Steering Committee members present at the meeting: Daniel Apollon, Bente
Opheim (secretary), Dino Buzzetti, Harold Short, Koenraad de Smedt (chairman).
Absent: William Vaughan.
Other partners present: Manfred Thaller.
There will be a change in the project administration. Bente Opheim, who has administered the project in a 50% job, will take a different fulltime position outside the project. The Steering Committee wishes to thank Bente Opheim for her good work in the project and especially for the preparation of the conference. From October 1, the project will be administered from the Centre for Humanities Information Technologies (HIT) at the University of Bergen. Eldbjørg Gunnarson will be contact person and administrator. The HIT centre will provide additional technical support through its technical staff if needed. The project office contact information on the web pages is being changed accordingly.
Nevertheless, the conference should not be regarded as a final point, but rather as a beginning. The conference was characterized by testing and example-based thinking. The humanities community has a long way to to in terms of a wholistic and Europe-wide perspective. The changing society in the digital age will continue to require adaptation of academic environments and societal partners such as archives, libraries and museums. Although the projects presented were in touch with the real world, there are at present no convincing industrial applications ('killer' applications) which fully show the kind of integration needed.
From the viewpoint of organization, the conference was run in according to the plan and went smoothly. All speakers in the final program showed up. There were minor technical problems, but no disasters. The social program was a success and allowed participants to communicate in a friendly setting.
The conference will require a lot of follow-up work. The conference will be reported in the final project report 1997-1998 to the Commission. The conference will be evaluated by an e-mail survey to the participants, who will also be thanked for their attendance. An address list will be provided on the web site. Live audio recording of the sessions will be provided as well. The workshop report will be made accessible. A publication of selected papers from the conference must be given consideration. In that case, the publication must be under the auspices of both projects involved. An application for complementary measures must be considered. A possible planning is that papers will be received by the end of December.
Other working groups are running well. They have participated actively towards the conference and the workshops.
Fact finding will be the first step. HIT, through Manfred Thaller, will assist in finding out about people and activities active in the humanities computing field, but this is projected as a 2-3 year exercise and will therefore be of limited value to ACO*HUM. The ALLC wants to sponsor information gathering as well. Information gathering should be incremental and the information should be accessable early. The fact gathering phase should not be an isolated activity but must be integrated in the network activities as a whole. Findings need to be written down in a carefully chosen language. What has been collected must be seen and presented as part of a longer term process.
The book writing project will receive an overall coordination by the TNP Coordinator (Koenraad de Smedt). Co-editors for each chapter will be appointed by each working group. By default, the working group coordinators will be the editors of the chapters. The process will be run by a work package approach with deliverables and milestones. In the course of November, a concrete plan will be proposed to the working groups by Koenraad de Smedt. Each chapter will be based on a common template. Originally, the publication plan would draw from experience gained in a language technology survey in Belgium and The Netherlands. However, this survey does not prove to be useful since it concentrates on research, not education.
The working group on History and historical informatics has submitted a change to their workplan. In Jan Oldervoll's letter of September 29, 1998, it proposes the organization of a series of retraining courses aimed at Ph.D. students and junior staff. The goal of the courses is to teach the use of IT in teaching. Four of these courses are planned in 1999 at different universities of Europe, covering different subtopics. The network is asked for a contribution of NOK 40K in travel money. The steering committee conditionally agrees to this, provided that the rules for eligibility and the overall project goals are respected. The focus of activities of each working group must be still be the writing of analyses and recommendations. The organization of retraining courses must not be considered goals in themselves, but must be considered test cases to be reported on in the analysis and recommendations. Courses and all other activities must be reported on in detail, by pointing out needs and expected benefits, European perspective, infrastructure proposals, pedagogical value, best practice, recommendations and test results.
Koenraad de Smedt, October 25, 1998