Editorial

In this issue we are very pleased to present the first effort to bring together data and expertise from two different Computational Humanities projects. Berit Janssen, from the Tunes and Tales project, worked together with Albert Meroño Peñuela, Ashkan Ashkpour and Christophe Guéret, from the CEDAR project, to see if they could combine their respective data to develop new insights. They started from the question of whether they could learn more about individuals who had contributed songs to the Dutch Folk Song Database held by the Meertens Institute by examining the historical censuses data, the focus of the CEDAR project. Read the featured article to find out more about how they went about doing this. Elsewhere in this issue, you can learn more about what the song database offers to researchers, and to everyone interested in Dutch folk music.

This issue also features reports from events attended by members of the group. The musicologists have been busy. Berit Janssen attended a workshop on the computational analysis of jazz improvisation, an interesting instance of oral transmission. Peter van Kranenburg attended the 15th International Society for Music Information Retrieval conference in order to present work he did together with Folgert Karsdorp about detecting cadences in songs, using both musical and textual features – a good example of intra-project collaboration. I went to Washington to talk about the socio-economic value of open data, particularly geospatial data.

Albert Meroño Peñuela shares his views of the recent article in the ACM by Thomas Haigh, called provocatively, ‘we have never been digital’ (itself a play on Bruno Latour’s own earlier provocation that ‘we have never been modern’). Without wishing to spoil the read, Albert argues not only that people have always been digital, but also that the promise-hype cycle often deployed by scientists and engineers might be necessary to produce new products and services.

We are also very pleased to include reports from two highly esteemed visitors to the group. Benjamin Miller (Georgia State University) reflects on the work he did during the three months spent with us earlier this year, not least being the mastermind behind the DH web documentary, still available on our website. Christine Borgman (UCLA) shares her thoughts on the discussion we had about her forthcoming book about big and open data. She draws attention to the ways in which the current enthusiasm for big data, amongst many policy makers, industry and scholars, tends to neglect the complexity and diversity of data across different disciplines. This is a theme that resonates very strongly with the EU-funded RECODE project about open access to research data. More information about the first publication to arise from that project, and about the final conference presenting the policy recommendations, can also be found later in this issue.

With very best wishes for 2015.
Sally Wyatt, Programme Leader