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The benefits of ‘slow’ development: towards a best practice for sustainable technical infrastructure through the Davy Notebooks Project

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/05/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Notes and Records of the Royal Society
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date15/05/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this article we consider technical development and its role in digital humanities research efforts. We critique the concept that ‘novel’ development is crucial for innovation and tie this thinking to the corporatization of higher education. We suggest instead that sustainable technical development practices require a combination of need, creativity and reuse of existing technical infrastructure. First, we present our theory of ‘slow’ development based on this need-driven approach, then demonstrate how this theory can be applied to digital humanities research efforts using the Davy Notebooks Project as a case study. By tracing the history of this multi-phase, public crowdsourcing project and exposing the decision-making process behind its technical development, we demonstrate the promise and possibility of the ‘slow’ method proposed. When read in conjunction with the other essays in this special issue, we hope that this article will demonstrate how digital humanities methods and technical infrastructure can support and sustain traditional modes of scholarship, and the importance of applying the same careful approach to technical development that is applied to research methods more broadly.