Director at Department of ALM, Centre for Digital Humanities
I am Professor in Digital Humanities and the Director for the Centre for Digital Humanities at Uppsala University. My research interests lie in the intersection of digital technology with historical disciplines, including art history. I am a nominated member of Academia Net the database of excellent female academics and a nominated member of the Ionian Hall of Scientists.
Keywords: cultural heritage digital humanities archaeology gender archives environmental studies digital technology history of archive practices academic exchange and mobility digital activism classical studies museology game studies cultural and art history digital research infrastructures open repositories digital heritage implementation digital cultural heritage
Anna Foka is Professor in Digital Humanities at the Department for Archives, Museums and Libraries (ABM). and the Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities at Uppsala University. Anna’s research outputs to-date focus on digital cultural heritage, heritage data and information science more generally, its classification, representation and supporting methods, tools, and infrastructures. Anna’s humanities’ expertise lies in the history and culture of the ancient world as well as its international reception.
I am currently leading the following research projects
- I am the PI of Quantifying Culture: a Study of AI and Cultural Heritage Collections (2021-2025) funded by the WASP-HS: the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems, and Software Program Humanities and Society. The project has the purpose to unlock the future potential of AI for the management and curation of cultural heritage collections. A synthesis of AI methods and critical scholarship can co-produce diverse and more nuanced perspectives on heritage collections, thus reaching the public of the future. By developing theoretical and technological knowledge the project’s concrete aims are: 1) To map and explore the current practices and experiences, as well as anticipated futures, of GLAM digitalisation in Sweden; 2) to investigate how AI/ML-generated descriptions of art and heritage can be enhanced in meaningful ways; 3) to analyse AI/ML methods’ and tools’ compliance with FAIR and international data standards, as well as their reflection of and engagement with diversity and ethics; 4) To explore how we can connect AI to qualitative aspects of the examined material where critical and ethical theories meet with algorithms and mathematics.
- I am the PI of the Digital Periegesis project that aims at creating a digital enriched a edition of the 2nd Century traveller's guide to Greece (Funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Research Foundation 2018-21 and the Swedish Research Council in 2022-2026). The project, financed by the Swedish Research council (2023-2026) will create a digital edition of Pausanias’s ten volumes of the Description of Greece, the touristic guide of the 2nd century CE enriched with entities which, though critical for the analysis of cultural geography, have been relatively neglected in spatial/digital humanities: namely, data about time and people. The project will develop methods and tools for identifying and investigating in Pausanias’s Description: (a) time as both a relative and absolute concept, including time formats (periodization vs. numerical time etc.); and (b) people, including social categories for the study of ethnicity and gender. A broader objective will be to use semantic annotation for the identification and analysis of these entities, which will mean the development of Linked Open Data methods and applications for time and people on the model of place. The project’s research questions are: (1) to investigate the intersection and co-implication of temporal, spatial and societal data in Pausanias’s narrative; (2) to reveal new understandings of past and present cultures and societies via a geographic, diachronic study of temporal and social textual data; and (3) to develop the technology and design interface principles that facilitate a combination of spatial, temporal and social data for critical analysis. The final digital edition will serve as an educational and research resource.
- I am the co-PI of the project AI and Marginalia. This project exploits the exceptional early book collections found in both Uppsala and Durham Libraries, such as Bishop Cosin’s library and Carolina Rediviva. Marginalia written in these books by their successive owners are an important source of evidence for European intellectual history, but access to these annotations is very difficult. Catalogues sometimes register the presence of marginalia, but rarely its content. Being able to search that material would instantly create an important new tool for research.
I am currently involved in the following projects
- I am a co-leader within the WASP-ED Programme (The Wallenberg AI and Transformative Technologies Education Development Programme), focusing on the courses development work area. The fundamental challenge that WASP-ED is designed to address is how Swedish universities can step-up and provide relevant and timely education at scale when the demand for competence in new technologies such as AI suddenly explodes and vastly broadens
- I am the PI and the national coordinator of the first ever doctoral school network in Digital Humanities and Social Sciences more broadly DASH: Data Culture and Society. Studying the nexus of data, culture and society is purported to be a success factor for value creation in a world of fast-pacing technology. DASH targets PhD candidates in the humanities and social sciences who do not yet possess specific computational or technical knowledge or skills, but who are interested in learning more with the purpose of applying this to their future thesis work. DASH provides doctoral candidates with relevant knowledge and skills situated at the intersection of ICT and arts and humanities as well as address critical perspectives in their application.
- I am a national member of the Distant Reading for European Literary History (COST Action CA16204) is a project aiming to create a vibrant and diverse network of researchers jointly developing the resources and methods necessary to change the way European literary history is written. Grounded in the Distant Reading paradigm (i.e. using computational methods of analysis for large collections of literary texts), the Action will create a shared theoretical and practical framework to enable innovative, sophisticated, data-driven, computational methods of literary text analysis across at least 10 European languages. Fostering insight into cross-national, large-scale patterns and evolutions across European literary traditions, the Action will facilitate the creation of a broader, more inclusive and better-grounded account of European literary history and cultural identity.
- I am a core member of the project Ancient Itineraries: The Digital Lives of Art History (Funded by the Getty Foundation 2018-9). The Ancient Itineraries programme, funded by the Getty Foundation as part of its Digital Art History initiative, sought to explore both senses of “Digital” as it applies to art history. The aim of the Ancient Itineraries programme was to map out the future of three key methodological topics in relation to the digital art history of the Classical world: provenance, geographies and visualization. We assessed three families of methods, beginning with the capacities of the WWW to link information together.
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