The first set of notes from the HISTORE workshop comes from Group 1. This group was chaired by Matt Phillpott, project officer for the History SPOT platform on which the modules will eventually be located.
Group 1 (chaired by Matt Phillpott)
1. Ideal Project
1.1 Greater provision and availability of datasets as raw data for reuse outside of pre-defined institutional frameworks.
1.2 Discovery of internet resources – hard to find what is out there. Some kind of central index needed? The Arts-Humanities.net site does try and do this http://www.arts-humanities.net/ but is itself often overlooked.
2. Digital Tools – experiences good and bad
2.1 Old Bailey Online and related resources explain the use of digital tools well but not many other projects do this.
2.2 Related to point 1.2 Connected Histories provides a useful search engine approach to searching various digital projects.
3. Online training vs. Face-to-face – how in-depth do you want to go?
3.1 Most technological training is searched for via Google searches on an ad-hoc basis. Search for free content for specific needs.
3.2 Forums, youtube and blog posts were mentioned specifically as places people find training advice
3.3 Online training is useful but face-to-face discussion and training can also go a long way to improving knowledge.
4. Do you want to start a project and learn as you go, flying blind, or would you prefer to be in command of the technical requirements before you start?
4.1 The group agreed that a large part of training is on the go. It would be pointless learning a skill and then finding that it won’t work for the project. At the same time there was concern that it is not easy to find out what tools are out there and might be useful.
5. What are the impediments to digital research for you?
5.1 Training and expertise are lacking within the History discipline. This means that UG students do not get the training unless they are fortunate to have a lecturer who understands the technology.
5.2 There is a presumption that the young know what to do with technology, which is only true as far as it goes. There is a lot that needs to be taught which isn’t.
5.3 REF is a large impediment as it does not recognise or reward extensive work done using digital tools. Only focused on more traditional outputs such as monographs and articles. Why spend so much time learning and using a digital tool, when traditional methods are rewarded more favourably?