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The 11th International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities (DADH 2020) Will Be Held Online from December 1st!

Date: 2020-12-01

Despite the resurgence of COVID-19, the pursuit of knowledge continues. The 11th International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities (DADH 2020) will be held online beginning on December 1st, bringing together over 150 digital humanities scholars from 9 countries, showcasing Taiwan’s research capabilities, and exploring the most cutting-edge innovative research and future trends.

This year’s DADH conference will be hosted by the Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures (ASCDC) and the Taiwanese Association for Digital Humanities. James C. Liao, the President of Academia Sinica, has high hopes for this conference. President Liao wishes to express how Academia Sinica has taken the initiative in developing Taiwan’s digital archives since the 1980s, steadily building up further innovation and applications in digital research infrastructure and digital tools. Moving forward, in addition to upholding the current goals of Taiwan’s digital humanities, Academia Sinica is also actively working with the international academic community to open connections between digital archive content around the world, and to nurture the growth of organic relationships between digital technologies and humanities research, thereby enabling in-depth investigation and exchange.

The conference will run for four days, with pre-conference workshops beginning on December 1st and the conference’s official opening ceremony on December 2nd. Facing the ascendance of digital humanities as a rapidly flourishing field, this year’s conference theme is “Smart Data × Digital Humanities,” and will be held for the first time using a virtual conference format. We invite experts and scholars from all over the world to explore how we can transform the massive quantities of data in digital archives.

Chen Hsi-yuan, the Conference Chair and ASCDC Director, says, “We look forward to utilizing the latest technological developments in semantic web and artificial intelligence to enable large databases to serve not only as data silos passively searched by researchers, but to go further and become able to actively respond to researchers’ queries and ideas, providing knowledge graphs that dynamically link people to answers.”

This year’s specially invited keynote speakers include Dagmar Schäfer, a renowned international sinologist; Marcia Lei Zeng, Professor at the School of Information, Kent State University; and Mark Liao, Director and Distinguished Research Fellow at Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica. From macro to micro perspectives, they will discuss smart data in digital humanities through different international contexts.

Dr. Dagmar Schäfer is Director of Department III, “Artifacts, Action, Knowledge,” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG). An early proponent of digital research methods in sinology, her research centers around the history of technology development in China, incorporating digital methods such as GIS and text mining. Her monograph, The Crafting of the 10,000 Things: Knowledge and Technology in Seventeenth-Century China, received the Pfizer Award and Joseph Levenson Book Prize. This year, she received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Germany’s most prestigious research award. Dr. Schäfer’s keynote speech, titled “Digital to Humanities: Smart Data and the Role of the History of Science for DH,” will analyze what makes the digital smart, and humanities and data relevant to each other. Digital humanities has come a long way to help study how inferences from singular data lead to universal knowledge claims. Dr. Schäfer will suggest new ways we can mobilize data to foster inquiry for the future of digital humanities.

Dr. Marcia Lei Zeng has contributed guidance for international compatibility standards on many projects, including the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), authoring bibliographic data guidelines for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and formulating criteria for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) “Thesauri and Interoperability with Other Vocabularies” Working Group. In her keynote speech, titled “Smart Data for Digital Humanities,” she will discuss smart data methodology and applications, such as from the perspective of digital archives in libraries, archives, and museums. Dr. Zeng will discuss how the distinctive mark of big data and smart data in the humanities brings primarily a shift in methodology rather than technology.

Will artificial intelligence direct our music videos in the future? Dr. Mark Liao has worked for over 25 years in fields including multimedia signal processing, computer-vision-based human behavior analysis and 3D image segmentation and recognition. For his contributions to image and video forensics and security, he has been a Fellow of the IEEE since 2013. This year, together with his team, he developed the world’s current most fast and accurate object detection algorithm (YOLOv4), making a big splash in the global AI technology community. Dr. Liao’s keynote speech, titled “Automatic Concert Video Mashup,” will discuss an innovative concept for machine matching of fragmented video clips.

