“One of the cultural revolutions we’re living through is a change in the relationship between the way knowledge is gathered and the way it is communicated. There was an old model of scholarship: experts did painstaking research. When they discovered something they shared it with their colleagues and, to a greater or lesser extent, with the public. The tools and methods they used were kept away from the the view of that public; only the results of the process were shared. One of the better consequences of digital technology is the challenge to this basic order. The process of gathering knowledge is no longer separate from that of sharing it. And the tools and methods of research are becoming public property…
This is a new kind of knowledge. It is not a product but a process.
It consists not of conclusions but of an open-ended invitation to explore.“
Fintan O’Toole, Arts & Books – Culture Shock, Irish Times, Saturday, May 11, 2013, p.8
On 7 May I attended a talk about Open Access to Humanites Data organised
by the organisation at the Royal Irish Academy of Ireland (DRI)
As someone who is very aware and actively taking part in sharing my humanities research and transdisciplinary arts practices online I was delighted to hear about Open Access and what it means for the Humanities. As I’m attempting to make my own work (from a rural location) as accessible as possible, it was informative to hear cultural archivists and researchers actively engaging in this area. Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland, gave a stimulating overview how digitising the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census’ led to unexpected research and remarkable new social understandings of a very important time in Ireland’s history, that have resonances with today’s Ireland too. Likewise the quote from Fintan O’Toole above preceding his discussion of another fascinating historic document that has been digitised and has gone live on line yesterday - the 17th century Down Survey of Ireland (the Down refers to lands being laid ‘down’ in measurement, not Co. Down) conveys key reflections on the enormous changes and potentials in the open access movement for the cultural sector. The Down Survey can be accessed at iti.ms/16YITDD (more…)