A Workshop about Data Management Training for the Humanities

The Sudamih Project will be staging a workshop on the 22nd July to find out about how different institutions and supporting organisations are approaching data management training for researchers in the humanities.

One of the major objectives of the Sudamih Project is to develop and trial training modules that can be used to improve researchers’ data management skills. Our recent requirements-gathering exercise found that whilst ‘data management’ is not a phrase that gets humanities researchers particularly excited, it can induce a sense of anxiety. Most researchers find that they sometimes misplace or lose track of information, or organise it a way that does not necessarily aid re-discovery or re-use further into their academic careers. Data management is often a low priority activity, which can place the data at risk of loss, or simply at risk of obscurity as it sits quietly in a corner of a hard drive, unknown by scholars, unused beyond its initial function, and gradually becoming obsolete as technology moves on. Researchers realise this, but many have little idea of ‘best practice’, and only worry about their data when problems arise. The need for training is increasingly being recognized by those involved in research support activities, as well as by researchers themselves.

Despite recognizing the importance of sound data management, most UK institutions are still only at the early stages in terms of developing training programmes to address the situation.  There are plenty of courses on databases, bibliographic software, and disciplinary research skills, but few that really seek to improve research information and data management skills more broadly. We hope that the workshop on the 22nd July will bring interested parties together so that we can all benefit from finding out about the current state of affairs and what people are proposing to improve matters.

We shall, of course, be relating the findings of our own interviews with humanities researchers at Oxford, and attempting to draw out recommendations from these, which we shall follow up over the next few months. Besides Sudamih, delegates will hear from representatives of the Digital Curation Centre, the Research Information Network, Vitae (the national researcher training body), and from projects at Oxford, Cambridge, and King’s College London. We also hope to have a lively panel session where the audience can get the chance to ask questions and relate their own experiences.

The workshop is free to attend, and includes lunch. Further details, along with registration instructions, can be found at the workshop webpage: http://sudamih.oucs.ox.ac.uk/training_workshop.xml.

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