In the rapid analysis phase of the project we looked at what tools are available to historians for digital research in the five areas we are concerned with (visualisation, text mining, linked data, cloud computing and semantic data) and tried to decide which we thought would be most useful to historians as the focus of introductory training courses.
In the end we decided in favour of text mining and semantic data. Visualisation was a strong candidate but we felt that cloud computing was somewhat nebulous as the subject of a training course: if we could do it at all, it seemed to us, it would essentially be training people to use particular tools rather than general techniques – which isn’t what the project has undertaken to do.
As it happens I am currently working on a JISC-funded linked data project, Liparm, which will use linked metadata to create a union catalogue of UK parliamentary material. This will be a good proof of concept for linked data in a historical context and I have already learned a lot about linked data from working on the project. But the point of Histore is to address the lack of take-up of digital resources by historians, and linked data already assumes (doesn’t it?) that those digital resources have been, or are being, created by historians. Linked data looks like a next step, rather than the kind of intial impetus that Histore seeks to provide.
That was our conclusion, but readers might disagree. We’d be keen to hear your thoughts.