Mapping the use of digital sources amongst Humanities scholars in the Netherlands

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Presentation given at Digital Humanities Congress 2012, reporting survey regarding the use of online tools.

Videos originally in the presentation do not work on Slideshare, contact me when you would like to view the video-interviews, quotes are included however.

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Mapping the use of digital sources amongst Humanities scholars in the Netherlands

  1. 1. Mapping the use of digital sourcesamongst Humanities scholars in the Netherlands Max Kemman MSc, Martijn Kleppe MA, dr. Stef Scagliola, Renske Jongbloed MA, prof. dr. Henri Beunders @MaxJ_K www.axes-project.eu
  2. 2. State of affairs www.axes-project.eu
  3. 3. The more, the merrier? PhD student, History, 24 www.axes-project.eu
  4. 4. The more, the merrier?“If there is an easier way, I willdo it another way. So I won’tgo on the Internet to search.There’s so much, there is somuch information. So you canbetter call someone whoknows than search it foryourself.” www.axes-project.eu
  5. 5. State of affairs• In the past decade we have seen an explosion of available online databases and tools• In development of databases for digital humanities, questions are – How do academics currently use databases? – What do academics wish from future databases? – How should we educate academics to become digital humanity scholars? www.axes-project.eu
  6. 6. Research questions1. To what extent are online databases used?2. Which subdisciplines use digital sources more and which less?3. Which search techniques are applied? www.axes-project.eu
  7. 7. Academic user research• Interviews• Survey – Netherlands and Belgium – Online – N=294 – 15-20 minutes – Lots of data (250 variables in SPSS) www.axes-project.eu
  8. 8. Who did the survey?• Position – Largest group: PhD student – But good distribution over other positions• Age – Largest group: 25-34 – But good distribution over other age groups• Discipline – Largest group: History – Other disciplines: Social Studies, Mass Communications, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy www.axes-project.eu
  9. 9. Research questions1. To what extent are online databases used?2. Which subdisciplines use digital sources more and which less?3. Which search techniques are applied? www.axes-project.eu
  10. 10. Which of the following digital data do you use professionally?Very often Often Text (books, news, etc.) Scholarly publications Regularly Statistical dataSometimes Numerical Digitized objects Images Never Audio Video data www.axes-project.eu
  11. 11. Differences between disciplines‘Traditional’ digital data Modern digital dataImages: Literature, History Video: Mass CommunicationsDigitized objects: Literature, History, Audio: LinguisticsPhilosophy Numerical data: Social Studies, Linguistics Statistical data: Social Studies, Mass Communications, LinguisticsOverall: Literature, History, Philosophy Overall: Mass Communications, Linguistics, Social Studies www.axes-project.eu
  12. 12. Don’t Sometimes Very often Often Regularly Never know it Google Google Images Google Scholar YouTube JSTOR Uitzending Gemist KB Flickr EBSCO Nationaal Archief Web of Knowledge Yahoo! Bing Academia.nl or databases do you use? Europeana Scopus Microsoft Academic Search Which of the following search engines EUscreenwww.axes-project.eu Arkyves
  13. 13. When do you trust a search engine or database? 250Number of participants 200 150 100 50 0 Experienced Expertise High quality Understand Heard about Broad range Read about it behind it selection its inner it of results it online workings www.axes-project.eu
  14. 14. Research questions1. To what extent are online databases used? – Mostly text-based data usage, followed by images – Google dominant in every way – Trust is based mostly on experience2. Which subdisciplines use digital sources more and which less? – ‘Traditional’ digital data (Images, Digitized objects): • Literature, History and Philosophy – ‘Modern’ digital data (Video, Audio, Statistical and Numerical data) • Social studies, Mass Communications, Linguistics3. Which search techniques are applied? www.axes-project.eu
  15. 15. Search techniques 1. Keywords 4,75 2. Advanced search 3,36 3. Related terms 2,52 4. Boolean 2,42 5. Browsing subject categories 2,29 6. Filters 2,19 7. Thesaurus 1,87 8. Visualization 1,22 www.axes-project.eu
  16. 16. (Audiovisual) search behaviour• Academics are “surfers” with a non-specific goal in mind• Academics are positively confident in their ability to use search tools – Respondents below 45 years are more confident than those above 45 years www.axes-project.eu
  17. 17. Research questions1. To what extent are online databases used?2. Which subdisciplines use digital sources more and which less?3. Which search techniques are applied? – Most important are ease and speed – Search behaviour: younger academics (below 45 years) are more confident in their use of (audiovisual) search tools www.axes-project.eu
  18. 18. Conclusion• We see that – Text is the dominant medium – Google is the dominant search system – Google dominates search techniques – Trust in a search engine or database is based primarily on experience www.axes-project.eu
  19. 19. State of affairs? www.axes-project.eu
  20. 20. Consequences• Unknown, unloved, undesired?• How to make the Digital Humanities known, loved and desired? www.axes-project.eu
  21. 21. Loved? PhD student, History, 34 www.axes-project.eu
  22. 22. Influence of usability“I think it’s veryimportant to have a goodand workable interfacefor these objects. That’swhy I used a papercatalogue, because theinterface and the way tosearch these objects isnot ideal” www.axes-project.eu
  23. 23. Consequences• Unknown, unloved, undesired?• How to make the Digital Humanities known, loved and desired?• What does this mean for Digital Humanities? – Development should be user driven www.axes-project.eu
  24. 24. Known? Professor, History, 56 www.axes-project.eu
  25. 25. Google in the curriculum?“Now I would say they need to learnthe logical structures, the basicideas about how search-programmes are made, how thedata are kept at computers. How it’spossible that something like Googleexists. You can think well, you’reborn with Google, so you don’tknow there was a world withoutGoogle. And how it is possible thatthere is a search machine that canhandle all those….” www.axes-project.eu
  26. 26. Consequences• Unknown, unloved, undesired?• How to make the Digital Humanities known, loved and desired?• What does this mean for Digital Humanities? – Development should be user driven – Digital Humanities should be part of education www.axes-project.eu
  27. 27. Thank you for you attention! Max Kemman Erasmus University Rotterdam kemman@eshcc.eur.nl @MaxJ_K www.axes-project.eu

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