The Digital Humanities Project @ UoR
The Digital Humanities Hub is a collaborative in-house project between professional services and academic researchers to enhance the quality of Arts and Humanities research at the University of Reading and promote innovation through DH principles, digital tools and methodologies.
The project was established with RETF funding and is a key part of the long-term strategy for the University of Reading’s Heritage & Creativity (H&C) theme, spearheaded by Roberta Gilchrist, Research Dean. The current phase of the project (2021-23) will create a sustainable base for Digital Humanities support, situated in the University Library.
As a focal point for the H&C theme, the Library will serve as the entry point to a cross-service team that combines expertise from the University Library and Collections Services, DTS, and Research Services (RES), working closely with academic colleagues. Digital Humanities will also be integrated with existing Research Engagement support provided within the Library, including Open Access and Open Research.
The project’s main outcomes will be as follows:
- An online resource (i.e. this website) providing access to internal and external resources, training, and guidance to help researchers develop ideas for employing digital approaches in research. This website will also act as one of several entry points to the DH Hub Team
- Face-to-face support, including drop-in surgeries, facilitation of best practice workshops and networking events
- Collaborative support for the development of grant proposals that involve a digital element, overseen by RES and provided from across the Hub team
- Establishment of and support for a scholarly community based around the principles of Digital Humanities research, including a Community of Practice, led by the Academic Champion
- Development of new processes and approaches to support provision for research projects, in conjunction with DTS and UMASCS
The Hub team has undertaken a consultancy exercise across the H&C theme and met with researchers representing all divisions to gain insight into the areas to prioritise for support. The support we provide will be directly informed by the needs of our H&C community, and this dialogue will remain open throughout the course of the project.
What is Digital Humanities?
Digital Humanities is the critical study of the intersection between digital technologies, disciplines in the arts and humanities, and scholarly communication.
The University of Reading’s approach to Digital Humanities sees it as a discipline in its own right. As such, work that engages with Digital Humanities is inherently interdisciplinary.
There are two main ways in which researchers might engage with Digital Humanities methods and principles in their research:
- the use of digital tools and software for interpretation and analysis of research questions in the arts and humanities
- the application of critical traditions in arts and humanities research to digital technologies, including those used for research and how the use of this technology changes the research outcome
We aim to encourage and foster research projects that employ novel and critical applications of digital technology to shape research questions, methods and outcomes in a fully integrated way.
As part of the Hub’s provisions, the Academic Champion leads a Community of Practice that will allow interested researchers to meet and discover inspiring DH work from elsewhere in the theme, as well as to explore the issues fundamental to DH as a discipline. A sample of these includes:
- Accessibility and inclusivity
- Sustainability (including environmental sustainability)
- Reproducibility of data and open access
- Transparency and documentation practices
- Research ethics
- Infrastructure and equity
- Critical approaches to technological advances