Session 2

Thursday 14:00 - 15:30

High Tor 3

Chair: Jamie McLaughlin

Art History ‘behind the scenes’: understanding the production of knowledge in the digital age

  • Christina Kamposiori,
  • Claire Warwick,
  • Simon Mahony



The present paper explores the impact that the information age has had on the information practices of art historians. As the rapid technological advancements and the proliferation of digital resources in recent years have greatly affected scholarly practices in the Arts & Humanities, there is a rising need to study the informational and methodological behaviour of scholars, in order to create functional information systems that enhance scholarship in the area (e.g. Palmer et al. 2009; Kamposiori 2012). Thus, our goal is to focus on the behaviour of art historians with regards to the way they handle information; in other words, how they gather, use and manage information in their daily work routine. In addition, we will elaborate on the digital tools and services scholars in the field use for these purposes and discuss the issues and challenges they face.

Art historians’ personal collections of resources will serve as the departure point for examining the what, where and how of their information practices nowadays. This study used semi-structured, in-depth interviews with twenty art historians at different career stages, as well as observation of their physical and digital personal collections in order to identify the particular needs they have when they build them. What can we learn from examining the practices and needs as well as the challenges a group of scholars like art historians face at the various stages of the research lifecycle? Moreover, how can we apply those lessons in building digital infrastructure that truly support research and teaching in the digital age? By presenting our results related to these questions, we aspire that our paper will stimulate discussion around user requirements in art history and, thus, it will be of particular interest to researchers or other professionals building tools and services for scholars in the Arts & Humanities.


Keywords: art history, user behaviour, digital infrastructure



Kamposiori, C. (2012). Digital Infrastructure for Art Historical Research: thinking about user needs. Proceedings from Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2012). London, UK, 10 - 12 July 2012. Retrieved from (accessed 10 Aug. 2012)

Palmer, C. L., Teffeau, L. C., & Pirmann, C. M. (2009). Scholarly Information Practices in the Online Environment. Themes from the Literature and Implications for Library Service Development. Graduate School of Library & Information Science (GSLIS), Center for Informatics Research in Science & Scholarship (CIRSS). Dublin: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, OCLC Research. Retrieved from (accessed 16 Dec. 2009)



We're Not Gonna Take It: Putting the Web at Musician's Service

  • Albert Meroño-Peñuela,
  • Rinke Hoekstra

VU University Amsterdam

The Web has changed the way in which we interact with music. As music consumers, we have changed our behavior of buying albums in local stores to pay monthly fees to music streaming service providers. Besides their convenience, these services have given rise to two or three winner-take-all providers that, today, are central at supplying music to the world. Some argue that this is causing music to be less varied than ever, and figures of active musicians are dropping. So far, it seems that the Web has only been useful to the business of music, but not much to musicians themselves. Can the Web, and its distributed nature, deliver tools to musicians to revert this situation?

In the last 15 years, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has promoted a set of standards to publish, share and link data on the Web as we usually do with HTML documents -- a publishing paradigm known as Linked Data. With the assumption that music, especially in its digital form, is no more than data, we have proven that these same standards can be used to publish, share and link music on the Web. In this paper, we propose Linked Data as a paradigm for music, and as a tool for musicians. We investigate the possibilities of existing representations of digital music (concretely in MIDI form) using RDF, the Resource Description Framework. We aim at supporting musicians at the processes of inspiration and composition, by enabling them to publish, query, mix, transform and reason over music with the same technology we use today to publish, query, mix, transform and reason over data. In particular, we are interested in how musicians can discover music (by using dereferenceable URIs), explore it at a finer granularity (by querying parts, tracks, notes, combinations of instruments, or any imaginable musical pattern, on the Web), and combine and annotate music with any related dataset or concept on the Web, leveraging the integration power of Linked Data.

Windows on Waverley: exploring the effect of variations in the construction of literary social networks

  • Karen Wade

UCD Humanities Institute, Dublin

In recent years, social network analysis (SNA) has become increasingly popular as a quantitative approach to the examination of literary works, allowing researchers to generate abstract models of character groupings and interactions that appear in texts, and providing new opportunities for the evaluation of theories about communities and societies in literature.  The social networks that are generated for a given novel, however, will differ considerably depending on what choices are made in relation to their construction: what types of interactions or co-occurrences are examined, what characters or other entities are considered, whether full texts or subsections such as chapters are investigated, and what automated methods are utilised for extracting character data, among others.  This paper examines the effect of varying one specific aspect of network construction, by applying different "sliding window" strategies in order to create variations on social networks in three rather different early 19th-century novels: Pride and Prejudice (1813), Waverley (1814), and Frankenstein (1818).  Three window strategies (collinear, co-planar and combination) are discussed, each of which captures qualitatively different social links between characters.  We argue that the resulting networks yield different insights into a variety of aspects of the novels' construction, including narrative style and interactions between characters of different social class.  We also suggest that rather than seeking to determine a single best-practice methodology for literary SNA, it may instead be illuminating to experiment with different approaches to the modelling of literary texts as social networks.