Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Creating Digital Texts II

Oxygen XML Editor
Do you remember our very successful Creating Digital Texts workshop last October, at which James Cummings provided intensive training in the use of oXygen as a text-encoding tool for producing digital documents?  I’m pleased to say that Dr Kristopher Grint from the University’s School of History has agreed to give a follow-on course next Wednesday afternoon (March 11, 2-5pm) in the Swallowgate computer classroom.
Kris will show students how to use XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language) to transform encoded documents into more accessible formats such as HTML pages for web publication or PDF for distribution as an eBook.  He will draw on his own experience of using XSL on the Jeremy Bentham Project to show examples of how this can be done.
A few places are still available on the course, and you can sign up by going to CAPOD’s Personal Development Management System at
Afternoon tea and cake will be provided!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Light Box

I was pleased to be involved in a small way recently with another project originating in the University’s School of English.  Light Box is an artistic collaboration for UNESCO's International Year of Light between poet Robert Crawford (who teaches in the School of English) and photographer Norman McBeath, many of whose photographs are in the collections of the National Portrait Galleries in London and Edinburgh.   Produced as a result of Crawford’s and McBeath’s meetings with physicists who work in optoelectronics, the “light box” itself is a handsome, buckram-bound artist’s box containing 37 leaves on which new haiku are juxtaposed with specially taken photographs.  The relation between the poems and pictures is often teasingly oblique.  Neither simply illustrates the other, but instead they resonate together, each enhancing the other.  As a whole, they celebrate light in all its aspects, solar, sacred, scientific, nourishing and poetic.
Click image to view the digital version of Light Box

My contribution has been the creation of this digital version of the box’s contents on Islandora’s useful turn-the-page reader, and I was glad to see it being linked to from open scotland, the newsletter of the innovation community in Scotland. 
One of the physicists featured in Light Box is St Andrews’ John W. Allen, who led a team that invented the world’s first practicable LEDs in 1961.  Though his early scientific papers are now archived in the Science Museum in London, John Allen’s story is not well known.  When Crawford and McBeath met him he showed them some of his early LEDs, which were then called “crystal lamps.”  McBeath’s remarkable portrait photograph of him and Crawford’s accompanying haiku together pay tribute to this modest, tenacious inventor who, more than fifty years after his innovative work on LEDs, is still developing new ways of working with light.