Historians don’t often like to think about data management. Indeed, it is almost considered an ugly word or a taboo. Data Management gets in the way of the interesting stuff – the research, the learning. Nevertheless, it is vital to the work that we do. History is data. It is the essential essence of the subject. Yet, it is so easy to leave your folder system in a complete mess or not to consider issues of preservation or back-up until necessary (or until your hard drive dies on you!). Stuff that you produce now, for current use is understandable, but 6 months down the line, a year? Perhaps not so much.
It is for this reason that the Institute of Historical Research in partnership with the Department of History at the University of Hull and Sheffield, as well as the Humanities Research Institute (Sheffield), applied to the AHRC Collaborative Skills Development strand late last year, to undertake a project called History DMT. The bid was successful and work began in February.
History DMT stands for Data Management Training and Guidance. We seek to integrate best practice, good principles, and skills of research data management within the postgraduate curriculum and among early career historians through a series of specialist workshops at London, Hull, and Sheffield and through the development of a free online training course dedicated to the research data types that historians are most likely to come across in their research.
Various pathways will enable a hands-on approach to research data management that covers the many types of data which historians generate, as well as the means with which to share that data. These will cover:
- Textual materials
- Visual sources
- Oral History
- Statistical data
Over the coming months the History SPOT blog will contain various posts about this project as it progresses, so please keep an eye out.
This is an AHRC-funded project, as part of the Collaborative Skills Development strand. History DMT is led by the Institute of Historical Research in collaboration with the Department of History, University of Hull and the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. The principal grant holder is Professor Matthew Davies (IHR), with Dr Matt Phillpott (IHR) acting as project manager. Chris Awre (Head of Information Management within Library and Learning Innovation, University of Hull) and John Nicholls (Hull) will lead at the University of Hull, and Michael Pidd (HRI Manager, University of Sheffield) and Sharon Howard (HRI, University of Sheffield), from the University of Sheffield.