Posts Tagged ‘introduction’

As part of Kevin Franklin’s Afro 498: Introduction to Advanced Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science course at UIUC, the SEASR Team was invited to offer an introductory session on text analytics and SEASR as well as a hands-on session with SEASR that would allow students to explore the software. Introduction to Advanced Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science explores the intersection of cutting-edge computing technologies and humanities, arts, and social science disciplines. This course aims to give students intensive hands-on experience with advanced computing infrastructures and applications being utilized in research and learning in African-American Studies and the study of the African Diaspora.

Loretta gave the presentation below on Feb 4, 2009 for this class.

Loretta Auvil was invited to present the keynote address at the Text Mining Workshop 2008, which was held in conjunction with the Eighth SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM 2008) in Atlanta, GA on April 26, 2008.  Her presentation title echoes SEASR’s identifying phrase, “Engineering Knowledge for the Humanities.”



Over the last decade NCSA’s Automated Learning Group has innovated data mining technologies for industry, government, and the sciences. In the past few years, we have broadened our focus to include knowledge discovery in the humanities. My presentation will focus on how we are negotiating humanities computing’s special challenges for data mining and analysis. I will discuss our early collaborative projects, FeatureLens and Nora, and SEASR (Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project we are now leading. Each of these projects has developed technologies customized to meet specific needs of the digital humanities community. FeatureLens–an early MONK (Metadata Offer New Knowledge) application–uses the machine learning approach of frequent pattern mining to identify fuzzy repetition patterns in a data collection, and with no initial human input. Nora–a case study for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and American literature–uses predictive modeling techniques to classify documents, even given complex and notoriously indistinct expert classes such as sentimental fiction. SEASR is our most ambitious project yet, employing a semantic-based, service-oriented architecture to build software bridges that allow users to access data stored in disparate formats and on incompatible platforms and to provide an enhanced environment for workflow and data sharing. The essential infrastructure SEASR provides will advance the capabilities of projects like our partner, MONK, a digital environment designed to help humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns.

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.

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.

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).

Welcome to SEASR.ORG, the web home of the Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research (SEASR).   Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SEASR’s mission is to support knowledge discovery in the Humanities by advancing and innovating data-mining tools for analyzing large bodies of information, building software bridges for communicating between applications, and creating enhanced environments for technology and information sharing.

Developed by the informatics experts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications and Graduate School of Library and Information Science, SEASR aims to make an essential contribution to the “development of a robust cyberinfrastructure…imperative for scholarship in the humanities and social sciences” (6) called for by Our Cultural Commonwealth: The Report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2006).SEASR was initiated in June 2007.

The project’s principal investigators are the University of Illinois’s Michael Welge, NCSA/GSLIS; Loretta Auvil, NCSA; and John Unsworth, GSLIS. Other key project staff include technical lead Duane Searsmith, NCSA; usability evaluator Tara Bazler, Indiana University; and community advisor Tim Cole, University of Illinois.