Building a Collaborative Knowledge Space for Humanist Scholars

Ian Johnson, Director
Archaeological Computing Laboratory & Time Map Project
Senior Research Fellow, Archaeology
University of Sydney


It is becoming increasingly difficult for scholars to keep pace with the deluge of new information sources and the development of new methods of academic communication. Most people, particularly in the Arts and Humanities, have neither time, expertise nor motivation to keep abreast of ever-changing technologies. However, by not doing so, they miss out on new methods of taming old monsters, and on new opportunities for research, teaching and outreach.

In this talk I will discuss two tools for Humanist scholars - Heurist and T1000 - which we have been developing as part of a Collaborative KnowledgeSpace (CKS) project for the Sydney Humanities and Social Sciences e-Research Initiative (SHSSERI):

1. Heurist is a heuristic reference manager which handles internet bookmarks, bibliographic references and user annotation in a seamless, browser-based social bookmarking space. Heurist is a tool for individual scholars and small workgroups to build, annotate, share and publish bibliographic data and web link lists. It is also the engine behind the SHSSERI CKS.

2. T1000 is a web application which allows individuals with no programming knowledge to create a fully functioning, well-structured web database application of moderate complexity in just a few minutes. It forms the core of all the database applications we build, including Heurist. It is Open Source.

Heurist and T1000 encapsulate our experience over many years of developing web-based information management for the Humanities. I will outline why we felt the need to build them, their underlying philosophy, and the way in which they fit into academic workflows. They are immediately accessible for use at no cost. I will also briefly overview the other functions of the CKS.