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If we apply a science paradigm, a digital humanities scholar could be compared to an experimental physicist, as someone who designs processes and instruments to find the answers to their research questions.   But the most striking difference between the experimental humanist and the experimental physicist lies in the fate of these processes and instruments after the article on the findings they enabled has been written: they are transcended, perhaps licensed to another for further use, perhaps simply discarded.  Why are we so different about our electronic data?  Would it be enough for humanistic scholars as well to draw their conclusions and let it go either to be developed by someone else or to mildew?  Or is there something inherently different in the nature of our data, that we should be so attached to its survival?  For example, we expect to receive credit for scholarly editions—why should we not receive it for digital scholarly editions?  Are the data collections created by humanists inherently more accessible and open than an experimental physicist’s algorithm or shade-tree spectroscope?  Are we not just creating slaves and drones, tools to meet our need, but instead, as McGann puts it elsewhere, contributing to a “Global Library,” something that invites users across time and space to access the information within and use it to answer their own questions and undertake their own experiments?

If so, then there is another pachyderm in the parlor to address, which is the conundrum of reuse.  We all know the excitement of the digital project, the feeling that comes as the tide of understanding begins to break over us with each new iteration of the interface or each refinement of the search terms.  The day we send the URL around to our scholarly colleagues is a great day, and we bask in the congratulations they return to us.  But then what?  Usage studies confirm that after our close friends and colleagues have an initial trawl of our project data, rate of reuse of digital projects is actually disappointingly low.  Is it that the act of organizing a digital collection or a dataset is always already too powerful an act of editorialism, thereby marking that intellectual territory as no longer open for original investigation?  Is it that in a world where the size of the ocean of analog data means that the mere choice to digitize a manuscript or a collection leaves a watermark that reads “noli me tangere”?  Or is it that we simply don't have the infrastructure to communicate about works produced in this manner?  Stripped of publishers’ lists, of their marketing channels and peer review and quality control systems, are we failing the next generation of scholars by creating too many resources in the wild?

Culture change is always the most difficult part of any corporate project, and in this case we have neither the profit motive nor the bounded scale of operations to hold our community together while we try to change minds not just about the value of digital editions, but of scholarly editions of all kinds. Generations of big projects, Europe’s DARIAH and Project Bamboo not excepted, seem to struggle with the notion that the right tools will turn the scholarly Sauls to Pauls, and bring them in their droves into the digital fold. Others put forward the notion that generational change will bring us along regardless of our efforts for or against changes in modes of scholarly communication. But younger scholars have a long road of apprenticeship to endure before they can call the tune rather than merely dance, and many of them will be well and truly institutionalized by the time they can take a bold stance on what they produce from their research. The elephant in the room may therefore in fact be an iceberg, with many layers of analog problems filling the depth beneath the digital ones we tend to focus on. Change can come, and organizations like the DHO and the Trinity Long Room Hub are well placed to facilitate changing attitudes from above and below. If, to paraphrase another old bit of rhetoric, we can get beyond the entrenched attitudes of the stonemasons and the bricklayers, perhaps we will all be able to see that what we are building is a cathedral.

Notes

1 .   http://web.me.com/xcia0069/nof.html . Thanks to Alastair Dunning of JISC and to Mark Hedges, who graciously shared their summary of the data with us. 2 (External Link) . 3 Alastair  Dunning, “The Tasks of the AHDS: Ten Years On.” Ariadne 48 (July 2006). (External Link) . 4 (External Link) . 5 Our thanks to Lou Bernard and Laurent Romary for the help with information about TGE Adonis.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Online humanities scholarship: the shape of things to come. OpenStax CNX. May 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11199/1.1
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