I’ll Tell You What I Want (What I Really, Really Want)

1) (I want ah, I want ah, I want ah, I want ah, I want an easy to search database of thematic research collections. Possibly hosted by the Internet Archive. Zigazig-ah.)

the spice girls with the text "if you wanna be my archive, you have to be easy to find"

These are the Spice Girls. They care deeply about making things last forever (“research never ehhhhnds”). (Image: Kura.kun, Wikimedia Commons)

As a digital humanities (DH) student, I see amazing projects from around the globe on a daily basis. However, some of the projects I read about for class are no longer available online. Why? The most common response I’ve received is “funding”— the funding dries up, the project can’t be maintained, the project disappears. Scholars move on (just like they move on after writing books and articles), and institutions move on, because scholars don’t use these projects frequently enough.1 Fair. The humanities, however, are not thriving if innovative projects simply disappear. In this post, I argue for a small research infrastructure project with big implications; I will explain why I think the ethical imperative is on digital libraries to facilitate the development of this tool; and finally, I will address a critique of research infrastructure and explain why a database of thematic research collections (TRCs) sidesteps these problems.

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