Simply put, I have first-hand experience over an extended period of the degree to which Data Futures represents nothing less than the Gold Standard for the secure, robust and reliably state-of-the-art support of complex, expanding, multimedia research projects like Phono-Post. Surely not least because of this Phono-Post has in recent years become the reference in its field, such that major collections including the Phil Nohl Archive, the Antonio Popp Archive and most recently the William Bollman Collection, to name just a few of the larger ones - have donated their assets to be housed by and to support research at Phono-Post. This alone is an astonishing compliment to Data Futures.
Details of the collections as well as the evolution and operation of Phono-Post are already described in the Case Study and I will be expanding this shortly. However, I would be happy to speak with representatives from any projects contemplating joining Data Futures, and could describe in great detail the world-class quality of service of every stage - from the initial design of the project's workflows and collection metadata, and the extensive feedback for all-important refinement and research tools, to the long-term development process enabling collaboration and continuous evolution. I would describe as flawless the experience that Data Futures provided to my team, which is distributed across numerous countries, and the ease with which groups of students have been credentialed from time to time to work on designated sets of assets (their input then held in a sort of digital purgatory until 'blessed' by a PP curator having higher administrative privileges) was truly remarkable. But above all I would speak to the really unheard-of reliability of the Data Futures infrastructure which, despite all sorts of changes in operating systems and hardware, browser upgrades, threats in the hostile internet environment, etc, allowed my project to evolve while operating continuously without the slightest hiccup for more than five years. While this should be the norm, anyone who has worked on such projects knows that, alas, this is far from the case. The more I learn about the remarkable fragility of large-scale digital methods projects, the overwhelming bulk of which cease to function within a few years of being introduced (a true scandal of epic proportions), I feel enormously privileged to have been able to work with Data Futures from the very start of my project and look forward to continuing to do so as Phono-Post develops in the years to come.
Professor Thomas Levin
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of German
Associate Faculty in the Program in Media and Modernity and the Center for Digital Humanities
203 East Pyne Building
Princeton, New Jersey 08544