Digital Humanities Abstracts

“Innovations in Resources for Teaching History and Archaeology”
Pauline McCormack DISH Project, University of Glasgow

The DISH (Design & Implementation of Software for History) Project provides computing resources and advice for historians (including art historians) and archaeologists in six departments and three related institutions at the University of Glasgow. In three laboratories containing 40 networked microcomputers, DISH offers some of the most advanced facilities in the UK for computing specific to the study of history and archaeology. Areas in which the Project is particularly strong include the use of databases and historical datasets for teaching and the provision of multimedia tutorials for archaeologists. The Project also provides a number of specialist applications such as statistics and mapping programs and is a beta test site for the international Remote Access to Museum Archives (RAMA) project. DISH would demonstrate and discuss the setup, applications, datasets and textbases used in day to day teaching, as well as the philosophy of including the use of computers in teaching the humanities. In particular we would like to talk about an on-going project involving the transfer of teaching data from DOS platform databases to a Windows platform database. This exercise has brought into focus issues such as: optimising commercial software for specialist use; the difficulties in defining the boundaries between teaching the use of computing tools for historical analysis and the analysis itself; the reluctance of very busy academics to move away from tools which work. We would also demonstrate our wide range of archaeology tutorials which range from the introductory package "Archaeology at Work" to more technically-specific subjects including lithics, bones, archaeological statistics and grid references.