ARIA was a JISC funded Arts and Humanities ICT Awareness Programme aimed at giving researchers, including postgraduates, a broad overview of relevant ICT tools and resources, illustrations of their use and help in learning how to use them.
We developed an interactive road map providing access to a suite of nationally available on-line resources comprising existing training resources and new content. New content is being developed in consultation with AHDS to provide a mix of case studies, shorter examples, and pointers to in-house and third party training materials. Materials will be a blend of self-study and tutor mediated options with flexible pathways.
The project was guided by user surveys and a team of specialist advisers representing the spread of disciplines covered by the AHRC. Examples of the topics we were interested in are:
- New models of textual scholarship.
- New visualisation, presentation and archiving methods.
- New methods of resource discovery, evaluation and citation.
- New and emerging forms of scholarly communication and publication.
- Data analysis employing digital tools and resources.
- New methods of collaboration and co-operation.
We aimed to make maximum use of existing resources through a thorough review and selection process and to reuse such resources as far as possible through localisation of content to different subjects.
We welcomed wide involvement of the Arts and Humanities research community in the content review and development process and in testing and evaluation of the project outcomes.
Much of the innovative and exciting use of ICT is being made by the Arts and Humanities researchers. It is therefore important to ensure that awareness of advanced ICT techniques and facilities such as the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) and the Resource Discovery Network (RDN) is maximised.
Although most universities provide generic training for students and staff in the use of, for instance, spreadsheets and databases, very few have the facilities to provide dedicated Arts and Humanities training in the use of ICT. Such resources are needed if the majority of researchers are to be enabled to make the best use of the new technologies and understand the benefits.
For most universities, there is also a more pressing need for training resources of this kind. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is placing increasing emphasis on generic research training in both MA and doctoral degrees. Clearly this will have to comprise a significant element of training in the use of ICT. As this element becomes more important in postgraduate training, we can reasonably expect a knock-on effect on established researcher' peceptions of their development needs.
In this context, the JISC, through its Committee for the Support of Research (JCSR) and with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), agreed to fund an awareness and training programme targeted at the arts and humanities community. The purpose of this activity was as follows:
The main output was a suite of nationally available on-line resources.