Archives and the public

Within the Walls

About the project

An AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral research project, involving the University of York's Archaeology and History departments, and the City of York Council, gets underway this autumn. The project team has been recruited and includes three PhD students - Katrina Foxton, Ed Freedman and Victoria Hoyle. The 3-5 year project will critically assess the various heritage values that apply to York's historic environment and its archive, placing national and international values (such as Outstanding Universal Value - used to assess the suitability of World Heritage status) alongside locally held 'social' values.

According to John Schofield, the project's director, "this is a wonderful and timely opportunity to critically and closely assess what heritage means to local people, including those rarely before engaged in the subject. To take one particular question: do local people care about World Heritage? Does it matter, or is local heritage of more concern?"

Find out more on the Within the Walls blog.

Chart-Ex

About the project

The ChartEx Project is developing new ways of exploring the full text content of digital historical records. The project will demonstrate its approach using medieval charters which survive in abundance from the 12th to the 16th centuries and are one of the richest sources for studying the lives of people in the past.

The ChartEx consortium is an innovative partnership between historians, archivists, and experts in computer science and artificial intelligence from Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Charters record legal transactions of property of all kinds: houses, workshops, fields and meadows and describe the people who lived there. Long before records such as censuses or birth registers existed charters were and still are the major resource for researching people, for tracing changes in communities over time and for finding ancestors.

The new ChartEx tools will use a combination of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Data Mining to extract information about places, people and events in their lives from the charters automatically and find new relationships between these entities.

The project will then build an interactive "virtual workbench" that will allow historians, archivists and others interested in charters to explore the information extracted and add further information and comments.

This workbench will enable researchers to really dig into the content of the records, to recover their rich descriptions of places and people, and to go far beyond current digital catalogues which restrict searches to a few key facts about each document.

The ChartEx Project is funded by the Digging into Data Challenge.

Centre for Digital Heritage

About the project

An international collaboration of researchers in the Universities of Aarhus (Denmark), Leiden (Netherlands), Uppsala (Sweden), and York, for interdisciplinary research in the field of Digital Heritage, including the application of Information and Communication Technologies to the understanding and presentation of heritage.

The objectives of the Centre are to undertake research and knowledge exchange in:

  • Data and information management and preservation of digital data
  • The use of digital media (including Internet and computer games technologies, and video and sound) for the dissemination and publication of cultural heritage
  • Data mining and information extraction, including natural language processing, to analyse, index and interpret cultural heritage texts
  • Mobile applications for cultural heritage recording and presentation
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality modelling, including both acoustic and 3D modelling, of cultural heritage resources
  • The impact of digital media on the public interaction with the cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible

Find out more about the Centre for Digital Heritage