Tomorrow around 4.30pm you’ll find me running around setting up audio equipment in preparation for the first part of the IHR’s Novel Approaches: from academic history to historical fiction conference. The conference seeks to look at the intersection and relationship between the professions of academic history and historical fiction. It should be a lot of fun!
I’ll also be there for the entire event taking notes. Not because I think I could be a budding novelist in the waiting nor just because I find the topic fascinating. No, this time I’ll be there because we are planning on doing something rather different with our podcasts.
This coming Monday (21 November) we’ll open up our first ever virtual conference as a continuation of the two-day Novel Approaches event. What is a virtual conference you might ask? Well in this case at least it is an online site that continues our face-to-face conference well after it is finished. At scheduled times each day we will publish podcasts from the conference, articles, book reviews, and opinion pieces. We’re also planning on running a competition with some nice prizes on offer and will provide our ‘ultimate’ bibliography and list of relevant online resources. All of this is free although I would encourage you to register so that you can enter the competition amongst other things.
What do we hope to achieve through this virtual conference? Well, for starters it’s not intended as a replacement for the actual conference. How could it be? However, we do want to continue and open up a discussion around the conference papers alongside various other resources. We very much hope those going to the conference will take part and that those unable to join us in person will find our virtual conference almost as much fun and of just as much interest.
The podcasts will of course still appear on History SPOT in due course (in fact we hope to also be able to provide some video content although that is very much an experiment and might not happen).
So please do join us on Monday as we start with a conversation between novelist and historian (Hilary Mantel and David Loades) followed by a plenary talk by Alison Weir (plus of course much more!).
Before then please also visit our IHR Digital blog where I have been (and will continue to do so throughout the next week and a bit) posting on the topic of A History of historical fiction. I can’t (and won’t) say I’m an expert in this topic but I had fun researching the literature and learnt a lot along the way. Hope you enjoy the results!
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Last night was the IHR’s eighth live streamed event, the fourth for our Digital History seminar, and the second since the launch of History SPOT. Unfortunately on this occasion things did not go as planned.
This blog post is, therefore, part apology to all of you who tried to tune in last night, part explanation, and part a look towards the future of this service. First of all then – an apology.
Last night the stream failed to connect for the first 10 minutes of the presentation and when we were eventually able to stream live the quality of the audio was particularly bad.
On behalf of the IHR I apologise to all of you who tried to tune in and found your time wasted on this occasion.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. After the workshop that we live streamed a few weeks ago we were trying the downloaded application from livestream (rather than the web based interface) to stream our seminar. The hope was that this would improve video and audio quality as we were not happy with the resolution from the workshop. In theory that is still the case but it seems we still need to fine tune and test the new interface.
The second reason for the failure appears to have been an untimely update from Adobe to the flash application. Although declined the update appears to have caused the streaming application to crash early on in the seminar. The laptop that we were using had been updated earlier in the day so I can only presume that this update only came through around 5pm.
I have hinted many times on this blog that we have plans to improve the service. We have looked into alternative streaming applications as a way to primarily avoid the advert at the beginning of the stream. Although there are a few other possibilities we have not yet pinned down a viable alternative. However, this is still a work in progress. In the meantime we wish to experiment with a higher resolution camcorder. Although the nature of live streaming would mean that the camcorder was reduced in quality anyway it would hopefully be clearer and more manoeuvrable than the current webcam that we are using.
Our next live stream will be the second Digital History seminar in two weeks’ time (Tuesday 15 November). We will do all we can to make sure that this stream goes well and I very much hope you will give us a second try.
For those of you still interested in Matt Thompson’s paper from yesterday we hope to be able to provide you with audio and video coverage sometime in the next week or two.
History SPOT Project Officer
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Digital History seminar
Matt Thompson (York)
Time: 5.15pm – 6.15pm – 1 November 2011
Please join us for this semesters first Digital History live seminar.
click here for the live stream on Tuesday!
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