It is important to bring people together face to face to strengthen communities and forge new ideas in our fast-paced and growing digital research environment. Initiatives such as Europe’s Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) can play a role to inspire, coordinate and encourage collaboration. DARIAH aims to enhance and support digitally-enabled research and teaching across the arts and humanities research domain.
In late March, the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) in collaboration with hosts Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH); and DARIAH, presented the third DARIAH Beyond Europe workshop, in conjunction with the second annual Humanities, Arts and Culture Data Summit at the National Library of Australia in Canberra. This landmark event brought together more than 100 people interested in the future of humanities, arts and cultural research powered by data. This included experienced and emerging researchers, research support communities, national initiatives such as Trove, the Australian Data Archive (ADA) and Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN), and representatives of the Australian Government. Also present were visiting scholars and representatives from DARIAH who shared their experiences from Europe and their understanding of the rich landscape of data-driven humanities, arts and culture research in Australia.
Important themes that emerged during the three day workshop included:
- Sustainability of digital projects: There was a growing interest in considering the natural life cycle of digital projects at their commencement, recognising the challenge of long term maintenance, the necessity of longevity and how we might preserve digital projects
- Cross-fertilisation of research: Increased recognition of the value of working across disciplinary silos to tap into digital research skills and expand and enrich research outputs.
- Insight into Australian research infrastructure projects, such as the Tinker platform, AURIN, the Indigenous Data Network and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Data Archive (ATSIDA); European infrastructure including Newseye, the Kings Digital Lab and the Geohumanities Working Group. Presentations and lightning talks shared research projects large and small – including the impressive time-layered cultural map, the Play it Again, Preserving Videogame history collaborative project, PARADISEC and others.
- Discussion of the 'Platforms for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences research (HASS)' flagged under the 2016 National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Roadmap, and upcoming sector-wide opportunities. This included an announcement that AAH has been contracted by the Department of Education to lead an exploration of international models for research infrastructure support for HASS, as part of the pathway towards a Platforms for HASS investment.
- Presentation of Trove's recently launched Australian Web Archive, an amazing achievement that is the culmination of decades of work, giving researchers access to more than 20 years of Australia's internet. It provides invaluable insight into significant Australian historic and cultural moments, including events and the emergence of political and social movements. It promises to be an extraordinary asset to HASS researchers, and will deliver transformative change.
Bringing together the DARIAH Beyond Europe workshop, with the AAH Data Summit showcased the groundbreaking activities happening across Australia and Europe. In closing, attendees heard about the the Time Machine project, a fantastic demonstration of what can be possible with strategic investment to stimulate collaboration and ambitious ideas and a standout DARIAH investment.
“Australian presentations showed that we have no shortage of talented researchers, and a diverse and rich research environment in Australia. New connections were made, especially around the global Libraries as Labs initiatives and new initiatives in research support, “ said Alexis Tindall, Senior Research Data Specialist for the ARDC.
“This was a timely event, as we look at how far DARIAH has come, five years after becoming a European Research Infrastructure Consortium, and as we look at the potential of future research infrastructure for humanities and arts in Australia.”