ACO*HUM Advanced Computing in the Humanities

Minutes of the second meeting of the ACO*HUM Steering Commitee

Bergen, May 9-10, 1997.

Present at the meeting: Daniel Apollon, Ove Botnevik (secretary), Dino Buzzetti, Harold Short (host), Koenraad de Smedt (chairman), William Vaughan.

Minutes of the first meeting

The minutes are accepted after correction of minor spelling errors.

Comments on the report and renewal application

The Steering Committee approves the final version of the report and renewal application, sent in by the coordinator on April 1, 1997, but would like to see the following added to the project goals: A decision on the TNP's continuation is expected by the end of June.

Contacts with other networks

The coordinator reports on two specific contacts with other networks: The steering committee welcomes these contacts which can lead to concrete joint actions.

Current strategy

The Steering Committee reflects on what we hope will be achieved after three years and summarizes important objectives as follows: In addition to these objectives, the Steering Committee has identified the following common strategic themes in the planned activities of the present area committees: The EC has invited contributions of ideas for the next programme after the current three-year SOCRATES programme. The Steering Committee views the current programme is preparatory and emphasized the importance of a follow-up in future programmes. These views will be promoted via appropriate channels.

Future projects and funding

ACO*HUM is seriously underfinanced by the EC in relation to its goals. Activities must be supported by a strategy for finding additional funds. Network partners will therefore be asked to apply for national funds in order to supplement the budget, and to define subprojects with their own funding from regional, national and international sources. The following organizations could possibly be interested partners for cooperation: The areas should be asked to work out proposals which involve one or more ACO*HUM partners, the proposals should refer explicitly to the ACO*HUM network, and the network should be used for educational dissemination. Software projects can figure in the network activities with respect to both methodology and content.

Working groups, existing

The TNP is not meant to take care of traditional disciplines but of emerging transversal aspects which cut horizontally across disciplines. This brings about problems, but, more importantly, also brings new potential. The TNP attempts to enable this potential by finding connections between disciplines.

The present pilot areas should not be too closely identified with disciplines. Computational Linguistics and Language Engineering is rather clearly a subject within linguistic studies, although it has relations with e.g. cognitive science and textual studies. History and Historical Informatics is clearly a area in history, with links to e.g. computer science and archaeology. History of Art and Aesthetic disciplines is mainly focused on the visual arts, with links to history and archaeology. It is suggested that the area be renamed to History of Art, Architecture and Design. Textual Scholarship and Edition Philology includes nearly everything else in the humanities: all studies of text, sound, multimedia and hypermedia (including such traditional disciplines as literature, music, theatre, film and cultural studies). Consequently, Textual Scholarship also provides much of the glue between the other areas and is partly directed at providing the other groups with representation for our cultural heritage, by work on text coding, multimedia techniques, corpus building, etc.

In the light of the above, the current pilot areas are defined by perspectives taken rather than by the object of study. It is suggested to rename the pilot areas and their committees to working groups.

Working groups, new

The Steering Committee proposes to create a new working group on methodology. This group is to identify common methodological approaches. The working group is not supposed to work separately from the other ones, but should make sure that all are developing methodological aspects. The working group on methodology would ideally be promoted by representatives from the other groups. The involvement of experts on humanities methodology should be sought. The following possible names are mentioned: Tito Orlandi (Univ. di Roma la Sapienza, director of CISADU) and José Lambert (Leuven, CETRA). The establishment of this working group should be taken on at the policy symposium (see below).

In addition to methodology, new working groups for other areas should be considered, e.g.:

Planning of the policy symposium, autumn 1997

A policy symposium is planned for the autumn of 1997, from the afternoon of Friday, October 31, to the evening of Sunday, November 2, with an extension to Monday, November 3 for a Steering Committee wrapup meeting. The venue will be decided on later (Daniel proposes Granada and will work on it with Ove).

The aim of the policy symposium is to bring the various working groups and Steering Committee together. On the one hand, an important common theme will consist of the definition of the various working groups and the establishement of contacts between them. On the other hand, the symposium should allow the working groups to have internal meetings. The proposed preliminary schedule is as follows:

first day
    Setting the stage
    • plenary
second day
    Development of ideas
    • working groups in parallel
    • reporting to plenary
third day
    Working out ideas
    • working groups in parallel
    • reporting to plenary, conclusion
fourth day
    Wrapup by Steering Committee

Points to be addressed include:

Planning of the conference, spring 1998

An international conference is plannedin the spring of 1998, from the afternoon of Thursday, April 30 to the evening of Sunday, May 3. The conference will be held in Bergen at Jusbygget, the new building of the Law faculty. The services of UMS/Univisjon can be used to beam the conference to remote sites.

The call for papers will go to partners and invited speakers. Proceedings will be published. The working groups should suggest themes for sessions and identify and invite interesting contributors. The Steering Committee is the programme committee and will meet 2 months before the conference to put together the final programme.

The cost of 3 days' lodging and meals for 200 participants is estimated to be in the order of 600.000 NOK (75.000 ECU). Funding for this will be sought, while the partners could be expected to contribute their travel costs. The ACO*HUM office will, with assistance from the partners, try to obtain sustantial funding from relevant sources, possibly including the following:

Information dissemination

A poster and brochure is being designed. The design will also be transferred to a new layout for our web pages. The Steering Committee would like to see a nice graphical logo added to the current design. Comments are given on the brochure text, with the following audience in mind: practicioners of disciplines involved, other organizations involved in the content, and EU and similar organization thinking in terms of management of international education. Finalization will be left to the coordinator and project office.

Handbook on European studies

It is proposed to plan the production of a Handbook of European studies on advanced computing in the humanities, to be published on the web and on paper. A similar volume has been produced for phonetics and speech communication, with the help of a complementary measure. The Steering Committee supports this idea and advises to send in an application for a complementary measure. The work should be prepared in the TNP's second year and materialized in the third.

It is advised to start by producing a clear format for questionnaires, then prefill the forms with the results of the current survey and send them out. The eventual structure of the handbook should not be decided on before the information has been gathered. The following dimensions should be considered: institution, discipline, and methodology.

History of art coordination

Although the working group on history of art has done fruitful work, the coordination is suffering from a lack of time to be spent on ACO*HUM activities. The Steering Committee asks William Vaughan to contact the working group members and work out a solution.

International, national and regional associations

The various working groups will be asked to strengthen the relations between ACO*HUM and professional associations and other organizations, especially national and regional ones, a.o.:

Closing remarks

The next meeting of the Steering Commitee will coincide with the Policy Symposium; the one after that will be about two months before the conference, around the end of February.

Koenraad de Smedt