Infrastructural Needs for Romance Research Data
Johannes von Vacano (ULB Bonn) / Doris Grüter (ULB Bonn) for FID Romanistik
Text+ data domain: Collections (comprehensive)
The status quo of research data management in Romance Studies was summarized in a working paper (cf. Erben et al, 2018) published by the Specialized Information Service for Romance Studies (FID) – in cooperation with the Working Group for Digital Romance Studies (AG Digitale Romanistik), affiliated with the German Association for Romance Studies (Deutscher Romanistenverband), and the association romanistik.de. The paper reflects the user’s perspective by drawing upon an array of sources:
- a Working Group for Digital Romance Studies survey (cf. AG Digitale Romanistik, 2014),
- various workshops organized by the FID and the Working Group for Digital Romance Studies for determining research data management requirements in Romance Studies and for enabling the development of necessary services (cf. reports on the FID-Website),
- frequent discussion at FID advisory board meetings and
- insights gained at relevant expert conferences.
The paper highlights the unique characteristics of Romance research data and the resulting specific requirements for the development and further expansion of necessary infrastructures for sustainable research data storage, reusability and findability.
Romance research data have the same properties as Humanities research data in general (long-term relevance, historicity, contextuality, etc.), but are specifically characterized by their diversity (in terms of the variety of disciplines, languages and regions covered and the data domains and formats utilized) and by their relevance for a multilingual, international community of researchers.
This gives rise to special infrastructural requirements, such as:
- options for multilingual documentation and search queries
- implementation of international, open standards (to ensure data reusability across regions and disciplines)
- free access (ideally), including for international researchers.
For the field of Romance Studies, the current problems connected with the existing interdisciplinary infrastructure are:
- the poor findability of Romance research data due to distributed storage on disparate and insufficiently interlinked repositories and the lack of subject-specific and language-specific search options within the respective repositories, frequently in combination with a lack of the necessary metadata
- usage barriers resulting from insufficient user support that is generally not tailored to the specific requirements of the community – concerning, for example, the multilingualism of Romance research data and linguistic diversity within the larger community.
- Research infrastructures (virtual research environments, relevant tools, working environments) need to be pooled, further developed and linked together within an integrated network. The functionalities that must be offered according to Romance Studies researchers include for example multilingual data description, multilingual user interfaces (for data upload, editing, presentation, search and retrieval), flexible integration of discipline-specific tools and support for all standards commonly used in the Romanic countries
- Integration of the various search systems into a common network, bundling of research data references, virtual merging of widely distributed resources to enable interdisciplinary and discipline-specific searching. This requires a filtering option for different languages. A multilingual search interface is desirable as well (multilingual subject terms).
- Furnishing of a central infrastructure (or networking of peripheral infrastructures via a central contact point) for the storage and the archiving of research data, with suitable user workflows.
AG Digitale Romanistik: „Ergebnisse der Umfrage der AG Digitale Romanistik zur Langzeitarchivierung von digitalen Forschungsdaten für die Romanistik“, in: Mitteilungsheft des Deutschen Romanistenverbands e.V., Frühjahr 2015, S. 36-40, hier: S. 37, http://deutscher-romanistenverband.de/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/Auswertung_Forschungsdaten-Umfrage.pdf (23.08.2018).
Erben, Maria / Grüter, Doris / Rohden, Jan: Forschungsdatenmanagement in der Romanistik. Aktuelle Situation und zukünftige Perspektiven, Bonn 2018, hdl.handle.net/20.500.11811/1178.
Fachinformationsdienst Romanistik, Workshops zu Forschungsdaten, https://fid-romanistik.de/forschungsdaten/workshops/.