From Humanities: Texting in Ancient Mayan Heiroglyphs

The Madrid Codex, World History Archive

If King Tut were around today, could he send a text in Egyptian hieroglyphics? Yes, with the right font and keyboard. That’s because the writing system of the pharaohs has already been included in the Unicode Standard, meaning that a character like the Eye of Horus has a code point, 13080, that will render the same way on a tablet in Cairo and a smartphone in Beijing. Because Mayan hieroglyphs have yet to be encoded, the ancient Mayan emperor K’inich Janaab’ Pakal would have to stick to emoji—but that’s about to change.

Unicode is the international encoding standard that makes it possible for users to read, write, and search in a wide range of written languages on all manner of devices without technical miscommunication. Made up of a mix of academics, stakeholders, and interested volunteers, the Unicode Consortium has encoded 139 of the writing systems, technically known as scripts, ever to have existed. Given that alphabets like Cyrillic, Arabic, and Devanagari serve more than 60 languages each and that 500 languages use the Latin alphabet, Unicode makes electronic communication possible in almost a thousand languages. But there are more than a hundred writing systems to go.

In June 2017, the Unicode Consortium rolled out its tenth version in 26 years, which included four scripts as well as the Bitcoin sign and 56 new emoji. The scripts introduced this year include Nüshu, a writing system that was developed by women in the Hunan Province of nineteenth-century China as a workaround when they were denied formal education. Also newly available is Zanabazar Square, created by a Mongolian monk in the seventeenth century to write spiritual texts in Mongolian, Tibetan, and Sanskrit. Crucial as these steps toward cultural empowerment may be, it is the textable faces, socks, mermen, and the like that have brought this global standard into the limelight.

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Open Data and Open Government: A Workshop

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The Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies at Indiana University Bloomington will hold a free daylong workshop March 17 in Indianapolis on access to information.

“Letting the Sunshine IN: An Open Data and Open Government Workshop” is open to anyone interested in open government and open data, including journalists, civic activists and neighborhood association members, said Anthony Fargo, director of the Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies and a co-organizer of the event.

The workshop will be in the ballroom of University Tower, 911 W. North St., on the IUPUI campus.

“The strength of our open government laws is that they apply to everyone, not just journalists or public officials,” said Fargo, an associate professor in The Media School at IU Bloomington. “Anyone at any time may need to gain access to records held by a government agency or attend a meeting of a public body, so all of us have a stake in learning how effective our access laws are.”

The workshop will take place during Sunshine Week, an annual national observance that highlights the importance of open government. Co-sponsors include the IndyPro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. Fargo and co-organizer Gerry Lanosga, an assistant professor in The Media School, are Indiana Coalition for Open Government board members.

Confirmed speakers at the conference include state, regional, and national journalists and open government advocates, who will participate in informational sessions about state and national access laws.

The workshop will close with a hands-on session on how to request data and metadata from public agencies. Experts will guide attendees in submitting actual requests to state agencies for information about their data sets. Participants should bring a laptop computer or other WiFi-capable device.

Lanosga said the goal is to launch an open online catalog of state data sets.

“We know that one of the key barriers to opening public data is lack of knowledge about the range of data that state agencies maintain,” he said. “This effort will go a long way to eliminating the unknowns about state data sets and make it easier for journalists and others in the public to request them.”

The workshop is made possible by a gift to the Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies from IU journalism alumna Barbara Restle. It is free to pre-registered participants and includes breakfast, lunch, and parking. Visitor parking is available in the North Street and Vermont Street parking garages and the Hine Hall Tower Garage.

Although there is no charge to attend the workshop, attendance is limited, and advance registration is required. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. March 12.

Click here for the workshop schedule and registration.

Square Peg Round Hole Coming to IUPUI

We are excited to welcome guest artists Square Peg Round Hole to Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus next week. The IU Bloomington-trained instrumental rock trio will present a performance lecture on campus Friday, March 2. They will be discussing the integration of multimedia technology into their percussion-driven music as well as tips for young musicians hoping to build a career. Click here for more details.

In addition, the group will cap off their stay in Indy with a performance at Pioneer on March 3 supported by IUPUI’s own Big Robot. Click here for more information.

