Data Management in Asian Humanities and Social Sciences

Our November event consisted of a two day workshop titled Data Management in Asian Humanities and Social Sciences. Speakers were invited from around Europe and North America to discuss the use of data in their projects and research.

Presenters were of three types:

  • Research assistants from the Beyond Boundaries project
  • Researchers working on collaborative projects based at SOAS and elsewhere
  • Experienced digital specialists managing web resources over the long-term

A playlist of presentation videos is available here:

The research assistants from Beyond Boundaries each outlined their research and how they use digital technologies before discussing plans for archiving their data. The data produced by the project is diverse but includes images, xml, spreadsheets, text and GIS files. Zenodo.org is the primary repository for these data and the project is currently depositing in these communities, amongst others:

https://zenodo.org/communities/siddham

https://zenodo.org/communities/beyondboundariesdigital

https://zenodo.org/communities/asia-ercproject-609823

The presentations offered an opportunity for the research assistants to gain valuable feedback on the methods and processes they use for data management.

Speakers were invited from a variety of collaborative projects researching topics as diverse as multilingualism in modern Africa to the history of yoga. Although dealing with quite different subject matter, the projects encountered similar issues in the management of their data such as finding tools for organising and collaborating or ensuring that the archival formats used would have the greatest longevity. It was concluded that the difficulties in managing data effectively are often under-estimated and that forums for sharing experiences of working practices between projects like this workshop are valuable yet rare.

Finally, presentations by researchers working on the gSung-rten Database, the Endangered Languages Archive, Buddhist Digital Resource Center and the Chinese Text Project amongst others offered an insight into how data is managed at scale and over the long term. Understanding how the technical challenges facing these resources have been met was fascinating and helped stimulate discussion about the potential for the reuse and aggregation of data produced by Beyond Boundaries and other projects.

 

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