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

Connecting the Nodes: New Approaches to Methods Network Community Building

Torsten Reimer, Senior Research Coordinator, AHRC ICT Methods Network, introduces expansions to Methods Network outreach activities.

Over the last two years, the Methods Network has supported the arts and humanities community by funding activities and making available a wide range of resources on the use of advanced ICT tools and methods within a research context. The variety of outputs and follow-ups resulting from our activities and the continued interest in our programme demonstrate the need for a forum to discuss and explore these comparatively new approaches. While being committed to continue this programme over the next year, we are also thinking about new ways to further enrich our activities, expand the outreach of the Methods Network and facilitate networking and collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the arts and humanities community – ideally beyond the existence of the Methods Network.

An important step in this direction will be the expansion of the Get Involved! section of the Methods Network website over the next few months. As part of this, a Methods Network blog will be set up to encourage discussion by inviting guest authors from different backgrounds to comment on recent developments in their fields and the use of ICT in arts and humanities research in general. This blog will also focus on specific themes related to publications or events organized by the Methods Network or partner organizations such as the Arts and Humanities E-Science Support Centre (AHESSC), and ICT Guides, a database comprising ICT methods, tools and projects hosted by the Arts and Humanities Data Service.

The wider community platform will eventually incorporate a variety of tools for online discussion and dissemination of information. It will allow comments on Methods Network resources and will point interested parties to other relevant resources. A forum to discuss the Methods Network working paper Tools and Methods for Historical Research has already been set up: Fora such as the ‘Digital Historian’ aim to promote and encourage debate with experts and practitioners in their respective fields as well as to provide additional resources and support to those who have just begun exploring the benefits of incorporating ICT methods in their research.

"The community platform is an opportunity to continue Methods Network activities beyond the existence of the project"

By integrating this feedback into revised versions of the working papers or by directly feeding sections of the papers into other online communities (such as subject- or method-related wikis or mailing lists) we intend to turn these work-in-progress documents into community-driven resources that will ideally be kept up to date by their respective communities.

The Methods Network community platform will also have separate sections for our activities, giving the participants a space to discuss their interests and share information – before and after the respective event. This will facilitate the organization of follow-ups and the dissemination of selected materials and ideas to the community – allowing those not present at the activity to follow the discussion and take part in it. We also hope to encourage new ways of interaction between our users, for instance by exploring the integration of ‘folksonomies’ into the system: this would allow users to tag resources or even comments in a discussion forum and thereby create their own taxonomy that would react to new developments within a very dynamic area of research. Users will also be able to share their profiles, which will facilitate the making of new contacts, particularly as community activities initiated by our partner projects AHeSSC and ICT Guides will also take place on the same platform.

For all questions or suggestions please contact Torsten Reimer (

This article is taken from the Summer 2007 issue of the Methods Network newsletter.

A prototype of the community site is now publicly available at