These events are made possible with generous support by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology, Pioneer Indy, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

Square Peg Round Hole formed in 2011 while studying music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, in Bloomington, Indiana. The band has shared bills with Built To Spill, The Album Leaf, Mae, This Will Destroy You, and The Joy Formidable, and has been featured at major venues across the country including the Electric Factory, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Old National Centre, and the World Café Live. Find them on YouTube or their website for more information.

Herron announces the Think It Make It Lab, where art, design and technology converge

The new Think It Make It Lab at Herron will include equipment and projects like these and more (clockwise): Art work from Herron's 2013 Undergraduate Student exhibition, printed with a 3-D printer; A Stratasys Objet 30 3-D printer; detail from a bench created by then Herron graduate student Vincent Edwards using a CNC router; an EZ Router CNC router. (images: Herron staff, Michelle Pemberton, Stratasys and EZ router)
The new Think It Make It Lab at Herron will include equipment and projects like these and more (clockwise): Art work from Herron’s 2013 Undergraduate Student exhibition, printed with a 3-D printer; A Stratasys Objet 30 3-D printer; detail from a bench created by then Herron graduate student Vincent Edwards using a CNC router; an EZ Router CNC router. (images: Herron staff, Michelle Pemberton, Stratasys and EZ router)

With the aim of merging technology with traditional creative processes, Herron School of Art and Design announces The Think It Make It Lab, a new physical space that will help art and design students, and others on the IUPUI campus, become better informed about the broad applications of design, production and fabrication in a variety of fields.

“We are so excited at the prospect of providing a collaborative environment for research and experimentation at the intersection of art, design, technology and culture,” said Herron’s dean, Valerie Eickmeier. “Centers like this are common in Silicon Valley, but there are few housed in schools of art and design and they are scarce in the Midwest.”

“The Think It Make It Lab promotes the creative use of new technologies in a collaborative environment for research and experimentation. The Lab expands Herron’s capability to educate students to work on concept design and prototyping using a variety of digital fabrication methods. Students and faculty working in this lab engage in research, design, digital fabrication and production methodologies that will be invaluable to their own creative and professional development and to 21st century industry,” she said. “It will also be interesting to see how the center helps to foster collaborations between programs on the IUPUI campus.

“Herron already has formed solid partnerships on campus with the IU School of Medicine, the Fairbanks School of Public Health, the School of Informatics and Computing and departments such as motorsports engineering. We look forward to seeing how this lab accelerates exploration and furthers the appreciation of art and design expertise across many types of applications.

“The resources and practices of the Think It Make It Lab will enhance the fundamentals Herron already teaches in its studio concentrations. The Lab will also equip Herron students with the knowledge to design and make, guided by an informed literacy about technology and a skill set that is in very high demand in the job market.”

Eickmeier said that associate vice president for learning technologies at IUPUI, Anastasia (Stacy) Morrone, Ph.D., was instrumental in bringing Herron’s vision for the Think It Make It Lab to life. “She grasped how our vision meshed with her mission of transformative teaching through the innovative use of technology. She advocated for the commitment of important startup funding.”

Morrone said, “This lab will be a new kind of learning space for students, and the first of its kind at Indiana University. A huge part of IU’s mission, and the mission of University Information Technology Services (UITS), is to provide the technology that our faculty and students need to learn, innovate and discover—key tenets of the maker culture. We are pleased to have played a part in ensuring that IUPUI students and faculty will have access to these exciting technologies.”

Recent additions to Herron’s equipment—a 3-D scanner, 3-D printers and a CNC (computer numeric control) router—started the ball rolling, quickly making a significant impact on the curriculum and training of Herron students.

The Lab will add a new design studio with the newest computers, cameras, scanners and printers—adjacent to a digital fabrication lab containing equipment including large-format CNC routers and laser cutters, plasma cutters and milling machines.

This combination, housed in Herron’s Eskenazi Hall in close proximity to the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, will accelerate exploration of digital production techniques, rapid prototyping and people-centered design research for undergraduates and graduates alike. The faculty and students currently using digital design and fabrication processes understand that the possibilities and applications in industry are boundless.

