From research data repositories to virtual research environments: a case study from the Humanities


  • Mark Hedges
  • Tobias Blanke
  • Mike Priddy
  • Fabio Simeoni
  • Leonardo Candela



OR2010, Repository Infrastructures, Library and information sciences, DDC: 020


The difference in scholarly practices between the sciences and the mainstream humanities is highlighted in a study (Palmer et al., 2009), which investigated the types of information source materials used in different humanities disciplines, based on results contained in the US Research Libraries Group (RLG) reports. Structured data is relatively little used, except in some areas of historical research, and data as it is traditionally understood in the sciences, i.e. the results of measurements and the lowest level of abstraction for the generation of scientific knowledge, even less so. It is true that the study is partly outdated, containing results from the early 1990s, and that data in the traditional sense is becoming increasingly important in the humanities, particularly for disciplines such as linguistics and archaeology in which scientific techniques have been widely adopted. Nevertheless, it is clear that in general humanities research relies not on measurements as a source of authority, but rather on the provenance of sources and assessment by peers, and that what data repositories are for the sciences, archives are for the humanities. [...]