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Kamińska, A. (2016). Visual Forms of Information Presentation and Their Place in Formal Digital Scientific Communication. In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, pp. 815-816.
Visual Forms of Information Presentation and Their Place in Formal Digital Scientific Communication

Visual Forms of Information Presentation and Their Place in Formal Digital Scientific Communication

The purpose of this paper is answering the question concerning the place of the visual transfer in the formal system of digital scientific communication. The question is important for scientists who publish or would like to publish their works in a visual way, because the question is connected with issue of the evaluation of the scientific achievements. The bibliometric impacts, like Impact Factor or Hirsch Index, respect only the publications that take part in the formal scientific communication. Attendance or absence of visual forms of information presentation in the formal scientific communication might influence the scientist’s decision about presenting scientific works in a visual way and thereby popularise the idea of digital humanities.

The formal scientific communication is difficult to unambiguously define the cause of the fuzzy limit between formal and informal scientific communication. In general, before the publications become part of the formal scientific communication, they should be edited, reviewed, published and indexed in bibliography, bibliographic databases, scientific search engines (Nahotko, 2010; Pikas, 2006; Sapa, 2009). In this research the visual forms of information presentation were analysed using those four features of the formal scientific communication. Scientific papers, communication channels and bibliographies had to be digital and be accessible by Internet.

The visual forms of information presentation include forms using static or dynamic pictures as information media (maps, diagrams, infographics, 3D animations and movies) and textual digital publications whose design and navigation were strongly visual like The Roaring 'Twenties: an interactive exploration of the historical soundscape of New York City (Thompson and Mahoy, 2013). The visual forms of information presentation had to be about humanities topics.

Forty-one English-speaking digital humanities projects were collected by the Polish scientific literature and DH Awards project (“Digital Humanities Awards”, n.d.). It is difficult to state what proportion of all digital humanities projects constitute the collected projects because of insufficient registration. Therefore, the generalisation of the research results is impossible. However, the analysis of the collected projects enables to notice problems in presenting information in a visual way with digital formal scientific communication and offer some solutions.

It was found that maps, graphs, movies and animations were most frequently published on websites connected with some specific projects of digital humanities, institutions or initiatives devoted to digital humanities, carrying out many projects. Very occasionally, they were found on scientific blogs, academic social networks such as academia.edu and general portals like Flick, YouTube or Vimeo. The analysis of the visual forms of information presentation proved that the collected material had not been previously edited almost in all cases. It seemed that the reverse tendency would be shown in case of websites on which the projects were published. Still, only few websites contained information concerning their editors. No information on the review of the visual forms of information presentation were found. After considering the place where they were published it turned out that the information including its review were found only in the multimedia “Vectors Journal”.

Since the leading interdisciplinary bibliographic databases (like Web of Science and Scopus), subject bibliographic databases (like MLA International Bibliography) and scientific search engines (like Google Scholar) register only texts – the journal articles, the books or the conference proceedings, searching for visual forms of information presentation in these databases seemed to be pointless.In conclusion, the lack of review, unsatisfactory registration in bibliographic databases and scientific search engines were observed as the main problems for visual forms of information presentation to become part of digital formal scientific communication. In this place it is worth asking what should be registered – the movie, the animation, the diagram etc. or the place, where they were published (like website or multimedia publication). Not all visual forms of information presentation could be recognized as individual publications.

The author of this paper proposes some solutions how visual forms of information presentation might become part of digital formal scientific communication. Visual forms of information presentation or places where visual forms are published could provide ISBN, ISSN or DOI number and place the bibliographic data. Bibliographic databases and scientific search engines should change the current rules of registration.

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