About the report:
This paper presents findings from an investigation into trends and practices in humanities and social sciences research that incorporates text data mining. As affiliates of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), the purpose of our study was to illuminate researcher needs and expectations for text data, tools, and training for text mining in order to better understand our current and potential user community. Results of our study have and will continue to inform development of HTRC tools and services for computational text analysis.
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I’m increasingly convinced that parsimony and elegance are key values for the socio-technical systems that enable long term access to information. This post is me starting to try and articulate what I mean by that and connecting that back to a few ongoing strands of work and thinking I’m engaged in.
Now that the book as been circulating around a bit, I’ve been able to both reflect on it and get to have a lot of great conversations with people about it. Along with that, I’ve been participating (or at least trying to participate when my calendar allows) in some ongoing conversations about the role of maintenance, capacity, care, and repair in library work.
My points of entry into these conversations have been Bethany Nowviskie’s Capacity and Care, Steve Jackson’s piece Rethinking Repair, Hellel Arnold’s Critical Work: Archivists as Maintainers, and Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel’s work in pieces like Innovation is overvalued: Maintenance often matters more. As I mentioned in a pervious post, I think there is a ton more that I need to sort through in Nell Nodding’s line of thinking on an ethics of care, and that is all tied up in this too. So take those as trail heads to what I think is going to grow more and more into a major part of our professional discourse. Notions of capacity and maintain all implicate notions of sustainability.
Less is More Sustainable and Mantainable
The specific prompt for this post was one conversation where I ended up saying something I’ve said a few times before. Something like; “If you can do it with an Access database then don’t gather requirements for a software engineering project.” Furthermore, “If you can do it with a spreadsheet, don’t build an Access database.” Beyond that, “If you can do it with a text file, then don’t set up a spreadsheet.” The general point in each of these situations is that you want to use the least possible tool for the job and then when the complexity of the work demands it, you justify the added complexity of the next thing.
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Below is an overview of research projects that were carried out by student teams in the project course Visualizing cultural collections taught by Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk since 2014. Students with different disciplinary backgrounds including design, media studies, information science, and cultural management analyzed existing interfaces and developed new approaches for different case studies in collaboration with a broad range of cultural institutions.