A interesting new book on Digital Scholarship was released in December called ‘Digital Scholarship’; edited by Marta Mestrovic Deyrup. I haven’t ordered, read, and reviewed this book as yet (it doesn’t come cheap at 57 pounds).
What I see as one of the grand challenges of digital resources and scholarship is developing an explicit understanding of how they are actually incorporated into humanities research practices (and please, not through counting things!). This requires an empathy towards humanities researchers so as to understand how they establish meaning from these resources. Also, the concept of interdisciplinarity really needs to be interrogated socially and politically in the digital scholarship field, as at times, it is applied as a utopian buzz word lacking context and thus meaning and reeks of new-right anti-intellectualism. Here is a blurb from the dust-cover.
Collecting important original essays by librarians and archivists – all of whom are actively engaged in building digital collections – Digital Scholarship details both challenges and proven solutions in establishing, maintaining, and servicing digital scholarship in the humanities. This volume further explores the ways in which the humanities have benefited from the ability to digitize text and page images of historic documents, mine large corpuses of texts and other forms of records, and assemble widely dispersed cultural objects into common repositories for comparison and analysis–making new research questions and methods possible for the first time.
The ten notable scholars included in Digital Scholarship offer a balanced view of the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to digitization, reporting both progress and problems, examining new business models, new forms of partnerships, and the new technologies and resources that make many more library and archival services available. Librarians and library staff everywhere will find Digital Scholarship an essential text for the modern library and an illuminating resource for anyone looking to understand the changing face of research in the electronic age.
(originally written for Arts-humanities.net)
Institutional repositories have become increasing important systems to store the rising amount of data produced by researchers. An institutional repository may be university wide or subject specific. They may serve the needs of a particular institution, a group of institutions, a nation, or an entire region. Examples include the UK’s Archaeological Data Service (ADS) http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/and the History Data Service (HDS) http://hds.essex.ac.uk/ , the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) http://ands.org.au/ and the Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA) http://assda.anu.edu.au/, and the European wide Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) http://www.dariah.eu/ and the Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN) http://www.clarin.eu/.
Institutional repositories collect digital data and usually make it available to a global audience. They may contain an assortment of digital objects including pre and post print articles, theses and dissertations, and results from research such as databases, images, surveys, teaching materials, and computing tools.
Once materiel is in a repository; another researcher may download it to be reused in their own research. Most institutional repositories work in this way; although there is a trend towards building systems to re-use this data in sophisticated, distributed ways through ‘Cyberinfrastructures’ and Virtual Research Environments (VREs). http://www.arts-humanities.net/briefingpaper/vre
Some of the most interesting academic questions for humanists is how do you incorporate data produced in the context of another research project in your own research? What new insights arise, what new problems arise, and how does this data impact upon the underlying evidence layers of your research? If anyone has experience of this; I would be extraordinarily interested to hear from you as I am developing a series of case studies around this problem.
(Western Union’s Automated Electronic Telegraph)
The British Universities Newsreel Database (BUND) is another innovative service offered by the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC). Other important projects include BoB (Box of Broadcasts) and NFO (Newsfilm Online). The later contains more than 3000 hours of news stories available online (partly funded by JISC and available to subscribing Universities).
The BUND project contains 180,000 stories of newsreels covering the period from 1910-1983. It also contextualises many of the newsreels through 1000 biographies of the people who worked on them. The BUND project started in 1969 and its resources may be searched online.