A toy lego-like robot, holding up a sign saying 'digital transformations hub'.

January 12, 2024, by Laura Nicholson

Arts Faculty Takeover: Student Projects in The Digital Transformations Hub – Part Two

Throughout the 2023–4 academic year, we are running a new feature on the Learning Technology (LT) blog: a faculty takeover month! Each month, we will feature posts from different faculty members at the university. Every Friday, posts will highlight interesting work and ideas related to technology in teaching and learning and showcase unique projects from within the various disciplines across the UoN. In October, we had our Faculty of Science takeover; in November, it was Medicine and Health Sciences; and this month we hear from the Faculty of Arts.

The Digital Transformation (DTH) runs a Volunteer Scheme for Faculty of Arts students who gain digital and transferable skills and work experience for their CVs by working shifts in the DTH itself but also on digital Arts projects.

This post follows on from Part 1 of our blog where DTH Manager Matt Davies gave an update on a selection of student projects. In this post, he describes more of these.

Wednesdays – The Hennessy digitisation project

The Hennessy digitisation project has been running since 2018 and involves the digitisation of the Centre for Cuba’s Hennessy collection, a physical archive of Cuban newspapers from the 1960s. The archive is of huge historical importance and is unfortunately beginning to disintegrate, making the capture of the newspapers vital not only for posterity, but also for research purposes. The workflow is complex, requiring professional archiving standards, which the students are taught by DTH Research Associate Xiangzhen He (Cherry), who has been supervising this project since 2022, and Manuscripts and Special Collection’s digitisation officer, Mark Bentley.

A student has placed section of a newspaper under a glass screen, which has a light to the side of it and a camera pointing downwards at the newspaper.

The students learn how to handle the newspapers correctly, set up the lighting on the copystand, and fine-tune the manual settings on the DSLR camera, ensuring focus is clear and colour is accurate. As the newspapers are Berliner size, each page must be shot in two halves, then joined in Photoshop. Finally, the pages are saved as TIFF files along with associated metadata, which the students record from the newspapers themselves.

Thursdays – The Hunter Archaeological Society journal digitisation project

This year saw the beginning of a new digitisation project with a new DTH partner. Archaeology and Classics lecturer Anna Bloxham is a trustee on the board of Sheffield’s Hunter Archaeological Society (HAS) who hold an archive of journals dating back to 1911. They wanted them digitised, and we wanted a new project, so a partnership was born! This year we also have a new Research Associate – Abigail Spanner – so we thought she would be the perfect person to partner Anna on the project. The students learn not only how to capture the journals to archive standard, but also how to make the text in each article searchable and readable using software called OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Again, we thought Abigail would be the right person to provide more details on the project as well as a little about herself and the role.

Follow this link to Abigail’s Digital Dialogues post.

Fridays – The Digital Marketing project

The final project is a little bit of a cheat because the unit in need of digital assistance in this case is the DTH itself! The Digital Marketing project runs every year and has been supervised since 2021 By RA Abi Parker. Abi and the marketing volunteers are responsible for all our social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok. They are tasked with ensuring that all FoA staff and students are aware of the DTH and know what it has to offer them. The volunteers receive training from the Humanities Marketing team and attend a video workshop run by the Video Production Support Officer, Joe Bell. They also get to test out new DTH kit – like the 360° GoPro cameras – by making great videos featuring DTH favourites Digital Dan and Abigail Swan!

A toy lego-like robot, holding up a sign saying 'digital transformations hub'.

Links to all the DTH’s social media platforms can be found on our homepage.

You will find more posts on our projects and other DTH initiatives at our regular blog, Digital Dialogues and on our social media platforms. We are always looking for new exciting projects and partnerships so if you have an idea, please get in touch at: ArtsDigitalHub@nottingham.ac.uk

Author: Matt Davies

Calling all blog volunteers!

Would you like to promote how technology is being used in your faculty? Maybe you have some students who are also keen to share how technology has enhanced their learning experiences?  If you are interested in submitting a blog post about your use of technology for teaching and learning, please do get in touch. Find out how to submit a post, or arrange to have a chat about ideas 

Posted in Faculty TakeoverGuest post