Archive for the ‘Community Building’ Category

On December 14th and 15th, SEASR team member Loretta Auvil (project co-PI) attended the MONK (Metadata Offers New Knowledge) All-Hands Meeting on the University of Maryland-College Park campus. Project cells presented reports of the past year’s accomplishments and challenges, and we shared our progress in building SEASR technologies and how they will support and enhance MONK. Among its other capabilities, SEASR has developed a workbench/dataflow environment written in Google Web Toolkit. We envision that MONK will “sit” on top of this environment as a user interface for working with data. On top of the MONK interface will be a portal for sharing results.

In ongoing discussions, the SEASR and MONK teams determined that quality of results, rather than speed, would take priority. The teams also theorized about how SEASR’s dataflow environment will operate with MONK’s datastore, existing workbench, and portal for sharing and allow for transparency (the publication and sharing of process dynamics that reveal methodological decisions to other developers, including compotent medtadata and flow parameterization).

In our continuing efforts to build community and receive feedback on design, team member Xavier Llorà presented SEASR at Service-Oriented Computing in the Humanities, a joint workshop of the EPSRC Service-Oriented Software Research Network (SOSoRNet) and the AHRC ICT Methods Network King’s College London, UK (December 17-18, 2007, London). The presentation described our latest technological developments, which include key infrastructure architecture with a semantic web-driven data flow execution environment as well as a developer workbench to create the flows.

SEASR Co-PI Loretta Auvil is attending IEEE Visualization 2007 in Sacramento, California (October 28-November 1). A longtime VIS participant, she currently serves as the conference’s Finance Chair.

Topics of interest for this year are:

Distributed and Collaborative Visualization
Flow Visualization
Information Visualization
Isosurfaces and Surface extraction
Large Data Visualization
Multi-Resolution Techniques
Multimodal Visualization
Novel Mathematics for Visualization
Parallel Visualization and Graphics Clusters
Point-Based Visualization
Security and Network Intrusion Visualization
Software Visualization
Terrain Visualization
Time Critical Visualization
Time-Varying Data
Uncertainty Visualization
Unstructured Grids
Usability and Human Factors in Visualization
Vector/Tensor Visualization

October 7-9, SEASR co-PI Loretta Auvil attended the Third International Conference on e-Social Science (held at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor). The conference provides “a forum for researchers to meet and exchange experiences and ideas on how the Grid (aka cyberinfrastructure technologies) might benefit social science research.”

Co-principal investigator Loretta Auvil travelled to the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting in Nottingham, England this September 10-13 to present by invitation the SEASR project, as well as the other humanities-based projects with which the Automated Learning Group and its GSLIS allies are collaborating (D2K; Nora; MONK, with its FeatureLens application; and M2K, part of IMIRSEL).

In the workshop “Text and Grid: Research Questions for the Humanities, Sciences and Industry,” chaired by Stuart Dunn and Tobias Blanke, Loretta’s co-presenters were Dolores Iorizzo of the Tufts University Department of Classics’ Perseus Project and Sander Wubben of Open Boek.

Members of the SEASR team are actively participating in the OASIS technical standards committee for UIMA, led by IBM’s David Ferrucci (of the T. J. Watson Research Center). They are NCSA’s Loretta Auvil, principal investigator, and Duane Searsmith, technical lead.

SEASR has contributed a project listing to a special October issue of Academic Commons. It will appear with other major digital humanities initiatives.

Sponsored by The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, Academic Commons is a web community of “faculty, academic technologists, librarians, administrators, and other academic professionals who will help create a comprehensive web resource focused on liberal arts education.” The site “aims to share knowledge, develop collaborations, and evaluate and disseminate digital tools and innovative practices for teaching and learning with technology,” advancing “opportunities for collaborative design, open development, and rigorous peer critique of such resources.” SEASR’s listing follows.


The Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research (SEASR) is a software engineering project that is leveraging the latest informatics research to innovate essential technology for a cyberinfrastructure for the humanities. Under the direction of Michael Welge, Loretta Auvil, and John Unsworth, the SEASR team is developing software that

  • enhances humanities researchers’ ability to use digital humanities applications for knowledge discovery, and
  • provides digital humanities developers with an improved environment for advancing and innovating applications

SEASR’s software research and development environment will enable existing applications (e.g., Wordhoard; Nora; MONK: Metadata Offer New Knowledge; IMIRSEL: International Music Information Retrieval Systems Evaluation Laboratory) to more actively, precisely, and comprehensively analyze information extracted from large collections in a variety of formats (i.e., digital libraries, databases, archives, mixed media, and even custom data). SEASR offers a range of data synthesis improvements, from focused data retrieval and data integration, to intelligent human-computer interactions for knowledge access, to semantic data enrichment, to entity and relationship discovery, to knowledge discovery and hypothesis generation.

SEASR will also provide an open source, visual programming and component-based space in which digital humanities developers can build new applications through creating, integrating, and deploying their own reusable and extensible software components—as well as leverage those developed by others. In addition, SEASR will support portability and scalability, so that tools can be brought to data sets where they are housed and components can run on a variety of hardware footprints, including shared memory processors and clusters.

How can you participate in SEASR? Collaborate on application development and ontology creation. Contribute to component development for analytics and data access. Participate in visualization and UI design. We welcome expert advisors who can help SEASR to make the best possible contributions to the humanities and digital humanities communities. Visit: for contact information.

At Digital Humanities 2007 (the annual joint conference of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing), Loretta Auvil and Duane Searsmith introduced SEASR at two BOFs. Participants were eager to know what analytics contributions SEASR would make to existing applications in the humanities, from linguistics to interpretation.

Digital Humanities 2007 was held June 2-8 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The conference was hosted by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), in cooperation with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the Center for Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS).