CulturePlex at ThatCamp

First and foremost, we are happy to let the world know that this weekend was the very first sunny and (almost) rainless weekend;  a long weekend too: the famous Canadian May 2-4 (or the first party weekend of the Summer).

For us at CulturePlex May 2-4 this year meant two words (in one): ThatCamp.  The Arts and Humanities Technology Camp (ThatCamp) was a concept initially new to many of us, but we have learned that it is commonly referred to as an (un)conference.  (Un)conference in the sense that presentations are less formal, more spontaneous and collaborative than they are at a traditional conference.  There were many interesting topics discussed at the UWO ThatCamp this year, among which two of the projects developed in the CulturePlex Laboratory: Sylva and Yutzu.

Sylva is a tool developed within the CulturePlex Laboratory in order to manage complexity in a straightforward manner and allow the researcher to share the results with other colleagues. Ultimately, Sylva will provide a standard framework within the field of Digital Humanities.  It is comprised of three main components: 1) Sylva Data: An application that employs a free user-created schema and stores data avoiding traditional SQL restrictions. The graph-based representation used creates links that associate entities in the same way they are related in the real world.  2) Sylva Visualization: a collection of tools providing easy ways to query the data stored.  3) Sylva Analysis: A suite of advanced tools to apply statistical and data mining processes to the information stored in the system.  This video will give you a clear demo of how Sylva works.

Yutzu is an online tool for creative minds that helps you collect content, collaborate with teammates, and communicate with people everywhere.  Although there are many sites on the web that allow users to create media content through, either images, videos or text, there are few  that are geared at a non-technical users.  Yutzu allows for quick and easy creation of mashups from a huge online collection and displays them in a creative way.  Yutzu also facilitates the collection of multimedia and real time artifacts to create libraries of rich content around user-created topics, for both professionals and normal users.  Yutzu can be used in many different ways, some of which we exemplify below:

Education: as a teacher you could create a Yutzu for your entire course or you could create one for each individual class.  Making use of the Y-pad tool you can assign collaborative work to your students and be part of it at the same time.  As a student you can plan your assignments, presentations, essays and any other project in yutzu.  Incorporating yutzu in the classroom will make learning not only a more visual, but also a practical experience.

Generating Content (journalism, blogs, etc.): working in collaboration or individually, you can create and continuously add information on any topic you have chosen for your yutzu.

Advertising keeping in mind that your Yutzu can be embeded in any website, you can use it to advertise your product or service in a creative and innovative way.

Travel: whether you own a travelling business or simply like travelling, yutzu is a very visually attractive way of presenting your travel suggestions.

The list goes on.  Yutzu is for the creative mind, so go ahead think of many more creative ways in which you can incorporate it in your online experience.

Finally, the long weekend at ThatCamp was a great experience.  We learned a lot, met many interesting people and partying was not completely out of the picture.

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