This will be my first post about my new job as Programmer and Digital Humanist with the BUDDHIST MANUSCRIPTS FROM GANDHARA project at the Institut für Indologie and Tibetologie at Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München.
My job will be to work with developing IT tools for the Gandhari.org dictionary and catalog. As a part of this I am currently doing some research into how other historic text repositories deal with online publishing and access to the material.
For several years now I have been interested in the area that can be summed up as the question: ‘So, your Humanities data is published online, now what?’
In other words – how are different Humanities datasets (be it texts, images, tables) made available for public search and re-use. My hypothesis is that many such online repositories are searchable, but that many lack easy ways of re-using the search results.
Another issue is, what does ‘publicly searchable’ mean? Is a free-text search box where you have to input Greek characters in Beta-code actually publicly searchable if most of the public can’t figure out Beta-code.
As for re-use. Let’s say I was trying to research a certain subject and did lookups in many different databases. I want to add the data I have found to my own database. How do I do that? Copy/paste! I think there should be more focus on how data can be searched and re-used as a part of online publishing.
I have been looking at some different options and will try to highlight when I find some neat solutions.