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Archive for August, 2007

MITH Receives NEH Grant

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

MITH LogoThe Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) received a Digital Humanities Start-Up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’s (NEH) Digital Humanities Initiative (see, www.mith2.umd.edu). The $30,000 award will support development of a tool called the Ajax XML Encoder (AXE) by Assistant Director Doug Reside and a team. Work will begin in September 2007.

In the fall and winter of 2006, Doug Reside developed “alpha” versions of the image tagging component for MITH Resident Fellow Dr. Angel David Nieves’ Soweto ‘76 project, and in the spring of 2007 completed an early version of the text tagging component for the online archive and proposed serious gaming interface.

“The Ajax XML encoder, with its intuitive Web-based interface, will come as a breath of fresh air to those who have previously been frustrated by text-centric tagging tools which require an expert knowledge of mark-up languages,” said Reside. Since the codification of the Text Encoding Initiative standards in the mid-1990s, the process of the creation of digital editions and archives is largely one of “marking up” existing artifacts in SGML or XML. Originally, this was often done “by hand,” with scholars adding XML tags to existing text documents using a text editor. Over the last decade several tools have been produced that make this process somewhat more efficient and accurate, though most still require more than a beginner’s familiarity with XML encoding, and few are open source.

Moreover, many digital humanities projects have, of late, become far more multi-medial–relying on image, video, and audio files as well as text. Existing markup tools have only begun to work with these non-textual artifacts. As digital archives continue to grow, the markup tools used to encode them must become more flexible and easier to use.

The Ajax XML Encoder (AXE) is intended to meet this need for a flexible, open source, multimedia tagging tool suitable for use by the non-specialist. MITH Director, Neil Fraistat, noted that “AXE will allow users with limited technical skills to tag text, images, video, and audio files deeply for inclusion in digital archives.” Like the mythological Ajax’s axe, MITH’s AXE is intended to provide users with enough power and flexibility to accomplish their tasks without a great deal of assistance from the technical “gods.”

Gauteng MEC Creecy Launches Youth Month 2007

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

AIDS RibbonExcerpts of Statement by Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Barbara Creecy at the launch of Youth Month 2007

Issued 31 March 2007

“Every year youth month offers us an opportunity to remember, commemorate and pay tribute to those young people who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for a free and democratic South Africa. It also offers us an opportunity to take stock of and highlight what we as government, in partnership with youth, have done in improving the lives of young people in Gauteng.

This year’s theme for Youth Month is ‘Deepening Youth Participation in Development through Service,’ and will see a variety of events being held throughout Gauteng. Many of the activities being co-ordinated by the Gauteng Youth Commission are being held in partnership with provincial and local government.

On the 13 June, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Gauteng Youth Commission will host youth izimbizo’s throughout the province. These Imbizo’s form part of government’s programme of direct interaction with residents and allows for feedback from communities which enable government to streamline service delivery aimed at improving people’s lives. This month the focus will be on youth and hearing what young people have to say.

The event on June 16, National Youth Day, is being organised jointly by the Gauteng Provincial Government, the Gauteng Youth Commission, City of Johannesburg and June 16 Foundation. On June 16 the day’s activities will start at the Hector Petersen Memorial and Museum where Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa will be joined by Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo, Chairperson of Gauteng Youth Commission, Lebogang Maile, and members of the June 16 Foundation. Thereafter, the Premier will deliver a keynote address at Johannesburg Stadium in Bertrams, from 10h00. The political programme will be followed by entertainment by leading South African artists.

As outlined by the Gauteng Youth Commission, other activities include economic opportunities road shows, where we provide information on how to improve young people’s access to the economy, youth volunteer activities, and events around crime, disability, HIV and AIDS and xenophobia.

The provincial government regards youth development as an important part of the province’s vision to transform Gauteng into a globally competitive city region.”

“We celebrate June 16, 31 years after the initial youth demonstrations, as a reminder to ourselves and to future generations that the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy today are a product of the efforts and sacrifices of the many young men and women who relentlessly and fearlessly committed themselves to this cause.

1976 marked a decisive change in the constitution and character of the liberation struggle. By assuming leadership of the liberation movement, young people positioned themselves as crucial contributors in shaping a just and free South Africa, based on democracy and respect for human rights.

This year, let us pledge to build on that proud legacy and create a stronger partnership between government, youth and all other stakeholders, towards building a better Gauteng for all, regardless of age, race, and gender.”