The Purdue School of Engineering and Technology on the IUPUI campus already has identified several courses that will benefit from the Lab. The School’s dean, David Russomanno said, “It will give students the ability to design for manufacturability, test their prototypes and become familiar with this equipment much earlier in their college careers. The faculty are seeking closer collaboration between research in engineering design and art. Aesthetics play an important role in mechanical design.”

The Think It Make It Lab also is expected to serve as a catalyst for visiting artist workshops, regional symposia and community based lectures and demonstrations, all of which will help establish connections that may spark exciting new partnerships with industries. Visiting speakers will be chosen from a diverse range of fields including art, architecture, engineering and manufacturing. These industry experts and scholars will expand the dialogue surrounding contemporary issues at the intersection of aesthetic expression, culture and emerging technologies.

Herron’s Community Learning Programs, which offer educational experiences to the general public, will also use the Think It Make It Lab to provide opportunities for teens to have project-based learning experiences in art and technology—experiences that help make connections to post high school careers and education.

“The space is under construction now. Faculty are very excited and they are developing curricula for fall,” said Peggy Frey, Herron’s assistant dean for fiscal and administrative affairs. “Some of the courses will be cross-listed with other schools. Additional equipment will begin arriving in January. We anticipate completion of the Think It Make It Lab by the end of the spring semester.”

The initial costs of the Think It Make It Lab are estimated $1.3 million and the project is Herron’s highest fundraising priority in 2015.

IU School of Informatics and Computing faculty member explores story telling in e-book

Susan Tennant
Susan Tennant

Telling stories has been an integral part of culture, history and the human experience. That’s not changing any time soon, even if technology affects the way stories reach audiences, said an Indiana University faculty member who explored storytelling in a recently published e-book, “Once Upon a Digital Story, A Modern Approach to an Ancient Art.”

Susan Tennant, a clinical associate professor in human centered computing in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, believes storytelling will remain an important part of the human experience even in the digital age, because it is the foundation of everything. “You can make an animation, a game or website, but what is it about? Without a story as the foundation, you’re just making stuff with no substance.”

Tennant’s e-book explores the role of storytelling through time from traditional to digital. The book covers the concepts, principles and construction of storytelling across a variety of digital formats and platforms.

Her e-book was also printed, but it was meant to be an e-book because it contains hyperlinks that immediately lead the reader to additional material, something that can’t be accomplished with the printed page.

Asked by the publisher, Cognella.com, to write the book, Tennant said she decided to seize that opportunity because it offered a chance to put her “thumbprint” on the page on the subject of storytelling.

Technology will continue to have impact, Tennant said. “The way we read stories will probably be more condensed on an electronic device, like a mobile phone. I hope books won’t go totally away.”

She also expects more transmedia — taking a book or a play and adapting it to another media. An example is “Superman,” which started as a comic book and then was adapted into graphic novels, a television series, movies, games, clothing and merchandise, she said.

Because of the mobility of technology, short-form webisodes are likely to increase as well.

“I see students all the time that are always on their phones,” Tennant said. “Many of them don’t read stories, but I think they would identify with a story if it were put into a context where it was interesting and multimedia could be added.”

But while the manner in which a story is told may change, its structure won’t, Tennant said.

“There are unique ways of telling a story that have been developed, whether it’s telling a story forward or backward, like the ‘Star Wars’ prequel and sequel, but the actual structure of stories hasn’t changed, nor will it ever,” Tennant said.

“Since the days of Aristotle and Shakespeare and all the way back to Homer,” the structure of stories has remained constant, she said. “They have to have a beginning, a middle and an ending.”

IU investing $7 million for new complexity institute

Indiana University Network Science Institute logo
Indiana University Network Science Institute logo

IU has announced the establishment of the Indiana University Network Science Institute, or IUNI. The $7 million initiative will bring together many of the university’s top minds to explore and embrace the challenge of understanding complex networks that underlie large-scale systems, including the environment, economics, technology and human health.

“Today, more than ever before, exploring the connections and relationships among our most complex networks — from the biological to the economic, political and social — is paramount to solving humankind’s most critical and challenging questions,” IU Vice President for Research Jorge José said. “Through the formation of this new interdisciplinary, university-wide institute, which will reflect all of the major sectors of scientific research and will be supported by the university’s robust technological infrastructure, Indiana University has positioned itself to become the leading global center for understanding the complicated structure and evolving dynamics of the systems that drive our society.”

