SEASR recently attended The Andrew W. Mellon Research in Information Technology retreat, held on the Princeton University campus (February 28-29, 2008). The retreat gave us the opportunity to strategize our approach to sustainability and outreach with other project leaders, as well as to share our progress.

Given here from the retreat report, our project’s technical highlights are these:

SEASR’s adoption and sustainability depends on providing tools strategized to meet the digital humanities and humanities communities’ needs and crafted to operate efficiently and effectively. Over the past six months, we have assembled an outstanding development team and embarked on the journey of designing and building this transformational technology. The team has developed key infrastructure architecture with a semantic web-driven data flow execution environment as well as a developer workbench to create the flows. We have created two important core functionalities: 1) a self-contained execution environment and 2) the ability to define extensions for executing components in languages other than Java. Extensions have already been created for python and common lisp. We have also begun migrating Nora, MONK, and M2K components to SEASR, in addition to the integration of some existing tools, like D2K, Weka, and UIMA.

Our community-building efforts are as well underway as our technical development. Again, from the retreat report:

Because SEASR is a cyberinfrastructure project, we have targeted computational humanists as our primary community, with traditional humanists as a larger, secondary community. To create a community for SEASR from these potential bases of support, we have participated in conferences to advertise the project, network, and gain feedback (see marketing/evangelism); gathered functional, data-related, user interface and usability requirements; met with local advisors (John Unsworth, Kevin Franklin, Vernon Burton, Stephen Downie, Donna Cox); engaged in collaborative workshop planning, maintained project partnerships; and grown our network through follow-up contacts and partnership discussions (see synergy with other projects). Not only are our project advisors active members in SEASR’s constituent communities, but our partner projects also connect us to developers and researchers at many institutions. At MONK, for example, we work closely with, among others, Martin Mueller (Northwestern U.), Catherine Plaisant (U. Maryland), Matthew Kirschenbaum (U. Maryland), Steve Ramsey (U. Nebraska), Stan Ruecker (U. Alberta), Stefan Sinclair (McMaster U.). Our future collaboration with NEMA will involve Stephen Downie (UIUC), Ichiro Fujinaga (McGill U.), David DeRoure (U. Southampton, UK), Mark Sandler (Queen Mary, U. London, UK), Tim Crawford (Goldsmiths, U. London, UK), and David Bainbridge (U. Waikato, NZ). […]

SEASR’s 2007 marketing efforts include a website and conference participation in the US and UK aimed at identifying user needs, promoting the project, networking within the digital humanities community, and identifying and engaging research collaborators in technology and humanities scholarship. These conferences were: HASTAC Conference (April 19-21, 2007, Durham, NC), e-Science for Arts and Humanities Research: An Early Adopters’ Forum (June 1-2, 2007, Urbana, IL), Digital Humanities 2007 (June 4-7, 2007, Urbana, IL): SEASR BOF, UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2007 (September 9-13,2007, Nottingham, England): SEASR presentation, Third International Conference on E-Social Science (October 8-9, 2007, Ann Arbor, MI), Chicago Digital Humanities Colloquium (October 21-22, 2007, Chicago, IL), IEEE VIS 2007 (October 27-November 1, 2007, Sacramento, CA), Service Oriented Computing in the Humanities (December 17-18, 2007, London, England): SEASR presentation. In addition, we have actively participated in the MONK project, including weekly collaborative cell calls, a hackfest, and an All Hands meeting. In the coming year, we will continue this pattern of presenting the project, networking with members of the community, contributing to partner projects, and engaging new partners and researchers.

Complete retreat reports from participating projects, including SEASR, are given here.


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