Conferences & Events

Big data and cultural data in the emerging field of digital humanities research

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We invited eResearch Analyst and Data Specialist Ingrid Mason to contribute to the agenda for the Museums Australia National Conference in May and she talked about some of the amazing directions emerging for GLAM  (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) data in the field of digital humanities research.

What we love about Ingrid is her passion and knowledge on the use of big data and cultural data in the digital humanities and how this meshes with what AARNet is trying to do as the national research and education network working with the GLAM sector; which is really around raising awareness and enabling opportunities for researchers and educators to leverage the capabilities of the national infrastructure architected for collaboration.

The digital age is ushering in a renaissance, particularly for the GLAM sector, where traditional concepts surrounding engagement with information are being challenged as the world becomes more networked.

Digital humanities research is rapidly becoming data and technology intensive. Ingrid’s talk focused on what this means for the GLAM sector. More critically, researchers in this emerging research area need GLAM data to be queryable through data services, delivered in bulk, reached remotely through the controlled authentication layers, brought together quickly from diverse collection stores, and stored near high performance computing or large screen visualisation services.

The big questions for the GLAM community in Australia now are what changes may be needed to GLAM collection access services? How can the GLAM sector join forces with the research sector, to support this emerging research practice?

It’s important for the GLAM community to understand how the humanities research world is changing.

“You now to have the ability to have someone come in and tell you something about your collection that you didn’t know or for you to actually connect with a researcher to exchange understanding about aspects of history, culture and art. I think it’s a pretty sweet space to be in. Researchers are whipping data into different shapes and building new interfaces and it is an extraordinary opportunity to revisit the potential and interest of the cultural material the GLAM community is the custodian of,” says Ingrid.

This is really about changing thinking and developing new methods and protocols for enabling researchers to access cultural data.

View Ingrid Mason’s Museums Australia Conference presentation

Ingrid Mason is a self-professed metadata nerd and technologist who has found a work-space that satisfies her interests in culture, the humanities, semantics and the web. She has interests in data, technology and research and a background in supporting: research data management; digital scholarship; digital curation, collection and preservation; digital cultural heritage; information management and business development.  Currently Ingrid works as an eResearch Analyst for Intersect Australia and as a Data Specialist for the Australian National Data Service. Prior to this she worked at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences: as the National Project Manager for Collections Australia Network and the Project Manager for the Museum Metadata Exchange.


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