opportunity to understand the challenges and rewards of using AI with our collections. We wanted to explore GLAM-focused questions like bias in data, workflows for data-driven scholarship at scale, and learn more about how ‘AI’ (machine learning) and data science would change the work of libraries and researchers using computational methods with digitised and digital collections. 

Kaspar Beelen will then introduce the ‘Environmental Scan’ as a method for investigating hidden biases in digitised newspaper collections. Our aim is to explore questions of representativeness and bias in new ways by enriching the computational analysis of the press with historical insights derived from contemporaneous reference sources, such as Victorian newspaper press directories. The presentation provides a critical investigation of the (nineteenth-century) British Newspaper Archive. We question whether the digitised press is representative of the newspaper landscape and analyse which voices are missing or under-represented in this corpus.

Vortrag im Rahmen des „Digital History“-Forschungskolloquiums
Zeit: Mittwoch, 24. Januar 2024, 16-18 Uhr
Ort: Zoom-Konferenz (Zugang auf Anfrage oder via Mailingliste)

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
Digital History Berlin (Redaktion) (2024, 22. Januar). Mia Ridge & Kaspar Beelen: Living with Machines. Scaling up historical practice with digital machines. Digital History Berlin. Abgerufen am 20. Juni 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/vmyc

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