The Research Information Network has published (in April) case studies which analyse how humanities’ researchers discover, use, create and manage their information resources. There are case studies of: Old Bailey Online; The Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM); University of Birmingham English Department; UCL Philosophy Department; Corpus linguistics; The Digital Republic of Letters.
The Reinventing research? Information practices in the humanities report confirms disciplinary differences (e.g. compared with findings in the previous RIN publication on life sciences). In terms of the kinds of electronic resource used "A majority of respondents use Google (79%) and/or Google Scholar (66%) as a starting point to locate relevant research. But traditional methods, such as citation chaining (83%) and learning from peers and experts (95%) remain the most significant ways of finding resources. The scholars in our study also subscribe to e-mail lists (66%), with many using RSS feeds (31%), social networks (48%), or other notifications (42%). These numbers reflect a consistently mixed use of traditional and newer information resources and technologies and suggest a thoughtful engagement with the new technologies that best complement their research needs." (p68)
You can download the report at http://www.rin.ac.uk/system/files/attachments/Humanities_Case_Studies_for_screen_2_0.pdf (url updated 26 May 2011)
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bluebell wood, Hellingly, April 2011