Book Launch: Collaborative Historical Research in the Age of Big Data

Video of the panel discussion for the launch of the open access book, Collaborative Historical Research in the Age of Big Data: Lessons from an interdisciplinary project (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023). The book is available via open access here. The roundtable discussion is led by hosts Professor Jane Winters and Professor James Smithies, with the authors, Professor Ruth Ahnert and Professor Emma Griffin. Unfortunately, Dr Mia Ridge and Dr Giorgia Tolfo were unable to join the discussion.

Living with Machines is one of the largest digital humanities projects ever funded in the United Kingdom. The project brought together a large interdisciplinary team (39 members over its lifetime) to leverage more than twenty-years’ worth of digitisation projects in order to deepen our understanding of the impact of mechanisation on nineteenth-century Britain. In contrast to many previous digital humanities projects which have sought to create resources, the project was concerned to work with what was already there, which whilst straightforward in theory is complex in practice. This Element describes the efforts to do so. It outlines the challenges of establishing and managing a truly multidisciplinary digital humanities project in the complex landscape of cultural data in the United Kingdom and shares what other projects seeking to undertake digital history projects can learn from the experience. This event was part of AI UK 2023. The Alan Turing Institute’s national showcase of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence research and innovation.