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Application forms should be returned to CDH Learning ( by Tuesday 6 October 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by Thursday 8 October 2020.

Massive digital archives such as the Internet Archive offer researchers tantalising possibilities for the recovery of lost, forgotten and neglected literary texts. Yet the reality can be very frustrating due to limitations in the design of the archives and the tools available for exploring them. This programme supports researchers in understanding the issues they are likely to encounter and developing practical methods for delving into massive digital archives.

Digital Research Design and Data Ethics new Tue 24 Nov 2020   10:00 [Places]

This CDHBasics session explores the lifecycle of a digital research project across the stages of design;

  • data capture
  • transformation
  • analysis
  • presentation and preservation

it also introduces tactics for embedding ethical research principles and practices at each stage of the research process.

Ghost fictions (Guided project) new Mon 26 Oct 2020   14:00 [Standby]

'Application forms should be returned to CDH Learning ( by Tuesday 13 October 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 October 2020.

This CDH Guided Project series which also includes a Methods Workshop will explore the generation of ‘synthetic’ texts using neural networks.

The release of OpenAI’s GPT-2 and GPT-3 language models in 2019 and 2020 has shown that predictive algorithms trained on very large general datasets can generate ‘synthetic’ texts, perform machine translation tasks, rudimentary reading comprehension, question answering and summarisation automatically without needing large amounts of task-specific training. These ‘ghostwritten’ texts have provoked wide attention in the media.

Researchers have experimented with prompting GPT-3 to write short stories, answer philosophical questions and apparently propose potential medical treatments -although GPT-3 had some difficulty with the question “how many eyes does a horse have?”. The Guardian ‘commissioned’ op-ed from GPT-3.

Through interactive hands-on sessions and demonstrations we will explore synthetic text production and look at how ideas about the distinction between ‘fact’, ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’ are shaping the reception of this emerging technology. Our aim is to stimulate deeper critical engagement with machine learning by humanities researchers and to encourage more public debate about the role of AI in culture and society.

We invite applications from early career researchers and others at the University of Cambridge to join a small project team for four online sessions during the Guided Project phase in Oct-November. Participants will need to commit to joining the live sessions and to set aside at least 3-4 hours work on a small-scale individual project during the course. We are interested in assembling an interdisciplinary group of researchers drawing on insights from across humanities, social science and technology disciplines .Prior knowledge of programming, computer science or Machine Learning is not required.

Re:search new Tue 10 Nov 2020   10:00 [Places]

This CDHBasics session looks at how searching and finding technologies structure scholarship. It also covers

  • an introduction to search engines, both for web search and custom search functions within collections;
  • discussion about OCR errors and blindspots in digital search in historical collections
  • problems of fragmentation of the source text, and the legacy of pre-digital formats such as microfilm.
Sorting things out - why metadata matters new Tue 27 Oct 2020   10:00 [Places]

This CDHBasics session focuses on the importance of metadata (‘data about data’), examining the crucial role played by classification systems and standards in shaping how scholars interact with historical and cultural records.