All hands meeting – day two

OK, a few notes from a productive and interesting day 2 of ahm09

Probably the most interesting session for me today was this afternoon’s one on Social Sciences and the Humanities.

The first talk was by Ralph Schroeder about e-research, which he described as distributed shared tools for research. He also made a useful distinction between resources/ data/ tools which might come in useful.

Peter Halfpenny gave the next talk which was a fairly broad discussion of the e-social science agenda over the last 5-6 years. He talked about how surveys are looking increasingly redundant in an age where so much data is gathered automatically, by non research agencies (government, companies etc.). I’m not sure that this is completely unproblematic source of data, but an interesting observation nonetheless. I also found it funny (and mentioned to him afterwards) how his conclusion came dangerously close to suggesting the need for some sort of national centre for e-social science…

This was followed by a couple of interesting talks broadly concerned with digital humanities, including an overview of arts-humanities website which is probably worth promoting within the DisCo site.

Finally I went to a talk by the new ESRC strategic director of e-social science David De Roure.  He made it clear that his job was not *just* to computerise social science (a concern of mine) but also to socialise e-science. He had a few harsh words for computer scientists, but I have heard the mantra of including users from the start of tool development for a number of years now, when will it actually start happening?

I also had a really useful conversation with Judy Redfearn at JISC about Research 3.o and the e-research roadshow. Sounds pretty promising, the OU might want to host them, although the focus is on e-research-ey stuff (Grid computing, text mining, digital curation etc.) there is some scope for overlap.  Something to pursue over the new year (although the roadshow ends in march!).

There are plenty of people blogging at this conference, including Andy Turner and Lucy Power


About digitalscholar

I am a sociologist with an interest in new technology. Previously I’ve worked on a number of projects at Lancaster University and the Open University looking at the use of new technologies and social media by researchers. I was also a social sciences teaching fellow at the foundation centre at Durham University teaching sociology and anthropology. I am now a senior lecturer at the University of West London's Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning where I oversee the foundation provision and support retention. I'm sure I'll still be interested in, and occasionally blog about, tech related things. I use this blog to post thoughts about using new technologies in my professional academic life and wider thoughts and links relating to technology more generally.
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