Data deluge: which skills for wich data?

ArchEthno - a new tool for sharing research materials and a new method for archiving your own research

Florence Weber ; Carlo Zwölf ; Arnaud Trouche ; Agnès Tricoche ; José Sastre.
The archiving of ethnographic material is generally considered a blind spot in ethnographic working methods which place more importance on actual investigations and analysis than on how archives are constructed. A team of computer scientists and ethnographers has built an initial tool for sharing ethnographic materials, based on an SQL relational data model that suited the first survey processed but proved difficult to transpose to other surveys. The team developed a new tool based on dynamic vocabularies of concepts which breaks down archiving into three stages. Firstly ethnographers can select and contextualise their survey materials; secondly they structure them in a database according to the research question discovered during their survey; finally, they share this data with other researchers subject to the opinion of an ethics committee whose members are competent in ethnography.

Being loyal to fieldwork: on building the "contract of silence"

Denisa Butnaru.
The aim of the present contribution is to analyze how relations of loyalty emerge between researcher and researched during ethnographic fieldwork and to defend a perspective against the principle of open science. I discuss methodological issues with respect to my several years of multi-sited fieldwork experience in various labs, research centers and medical institutions, during which I inquired into the design and use of exoskeletal devices. Exoskeletal devices are technologies applied to three fields of application: rehabilitation, industry and the armed forces. Their invention is the subject of high levels of economic and scientific competition. Given these constraints, I was compelled to develop "loyalty strategies", one of which I call the "contract of silence". I associate this category with an ethnographic exercise in how to address one's interlocutors during fieldwork. I conceive of this process as a result of consciously retaining the information obtained from interviewees that might endanger the position of the researcher in the field. Although a tacit contract with one's interlocutors during ethnographic fieldwork implies anonymity, certain sensitive fields and research situations require forms of auto-censorship and the control of published results. I associate these strategies with the fabrication of fieldwork secrecy.

The renewal of the digital humanities. An overview of the transformation of professions in the humanities and social sciences

Marie-Laure Massot ; Agnès Tricoche.
This article presents a study of the French-speaking digital humanities. It is based on the experience of two research engineers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) who have been studying these issues for the last ten years. They conducted a survey at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS-Paris) which enabled them to draw up an overview of the transformation of the profession of humanities and social sciences research engineers in the context of the digital humanities. The Digit_Hum initiative, which they run in parallel with their respective activities at the ENS, also provided information for this overview thanks to its role as a space for discussion about the digital humanities along with training and structuring of this field at the ENS and the Université Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL).

A Web Application for Watermark Recognition

Oumayma Bounou ; Tom Monnier ; Ilaria Pastrolin ; Xi SHEN ; Christine Benevent ; Marie-Françoise Limon-Bonnet ; François Bougard ; Mathieu Aubry ; Marc H. Smith ; Olivier Poncet et al.
The study of watermarks is a key step for archivists and historians as it enables them to reveal the origin of paper. Although highly practical, automatic watermark recognition comes with many difficulties and is still considered an unsolved challenge. Nonetheless, Shen et al. [2019] recently introduced a new approach for this specific task which showed promising results. Building upon this approach, this work proposes a new public web application dedicated to automatic watermark recognition entitled Filigranes pour tous. The application not only hosts a detailed catalog of more than 17k watermarks manually collected from the French National Archives (Minutier central) or extracted from existing online resources (Briquet database), but it also enables non-specialists to identify a watermark from a simple photograph in a few seconds. Moreover, additional watermarks can easily be added by the users making the enrichment of the existing catalog possible through crowdsourcing. Our Web application is available at

Mapping the Bentham Corpus: Concept-based Navigation

Pablo Ruiz Fabo ; Thierry Poibeau.
British philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) left over 60,000 folios of unpublished manuscripts. The Bentham Project, at University College London, is creating a TEI version of the manuscripts, via crowdsourced transcription verified by experts. We present here an interface to navigate these largely unedited manuscripts, and the language technologies the corpus was enriched with to facilitate navigation, i.e Entity Linking against the DBpedia knowledge base and keyphrase extraction. The challenges of tagging a historical domain-specific corpus with a contemporary knowledge base are discussed. The concepts extracted were used to create interactive co-occurrence networks, that serve as a map for the corpus and help navigate it, along with a search index. These corpus representations were integrated in a user interface. The interface was evaluated by domain experts with satisfactory results , e.g. they found the distributional semantics methods exploited here applicable in order to assist in retrieving related passages for scholarly editing of the corpus.