Suzzy Data Workshop – Guest blogger Simon Musgrave

Several of the regular bloggers here are associated with PARADISEC, and they are modest folk. We cannot therefore expect them to tell you that the conference which they held this week (Sustainable data from Digital Fieldwork) was a huge success and a really wonderful event.
But this is a message which should be broadcast, so I felt that a guest post was appropriate.

The conference covered a range of topics including:
– the nuts and bolts of actually doing digital fieldwork, and the perils encountered. How many conferences have you attended where someone actually spread out a foldable solar cell during their presentation (thanks Laura Robinson!)?

– what sort of training is needed for digital fieldwork and how that training can be delivered.
– the roles and functions of repositories and the challenge of both developing new modes of scholarly practice and then having them recognised by institutions.
– actual examples of the practice of various scholars, including non-linguists. Murray Henwood, a botanist from the University of Sydney, had the best ‘hook’ for his presentation, which started with a description of a fieldworker suffering from hemlock poisoning!
– descriptions and demonstrations of some great new tools. These included FieldHelper, a very user-friendly tool to help organise metadata (and doesn’t that sound good!), as well as several excellent data presentation packages (such as EOPAS for interlinear text, and Bidwern).
The whole atmosphere of the meeting was great also, with a friendly and optimistic tone which really assisted in generating fascinating discussions. I attended the two days of the conference proper – there was also a day of practical workshops which I had to miss, but I am sure that the workshop day will have been an enormous success also.
Congratulations to the whole team involved in this event – and when can we do it again?
Proceedings can be bought from Sydney University Press, or downloaded here from the Sydney eScholarship Repository.