Maija Paavolainen explains the challenges of finding a 'common language' in the digital humanities. She finds that simply talking about this issue helps. Thus, experience in communicating across disciplines is a positive outcome of training initiatives in itself. The role of research infrastructures, she argues, is certainly in sharing tools and best practices. However, most importantly, it is also to create opportunities for people to meet and learn face-to-face. She explains that humanities scholars are more accustomed to using digital methods and tools in the initial (information gathering) and final (publication) stages of research. However, DARIAH, specifically, can help them to also use them in the core part of the research process - i.e. in organising, annotating, and enriching data.
Training and education
How does (digital) humanities-based research support, facilitate and contribute to training, education and continued professional development?
- In this video, Jennifer Edmond gives us insights into her background in critical theory approaches and German literary history, through a spell in technical support and research strategy in the humanities, and how this has impacted her work in DARIAH. She talks about the importance of pushing beyond the foundations of your academic training to do new things in the humanities. How can the system vaildate this kind of groundbreaking research, and make it possible for early career researchers to make the leap? She explains the unique role of DARIAH in this process.
- Claire Clivaz explains how she has found that the tensions between disciplines in interdisciplinary work can be similar no matter what disciplines are being combined. Encounters between biology and computing, for example, can be as challenging as between humanities disciplines and computing. Dr Clivaz, herself, began her academic career in biblical manuscript studies but developed an interest in the digital humanities very quickly, at a time when the impact of computing was being felt in the humanities more widely. She explains the usefulness of the DH Course Registry in finding university-based, formal, DH training in Switzerland. However, she argues that informal opportunities to learn are crucial. One phrase that appears again and again in the digital humanities, she states, is: continuous training.
- Building on an unusual interdisciplinary background that combined computer science and literature in equal measure, Frank Fischer found his place in the digital humanities. In this video, he explains how his background has enabled him to understand 'both sides' of a digital humanities project - i.e. the humanities and the technical. He discusses the distinction between formal and informal education, arguing that the more 'alternative' teaching methods used in the digital humanities (workshops, summer schools etc) are crucial in developing new skills. Finally, he discusses how research infrastructures are vital in providing this kind of hands-on training, since they synthesise the 'social' and the 'technical'.
- Agiatis Benardou began her academic career with degrees in ancient history, and her first employment was in cultural organisations. She met and was hired by a scholar who introduced her to digitisation projects and as a result she was exposed to the 'digital world'. Dr Bernardou became involved in preparing DARIAH as a project, and her experience in digitisation was useful in her professional transition into work in a research infrastructure. She argues that research infrastructures are all about people. They should focus on inspiring researchers theoretically, and also practically by exposing them to the most state-of-the-art tools and techniques.
- In this video, Laurent Romary gives his perspective on training and education in research infrastructures. He reveals how his engineering background taught him precision in analysing computer concepts, and how this has impacted on his role in a humanities research infrastructure. He proceeds to focus on DARIAH's role as a 'people infrastructure' and the importance of training in that. He considers the importance of adaptability of training to learners from differents scholarly communities and competence levels.
- In this video, Sinai Rusinek explains her background in philosophy, together with her experience of the material text from work in the library. In her postdoctoral career, she began to seek out digital techniques that had not been available to her in her single-disciplinary studies. Dr Rusinek reveals that her own source of learning was at international workshops, including one organised by DARIAH-DE. She found this mode of learning inspiring in organising her own workshops and hackathons in Israel. She recommends that we should all think more about learning environments and how we learn best, collaboratively. Possibly, she recommends, we should organise more 'hackathon-like' events.
You don't have to be a programmer, but being technically equipped is important in the digital humanitiesMartin Lhoták first began digital research in an IT department, which formed his connection with information systems and databases, as well as the development of software tools and the digital humanities. Unlike many librarians, he does not have a humanist background, but instead a technical education, so finds that he speaks differently from the humanities scholars he works with. However he finds interactions with these scholars interesting and inspiring. Regarding training, he argues that being technically knowledgeable - though not necessarily a programmer themselves - is essential for doing research in the digital humanities.
- Salvador Ros has a background in physics and computer science, and is now working in the digital humanities. Humanities scholars and scientists have different ways of thinking, he points out in this video. This can be a problem, he finds. Both sides lack knowledge about each other's disciplines, so researchers have to talk a lot, exchange ideas - to try to understand each other. Humanities scholars who want to conduct digital research need to know at least the basic concepts of the relevant programming languages, he argues. He ends by discussing the definition and roles of a 'research infrastructure' such as DARIAH, especially in facilitating digital tools and how to use them in relation to our research questions.