An Introduction to the Vienna Sessions


Phaidra annual online debates and discussion scheduled for November 17-19

Phaidra is a free and open-source software project, based at the University of Vienna. Our focus is on the long-term preservation, archival and reusability of digital academic data. But this focus, our mission, our community, and the Phaidracon Vienna Sessions are all much bigger than just the software project itself. 

The way in which our academic institutions choose to handle digital and digitized research data has profound implications, not just for academic processes. Society as a whole feels the impact. Phaidracon, and the Vienna Sessions in particular, aims to explore and debate this.

Last year’s sessions examined data reusability. In a year where truth, post-truth and even ‘alternative truths’ were in the public eye, the first of two lively debates looked at how storage of research data and repeatability of research has potential to impact accepted truth in academia and broader society. 

In the second discussion, we turned the focus to the role of data in promoting accessibility, affordability, and fairness within the global academic community. Both discussions combined vision and ideology with a healthy dose of pragmatism and practical insight, and we would like to thank our incredible panel (drawn from across academia, journalist, and politics) once again for their time and insight.   

And so, to Phaidracon 2021 and the Vienna Sessions debates, where this year’s focus on the long-term sustainability of technology: How is that we can best preserve data and access to that data, how do we avoid technical and commercial liability, and how to deliver long-term solutions when data technologies become obsolete so quickly?

Again, we will be looking at this issue through two different lenses: firstly looking critically at open source and community maintained projects — are they the panacea they are thought to be, or should academia be exploring new options for sustainability? Our second debate sees us diving into the ‘API Economy’ and exploring what this latest tech trend has to offer academia and particular practitioners within digital humanities.

In the build up to sessions themselves, we will be diving into these topics here with some guest blogs from some of our team and speakers … so keep tuned in, join in the debate and follow us on Twitter here: