March 24: UCL DH speakers

David Beavan and Raquel Alegre  (UCL)

March 24, 12:00, Surf Room (Fulton House)

The Craftsperson and the Scholar: the Role of Software Engineers in Humanities Research

David Beavan is Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, and Research Manager and Associate Director for Research for UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.  Raquel Alegre is a Software Developer on the UCL Research Software Development Team.

Digital Humanities (possibly because of those capital letters) is often perceived as a separate entity to the traditional humanities subjects: different, edgy, cool. ‘What is/are the Digital Humanities?’ has long distracted the field. The right question is ‘What can Digital Humanities do for you?’ IT development is not a commodity, just as interesting research questions don’t grow on trees.

At the heart of Digital Humanities is collaboration between humanities scholars and professional software engineers, in partnership. David Beavan will explore that collaboration, from the professional IT angle and from the humanities perspective. How can a successful Digital Humanities centre be established and sustained, and how can the collaborative work which underpins it be fostered?

A particular problem in research software, encountered first by physical scientists, and then by life scientists, and now in humanities research, is the question of “Software Sustainability”: how can researchers write and maintain software that can last, and that can be used by someone other than the PhD student that wrote it? Can software be a form of scholarly communication between researchers, as well for instructing computers? How can work on software be measured for academic credit alongside other forms of research output?

(More CODAH talks)