Transforming Scholarly Practice: Embedding Technological Interventions to Support the Collaborative Analysis of Ancient Texts
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e-Research and Cyberinfrastructure programmes actively promote the development of new forms of scientific practice and collaboration through the implementation of tools and technologies that support distributed collaborative work across geographically dispersed research institutes and laboratories. Whilst originating in scientific domains, we have more recently seen a turn to the design of systems that support research practices in the social sciences and the arts and humanities. Attempts to embed large-scale infrastructures into research settings has brought to the fore the necessity of understanding the knowledge, skills and practices of researchers within a variety of disciplines that might use these technologies. In this paper, we consider an approach to gathering requirements through the introduction of various technical interventions for relatively short term periods so that we may come to an understanding their impact on routine work practices. Drawing upon an analysis of the detailed ways in which classicists work with digital images, we discuss the requirements for systems that support them as they collaborate in the interpretation of particular types of images. We discuss implications for the development of infrastructures to support research collaboration in this area and conclude with reflections upon the experiences gained from conducting naturalistic studies in parallel with design interventions.
Key wordse-science e-research cyberinfrastructure workplace studies digital humanities requirements engineering
We would like to thank Alan Bowman, Mike Brady, Charles Crowther, Roger Tomlin, Melissa Terras and Segolene Tarte of the VRE for the Study of Ancient Documents (VRE-SDM) and the e-Science and Ancient Documents (eSAD) projects. This research was supported by Embedding e-Science Applications—Designing and Managing for Usability project. Grant No. EP/D049733/1.
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