Report of the COST TD1210 Workshop “The role of knowledge maps for access to Digital Archives“
Some COST funded meetings have the essence of COST all in a nutshell; and Milena Dobreva as a Local Organizer seems to have a specific gift to bring this to life.
Two years ago at the TPDL – Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries – a conference we had on our wish list for engaging with stakeholder communities Milena gave our Action a first very visible podium to present ideas and dreams. [http://tpdl2013.upatras.gr/] We had never meet before, and she found us, as she told me now, because she liked the ideas we had sketched in our MoU. This appearance has triggered many more Digital Humanities and Library and Information Science Scholars to join us since.
Now two years further, a small but engaged group from TD1210 came together again in Malta to present achievements and future challenges to a wider audience. The larger audience was achieved because our workshop was a satellite meeting to the 19th International Conference on Electronic Publishing. ElPub is another conference in the area of changing infrastructures for and practices in scholarly communication. This link gave some of us the possibility to participate in the conference; in turn some conference participants stayed on; and Early Stage Researchers/Early Career Investigators (ECI) and students profited from the setting in both ways. Milena started our workshop with the launch of DARIAH Malta. DARIAH is the only Europe-wide specialized eInfrastructure for the Humanities and Arts.
By means of those multiple connections, we members of TD1210, had the opportunity to engage with local researcher, exchanging experiences with Digital Humanities in other countries and brainstorming on the specific needs of the Maltese community of researchers, archivists, and librarians in this area. I was in particular pleased that Mrs Laura-Sue Mallia, the Maltese COST National Coordinator opened this launch. Last but not least, Fernando Loizides, just finishing his TD1210 STSM on Malta [http://knowescape.org/event/stsm-knowledge-transfer-for-creating-a-curriculum-on-information-visualisations-in-small-nations/; report on http://knowescape.org/knowledge-transfer-on-information-visualization/], tested a questionnaire about how to best teach information visualization with our workshop participants. Be it engaging with local research communities in an Inclusiveness Target Country; supporting younger researchers (via STSM or funding their attendance to an event); outreaching to stakeholder communities, and knowledge transfer through education – this workshop ticked many boxes of overall COST goals.
Milena has on top of this also the gift to arrange for such synergies with surprising little funds, and by using them in an intelligent way. On her wish list for invited experts were two colleagues from Australia: Erik Champion [https://humanities.curtin.edu.au/schools/MCCA/staff.cfm/Erik.Champion] and Mitchell Whitelaw [http://mtchl.net/bio/]. Both very demanded on the conference market, so to say. At the end, Milena arranged video presentations via skype – and although I often have seen such attempts failed that was not the case here. Carefully prepared by Milena who obviously had been in close touch with both speakers, we experienced a very enlightening and inspiring morning in front of a large screen in a beautiful round theater in the old castle, now a national centre of creativity, Saint James Cavalier.
As a chair looking back on the programme, I found it interesting how education, and new curricula related to topics of our Action are discussed in the Knowescape community. We have now a group of researchers from very different countries (see STSM of Veslava Osinska, Almila Akdag, Fernando Loizides, Milena Dobreva) and possibly more who are involved in discussion and design of new curricula for information visualization. Others, like Giulia Rotundo and Christophe Gueret deal with other aspects of education. I hope that Fernando will be able to join us in Mons and bring in particular the efforts around teaching Information Visualization closer together.
September 11, 2015
Thanks to Milena and Fernando for their input!
 A short paper on the panel where the KNOwESCAPE action was featured is available on M. J. Driscoll, R. Stübner, T. Ebrahimi, M. Foulonneau, A. Nürnberger, A. Scharnhorst, J.Springer, COST Actions and Digital Libraries: Between Sustaining Best Practices and Unleashing Further Potential. In: Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries: International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, TPDL 2013. ed. / T. Aalberg; C. Papatheodorou; M. Dobreva; G. Tsakonas; C. Farrugia. Vol. 8092 Springer Berlin Heidelberg : Springer Publishing Company, 2013: 478-479.
A video recording of the presentation of Andrea Scharnhorst is available on https://vimeo.com/channels/tpdl2013/78516696.