Complex networks are at the core of an ever more interconnected social, economic and technological planet, and their connectivity and dynamics underpin nearly all aspects of how these systems function. Networks can be associated with topics as diverse as cancer, schizophrenia, even the spreading of rumors, innovations or social unrest.

Echoing the late IU Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, who said, “When the world we are trying to explain and improve … is not well-described by a simple model, we must continue to improve our frameworks and theories so as to be able to understand complexity and not simply reject it,” José said that focusing on the interactions between huge numbers of system components — be it in the brain or the global economy — places the university at the forefront of shaping new paths for research and innovation.

Three faculty members named as founding co-directors helped lead the effort to create the institute: Distinguished Professor Bernice Pescosolido, Department of Sociology; Distinguished Professor Olaf Sporns, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; and Andrew Saykin, professor of radiology and imaging sciences and director of the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center at the IU School of Medicine.

The institute will be unique in a number of ways: Affiliated researchers will represent multiple IU campuses and will come from medicine, the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities; in addition to being focused on networks, every project supported by the institute is required to be a collaboration, a reflection of the institute itself. Four research hubs currently form the core of IUNI — Health and Health Care, Network Neuroscience, Science of Science and Social Network Science — each with the capacity to engage and share data and other resources with one another. Outreach activities, workshops and conferences and efforts toward online network science education will add to the scope of IUNI activities.

The three-year initiative — with an opportunity to renew for another three years — will be supported by IU President Michael A. McRobbie’s office, the offices of Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and Vice President for Research José, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Informatics and Computing, and the School of Medicine.

“This new institute recognizes that we are all part of networks, and that these networks, ever evolving and changing, are inherently complex systems that present challenges to scientists across all fields,” Robel said. “With a contingent of over 100 scientists spanning all disciplines, the ties among network science researchers that already exist in the IU system are ripe for encouragement, with many new ones inevitable through support of IUNI.”

To date, affiliated faculty from 26 different schools, departments and centers have either participated in development of IUNI or expressed an interest in participating in collaborative research through the institute. Faculty participating in the institute represent one of the broadest and deepest cadres of researchers studying networks, including the College of Arts and Sciences departments of physics, psychological and brain sciences, statistics, sociology and geography; the School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington; the School of Medicine; the School of Public Health-Bloomington; the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI; and centers already focused on different aspects of complex networks, such as the Indiana Center for Systems Biology and Personalized Medicine at IUPUI and the Digital Science Center at IU Bloomington.

The three co-directors applauded the announcement.

“IUNI will provide novel concepts, tools and training to address tomorrow’s challenges,” Saykin said. “We appreciate the university’s vision in supporting team science to elucidate the complex networks that comprise the human genome, brain interconnectivity, health care systems and society — creating a truly exciting and unprecedented opportunity.”

Pescosolido described the nature of the institute as a reflection of the very work that will be conducted there, an exercise in synergy.

“We live in a world where society and the problems we face represent a web of interconnections,” Pescosolido said. “When we think we have fixed one part of it, unforeseen complications arise elsewhere as unintended consequences. These are complex, connected interactions that demand a transdisciplinary approach that brings the expertise across the landscape of science to the table.”

Sporns added that the new institute recognizes the natural strengths already present at IU.

“By design, when it comes to our expertise in complex systems, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” he said. “With the new synergies that will be created through IUNI, we have the unique opportunity to break the mold and approach the many challenges we face in science and society from a fresh and broad perspective.”

 

by Steve Chaplin

Grant Opportunity: NSF Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity

NationalScienceFoundation
The National Science Foundation

This grant supports academe-industry partnerships, which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team with a least one industry partner to build technological, human, and service system innovation capacity. These partnerships focus on the integration of technologies into a specified human-centered smart service system with the potential to achieve transformational change in an existing service system or to spur an entirely new service system. These technologies have been inspired by existing breakthrough discoveries.