DADH is the most important yearly summit for Taiwan’s digital humanities. Since its first meeting in 2009, DADH has investigated ways to integrate modern information technology into the exploration of the traditional humanities field. As the Chinese idiom goes, “It takes ten years to sharpen a sword” – and we are ready to cut a path into new frontiers in the second decade of our endeavor.

On December 3rd, this year’s conference will hold a “Ten-Year Retrospective” roundtable discussion, inviting longtime contributors to the Taiwan’s digital humanities scene, including Liu Cheng-yun (Adjunct Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica), Hung Jen-jou (Associate Professor at the Department of Buddhist Studies, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts), Chen Chih-ming (Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Institute of Library, Information, and Archival Studies, National Chengchi University), and Chang Su-bing (Professor and Chair of the Graduate Institute of Taiwan History, National Taiwan Normal University). From technology to content to the humanities side, they will look back on DADH’s history taking root in Taiwan and expanding worldwide, accompanied by special remarks from Hsiang Jieh (Distinguished Professor at the Department of Computer Science & Information Engineering and Director of the Research Center for Digital Humanities, National Taiwan University).

According to DADH Honorary Chair Hsiang Jieh, “Taiwan acts as the center of Traditional Chinese language culture. In regards to digitization processes, it faces unique challenges and unique opportunities. Its development, from digital archives to digital humanities, is reflected in the name of this conference. Looking back over these ten years, we have made rapid progress, but how to enable digital methods to more richly integrate with humanities research remains a direction that requires continued effort.”

DADH is usually open only to registered participants, but this special roundtable will be streamed publicly on ASCDC’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ASCDCNEWS) for everyone to view.
In addition to the keynotes and roundtable, this year’s conference will feature 8 pre-conference workshops, 1 panel session, 9 paper sessions, and 25 poster presentations. The workshops will invite groups including from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, National Taiwan University’s Research Center for Digital Humanities, and National Chengchi University’s Research Center for Chinese Cultural Subjectivity in Taiwan, in order to explain how to use digital tools such as DocuSky, the Academia Sinica Digital Humanities Research Platform, the NCCU Digital Humanities Platform, Local Gazetteer Research Tools (LoGaRT), and CHMap.

The panel session will be presented on December 4th, titled “Big Data is Sufficient? Two Applications of Intelligent Data in the Research of Ancient Chinese Literature and History.” This session will examine three case studies of cultural history – “Extraction of Climate Information based on Meteorological Records in Historical Texts for Scientific Analysis – Digital Humanities Technology Development and Comprehensive Research on Spatio-Temporal Information,” “Travel with Monk's Staff: Event Extraction Techniques, and the Quantification of Time and Space in the Eminent Buddhist Monks Biographies,” and “Digital Research on the Names of the Periphery in Wei-Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties” – to demonstrate both close and distant reading, digital and textual research methods, as well as contemplate the cultural value and interpretive possibilities of “small data” in a sea of big data.

The paper sessions will gather research teams from Taiwan, China, America, England, Germany, and Korea. Diverse topics include the use of linked data and knowledge atlases in digital museums, digital tool applications with digital humanities content, surveying archival texts, digital biographical text analysis, analysis of religious sacred languages, and more of the latest research trends.

The conference's posters cover topics ranging from digitization of ancient texts and rubbings, the collection and value enrichment of Taiwan's digital archival collections, the development of a dictionary for wooden slips, research and development of automated information extraction technology for Chinese text, GIS platform construction and analysis of literary maps, text analysis software for literary research, digital multimedia presentation methods for biodiversity, and more. Twenty-six posters on the front line of research!

DADH 2020 urges the digital humanities research field to gather online and together envision the conference’s second decade in the coming post-pandemic era. Let us jointly explore the new possibilities of digital humanities, and launch Taiwan’s digital humanities research to new heights.

[Download link for Press Release electronic file, conference program, and images] https://ascdc.sinica.edu.tw/redirect.jsp?q=y6384zop

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