The RCH’s Digital Library follows one the Centre’s main goals, which is to promote the diffusion of research results in the field of Digital Humanities. Furthermore, through its experimental approach to this publishing endeavour, the RCH wishes to explore new tendencies in digital publishing, especially since this poses new challenges for academic publications which seek to combine research with particular reading habits.
In other words, the RCH seeks to expand the limits of a scientific publication taking advantage of the new possibilities posed -but also questioned- by an emerging digital environment. The aim is to preserve the aesthetic and functional elements of reading on paper – the aesthetic pleasure, the functionality that came with the printed word, while incorporating the new topology of digital space.
Such an endeavour might bring forward new answers to the pressing problem facing many young academics who find it particularly hard to get their work published, especially in regards to long waiting periods and the often unrealistic conditions put forward by many publishers for the publication of monographs or collected volumes of articles.
The RCH Digital Library project aims to contribute to the legitimisation of the “end product”. Despite the fact that many scientific publications are published under very questionable refereeing processes, it is still a fact that printed research results hold greater prestige within the community than their digital equivalents. All publications of the RCH Digital Library will be assessed by a scientific committee comprising of members of the academic community with long standing experience thus aiming to upscale the value accorded to digital scientific publications.
Moreover, the RCH Digital Library will attempt to give substance to its claim to be a “library” rather than just an online, open-access depot of scientific publications. Moving beyond (or back to) the materiality of a library, we will attempt to create an interactive, participatory space where readers can share their new reading experiences. It is becoming clear that traditional libraries served far more complex social needs in the near past than just lending material, and we hope to cater for these needs of a younger generation of “readers” who is laying claim to new urban spaces.
Creating a publishing tool as well as an environment that enhances and welcomes new reading habits and behaviours, will lead to a re-evaluation of what constitutes a digital publication, what its limitations are, what new habits it introduces and how scientific writing will accommodate these new realities. So in this respect, the RCH Digital Library aim to become a research project in the field of Digital Humanities.
The RCH Digital Library is a research project designed by the Research Centre for the Humanities, and is implemented in collaboration with the National Documentation Centre.