ALLC Panel: Digital Resources in Humanities Research: Evidence of Value

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. David Robey

    University of Reading

  2. 2. Harold Short

    King's College London

  3. 3. Geoffrey Rockwell

    McMaster University

  4. 4. Sheila Anderson

    Arts and Humanities Data Service

  5. 5. Thornton Staples

    University of Virginia

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While most of us who do humanities computing need no
convincing of its value, academic colleagues - including
those on appointment and promotion panels - still need to be
convinced, and even more so funders. If we want backing for
the use and further development of digital resources, both data
and processes, we need to collect more extensive concrete
evidence of the ways in which they enable us to do research
better, or to do research we would not otherwise be able to do,
or to generate new knowledge in entirely new ways. Since the
value of humanities research as a whole is qualitative, not
quantitative, it is qualitative evidence in particular we should
be looking for: digital resources providing the means not simply
of doing research, but of doing excellent research.
One major task is therefore to accumulate a body of evidence
of what researchers have done, and achieved, with digital
resources— evidence that is not always as easy to find as one
would wish. But what researchers do with these resources is
also dependent on the nature and quality of the resources
themselves: their academic rigour and completeness, and their
technological design. Where a new digital research resource is
created, to what extent does an assessment need to focus on the
methods of analysis, design and construction of the resource,
and to what extent on its usefulness to the community or
communities of researchers? How important are the technical
standards adopted? What about sustainability? What are the
opportunities for re-use and for developing research materials
that can be re-configured in a variety of ways? We therefore need not only to accumulate evidence of value,
but to think more about the criteria and methods we should use
for doing so. For instance, where an analytical method is based
on the methods used in other disciplines, e.g. statistics, there
may be methods of assessment that can be likewise borrowed.
Many of us believe the evidence is there, but we do not have
the range of coherent, agreed and tested methods of assessment
that will enable us to make assertions of value that will be
reliable and will carry weight.
The panel session will seek to identify the range and kinds of
evidence that exists, the methods of assessment that are needed,
and the methods of re-use and reconfiguration that can give
assurances of value.
David Robey (convenor): Introduction
Harold Short : Examples and case studies
Thornton Staples : Design and management for flexible use
Geoffrey Rockwell : Text analysis
Sheila Anderson : e-Science

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2007

Hosted at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States

June 2, 2007 - June 8, 2007

106 works by 213 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (2)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None