Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Future of the Digital Humanities Archive/Centre

This is a republishing of an article I wrote for the Strange Bedfellows project.  The original url is here.

I have been working with Professor William Bowen on an initiative to create a Digital Humanities Research Centre on the University of Toronto Scarborough‘s (UTSC) campus, much like the HRC on the University of York’s campus.  While the concept of such a centre is very nascent at UTSC, many of the faculty and staff I have talked to seem to share an idea of this centre ultimately being a repository for all of the digital work going on at UTSC whether that means a collection of data points or contacts for various digital tasks.  Due to this, I have been researching a lot about digital humanities centres, including their various functions, ideologies, and output, and I have found that a lot of scholarly writings directly address this idea of a Humanities Research Centre as a digital archive.

The idea of an DHRC and its role as a central archive is complicated, in part because its nature as a digital archive.  Bill Bowen was recently at a conference in Cuba that examined the nature of digital artifacts and their place in digital records/cyberinfrastructure.  When Bill came back, he mentioned that it was very interesting to be at a conference talking about digital technologies when he could use so few of them there.  This got me thinking about digital technology and its innate intangibility.  For instance, what does the complicated structure and high level of organization of a digital database matter if you cannot even access a computer?

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Filed under Digital Humanities

The Future of the Digital Humanities Centre/Archive

This is a republishing of an article I wrote for the Strange Bedfellows project.  The original url is here.

I have been working with Professor William Bowen on an initiative to create a Digital Humanities Research Centre (DHRC) on the University of Toronto Scarborough‘s (UTSC) campus, much like the HRC on the University of York’s campus.  While the concept of such a centre is very nascent at UTSC, many of the faculty and staff I have talked to seem to share an idea of this centre ultimately being a repository for all of the digital work going on at UTSC whether that means a collection of data points or contacts for various digital tasks.  Due to this, I have been researching a lot about digital humanities centres, including their various functions, ideologies, and output, and I have found that a lot of scholarly writings directly address this idea of a Humanities Research Centre as a digital archive.

The idea of an DHRC and its role as an archival centre is complicated, in part because it is difficult to pin down exactly what the HRC should do.  Interested faculty and staff are often just beginning working with the Digital Humanities (DH) and they often are unsure of where to start or who to go to in order to discuss their interests.  As Orville Burton notes, “the web has moved so quickly from having a few sites to being saturated, that guides are needed on how to evaluate sites on the web and where to find history projects and archives” (Burton 209).[1] Coincidentally  the library often does not have the resources to support staff and their research projects so a physical centre is needed to address this.  However, such a communal space does not ensure a functioning digital research community.

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Filed under Digital Humanities