Spotlight on the Digital
The Humanities Research Institute (HRI) is one of three UK institutions chosen by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) to develop technical specifications for new software that will address problems of resource discovery at national and institutional levels.
Many digitised collections are not as ‘discoverable’ as they could be through the channels and devices most commonly accessed by users. This represents a missed opportunity for the institutions that have created such collections as it reduces their use, and the potential impact on research and teaching that we know digitised collections can have.
The HRI is addressing the specific problem of digital orphans: digitised collections that are deemed to be undiscoverable, unused, unknown or forgotten by the wider research community because they are invisible to the normal mechanisms of discovery, such as search engines, subject catalogues, aggregation sites and other subject-specific websites. This invisibility is often the result of poor site design. The HRI is proposing a tool that will ‘fix’ this problem by intelligently analysing the contents of a digitised collection and presenting the information to discovery services in a way that is more meaningful, without the need for an institution to alter the original site.