[Humanist] 26.54 immersive technologies

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu May 31 22:12:24 CEST 2012

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 54.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 19:46:00 +1000
        From: "Swirski, Teresa" <tswirski at csu.edu.au>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 26.51 immersive technologies; #Altac reflections
        In-Reply-To: <20120530201116.2D4E82821BC at woodward.joyent.us>

I have come across some interesting links which I hope are of value to people who are exploring the relationship between immersive technologies and humanities/social sciences research:

An intriguing project which is synthesising the virtual world, social networks and historical research is 'The Ola Nordmann Goes West' project at the University of Sheffield http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/virtual_world_ola_nordmann-1.174434:

"Between the 1820s and the 1920s more than 800,000 Norwegians left for the Promised Land, which means that there are millions of American citizens today of Norwegian descent. Second Life, one of the most widely known examples of a virtual world, has 18 million registered users, and so we anticipate engaging with a lot of individuals with an interest in both the project's content and its design.

"The project also aims to make a serious contribution to historical research methodology by trialling the use of online social networks as a tool for carrying out oral history and for engaging with informants. Its design also allows the team to investigate the relationship between historical record and collective memory and to evaluate how the actual historical experiences of the migrants have been distorted and redefined as the memory of them has been passed down through the generations."

How the creation of such virtual worlds can enhance humanities research is paving the way for a myriad of rich exploratory and analytical possibilities  ... http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/hri/projects/projectpages/olanordmann:

"Our second and principal research question is therefore: can a virtual world serve to mobilise and engage a dispersed and heterogeneous community of informants in a way conventional oral history techniques would find impossible? Can the creation of a virtual world (the world of a fictitious migrant from rural western Norway in the 1880s) enable a new type of encounter with history?"

An upcoming international conference on urban history is similarly pushing the boundaries of what we know about historical research and virtual worlds http://www.chaia.uevora.pt/pt/event/88/11th-international-conference-on-urban-history.html and asking participants to consider:

*       Is the application of virtual world technology to historic research effectively broadening and enhancing the traditional context of the latter?
*       What are the limits and possibilities of these virtual environments for historical research?
*       How can we define conceptually and methodologically this new approach to the study of Urban History?
*       Is it possible to establish international quality standards such as the London Charter?
*       Current projects on virtual reconstruction use diverse software and applications available in the market; would it be better to develop software with the ideal requirements for historical research and reconstruction?
*       What are the potentialities of this new approach with regard to the promotion of comparative research, in an international context?

A good article which contextualises 3D visualization research within the broader digital visualization context:
Jessop, M. (2008). Digital visualization as a scholarly activity. Lit Linguist Computing, 23(3),281-293. doi: 10.1093/llc/fqn016

London Charter: http://www.londoncharter.org/
"The London Charter for the use of 3-dimensional visualisation in the research and communication of cultural heritage seeks to establish what is required for 3D visualisation to be, and to be seen to be, as intellectually rigorous and robust as any other research method"

Paradata and transparency in virtual heritage
ISBN 978-0-7546-7583-9
Editors: Anna Bentkowska-Kafel and Hugh Denard

"The techniques and conceptual perspectives on heritage visualization are a subject of an ongoing interdisciplinary debate. By demonstrating scholarly excellence and best technical practice in this area, this volume is concerned with the challenge of providing intellectual transparency and accountability in visualization-based historical research. Addressing a range of cognitive and technological challenges, the authors make a strong case for a wider recognition of three-dimensional visualization as a constructive, intellectual process and valid methodology for historical research and its communication"

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