Pathways to data-driven research

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The Digital Humanities Pathways Forum returned to Perth in May 2019 after a successful year of events all around the country in 2018. AARNet was pleased to participate in this event along with  Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) scholars and the collecting sector of galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) professionals.

The event provided a valuable opportunity to find out more about contemporary data and technology-intensive research and collection practices, with much information shared about the links between research, data, and national infrastructure.


Highlights included the very exciting proposal for a Western Australian Digitisation Centre, a large-scale digitisation project across Western Australian Universities and GLAM sector organisations. As part of the process, priority collections have been identified, across a set of themes – archaeology, ethnography & development of society – and of materials including archives, art, film, costumes, furniture and more. Each collection has research implications and digitisation is critical to making significant items accessible beyond the physical constraints of location and preservation requirements.

Digitisation as a cultural practice

Dr Tully Barnett’s keynote presentation, ‘Thinking about digitisation as a cultural practice’ brought together many of the themes covered during the day, such as current international and local developments and future plans for digitisation, the potentially biased nature of digital collections, and an examination of the important role of data custodians.

Dr Barnett also talked about the nexus of labour, cultural production, digitisation and literary texts, identifying traces of other readers in digitised text, as well as evidence of the ‘act of digitisation’ and questioned the influence of these on readers both now and into the future.

Intro to Jupyter Notebooks

AARNet’s Sara King presented a ‘Show & Tell’ Introduction to Jupyter Notebooks, as a highly flexible and freely available tool that may be new to to HASS researchers and GLAM professionals but could be useful when working with the increasing volume of data and digital material in the HASS and GLAM disciplines. This presentation included a demonstration video on how to open Jupyter Notebooks in CloudStor.

Tinker Studio

The event was hosted by Tinker, tailored tools for the HASS community, and Tinker has now launched the Tinker Studio, incorporating Jupyter Notebooks, a suite of digital research tools and a range of large datasets for HASS researchers to interrogate, analyse or just ‘tinker’ with to experiment with some new approaches to digital research in HASS disciplines.

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