Mark  Custer

  • Title / Position: Archivist / EAD Manager
  • Organization: Smithsonian Institution
  • Twitter: @steganogram

Since my undergrad days, when I pursued a double major in English Literature and Astronomy, I have been interested in the humanities, sciences, and technology. In my professional career, I've worked nearly exclusive in digital libraries and archives. In fact, most recently, I've been working on a pan-institutional project that will result in a large body of consistently encoded archival descriptive data.

I like treemaps, functional programming languages (even though I'm new to them), and games (video or otherwise), as long as they don't have their roots in edutainment.

  • Sharing Data / What Data?


    I attended a symposium earlier this month entitled “Sharing and Sustaining Research Data,” wherein the participants specifically discussed scientific datasets.  One of the presentations that really excited me was David E. Schindel’s talk on “DNA Barcoding and Early Data Release.” During this presentation, Schindel discussed the Fort Lauderdale Principles, 2003, which he described as being a new paradigm for accelerating Cybertaxonomy development (much like the Bermuda Principles, 1996, which continue to encourage the rapid dissemination of genomic data).

    I’ll summarize the Fort Lauderdale Principles as follows:  when it comes to sharing data, there are three groups that are responsible for ensuring the success of the “community resource system:”

    1. Funders
    2. Producers
    3. Users

    Furthermore, producers must commit to “making data broadly available prior to publication,” and users should respect the expressed research intents of the producers.   This requires that data should be published before the research (or, as the case may be in many DH projects, even before the website).

    Therefore, I’d like to discuss how such data-sharing tenets do or do not fit into the current Digital Humanities landscape.  I have seen online discussions and articles, such as Christine Borgman’s “The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the Humanities,” but what have been the results so far?  Or, if I’m completely mistaken and such systems for data sharing already exist (maybe GitHub has become the de facto standard, for instance?), I’d love to learn more about those systems during this THATCamp, too.

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