Financial agreement number: 26030-CP-3-98-1-NO-ETN

2.3 Evaluation of the work undertaken


As to internal difficulties in the partnership, the working group on History and historical informatics has not realized its objectives. The other five working groups were not affected by this and have largely realized their objectives, which proves that the modular organizational approach has been a useful tactic.

As to the relation with the Commission, in contrast to the first two years, the project coordinator has not been invited to meetings in Brussels during the third year. This sign of lack of communication between the representatives of the Commission and the project coordinator, as well as between the coordinators of the various projects mutually, was felt to have a negative effect on the continuity of the planning at a strategic level.

As far as the project's time line is concerned, the excessive effort spent on reporting, as mentioned in last year's report, caused a delay in the work of the project administration. It is also felt as problematic that the evaluation of proposals for the fourth year extension aimed at dissemination was delayed at the Commission. This is having a negative influence on continuity.

With respect to the relation between the budget and the goals, it has proved difficult to obtain the range of participation intended with the low level of funding. Also, with the current level of funding, it is difficult for a coordinating institution to support the desired level of project management and infrastructure. Unfortunately, many participating institutions do not know how to handle their administrative responsibilities in the project.

Unexpected achievements, elements of good practice, side-effects, discoveries

No very unexpected achievements were reached during the third project year. This is largely due to the fact that the project needed to be strongly focused only on the limited range of actions which fits into the budget.

The survey on computational linguistics and other analyses which were conducted yielded interesting and partly new, but on the whole not unexpected results. These results are reported in the book publication which is this year's major outcome.

Divergence from the original conception of the project

Additional feedback

Even under the adverse conditions (especially the proportion of the grant in related to the number of partners and to the administrative overhead required), the project has been successful. It has filled a need for a major new forum on the future of humanities education. In this forum, and through the project's outcomes, it has been shown not only that computer science extends the potential of the humanities, but also that the humanities hold an important key to the future of computing. However, the project could afford to focus only on a limited number of pilot areas and has not been able to cover the whole range of humanities disciplines.

Therefore it would be desirable to see followup projects in this area which extend the actions of the current project both in depth and in breadth; by the latter we refer especially to (1) other areas within the humanities and (2) other partners in society.

It is felt that the current project is acting as an important catalyst in a theme with wide societal implications. Therefore, it is recognized that the wider aims of the project would only be fully achieved if other partners in society could fully participate in the project. If such other partners (e.g. museums, libraries, archives, etc.) were eligible for funding, this would be an important stimulus for achieving their intended participation.

As to organizational strategies it would be recommended in future projects to focus more on flexible bottom-up strategies with actions defined by the partners, supported by a more substantial project management infrastructure. At the same time there must be real incentives for the participation of the majority of institutions who are not at the forefront of developments and have no reliable mechanisms for mobilization.