In order to get more acquainted with other projects that combine the humanities and computer sciences, we decided to visit the Public kick-off embedded research projects, which hosted a lot of projects doing just that.
We were welcomed by Rens Bod, Professor of Computational and Digital
Humanities at UVA, who claims that the humanities are ‘booming’ in ICT research. Our own project and the projects shown at this kick-off, certainly shows that this claim isn’t an empty one. One of the main aims of these projects, again according to R. Bod, should be to make concrete products that actually lead to something practical. Implicit on the background was valorization; the research done should lead to commercially viable products.
The valorization aspect, and more general the expected results of the interdisciplinary projects, wasn’t always clearly represented in the projects. This could have been the result of the early stage in which the projects are still in. Another reason could be that the aim of some of the projects seemed primarily to lead to results for the humanities , but not so much for ICT, or the other way around. With respect to our own research it seems important to me to keep this in mind. The research should lead to valuable information or products for both the disciplines. We should also emphasize that the goal of the interdisciplinary aspect of this project is to complement each other in order to get more valuable research results.
Some projects stood out in their relevance for our own project. Crowdsourcing for cultural heritage is one of those projects. Especially interesting for our project was the focus on ‘discovering and describing the best practices for crowdsourcing projects conducted by cultural heritage institutions.’ This includes targeting relevant information in order to annotate items in online collection. An aspect that is especially important in our research. Another project was interesting because of their good combination between history and ICT: Sailing Networks: Mapping Colonial Relations with Suriname’s seventeenth-century sailing letters. The balance between the humanities and the ICT division was especially good, something that we also strife for.
All in all the many projects that were presented today are a good example of the increasing cooperation between the humanities and the computer sciences. Hopefully the cooperation of these disciplines will also be evident in the results of these projects. One of the goals of our project is to do just that.