PFI:BIC funds research partnerships working on projects that operate in the post-fundamental discovery space but precede being on a clear path to commercialization. These projects require additional effort to integrate the technology into a real service system with human factors considerations, which in turn might spawn additional discoveries inspired by this interaction of humans with the technology.

Award Amount:
Awards may be up to $1,00,000 with an award duration of three (3) years. In other words, the total budget request to NSF for the lead institution and all others participating in the project cannot exceed $1,000,000. Ten awards of $1,000,000 each are anticipated. Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Limited Submission
IU Internal Letter of Intent Deadline (required): 10/1/2014
IU Internal Application Deadline: (if needed) 10/13/2014
Required NSF Letter of Intent Deadline: 12/3/2014
NSF Full Proposal Deadline: 1/28/2015
IUPUI applicants must copy Etta Ward on submissions.

2014 Barlow Lecture in the Humanities explores ‘The Future History of the Book’

imagesINDIANAPOLIS — Is there a need to fear the death of the book in this age of digital readers?

This is the question that will guide the 2014 John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Oct. 29. The event is free and open to the public.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication of the Modern Language Association and visiting research professor of English at New York University, will present the lecture, “The Future History of the Book: Time, Attention, Convention.”

The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd. A reception precedes the lecture in the Campus Center Theater Atrium at 5 p.m. The theater is located on the building’s lower level.

Anxieties abound regarding the ostensible obsolescence of the book. Exploring whether the book is in fact becoming obsolete, and what it might mean if it were, requires thinking distinctly about the specific material form of the book — the codex, that is, stacks of paper bound on one edge with front and back covers — and about the content it has long carried.

Fitzpatrick asks, if the form were to change — becoming digital, for instance — would our interactions with the content still make the book a viable vector for the cultural interactions the codex has supported? Would it be possible for us to find the powerful identification with the electronic book that we long have had with the codex book? And what might need to happen in order to effect such a transfer of our affections?

“We’re very glad to welcome Dr. Fitzpatrick to Indianapolis to present this year’s Barlow Lecture,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “This is a thought-provoking topic, and she is the ideal person to discuss it.”

Fitzpatrick is the author of two books, “Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy” (NYU Press 2011) and “The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television” (Vanderbilt University Press 2006). In 2006, she co-founded the digital scholarly network MediaCommons, a community network for scholars, students and practitioners in media studies that promotes the exploration of new publishing forms. Fitzpatrick’s articles have appeared in the Journal of Electronic Publishing, PMLA, Contemporary Literature and Cinema Journal.

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI hosts the Barlow Lecture in the Humanities in honor of Liberal Arts Dean and Professor Emeritus John D. Barlow.

To RSVP, email LibaRSVP@iupui.edu with “Barlow” in the subject line. Visitor parking is available in the Vermont Street Garage, attached to the Campus Center, for a fee.

Funding Opportunities for Research Commercialization and Economic Success (FORCES)

imagesThe FORCES program is designed to support IUPUI researchers in the successful transformation of their research findings into commercially viable outcomes. The key goals of FORCES are to support: 1) realization of short-term projects that will enhance commercial value of IUPUI intellectual property assets, by facilitating commercialization of inventions, technologies, or other intellectual property derived from existing research projects, and 2) development of research initiatives that show great promise for commercialization of the research outcomes. The next RTR application deadline is September 15, 2014. For grant guidelines and application forms, click here.

Learning Environments Grant

ctlThrough the awarding of small grants, the Learning Environments Grant (LEG) supports the creation of innovative, engaging formal and informal learning environments that meet the needs of both faculty and students.

Proposals will be ranked on the following criterion:

  1. The project must have a demonstrable positive impact on learning
  2. The number of students who will benefit
  3. The project must enable new/critical academic experiences for faculty and/or students
  4. The creativity of projects
  5. The project provides opportunities for faculty-student/student-student interaction
  6. Availability of any additional needed funds
  7. Plans/funds should be in place for repairs and maintenance of all items purchased

*Areas renovated within the past 10 years are not eligible to receive this grant.

Eligibility: Schools and departments at IUPUI and IUPUC are eligible for the LEG.  Registered student groups may also apply.
Submission: Should you have any questions about the online submission process please call the Center for Teaching and Learning at (317) 274-1300 or email.
Deadline: Friday, October 17