William  Cowan


I have about 20 years of enterprise system development both in the private sector and at Indiana University. I have extensive experience working with relational databases, working as a database administrator and/or managing database administrators at Millipore Corporation in Massachusetts and Alexsis Corporation and Proquest Corporation in Michigan. In addition at Proquest, I managed the business systems staff of about 30 members including developers, system designers, system architects, DBA’s and System Administrators. At Indiana University, I have been the project manager and system architect for several successful projects including Ethnographic Video for Instruction and Analysis, a multi-year Mellon funded project, and the Ethnomusicalogy Multimedia project with Indiana University Press and Temple University Press, as well as leading development in the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

I am currently the Associate Director of Software Development Digital Libraries managing multiple projects and a development team of 6 to 8 systems analyst.

I am also the principal investigator for an NEH Office of Digital Humanities start-up grant to create a video annotation plugin for Omeka that will allow the display of video segments plus annotation in Omeka and Omeka exhibits.

  • A Digital Video Segmentation and Annotation Plugin for Omeka


    As part of an NEH ODH grant, I am developing a video segmentation and annotation plugin for Omeka that will enable academic and cultural institutions and individuals to incorporate annotated video into online collections and exhibitions. Using either the client- or Web-based version of the Annotator’s Workbench, scholars and cultural professionals will be able to segment and annotate video and upload it to an Omeka-based Web site using the plugin created by this project. The annotated video plugin for Omeka will greatly enhance the pedagogical and research potential of video for online collections and exhibitions by providing humanities scholars and cultural institutions with a tool for incorporating video segments that contain integrated descriptive data linked specifically to the video content.

    I see an opportunity to extend the capabilities of Omeka’s robust yet flexible development environment by building the annotated video plugin. Currently, users can incorporate a video file into an Omeka-based Web site and play it back. To include metadata is more difficult and the exisiting plugins are generally designed for one file with a single, associated set of metadata. None of the current Omeka plugins can deal with a video file that has been virtually segmented and for which corresponding annotation metadata is associated with each segment.

    I plan on showing the plugin in action and would like to discuss how digital video, especially segmented and annotated video can be used in research and pedagogy.

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