Funding for the Methods Network ended March 31st 2008. The website will be preserved in its current state.

Expert Seminars

Programme and Papers
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Rapporteur's Report

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Expert Seminar on Evidence of Value: ICT in the Arts and Humanities

Convened by Mary Jacobus (Director, CRASSH), Alan Blackwell (Computer Laboratory, Crucible) and David Robey (Director, AHRC ICT in Arts and Humanities Research Programme) at Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, 11 - 12 January 2007.

Researchers in the Arts and Humanities increasingly apply (or are urged to apply) ICT methods to pursue their research or to enhance research materials in order to make them available to researchers. Many of the technologies now available - whether linguistic corpus analysis or data analysis, text editing, musical or image analysis, or GPI - use techniques at the boundaries of computer science.

The use of new research methods raises questions about their value to the Arts and Humanities domain. What difference do they make, what do they enable that could not be done before, and what evidence of value do they provide? The application of ICT methods also raises larger questions, including attempts to address the value of the Arts and Humanities more generally, as well as questions involving monetary measurement, or value for money: for instance, the potential for Arts and Humanities research to provide a talent-pool or source of innovation for the 'creative industries'.

Among the questions the Evidence of Value consultation seminar will pose are the following:

  • How and where (and for whom) should we look for evidence of value in the application of ICT in Arts/Humanities research?
  • Are technical achievements separable from the intellectual ends served by ICT methods for research?
  • Can ICT act as a stimulus for innovation in Arts/Humanities research?
  • Where ICT methods involved in Arts/Humanities research are costly (and they often are), what kinds of priorities and justifications can be made?
  • If comparisons are to be drawn across disciplinary boundaries, what measures can be used?
  • Should comparisons involve metrics, or can they be qualitative?

And, more generally:

  • How does one measure 'value' in Arts/Humanities research, including practice- and performance-based research?
  • How does one assess the value of ICT methods in Arts and Humanities practice?
  • What is the role of innovation and creativity in ICT research?

Although ICT provides the starting-point for this discussion, the questions posed above offer a novel perspective on difficult contemporary questions, including ideas about value in policy, strategic research, and academic partnerships in human intellectual, cultural, and artistic achievement.

AHDS Methods Taxonomy Terms

This item has been catalogued using a discipline and methods taxonomy. Learn more here.


  • General


  • Strategy and project management - Documentation
  • Strategy and project management - ICT project management
  • Strategy and project management - Accessibility analysis
  • Strategy and project management - Human factors analysis
  • Data Analysis - Content analysis