Does the digital change anything?


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  • CP 25/2/237
  • Does the digital change anything?

    1. 1. Valerie Johnson and David Thomas Does the Digital Change Anything ?
    2. 2. TNA’s planned intake of records over the next 5 years (Tb) <ul><li>Government web archive 73.8 </li></ul><ul><li>Home guard records 113.3 </li></ul><ul><li>RAF records 3.3 </li></ul><ul><li>Navy 24.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Army pre 1895 78 </li></ul><ul><li>Army post 1895 48 </li></ul><ul><li>National Registration 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Olympics 20 </li></ul><ul><li>Other digitisation 57.2 </li></ul><ul><li>Born digital records 13.5 </li></ul><ul><li>Total 458.9 </li></ul>
    3. 3. Sources of funding for digitisation <ul><li>Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Funding bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Academic publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Family History publishers </li></ul>
    4. 4. Spending on digitisation £ Million Academic NOF Digi (1999 – 2003) 50 JISC (2004 – 2011) 27.5 AHRC (2000 – 2007) 42 Wellcome (2011 – 2012) 18 BL No response Total 137 Commercial TNA via partners 50 BL No response
    5. 5. So, is there a break with the past or a continuum ?
    6. 6. Break... ? <ul><li>Loss of the physical record and its implications </li></ul><ul><li>New types of records: audio stream, websites </li></ul><ul><li>Problems of authenticity, provenance and originality </li></ul><ul><li>Problem of records as unchanging versus 'website as performance' </li></ul><ul><li>Some records can't exist in physical format: shareholding registers. Is this the end of the record? </li></ul><ul><li>Consequently the end of the archive? All is information </li></ul>
    7. 7. or...continuum ? <ul><li>Overlapping technologies: data not replacing paper, but co-existing </li></ul><ul><li>Emails = simply like letters </li></ul><ul><li>Medium of records changes, but not the concept </li></ul><ul><li>Some records always dynamic: datasets; records of shareholdings, medical records </li></ul>
    8. 8. Digitisation : implications <ul><li>Privileging of access </li></ul><ul><li>Silent mass of undigitised </li></ul><ul><li>Weird eclectic mix </li></ul><ul><li>Non-paper records </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of physical and visual </li></ul><ul><li>Digitised records – what are they ? </li></ul>
    9. 9. Search and research I <ul><li>Discovery: when items are born digital and delivered online, where does the catalogue end and the document begin ? </li></ul><ul><li>Search: now massively important as selection disappears </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration possible </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions: are they changing? </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid interrogation of large scale data for the first time </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of trends across data rather than individual </li></ul><ul><li>New types of presentation and manipulation eg visualisation </li></ul>
    10. 10. Search and research II <ul><li>Once again, there exists a different narrative: </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of expertise ? </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to use ? </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to join up resources ? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Welcomed with open arms, or an impasse of resistance ? <ul><li>Self-limiting beliefs at an individual level </li></ul><ul><li>Self-limiting beliefs at a community level </li></ul><ul><li>The privileging of the original: sentimentality or reality ? </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time: </li></ul><ul><li>Digital humanities is deliberately exploiting new technologies </li></ul>
    12. 12. So what is the way forward ?
    13. 13. Conclusion: Brave New World ? <ul><li>Mixed economy </li></ul><ul><li>New standards and definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Reassurance on persistence </li></ul><ul><li>Coherent vision of joined-up resources </li></ul><ul><li>Mainstreaming of Digital Humanities? </li></ul>