A University of Oklahoma professor is creating innovative new ways for people to interact with data in the digital humanities with a five-year, $496,124 National Science Foundation CAREER grant.

The OU project will greatly expand the usefulness of data visualizations by providing a general way to create, edit, search and query data inside the visualizations themselves.

“Visualization users will be able to perform sequences of interactive gestures using common input devices, such as a mouse or touchscreen to express their observations and interpretations directly in visual form,” said Chris Weaver, associate professor of computer science in the OU College of Engineering and principal investigator on the project.

Weaver will collaborate with OU faculty in Library and Information Sciences, History of Science and with digital humanities scholars at the Stanford Humanities Center to develop the new interaction approach and apply it in a variety of new visualization tools.

The project focuses on tools for scholarly research and classroom instruction in the digital humanities.

Over the course of the project, a series of workshops and tutorials will bring together students and researchers from computer science, information science and the humanities, and provide them with unique opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration.

“By giving people new ways to interact with information visually, we will help them take what they’ve seen and what they think about it and turn it directly into data,” Weaver said. “If we can successfully apply this approach to topics as complex and diverse as those studied in the digital humanities, it’s likely that it would be useful in virtually any field in which people need to record and interpret data to works.”

Products of the project will include research articles, interactive tutorials, example videos, the data interaction system as open source software, an anthology of data editing gestures and a gallery of demonstration visualization tools for public download.

Information about the project and its products as they develop will be made available at cs.ou.edu/~weaver/nsf-career/.

For more information, email Weaver at weaver@cs.ou.edu.

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