Principia Philosophie

Principia Philosophie @BNF

Principia Philosophie, René Descartes

It’s Xmas time and outside is raining. What is better than designing your missing pen case and creating it? With the help of my family I realised the simpler case for my pens just with a cutter and some felt. If needed here the document with all the measures.

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Happy to say I am now a PhD candidate at the Doctoral School of EPFL in Lausanne, attending the Doctoral Program in Architecture and Sciences of the Cities, a balanced combination of architecture and social sciences. I joined the College of Humanities in the Digital Humanities Laboratory where my supervisor, Frédéric Kaplan, is director. I have also the pleasure to collaborate with the Chôros Laboratory where my co-director of thesis, Boris Beaude, belongs.

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The 24-25 October UDC has organized its Seminar at the National Library in The Hague, Netherlands, whose topic is the visualization and interaction with classifications. Since the subject is largely interdisciplinary, the people who are going to attend have different expertises: Library and Information Science, Information Visualization, Digital Humanities, Computer Science, Psychology, Design, etc. This is the first time I see libraries specialists opening so widely their opportunities of collaboration.

For this occasion I will present a paper written with the help of my former professor Giorgio De Michelis. The argument is simple: it regards two paradigms to navigate and manage classifications on tablet computers. The first is based on lists: they can be scrolled vertically or swiped horizontally by page. Usually these two interactions are separated, I propose a way to use both at the same time. The second treats the idea to manage classifications using a two-columns interface. Each column is a representation of one classification, this means that two instances of the same classification are shown simultaneously. The value is evident, if you want to make a relation between two subjects you can see them in their contexts at the same time. But this is not the only advantage, imagine this with two or three classifications or simply read the pre-printed version of the paper here for free.

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The DHLAB of EPFL and Ca’ Foscari University organized a week in Digital Humanities that is taking place in Venice. For this event it has been created Digital Venice, a website where updates are published day by day. Please follow us.

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At the médialab of Sciences Po the MEDEA group (Mapping Environmental DEbates on Adaptation) has been working to create a database of contributors for the Assessment Reports of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). I recently joined the team to realize a group of visualizations released under the creative common licence.

1. Repeat contributors in the IPCC

1. Repeat contributors in the IPCC

2. Geography of IPCC contributors

2. Geography of IPCC contributors

3. Geography of leading IPCC contributors

3. Geography of leading IPCC contributors

4. Top contributing countries to the IPCC

4. Top contributing countries to the IPCC

5. Distribution of contributors of the three IPCC Working Groups

5. Distribution of contributors of the three IPCC Working Groups

6. Geography of IPCC contributors by Working Group

6. Geography of IPCC contributors by Working Group

It has been two years now since the launch of AIME. During that time, we have achieved some of the project’s major goals: we have published the book – the inquiry’s provisional report – in two languages; built an international network of scholars and practitioners who are working on the various modes of existence; organized a number of meetings to fine tune the research’s methods and content; mobilized certain artists to collect and document the modes and their manifestations; and, we have released a web platform, the digital companion to the book, which enables you to explore and further the inquiry.

Today we are releasing a newer version of the digital platform, featuring the project’s English content. This includes the text of the book itself and associated vocabulary and documents.

We have improved the search engine: now you will be able to search any content on the digital platform, including bibliographical references.

We developed a bookmark system that allows you to save interesting paragraphs and media that you may come across on the site.

Unfortunately, the development of these features took longer than expected thus you will not yet be able to annotate items on the platform, or discuss and propose new documents in the inquiry.

This, however, should not be too surprising – for two main reasons:

On the one hand, the whole of the platform’s development has been a continuous learning-by-doing process – indeed, we had to rethink more than once the site’s architecture – and there were moments when we felt as though we were reproducing Terry Gilliam’s film, “Lost in la Mancha”. We hope to share with you some day the entire anecdotal history of the project…

On the other hand, striving to contribute to the fledgling field of the digital humanities, we engaged in long and passionate discussions about how best to re-imagine the role of footnotes in a digital environment. We also considered long and hard how we might best enable the user to contribute – in a more meaningful way than by simply leaving comments – to the existing research documentation and so on …

In this regard, it is worth drawing further attention to one of AIME’s innovations: while the Digital Humanities field is producing remarkable results in terms of the use and application of data mining methods and tools, resulting in a huge array of experiments in distant reading practices, only a few experiments have been carried out in terms of furthering and reinventing close reading practices. Furthermore, most of these have been driven by market considerations, and an acceptance of the mere transposition of content from paper to screen (be that a tablet or an e-book reader) as sufficient innovation. The very few reference points we had, the desire to provide a pleasurable and focused reading experience and attempts to redefine close reading led, inevitably, to our accruing delays.

That said, and with your continued patience and indulgence, we plan to release by September the platform with the functionality that is, currently, missing – namely systems for annotation and contribution as well as functionality enabling users to read/watch in full screen all of the platform’s content.

We also hope to ensure a continuity of experience of the platform regardless of the browser used (at present it has been optimized for Chrome only and tested only for Firefox).

We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions about the platform and to engaging with you on the real core of the research the platform contains, namely the discussion surrounding the modes of existence. To that end, you can contact us by emailing contact@modesofexistence.org and follow our official Twitter account @AIMEproject with the official hashtag #modesofexistence.

AIME Staff

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