Tools for Data-Driven Scholarship: Past, Present, Future



On October 22-24, 2008, nearly fifty scholars, librarians, museum professionals, computer scientists, software developers, and funders attended a workshop at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Maryland, to discuss the past, present, and future of tools that can assist scholarship in an age of massive digital resources. The workshop, co-funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, brought these people together because of their active engagement with the production and use of these digital tools and their deep knowledge of associated issues such as scholarly communication and sustainability. (Please see Appendix A for a list of attendees.)

The discussion was pragmatic rather than ideological; the goal was to understand from experience and example how such tools could be created, disseminated, and built upon in a more effective way than has been the norm. In 2005, the NSF sponsored a Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities in conjunction with the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. This new meeting was explicitly conceived as an opportunity to build on that earlier effort and advance progress toward some of the challenges raised.