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Challenges, Choices, Collaboration

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Challenges, Choices, Collaboration

Door: Sheila Anderson (Professor of e-Research
Centre for e-Research
Department of Digital Humanities
King’s College London)

Published in: Technology, Education
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Challenges, Choices, Collaboration

  1. 1. Challenges, Choices,CollaborationSheila AndersonProfessor of e-ResearchCentre for e-ResearchDepartment of Digital HumanitiesKing’s College London
  2. 2. Challenges• On the one hand:– ‘The new professional frontier’: Digital records,standards and encoding– Increasing volume of material• On the other:– Expectation that all finding aids will becomprehensive, digital, and available on-line– Pressure to digitise existing holdings– To connect holdings across institutions using thesemantic web and linked data
  3. 3. Choices: collaboration• Collaboration – but how and with whom?• Motivations, barriers, and tasks• The Academy:– Digital Humanities– Digital research infrastructures– Researchers as contributors to archive work• The Public:– Social / community engagement– Crowd-sourcing– ‘Citizen (science) Archivist’
  4. 4. Digital Humanities• Fast growing discipline – significantinvestment across Europe• Collaborative projects to digitise, enrich,and link archival sources• Provides an enhanced experience forusers including the general public• Also serves the research community• Projects can have significant impact andraise awareness of the value of holdings
  5. 5. Digital Research Infrastructures• European Holocaust Research Infrastructureproject (EHRI)• Collaborative European Digital ArchiveResearch Infrastructure (CENDARI)• “Ecosystem” of shared collaboration on a largescale with archives, libraries, domainresearchers, and information and computerscientists• Achieving core tasks plus new development• See also the session with Petra Links and IvoZandhuis for more on EHRI
  6. 6. Researcher engagement• Researchers undertaking archival workcan get to know the archives well• Capturing the process of archivalresearcher - notes, annotations, links andconnections• Blouin and Rosenberg ‘parallel but linked’information attached to finding aids?
  7. 7. Case Study: Mary ShannonMary’s research focuses on a street in Victorian London,Wellington Street, between 1843-53. This street leads off theStrand, and during this period it contained, among others, theoffices of Charles Dickens, of his largely-forgotten competitorG.W.M. Reynolds, of national newspapers and of the LyceumTheatre. Her work is a detailed study of the way this street was ahighly significant location for a wide range of activities to dowith print culture, and a hub of relationships, influences andconnections between writers, booksellers, newspaper editors,printers, theatre managers and spectators, and ultimately readers.The thesis uses archival research, literary criticism, and literarygeography to explore Wellington Street at different times of theday and to examine the intersection between print culture,popular culture, the built environment and urban experience.
  8. 8. Social / Community engagement• Offering the opportunity to contribute to users – basedon reciprocity and ‘giving something back’• User generated content in the process of using thearchive• Genealogists for example might be willing to add tofinding aids, or tag material used• Local historians might write and contribute a smallresearch guide• Scan and contribute transcribed holdings back to thearchive• Most likely to a one-off contribution framed around theusers interests
  9. 9. Crowd-sourcing• Trevor Owens: ‘inviting participation frominterested and engaged members of the public’• Using social engagement techniques to achievea shared goal• Usually around a specific collection of materialsand for a finite period• A ‘call for contributors’ but largely self selecting• Variable contributions in both length and depth
  10. 10. Citizen Science• Citizen science: a form of research collaborationinvolving members of the public in scientific researchprojects to address real-world problems• Identification with the science and the overall goals andrequirements of the research• Tightly directed to undertake clearly defined tasks underthe supervision of a scientist• Contribute to tightly defined and usually moderated tasks• Build a community to achieve a goal through contributingto a defined set of tasks• Requires greater input from the sponsoring organisation
  11. 11. Citizen Archivist?• Adapted from citizen science: a form of collaborationinvolving members of the public in archival work toaddress real-world problems• Identification with the Archive as an institution and theoverall goals and requirements of the archive• Tightly directed to undertake clearly defined tasks underthe supervision of an archivist• Contribute to a project to digitise holdings or to catalogueitems in a series• Build a community to achieve a goal through contributingto a defined set of tasks• Requires greater input from the sponsoring organisation
  12. 12. Thank you and questionssheila.anderson@kcl.ac.uk

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