The University of Southampton

InterFace encourages new cross-disciplinary initiatives

Published: 26 June 2009

The concept of the humanities and technology working closer together will be endorsed by Professor Dame Wendy Hall FRS at an international symposium at the University of Southampton next month.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall from the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) will deliver a keynote at InterFace, a symposium that will consider cross-fertilisation in both directions between technology and the humanities.

InterFace, which takes place on 9 and 10 July, will continue a tradition at the University of Southampton of interaction between technology and the humanities, and establish new ways for the disciplines to develop more initiatives together.

'Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure to work at the interface of the humanities and technology,' said Professor Dame Wendy Hall. 'In fact, working with researchers from the humanities was a major inspiration for the design of our Microcosm hypermedia system in the pre-Web days. I am delighted that the InterFace conference at Southampton is recognising the significance of interdisciplinary research between these two communities.'

The theme which underlies InterFace generally is how society and technology influence each other.

Issues to be addressed under this theme are the convergence of technologies such as phones, computers and cameras; social networking and privacy; how students use technology; and the exclusion of elderly people from web sites due to their inability to embrace the technology.

One-third of the submissions to be presented in Lightning Talks and poster sessions are from an international audience, reflected by discussions on machine translations for the Classics and the difficulties of switching alphabets, both of which challenge the Anglo-centricity of the World Wide Web.

'The fact that we have themes like this from an international audience indicates that we really need to seriously consider how all of this technology and information is used on a global level,' said Leif Isaksen of ECS, one of the conference organisers.

Another prominent theme is hypermedia technology for traditional media, which looks at the technology needed to read ancient manuscripts, with a novel idea being the possibility of digitizing all the surviving materials for the early Gospel of St John in Latin.

The conference reception on Thursday evening will be held at the John Hansard Gallery on the Highfield Campus.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis: tel. +44(0)23 8059 5453

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