The Case for Slow Digitisation - a Digital Humanities Seminartalk Wed 5 Dec 2018, 16:00
Digital Humanities Lab
University of Exeter, Queen's Building
Queen's Drive, Exeter EX4 4QH
A paper presented by Professor Andrew Prescott from the University of Glasgow.
For many libraries, museums and archives,
digitisation has become a matter of optimising workflows and maximising digital
coverage of the collections. The number of pages digitised has become a key
performance indicator, and matter of pride, for many institutions. However, a
production line approach to digitisation runs the risk of producing deceptive
surrogates which omit key features of the object digitised. Much of our
digitisation is little better than colour microfilming, notwithstanding recent
initiatives such as the International Image Interoperability Framework. It will
be suggested that we need to slow down, develop more imaginative approaches,
and start approaching manuscripts and books as if they are archaeological
artefacts, whose story may be uncovered slowly over a long period with a range
of technology. Such a ‘slow digitisation’ approach has many parallels with the
‘slow scholarship’ movement and maybe one way whereby Digital Humanities can
promote a more humanistic culture in the academy.
Andrew Prescott is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Glasgow and Theme Leader Fellow for the 'Digital Transformations' strategic theme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. From 1979-2000 he was a Curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library, where he acted as British Library co-ordinator for a number of digital projects, including most notably Electronic Beowulf, edited by Kevin S Kiernan of the University of Kentucky. From 2000-2007 he was Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry in the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. He has also worked at the University of Wales Lampeter and at King's College London as Head of its Department of Digital Humanities from 2012-2015. He has served on the advisory boards of many digital humanities projects in Britain and America.
Entry is free - no need to book.
Please join us for drinks and nibbles after the paper. All welcome!
Image: Suzy Hazelwood