10.21 NINCH et al.: scholarly resources online

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 14 May 1996 19:33:33 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 21.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: David Green <david@cni.org> (57)
Subject: Re: 10.1 happy birthday to Humanist

First, congratulations, Willard and others, on Humanist's Anniversary. And,
further, special congratulations to you Willard (from a Brit who got a
Master's from King's College, London) on your new appointment at King's.

I wanted to pick up on your citing the ACLS panel meeting on
"Internet-Accessible Scholarly Resources" held during its recent conference
in DC.

The panel, as you stated, certainly marks ACLS' continuing and concerted
efforts at working to address the issues of computing in the humanities,
that goes back several years.

One thing you didn't mention, however, was that, as executive director of
the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (affectionately
known as NINCH), I chaired and introduced the panel. This was no accident.
NINCH was founded by ACLS, working co-equally with the Coalition for
Networked Information and Getty AHIP, as a coalition of arts and humanities
organizations to help coordinate and lead the way in preparing cultural
resources for life on the Internet. ACLS has been a leader in looking at
the implications of advancing technologies, especially digital
technologies, for scholars in the humanities for many years, and the panel
was one way of introducing NINCH to its membership.

We are still very young (I came aboard in early March) but NINCH's 23
charter members, ranging from the Smithsonian and Library of Congress to
the American Historical Association and the National Association of Artists
Organizations, show an interest in learning about the techniques, the
advancing technologies, and current projects in representing cultural
resources in useful and accessible ways online. They have a lot to learn
from each other and one of the challenges facing NINCH is to relate and
coordinate the approaches, issues and achievements of the different sectors
and disciplines of the (mostly nonprofit) cultural enterprise.

One of the most interesting aspects of working on NINCH is comparing
different national approaches to this immense opportunity of representing
the breadth of cultural resources online in effective and usable forms.
Unlike many European countries, there is, characteristically, no
centralized national plan for doing this. An opportunity for comparing
approaches will be afforded at the DRH 96 conference this July in Oxford.
Dan Greenstein from the British Arts & Humanities Data Service will be
chairing a session on Tuesday July 2 in which AHDS will be seen alongside
NINCH, the Canadian Heritage Information Network (Lyn Elliot Sherwood) and
the Netherlands Historical Data Archive (Peter Doorn and Annuska Graver).

NINCH's strategy is still evolving: an initial plan will be available this
summer. Any questions or those interested in talking further about how
NINCH can best operate should e-mail me at david@cni.org.

>First, two recent meetings of considerable significance.
>One was the annual gathering of the American Council of Learned Societies,
>in Washington, DC, U.S.A., 25-27 April, where five of us participated in a
>panel, "Internet-accessible scholarly resources for the humanities and
>social sciences". The participants were Susan Hockey (Director, CETH,
>Princeton/Rutgers), Jennifer Trant (Imaging Initiative, Getty Art History
>Information Program), Charles Henry (Director of Libraries, Vassar), and
>Richard Rockwell (Executive Director, Inter-University Consortium for
>Political and Social Research); I, representing Humanist, was the
>commentator. What made this event significant was, I think, the fact of its
>being held at all, at this annual meeting. Such recognition of computing by
>the ACLS follows just a few months on Humanist becoming its adjunct
>publication, and a few more months on ACLS President Stan Katz's address at
>the ACH/ALLC conference in Santa Barbara, at which he identified computing
>as one of the most important priorities of the academy for the next decade.