[ECAR 2006] Sustaining the Humanities and Socail Sciences – John Unsworth


John Unsworth is Dean of the GraduatE School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. He’s talking about the ACLS Report on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Socieal Sciences.

Cyberinfrastructure is more than the technology, but it’s the “intangible layer of expertise, best practices and standards, and it is tools, collections and collaborative environments that can be broadly shared across communities of inquiries.”

When infrastructure works is should be invisible – and computers aren’t invisible enough.

The Commission’s report was just released on December 1. The topmost group of the intended audiences are “senior scholars, who have the power to change scholarly practice and the responsibility to exercise that power.”

The long-tail phenomenon really does apply to even the most obscure subjects in the humanities.

Humanities research activities tend to unfold over decades, not months. Sustainability of projects is a huge concern.

Certain parts of the commercial sector are behaving far more adventurously with respect to intellectual property than universities are.

The report has eight recommendations that encourage the development of infrastructure for these sorts of efforts.

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