Investing in Data Sharing Infrastructure in the Humanities - Plenary Session

This panel will present and provide opportunities to discuss data sharing challenges in the humanities -- some of which are unique to the humanities, posing considerable computational challenges; other challenges are like those faced in the natural and physical sciences, calling for strengthened effort to learn from developments in these fields.  Panelists will present concrete cases illustrating the significance, challenge and promise of data sharing infrastructure development in the humanities, by responding to the following questions:
1. What is different about digital humanities infrastructure? We often talk about "borrowing" from the sciences (mainly because there's more funding) and at some foundational level of infrastructure (e.g., storage), there's no difference between humanities and science content. So is there some layer of an infrastructure stack at which point the needs or requirements of humanists differ? If so, when does this happen? Can this be described in terms of use cases?
2. Are there specific RDA products or recommendations that the digital humanities can adopt now? If not, why not? Do humanists need different types of identifiers? Are the provenance requirements different? Are the data models? 
 
Kim Fortun, Professor of Science & Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut
Session Chair 
 

Dr. Kim Fortun is a cultural anthropologist and Professor of Science & Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her research and teaching focus on environmental risk and disaster, and on experimental ethnographic methods and research design.  Her research has examined how people in different geographic and organizational contexts understand environmental problems, uneven distributions of environmental health risks, developments in the environmental health sciences, and factors that contribute to disaster vulnerability.  Fortun’s book Advocacy After Bhopal Environmentalism, Disaster, New World Orders was awarded the 2003 Sharon Stephens Prize by the American Ethnological Society.  From 2005-2010, Fortun co-edited the Journal of Cultural Anthropology. Currently, Fortun is working on a book titled Late Industrialism: Making Environmental Sense, on The Asthma Files, a collaborative project to understand how air pollution and environmental public health are dealt with in different contexts, and on design of the Platform for Experimental and Collaborative Ethnography (PECE), an open source/access digital platform for anthropological and historical research.  Fortun also runs the EcoEd Research Group, which turns ethnographic findings about environmental problems into curriculum delivered to young students (kindergarten-grade 12), and is helping organize the Disaster-STS Research Network.  With historian of science Mike Fortun and anthropologist Jason Jackson, Director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at the University of Indiana, Kim Fortun co-chairs RDA’s Digital Practices in History and Ethnography Interest Group.
 
Bridget Almas, Lead software developer and architect,  Perseus Digital Library
Panelis
 

Bridget Almas is the lead software developer and architect for the Perseus Digital Library. She has over 20 years experience working in software development in both commercial and academic settings. She is currently serving as technical lead on the Perseids Project, developing an online platform for collaborative editing, annotation and publication of digital texts and annotations as micro-publications. Bridget is a member of the RDA Technical Advisor Board and co-chair of the RDA Research Data Provenance Interest group.
 
Sandra Collins, Director, Digital Repository of Ireland
Panelist
 

Dr Sandra Collins is the Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, the national trusted digital repository for humanities and social sciences data, in the Royal Irish Academy. She is the Chair of the ALLEA (all European Academies) E-Humanities Working Group, she is rapporteur for the Horizon 2020 Expert Advisory Group on 'European Research Infrastructures' and a member of the Horizon 2020 Expert Advisory Group 'Science with and for Society'. She is a member of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) European Steering Forum, the Irish Member State representative at the European Future Internet Forum since 2009, and a member of the Irish National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy. She is one of the Top 38 Irish Technology Women (Technology Voice, Intel, 2013), one of Silicon Republic's Top 100 Women in Technology (2014), and winner of three Irish eGovernment Awards for Inspiring Ireland (2015). Originally a mathematician, she is passionate about digital preservation, open data, technology working for society and culture, and opportunities for women in STEM.
 
Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Panelist
 

Dr. Ted Hewitt is the president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), a federal agency in Canada that promotes and supports post-secondary–based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs, SSHRC works to develop talented leaders for all sectors of society; to help generate insights about people, ideas and behavior; and to establish connections within and beyond academia that will build a better future for Canada and the world. Prior to his appointment as president, Ted was executive vice-president and chief operating officer at SSHRC. From 2004 to 2011, he was vice-president, research and international relations at Western University in London, Ontario, where he became a leading figure among research-intensive universities across Canada. Ted has also served as public policy scholar at the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and as professor of sociology at Western University. A leading Canadian authority on Brazil, his work has appeared in monographs, edited works and a range of academic journals, including Cities, Journal of Latin American Studies, Journal of Developing Areas, Third World Quarterly, and Habitat International. In 2002, he was named commander of the Order of Rio Branco by Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations. Ted’s recent research has focused on national and international innovation systems, with emphasis on the roles played by universities, industry and government in promoting economic prosperity in the 21st-century economy. He is the Canadian co-chair of the Canada-Brazil Science and Technology Joint Committee for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, and a member of the boards of International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada and the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce.Ted holds a PhD in sociology from McMaster University.
Nigel Ward, Deputy Director (Software Infrastructure) for the NeCTAR
Panelist
 

Dr Nigel Ward is Deputy Director (Software Infrastructure) for the NeCTAR (National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources) project led by the University of Melbourne. NeCTAR is creating and operating online infrastructure to support the “connected researcher” who at their desktop or bench-top can access data, computation, analytic tools, modeling tools and workflows specifically relevant to their research. In his role at NeCTAR, Nigel manages and co-ordinates a program of Virtual  Laboratory and eResearch Tool projects developing rich domain-oriented online environments supporting Astronomy, Geophysics, Marine Observation, Biodiversity, Climate, Genomics, Characterization, Human Communication Science, Humanities and Archeology researchers. Nigel also works a day a week within the eResearch Lab at the University of Queensland coordinating a team developing Socio-spatial Statistical Analysis, Modeling and Visualization tools for the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network. Nigel has technical expertise in distributed systems architectures, service oriented approaches, persistent identifiers, metadata, usability, accessibility, and formal specification.
Peter Wittenburg, Senior advisor on data systems, Max Planck Data and Compute Center
Panelist
 

Peter Wittenburg is now senior advisor on data systems at the Max Planck Data and Compute Center which is the focus point in the Max Planck Society for activities in the areas of big and complex data and data intensive science. In the years before he was leading the technological and methodological work at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. In this role he was responsible for setting up various state-of-the-art experimental labs, various applications of digital signal processing in particular on speech and (moving) images, simulations of perceptive behaviour, designing and running a large archive on languages from all over the globe and developing the Language Archiving Technology of which ELAN is one of the most used time series annotation tool worldwide. During the last ten years he was one of the founders and technical resp. scientific coordinator of the CLARIN research infrastructure and the EUDAT data infrastructure. Based on his experience in these large infrastructure projects he was also one of the persons pushing ahead the ideas of RDA. At European level he was advisor to the EC (a.o. Riding the Wave report on scientific data) and for many years he was appointed as member of the central IT advisory board of the Max Planck Society. His activities were awarded with the Heinz-Billing-Award on Scientific Computing and a honorary doctoral degree.