What Do We Want The Technology To Do

I compiled these notes/questions during the course of the workshop in order to feed back directly into the discussions and ideas that were floated about the nature of a Women's Film History Network (WFHN) and the course it should take.

One of the stated outputs of the WFHN is to produce a plan for a digital component, so although we don't have to specify what it is now, it is a thread that should be running through our discussions up to workshop 3 in the autumn which will focus more particularly on this.

General thoughts on the role of digitisation in academic research

  • The increasing volume of digitised resources available is producing a shift in research from qualitative to quantative questions as the tools available to interrogate the sources provide different modes of re-framing and conceptualising.
  • The digitisation of any primary source material will include an element of selection, if not of the actual material itself then certainly in terms of how the user can search it. Digitisation will lead to selective or skewed histories but not based, as with archives, on what survives but on what is migrated

General thoughts on the role of digital components of projects__

  • The digital tail wagging the project dog. Too often the compulsion to create 'something digital' ends up becoming the driving force or focus of a project rather than an element supporting its aims.
  • It can become a drain on resources because it hasn't been effectively costed both in terms of time and money.
  • If it's 'bolted on' and not fully integrated then the long-term sustainability can be left in doubt.
  • So, what the digital component does/or will be is dependent on WFHN does or will be.

What is the WFHN?
From the various kick-starts it was apparent that people envisaged its role in different ways

  • Provide research questions
  • Bring together sources
  • Identify different approaches to the study of women's film history
  • Provide case studies

What do we want the WFHN to do?
I thought it might be useful to frame the question in this way & provide some ideas - none of which are definitive or exclusive

Facilitate - is it there to connect people, their ideas and current work? Should it provide a springboard for research?
Aggregate - is it there to bring things together eg primary sources, articles etc.
Preserve - has it a role in preserving data, film through linking filmmakers and archives for example?
Advocacy - should it be raising awareness and bringing about change eg gender searches - ensure you can search for woman/women within resources, promote enhancements to existing resources.

So the priority is to identify the aims of the WFHN & from this develop a digital component that will support them in a sustainable way, both in terms of maintenance and curation.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License