WhoForShe? Or: tinkering with Open Data

This post is not really related to the SeNeReKo project. But using an unrelated example, it shows the benefits of Open Data: Re-combining existing information to create new insights. This is really what SeNeReKo is about.

Last week, the UN Women launched the campaign “HeForShe” with Emma Watson’s speech at the UN Headquaters. The campaign aims at including men into a “solidarity movement for gender equality”. In order to make this support visible, the campaign website allows men to commit to the campaign’s idea by submitting a web form. Based on the submitted data, the website displays a map of the world, showing (on click) the number of signers.

Map of HeForShe signers Weiterlesen

Egyptology and digital humanities – does it fit together or do we open Pandora’s box?

Most people have a romantic and movie inspired view of an Egyptologist: he is masculine, between 40 and 60 years old, good looking and wears his best corduroy suit. Just like Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies. When I worked for an exhibition of the pharaoh Tutankhamen, where I guided the visitors and answered all the questions they had about that “old guy”, some people complained about me to the exhibition manager. In their minds, I didn’t look like a typical Egyptologist (I am feminine, 29 years old, and wouldn’t dream of wearing a corduroy suit). Sadly, this is a true story.

People also have a more or less romantic view about our working conditions: if we are not digging somewhere in the sand, brushing artifacts tenderly or holding old-fashioned lectures (of course with antiquated overhead transparencies), we are sitting behind a huge wall of dusty books and haven’t seen the sun in months (ok, maybe this is true).

Only a very few would expect that the day of an Egyptologist is mainly characterized by working with computers and any kind of software. We use the Internet to announce call for papers, interesting news, and the latest publications – on homepages, twitter, or our own scientific blogs.

The work of an Egyptologist – how digital are we?

I think Egyptologists themselves don’t know how many digital resources they are already working with every day. The times when they were spending hours skimming through every single book in the library are long gone. Today, they can use the “Online Egyptological Bibliography”, for instance. Weiterlesen