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AHDS E-Science
Scoping Study
E-Science Scoping Study

Project Details and Contacts

 Brief Description

The objective of the AHRC funded e-Science Scoping study is to overcome the comparative lack of knowledge of current e-Science projects and outputs in the Arts and Humanities. The project will investigate the relevance and potential applications of the tools, approaches, and methodologies currently used in e-Science in each broad subject domain within the Arts and Humanities.

It will assess and evaluate them by drawing upon the knowledge and expertise of a panel of subject experts at a succession of seminars to be held in March or April. A report will be submitted to the AHRC in August 2006.

It will also use this knowledge to create an online knowledge base for those wishing to engage with an e-arts and humanities agenda. The base will include a searchable database of e-Science tools, approaches, and methodologies, accompanied by 'understandable' descriptions and suggested uses for each. The database will be governed by the existing AHDS computational methods taxonomy, and will expand it where necessary.

The project will run for nine months (November 2005 - August 2006). For further information, please contact-

Luke Blaxill (Project Research Assistant), Tel. 020 7848 1988, Email:


A recent expert seminar funded by the AHRC ICT Programme revealed that in general awareness and understanding of e-science and e-science projects was low. Consequently little thought had been given as to how e-science programme outputs might be adapted and applied within the arts and humanities. The seminar participants recommended that a scoping / mapping study be undertaken in order to overcome this lack of awareness and understanding and to provide a knowledge base for scholars wishing to engage with an e-arts and humanities agenda.

It is likely that many of the projects funded under the e-science programme would have uses within the arts and humanities. For example, VideoWorks for the Grid is developing tools for Web-based video transcoding, editing, customization, structural analysis, semantic content analysis and query by content; and the MyGrid project is developing a workbench to aid the research process. Both of these projects are likely to produce outputs that would be adaptable for use by arts and humanities scholars.

Aims and Objectives

The aims of this knowledge gathering project are threefold: first, to address the lack of awareness and understanding of the e-science agenda and the role it might play in enhancing and advancing research within the arts and the humanities; second, to develop a knowledge base that will serve to assist the arts and humanities research community to find out about, adapt and apply existing e-science outputs; and third to use the knowledge gathered to engage with and develop an e-arts and humanities agenda for the future.

The project will:

  1. Gather and collate information on e-science and e-social science projects
  2. Identify key features and outputs arising from those projects, including software, tools and relevant publications
  3. Match these against the methods, issues and challenges faced by arts and humanities researchers, highlighting in particular those with an explicit arts or humanities input
  4. Create an on-line knowledge base for consultation by arts and humanities scholars, including case studies of arts and humanities engagement with 'e-science' projects, and links to relevant publications and training information
  5. Produce a report for the AHRC identifying potential opportunities to be incorporated into an e-research agenda/programme for the arts and humanities
Benefits and Interests

This work has the potential to be of benefit across all the disciplines covered by the AHRC remit and to help to inform AHRC thinking and strategy in this area. It aims to provide the following benefits:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of e-science, and how the e-science agenda might relate to the different disciplines within the arts and humanities
  • Enable scholars engaging with ICT in their research practice to find about and take advantage of the outputs and tools arising from the e-science and e-social science programmes
  • Assist the AHRC in the development of an arts and humanities e-research agenda

The objectives of the project will be achieved using the following methods:

  1. Desk research and interviews: The RA working on the project will undertake desk research to identify and collate information, including aims and objectives, tools and outputs, on current e-science (including e-social science) projects. Much of this information is available through the DTI and NeSC websites. Follow-up interviews will be held with projects to verify the information gathered.
  2. Analysis and contextualisation: Initial discussions with subject experts will assist in mapping the information gathered under (1) to the arts and humanities, and identifying software and tools that may be of use in A&H subject communities. During this process a set of materials will be created for consultation during the subject expert seminars.
  3. Subject expert seminars: eight seminars (mapped to the AHRC subject panels) will be held with small groups (maximum six participants) of subject experts across the arts and humanities to consider the results obtained under (1) and (2) and to assess the relevance and utility of the outputs to their domains. Participants will be asked to match these against the methods, issues and challenges faced by them as researchers, highlighting those with particular relevance. From this process an index will be created to assist in the discovery and navigation process.
  4. Written outputs: A report for the AHRC, records for all e-science projects and outputs and associated case studies will be compiled by the project team, based on the information gathering activities, and the outcomes from the seminars.
  5. Database: a web accessible database will be created and populated with this material for use by the scholarly community. The Methods Taxonomy created by the AHDS for the Projects and Methods (PM) Database would be extended if necessary and used for this project. We would also investigate the possibility of extending the PM database to incorporate this new material. We envisage that users will be able to search by project, method (e.g. data mining, visualisation), software etc.

We envisage (2) and (3) being undertaken in collaboration with the Methods Network, and possibly through their proposed workshop programme.


A number of outputs have been produced/ will be made available.

These include:

  1. A report for the AHRC which would assist and inform any e-research programme
  2. A set of reports from the subject expert seminars available through both the AHDS and Methods Network websites
  3. An on-line knowledge base with details of projects, project outputs, publications, training materials, and case studies, together with their relevance to arts and humanities research

The outputs currently available are the materials and reports from each of the seven expert seminars which were held between May and July. These are listed below-

Expert Seminars

Library and Information StudiesMelissa Terraspdf (10 kb) ppt (1544 kb) pdf (46 kb) pdf (33 kb)
Literary and Textual StudiesPeter Robinsonpdf (12 kb) ppt (1555 kb)pdf (24 kb) pdf (46 kb)
ArchaeologyWilliam Kilbridepdf (12 kb) ppt (2455 kb) pdf (48 kb) pdf (76 kb)
Historical StudiesMark Greengrasspdf (12 kb) ppt (960 kb) pdf (49 kb) pdf (177 kb)
Visual ArtsSue Golliferpdf (13 kb) pdf (1976 kb)pdf (36 kb) pdf (46 kb)
Performing ArtsAngela Piccinipdf (13 kb) ppt (847 kb) pdf (63 kb) pdf (50 kb)
LinguisticsPaul Raysonpdf (12 kb) pdf (91 kb) pdf (173 kb) pdf (50 kb)

Additional Documentation

Tobias Blanke, Sanjay VivekanandanComplete Tools Summariespdf (139 kb)
Luke BlaxillComplete Project Summariespdf (262 kb)
Luke BlaxillReport on Projects and Tools (draft version)pdf (97 kb)


Dissemination of the results of the reports, case studies, and seminar reports will take place via the AHDS and Methods Network websites. It is also expected that the results of the project will be the subject of t least one conference paper and at least one article.

 Project Details and Contacts
Project TitleE-Science Scoping Study
Start Date14/11/2005
End Date21/08/2006
Project DirectorSheila Anderson
Tel: 020 7848 1981
Project AdministratorMartha Brundin / Katrin Weidemann
Tel: 020 7848 1978
Project Research AssistantLuke Blaxill
Tel: 020 7848 1988