Alternative models for digital research in the humanities

Tim Sherratt ⌘ @wragge

Small data & hand-crafted infrastructures

What is (e)Research Infrastructure?

Raijin, named after the Shinto God of thunder, lightning and storms

Big machines!

The Art of Google Books

ASIO files


SMall PARTs loosely coupled

As simple as...

Manufacturing a search result

  • Preservation of print copies
  • Cataloguing
  • Selection for microfilming
  • Microfilming
  • Selection for digitisation
  • Create digital images from microfilm
  • Segmentation of pages
  • Recording article metadata
  • Optical character recognition
  • Storage of images and metadata
  • Indexing of OCR and metadata
  • Discovery interface

Why the peak?

It just works...?

Trove makes research too easy

Transforming research?

The challenge of abundance

Warning LIVE code ahead!

DIY Crowdsourced Transcription

Small parts loosely joined

  • RecordSearch Harvester
  • Scribe
  • Amazon/Heroku
  • GitHub
  • Twitter

Mini stories twice daily

open science tools ecosystem

From website to laboratory

Facilities for the Future!

Research Infrastructure Investment Plan

A modest proposal

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (DHAG) support digital projects throughout their lifecycles, from early start-up phases through implementation and long-term sustainability. Experimentation, reuse, and extensibility are hallmarks of this program, leading to innovative work that can scale to enhance scholarly research, teaching, and public programming in the humanities.

NEH Office for Digital Humanities

AHRC-Smithsonian Fellowships in Digital Scholarship

build capacity through the innovative application of digital methods and technologies to research in museums and cultural/heritage institutions

Different types of learning?

  • Survival skills
  • What's possible?
  • How do I...?

The joys of sharing

How DO I...?

Why bother?

Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians

Historians who take a strong interest in digital media and information technology, or who choose to work exclusively in digital environments, should be evaluated in terms of their overall ability to use sustained, expressive, substantive, and institutional innovation to advance scholarship.


  • What can I do?
  • Where do I start?
  • Who can I help?