Measuring the Impact of the Digital for the Humanities


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Presentation given to the University of Delaware, November 2012.

Published in: Education

Measuring the Impact of the Digital for the Humanities

  1. 1. Simon TannerKing’s College London@SimonTanner
  2. 2. My Agenda Digital Humanities The benefits and value of digital resources & DH Impact – introducing the Balanced Value Impact Model Cultural Value – the Midnight Run A final thought and some challenges
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  4. 4. Department of Digital Humanities International leader in the application of . technology in the arts and humanities, and in the social sciences. Innovation Involved in typically more than 30 major collaborative research projects at any one time. The highest rated digital humanities Teaching research unit in the UK. 65% of our research is judged to be world- leading or internationally excellent . Research DDH has 3 MA programmes: Digital Asset Management, Digital Humanities, and Digital Culture and Society Innovation partnerships with >500 projects and 20 countries.
  5. 5. Representing DiscoveringIllustrating Annotating Scholarship Sampling Comparing Referring From John Unsworth’s Scholarly Primitives
  6. 6. Inter- disciplinaryCollaboration Collaboration Scholarship Many uses 1st Tech 2nd Digital Scholarship Many New Audiences methods Many sources
  7. 7. digitisation innovate research strategy & create projectsCollaboration digital digital disseminate scholarship preservation & consult strategy build skills develop build & collections community experience Memory Organisation The Academy
  8. 8. Making an impact or just a splash? © H de Smet
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  10. 10. New areas of research enabled“Old Bailey Online reaches out to communities, such as familyhistorians, who are keen to find a personal history, reflected in anational story, and in the process re-enforces the workings of acivil society. Digital resources both create a new audience, and reconfigure our analysis to favour the individual.” Professor Tim Hitchcock, University of Hertfordshire “Digitised resources allow me to discover the hidden lives of disabled people, who have not traditionally left records of theirlives. I have found disability was discussed by many writers in the Eighteenth Century and that disabled men and women played an important role in the social life of the time.” Dr David Turner, Swansea University
  11. 11. Effective, efficient and world
  12. 12. Bringingcollections out of the dark
  13. 13. f. 23 detail
  14. 14. Bestowing economic & community benefits Glasgow Museums Collection is the city’s biggest single fiscal asset valued at £1.4 billion. It contains around 1.2 million objects. On average only 2% of the collection is exhibited to the public at any one time. Digital access is opening up further access to these collections. A major impact sought is to increase self-confidence in the populace – to feel less marginalised, less insignificant, less unheard. Increased feelings of self-worth through interaction with the Museums will spill over into every aspect of their lives. Digitised content & JI SC Collections negotiations save the sector ~£43 m illion per year
  15. 15. Bestowing economic & community benefits In 2008 National Museums Liverpool did a full economic impact assessment. They found that: "during the Capital of Culture period, 25% of all visitors to Liverpool visited the Walker Art Gallery, 24% visited the Merseyside Maritime Museum and 15% visited World Museum, while about 5% of visitors only visited a National Museums Liverpool venue and no other attraction during their visit. In total, National Museums Liverpool is reliably estimated to be worth £115 million to the economy of the Liverpool city region, a spend that supports 2,274 full-time jobs“
  16. 16. Interdisciplinary & collaborative“The Freeze Frame archiveis invaluable in chartingchanges in the polarregions. Making the materialavailable to all will help withfurther research intoscientific studies aroundglobal warming andclimate change”Pen Hadow,Polar Explorer
  17. 17. “the measurable outcomes arising from the existence of adigital resource that demonstrate a change in the life or lifeopportunities of the community”
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  20. 20. Videos:
  21. 21. “That’s the first time, in that room, that I’vewritten what I feel, responded to thosequestions and left it up there for anybody elseto read – for the first time in the last 10 years.I didn’t let myself worry about being judged orwhether it was good enough, whatever, I justleft it out there. And there was some peacecame with that....I just allowed myself to be and I feel enriched, Ifeel energised by that and empowered by that.”
  22. 22. Where is the Human in DH? Are we so focussed upon the digital aspects and the Humanities subjects they afford in a Digital Humanities context that we forget the human part? Who are the Humanities for? Does DH serve them equally, better or worse than the rest of Humanities? Have we lost touch with those who benefit from our endeavours? We have to square the dichotomy of instrumentalist versus intangible value viewpoints.
  23. 23. Do we dare to ask? Who benefits from our research? What do those benefits look like? For whom are we responsible? When we benefit someone do we care? If we allowed our beneficiaries to define success what would that look like? Would we like their conclusions and are we capable of change? Do the beneficiaries have any say in what the Humanities are or should be? If we measure it, does that change it or us or them?
  24. 24. With thanks to Alice Maggs for the Impact illustrations