UoL Library Blog

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E-infrastructure in the arts and humanities

Posted by emmakimberley on 7 July, 2010

Yesterday I attended a workshop on the uptake of e-infrastructure services in the arts and humanities at KCL. In a growth area mainly developing through the science disciplines, the aim of the day was to assess various services and resources that can be used by arts and humanities researchers as well as looking at the barriers that prevent use. The workshop facilitators had recently run an e-uptake study, comprising interviews with researchers and research support professionals, and are interested in exploring the potential use of e-infrastructure in arts and humanities subjects. A database of their findings is available here.

e-Infrastructure services explored include: digital curation, text mining, the UK Data Archive, various grid computing services for researchers, Virtual Vellum, and a JISC-funded virtual research environments project working on ancient documents (eSAD).

 Some main points from the day:

  • Infrastructure includes tools and resources, but also needs to include training and dissemination opportunities.
  • Barriers to use include lack of funding, lack of knowledge of projects, and lack of understanding of which technologies may be useful.
  • Training alone won’t encourage use of services
  • It’s easy to provide support…
  • …but hard to provide the kind of support that helps potential users know which technologies to use.
  • Worked examples of uses in each discipline are essential: proof of value will encourage further use.

The consensus was that these resources have great potential to help arts and humanities researchers, but that there are still many barriers (both practical and psychological) discouraging engagement.

3 Responses to “E-infrastructure in the arts and humanities”

  1. Very interesting Emma, I’ll look forward to reading through some of these bits you’ve brought back as well. Agree with you though that just having the services isn’t enough – need to know what clear value they’d add to a researcher’s work.

  2. Katie said

    “It’s easy to provide support… but hard to provide the kind of support that helps potential users know which technologies to use.”

    Oh my, change “which technologies to use” to “which tools to use” to generalise it a little and I think you’ve got a slogan for us all.

    • emmakimberley said

      Whenever I introduce something new most of the questions are not about how to use it (that comes later) but about why to use it and what you can use it for.

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