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UCL Centre for Digital Humanities



Workshop on Users, e-Research and Web 2.0

Claire SRoss1 February 2010

Despite it only being the launch of the Centre for Digital Humanities today, we have been active for a good while now! One of the most recent outtings was to Oxford.

A couple of weeks ago, Claire Warwick, Melissa Terras and I were in Oxford for the NeSc Workshop on Users, Usability and User-engagement Based on e-Research, and Web 2.0. It was a really interesting couple of days. For my notes on the sessions hit my blog here.

The speakers sparked a lot of discussion about the influence and impact on web 2.0 on research infrastructure and how web2.0 changes the way we reach users, build relationships and support user activities. A great aspect of the workshop was produced from a web slam, were each of the participants has 60 seconds to tell the group what web 2.0 tools they utilised and why.

Lots of people use google exclusively, twitter, facebook, flickr, ning… all of the usual suspects. From the slam it looked like the 90:9:1 rule of participation applies to social media. 90% of users are lurkers who don’t tend to contribute, 9% of users contribute from time to time, and 1% of users account for almost all the social media action.

After this was a great round up discussion which looked at some of the key questions that came out of the two days of talks.

  • Internet has changed the way we think. Are we no longer critical thinkers?
  • What are we willing to pay for data what are we willing to pay to participate data what do we do with the deluge?
  • What counts as real?
  • Comes back to Quality authority trust. And personal/professional reputation
  • Saturation point in data?
  • squirreling behaviour interlinkages between different environments need to be looked at
  • digital makes other activities that we care about easier – context is king
  • Should questions get more specific to deal with data overload?
  • Easier searches what’s free open to me – look at those first. paid journals are going to be last point of call
  • Too much noise you lose shared cultural experience?
  • Sheer amounts of data is impacting research practices – producing new questions methodologies and users and identities
  • When do you stop?

Lots to think about; I will particularly pondering about if there is too much data noise do you lose the shared cultural experience? Has the internet and the quick and easy approach that web 2.0 has brought us, led us down a path to mediocrity, are we no longer critical thinkers, do we all now have superficial thoughts? I hope not.