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Technology and Research Across the Disciplines


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Part of panel presentation with Kathryn Eccles, Eric Meyer, Lucy Power, and Ralph Schroeder for iCS-OII 2011
September 2011, Oxford

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Technology and Research Across the Disciplines

  1. 1. Practices, Challenges, &Directions in DigitalHumanities Scholarship TITLEMonica Bulger and Eric Meyer,Oxford Internet InstituteiCS-OII 2011 SymposiumSeptember 23, 2011
  2. 2. Are new technologies transforminginformation practices among humanitiesresearchers?
  3. 3. Research• 6 case studies, 54 participants• Interview, survey, focus groups• Questions about daily practice, dissemination, collaboration, changes in use, barriers, ability to ask and answer new questions, wishlist for information resources
  4. 4. Case studies (54 participants)
  5. 5. Use practices-> 62% use keyword search in librarydatabases-> 55% browse library materialsonline-> 59% browse library materials inperson
  6. 6. Use practices-> 76% browse online journals (48%browse print versions)
  7. 7. Starting point->79% start with Google-> 95% learn from peers or experts-> 83% use citation chaining
  8. 8. TransformationsChanges in practice?
  9. 9. “ The amount of time I now spend doing the very mechanical, laborious, time- consuming work is much smaller. You can now do things in 5 seconds which it took you 3 months to do a few years ago.
  10. 10. “ 20 years ago, I would have gone into the British Library and done it with the actual paper in front of me. Now I sit at home and I do a keyword search.
  11. 11. “ It’s a huge change. You can do things much more quickly, read much more widely, find connections…it’s very, very important.
  12. 12. “ Old Bailey Online hasn’t replaced anything for me or displaced anything for me, but it is part of this general transformation of how I do what I do.
  13. 13. Asking new questions?
  14. 14. “ The text search, for example on 18th Century Books Online is phenomenal and something you can’t do when you actually go into the archive.
  15. 15. “I could always have got it. But it wouldhave been, in some cases very difficult—and very slow. So, I have more access tomore information. It’s not like there’smore to be got hold of, there are moreways of getting hold of them, and they’rebetter ways.
  16. 16. “I’m not sure all of this raises the quality ofanybody’s work. I think it would be quitedaft to pretend that all of this makes usbetter scholars, or makes our books orpapers of higher quality. I don’t know ifthat is true by any means, but it certainlymakes it easier and I suppose makes thequantity of stuff that you can producegreater.
  17. 17. “It’s functionally easier, but there’s adistinction between searching andthinking. So, searching is easier, thinkingis just the same.
  18. 18. “The computer can help me, but it can’treplace me in understanding.
  19. 19. “ My greatest frustration in life is that we can now answer all the questions we had in 1980 faster, much, much faster. And we can get around to publishing them much, much more quickly. But what we haven’t yet done is develop the new questions and the new paradigms that should be possible, and that we as imaginative scholars should be able to imagine.
  20. 20. Recommendations & futuredirections
  21. 21. “ Break down boundaries between text, artifact, and image.
  22. 22. ->Reliable & sustainable structures->Citation consistency for onlineresources->Reward systems for development ofdigital archives, online portals, digitalpublications
  23. 23. Thank you to ourHumanities InformationPractices project partners: TITLE
  24. 24. TITLE