Reto Speck, Leader of Work Package 20, Portal and VRE

Monday, 10 October, 2011

I was very excited when an opportunity arose to join the EHRI team at King's College London earlier this year, as the project allows me to strike a perfect balance between my diverse interests. By training I am a historian. My doctoral thesis was concerned with the history of historiography during the European Enlightenment, and I have taught the history of political thought at Queen Mary, University of London. But I also have a strong interest in the digital humanities and in digital research infrastructures, and had worked in these fields for several years before I started my PhD.

My role within EHRI is very diverse and spans across the project. Initially, I was mainly involved in the gathering of the requirements of Holocaust researchers for the EHRI infrastructure. Since then I have steadily taken on further responsibilities: I now also help to develop the website and the Community Hub, provide technical advice to the work package that is identifying Holocaust-related archival collections, and, most recently, I have become leader of the work package that is building the portal.

Much of my work involves talking to different specialists - historians, archivists and computer scientists - and, frequently, to act as a translator between them. I find this a very rewarding activity as it allows me to draw on all my skills and to learn something new on an almost daily basis. The international character of EHRI is an added bonus, and I enjoy the many conference calls and physical meetings with colleagues across Europe and Israel.

Outside my EHRI life, I like to spend as much time as possible with my girlfriend and our two year old son. Luckily, we all share the same favourite pastimes: exploring new places, cooking (while creating as much mess as possible), eating the results, and lots of laughing in good company!