Supporting the Digital Humanties: putting the jigsaw together

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. Steven Krauwer

    Utrecht University

  2. 2. Sheila Anderson

    King's College London

  3. 3. Chad Kainz

    University of Chicago

  4. 4. Neil Fraistat

    University of Maryland, College Park

  5. 5. Martin Wynne

    Oxford University

Work text
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This panel session will present various important current
international initiatives which aim to support
and take forward research in the digital humanities. In
particular, it will identify the various problems that these
different initiatives aim to address, compare the different
approaches, and seek to draw out the connections,
synergies and potential areas of overlap and competition
in trying to build a coordinated environment for the next
generation of advanced research.
There is a growing awareness and agreement that the
principal problem facing the digital humanities is the
fragmented nature of the research environment. For example,
numerous tools exist, but are not interoperable
with each other, or with the many datasets that continue
to be prepared according to varying standards and made
available according to various licensing agreements and
access arrangements. This fragmentation and lack of
interoperability has dogged the digital humanities for
many years, and is limiting the impact of digital resources
and tools on mainstream research in the humanities.
Numerous initiatives in the past have attempted to address
some of the individual aspects of the problems: to
provide better tools for analysis, to create resources, to
offer resource discovery services, to set up repositories,
to set up networks of expert centres, to define and promote
standards and good practice, to develop tools to
support collaboration, to offer advisory and support services,
and to harness the new paradigms of 'cyberinfrastructure'
and 'e-Science' for the benefit of the Humanities.
However, it has become clear that a number of more
or less unconnected initiatives in these individual areas
cannot address the overall problem of fragmentation and
lack of coordination.
As the recognition spreads that the number and heterogeneity
of the varying services, tools, and standards that
are holding us back, a new round of initiatives are aimed
overcoming the problem of fragmentation, by promoting
concerted, coordinated, international efforts to build
a sustainable infrastructure to support and sustain effect
research in the digital humanities. At the national level
in several countries, infrastructure is now on the agenda,
either specifically for the Humanities, or in cross-disciplinary
initiatives which now include the Humanities.
In Europe, the European Strategy Forum on Research
Infrastructures now includes the humanities in its roadmap,
and the CLARIN and DARIAH projects are underway
to prepare to construct research infrastructures,
and other regional structures are starting to emerge. At
the international level, CenterNet is now established
as a network and forum for expert centres in the digital
humanities, and Project Bamboo is proposing to build a
new generation of tools to support research, responding
to the real and specific user requirements in the arts and
There is now an urgent priority for these initiatives to
communicate, to share ideas and experiences, and to investigate
the possibilities of coordinating their activities.
This panel will address the ways in which some of the
most important current international initiatives are attempting
to address these problems. Each speaker will
be asked to address the following questions:
• What specific problems have you identified, and
how is your initiative seeking to address them?
• What services, if any, do you ultimately aim to provide?
• How might you link with other related initiatives?
• What are the further elements of the jigsaw puzzle
which are needed to create a coordinated and more
complete research infrastructure?

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

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