Financial agreement number: D26030-CP-1-99-1-NO-ETN
2.3 Evaluation of the work undertaken
(this page is http://gandalf.aksis.uib.no/AcoHum/report2000/part2.3.html)
Usefulness of outcomes achieved
The outcomes of the dissemination phase, as described in part 2.2, have
significantly enhanced the earlier achievements of the project in terms
The outcomes give confidence to departments and institutions that are interested
in implementing humanities courses with computing components, but that
are not certain how best to proceed. The added value here is in the conversion
of a theoretical publication into a practical guide.
cooperation between projects
Moreover, the wider dissemination of information on humanities computing
in Europe will create confidence in the future of European languages and
culture in the digital age and increase the possibility of spin-offs in
the preservation and transformation of European cultural heritage.
The outcomes can also be of use in providing background information
for the preparation of future actions under SOCRATES and other relevant
In order to meet ambitious objectives with limited means, strategic cooperations
were set up with several projects and organizations funded within and outside
of SOCRATES. Especially ELSNET and ALLC contributed with funding
of synergetic activities, in particular aimed at the implementation of
dissemination platforms. Unfortunately, the dependence on outside
partners proved to create a number of difficulties. The major problem
encountered was the technical implementation of JEWELS, which was intended
to be a web-based platform for disseminating the outcomes of the project.
This implementation was the responsibility of ELSNET through a contract
with VDIVDE-IT. Despite the high attention and priority which ELSNET
gave to the webpage development, and despite the fact that the TNP alliance
had provided detailed specifications for such pages as an output of the
meeting in Prague in March 2000, serious delays were incurred in the work
by VDIVDE-IT. Consequently, the full website as projected by detailed
TNP requirements was not available at the end of the project period on
October 31, 2000. This implied that the outcomes cannot be delivered
on the platform they were intended to be delivered. However, all
outcomes are finished and available on the local project site. ELSNET
has taken its responsibility and will finance further development as well
as a followup meeting after the project period proper.
Also the cooperation with ALLC and HUMBUL was affected by delays in
implementation. The lesson learned is that alliances with other projects
and organizations can both be beneficial and risky. The project managed
to deliver results, but their wide impact will not be reached until the
efforts of the external partners have been successful.
With reference to the student awareness plan, a problem of timing occured
that was beyond the control of the project. This plan was aimed specifically
at the human language technologies sector. However, after the summer
of 2000, it became widely known that the world's largest company in this
sector, with its base in Europe, was involved in a financial scandal.
For reasons of public perceiption, it did not seem opportune to give too
wide dissemination to this plan at the current time.
Formal evaluation actions were not planned in the project proposal and
were therefore not carried out. However, a number of checks and feedbacks
were built into the methodology. The project approach was cross-checked
at joint meetings with the external project partners (SCS, ELSNET, ALLC,
ISCA, EACL). The project was internally evaluated at the 7th
Steering Committee meeting on October 13, 2000. The interactive
dissemination outcomes on the Web include end-user feedback possibilities
through the inclusion of comment forms and email addresses.
Particular achievements, elements of good practice, side-effects, discoveries
The co-operation between ACO*HUM and its primary external partners (SCS,
ELSNET, ALLC) was successful. Thanks to a tight cooperation,the organization
of joint meetings went smoothly and the level of activity was good.
The organizational structure of working groups with well-defined tasks
proved to be effective.
The realization of the cooperation in the consortium working on JEWELS,
which also drew the interest of ISCA and EACL, proves that the work of
the TNP is considered very valuable for the Language and Speech community.
The output of previous years in terms of publications and reports as well
as the project website proved instrumental in obtaining this response.
This exemplifies both the usefulness of the project and the importance
Another side-effect of activities from previous years consisted of invitations
to a seminar in Dublin (Ireland) and a conference in San Juan (Puerto Rico).
This enhanced the dissemination potential even further. The interest
from other continents indicates that intercontinental cooperation should
be eligible for TNP activities.
Divergence from the original conception of the project
Aims and objectives. There were no divergences with respect to the
application. The set of intended outcomes was unchanged.
Workplan and calendar. There were more meetings and other events
than originally planned. The meetings were later than originally
planned, due to a delay in signing the contract. The intended dissemination
platforms, to be provided by external partners, were not implemented by
the end of the project period; the outcomes are therefore delivered from
Partnership. There were only a few changes in the partnership (see
Parts 1 and 4). The level of cooperation was good.
External environment. The project was enhanced by external
partnerships: SCS, ELSNET, ALLC, ISCA and EACL. These partnerships
were substantial and caused both benefits and delays.
The dissemination phase of the ACO*HUM project has been useful and successful.
At the same time, the theme of humanities computing is still in
need of further actions with a European dimension. Several aspects
deserving attention in relation to a follow-up project have already been
discussed in the previous report (1999); these comments and suggestions,
especially with respect to organizational structure, will not be repeated
here. However, we do mention the following topics that have come
up as desirable aspects of future themes:
The Steering Committee has expressed support for follow-up projects in
these areas, among others.
Gather requirements for retraining actions that can also be integrated
in regular curricula;
Specify at which level computing should be integrated in humanities curricula;
Reformulate the concept of humanities computing as specifications for earlier
levels of education;
Gather requirements from employees of humanities computing graduates (esp.
in the cultural heritage sector);
Gather specifications for interdisciplinary and bridging courses (e.g.
text coding for librarians and publishers);
Address questions of accreditation of courses;
Identify best practice with respect to digital resources in teaching;
Define criteria and procedures for assessment of humanities computing programmes;
Make recommendations for developing reusable course materials;
Survey and evaluate the organization of infrastructures for humanities
Analyze the impact of humanities computing outside of universities and
gather requirements for change in society.
IT in cultural heritage management and the humanities
Culture, esthetics and IT
XML and text coding initiatives
New methods in the humanities: neural networks, learning, expert systems
Evaluation of the effect of Bachelor Master structure on education in Language
Evaluation and comparison of European Masters inititatives (Speech &
Language, Non EU Languages, Computational Linguistics, Clinical Linguistics)
Analysis of needs and possibilities for tighter integration of the different
fields of study in Speech and Language
Evaluation of initiatives for multilingual term banks for education in
Speech & Language
Reflection on methods for level comparison in education at degree and course
Role of new media in education (distance learning, life long learning)
Introduction of new techniques with lecturers
Current state of Internationalisation and relation between Europe and non-European
Education on multimodal / wireless communication
Modularization issues in the wake of the Bologna declaration