Friday, April 17, 2009

Digital Preservation Matters - 17 April 2009

Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship. Report of a Workshop Cosponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources and The National Endowment for the Humanities. March 2009. [88p. pdf]

Asking Questions and Building a Research Agenda for Digital Scholarship. Amy Friedlander

Searching across large collections is important but there are other opportunities for analysis and presentation, such visualization so users can identify patterns and differences as well as display results. The next generation will be graphically oriented so visual means will be important for the analysis and not just the presentation. The Web is a graphical medium and can increase the possibility of confusion and misinformation. It also has a different notion of literacy.

The challenges of managing digital collections over time are substantial, but the goals are clear:

  • Allow digital collections to be explored, expanded, and repurposed
  • Users must trust the repositories to safeguard their contents and view on request
  • Managing digital collections is a fundamental condition for any research agenda.

Tools for Thinking: ePhilology and Cyberinfrastructure. Gregory Crane, et al.

“Our ultimate goal must be to make the full record of humanity accessible to every human being.” The universal library is an unattainable point of reference but something to work towards. We need to build an infrastructure with at least three kinds of access:

  • Access to digital representations of the human record. This may have more information that the physical object.
  • Access to labeled information about the human record.
  • Access to automatically generated knowledge:

The Changing Landscape of American Studies in a Global Era. Caroline Levander.

Digital archives can offer new opportunities for rethinking and bringing materials together. A digital archive can reach an researchers who may not otherwise have access to the materials. They can bring together materials that exist in different geographic locations and increase the collaboration among an international audience.

A Whirlwind Tour of Automated Language Processing for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Douglas W. Oard

We never seem to get to the ends that we are trying to achieve. This may be because “those who could build these marvels don’t really understand what marvels we need, and we, who understand what we need all too well, don’t really understand what can be built.”

To get the future right:

  • Build useful tools, but don’t try to automate the intellectual work of scholars.
  • Dream big. Progress comes from the vision of what is needed with the understanding of what is possible
  • Waste money wisely.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Make friends. Others have been working on these projects.

Information Visualization: Challenge for the Humanities. Maureen Stone.

“Digital archiving creates a vast store of knowledge that can be accessed only through digital tools.” Users of this information will need to be able to use the tools of digital access, exploration, visualization, analysis, and collaboration. This is a new form of literacy which must become fundamental for humanities scholars. Collaboration or sharing is fundamental to the Web and to digital archiving.

Art History and the New Media: Representation and the Production of Humanistic Knowledge. Stephen Murray

Instant and free access to information across geographic and institutional boundaries has made its value plummet in an economic sense. We value what is scarce, not what is plentiful, and the precious entity is now attention, which is always finite and claimed by many sources at the same time.

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