Tools for Data-Driven Scholarship » Final Report

I’ve been meaning to blog about the Final Report of the Tools for Data-Driven Scholarship Workshop. This workshop was organized by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason and the Maryland Institute for Technology and the Humanities in October of 2008 and they have put up the final report with a number of sensible recommendations. The report summarizes the issues around tool development, the need for reward systems, and it discussed the idea of an “invisible college” of scholars/tool developers who would exchange ideas and support. They distilled the problems down to:

1. Tools need to work better with other tools.

2. Tools need to connect better with content and use that content in a more robust way.

3. Tools need better mechanisms for being found by the scholars who need them.  They are not currently finding their audience(s).

They acknowledge that “There may be intellectual and even practical value in reinvention-in ‘recreating the wheel.’” This is a tack we need to take seriously since tool development in the humanities has been going on since the 70s (or earlier if you count Busa’s work). Perhaps the reinvention in the humanities is like reinterpretation – a sign of life not a problem.

Prezi – The zooming presentation editor

Screenshot of Prezi

Screenshot of Prezi

Prezi – The zooming presentation editor is a neat PowerPoint alternative. You build a presentation that is one large map, then you script a tour that zooms in and out. This avoids the problem Tufte points out of fragmented discourse. Users can zoom in and out. Prezi is also presented as a service where you craft and store the presentations online rather than through local software.

Springer Exemplar: Search Results

Screenshot of Exemplar

Screenshot of Exemplar

Springer has an interesting tool that lets you search for a pattern and see its distribution. When you search for a term it allows you to see distribution over time in the upper left, then distribution over disciplinary categories. It also shows a KWIC (Keyword in Context.) See Springer Exemplar: Search Results for Interactivity. The design is clean and easy to explore, but the content seems to be only recent materials in Springer journals.