From 'Digital Humanities' to 'Research Infrastructures', a motivating talk by Lorna Hughes at Athena R.C.

Author: Eliza Papaki
15 March 2016 Comment

On Wednesday, March 2nd 2016, Digital Curation Unit - Athena R.C. hosted a talk by Lorna Hughes, Professor of Digital Humanities and DCU Visiting Scientist 2016, entitled From 'Digital Humanities' to 'Research Infrastructures'.

As the broader field of digital humanities and digital scholarship in the humanities expands, the discussion about how we communicate digital humanities research and what might be the role of digital research infrastructures on this respect is essential for the understanding of the implications of what is called “the digital turn”.

The presentation made by Professor Hughes was addressing, precisely, those issues focusing on the expansion of digital cultural heritage which has created tremendous opportunities for research, not least through new methods for collaboration and communication. As Professor Hughes argued, the increasing use of digital technologies in the humanities has enabled innovative approaches to representing spatial and temporal aspects of primary source materials.

However, challenges still exist in accessing and using digital heritage. The presentation discussed the approaches to addressing these issues, based on developments in digital research infrastructures.

According to Professor Hughes, digital research infrastructures need to evolve as “digital ecosystems” and not merely collections of sources. Towards this end, she argues that digital research infrastructures should evolve around three axes: (1) better access to digital content, (2) open content for the use and re-use of digital content and (3) better environment enabling the use of hybrid and complex material and data.

Finally, Professor Hughes also discussed the role of Europeana.eu in the digital research space as well as some important new developments internationally to support the use of digital content, tools and methods for research.