#SC1: Infrastructure and Capacity Building Roundtable
Infrastructure and Capacity Building for Sustainable Digital Projects
1National Endowment for the Humanities, United States of America; 2WGBH Media Library and Archives; 3Alexandria Archive Institute (Open Context); 4University of Pittsburgh; 5University of Nebraska-Lincoln
For decades, technology has enabled the production of digital scholarship and the preservation of cultural heritage collections. At increasing rates, researchers, librarians, archivists, and technical experts have developed groundbreaking projects, techniques, tools, and collections to answer new questions and advance entirely new fields of inquiry and access. Now, because of technical and social changes and the sheer volume of digital work being produced, the durability and sustainability of these projects and products are of critical concern. This ACH 2019 roundtable discussion panel will address key challenges and questions in building digital infrastructure, capacity, and sustainability.
The panel will be composed of experts in the humanities, libraries and archives, and technical development. Their experience in the humanities ranges from archaeology to literature to history to material culture, with a wide array of methodological specializations including data editing, digital publishing, archives and special collections, metadata, and digital humanities. The panel’s chairs represent a national funding agency interested in the needs and opportunities in the field of digital infrastructure and capacity building.
The session will address issues, questions, and strategies associated with building both long-term infrastructure and shorter term capacity for doing digital projects. Discussion topics will encompass the preservation and access of data and digital collections; sustainability with and beyond grant funding; collaboration between subject and methodology experts; responsibility for maintaining digital projects as they mature; upgrading aging code and infrastructure; and scalability to different institution sizes. All of the above topics—and likely any solutions or plans for digital infrastructure and capacity—involve both technical and socio-cultural questions, which we will explore in the session.
The session chairs will moderate the panel, posing questions to the panelists and facilitating a roundtable discussion. The audience will also be invited to ask questions and share of experience. The overarching aim of this session is to inspire conversation and exchange about major issues and challenges in this field. Since the panel is being convened by a major funding body in the humanities, we hope to gain insight into priorities, challenges, and paths forward in digital infrastructure and capacity building. Finally, we see this as an important opportunity to explore how digital sustainability specifically pertains to the humanities. While some issues in the larger field of digital sustainability will overlap with information technology, STEM, and social sciences concerns, others will be unique to the humanities and our institutions of cultural heritage and scholarship.