The traditions of research infrastructure development have created strong trends and centres of gravity, some of which are useful, and some of which hold back the convergence of analogue research methods and the technologies that could assist them. This is particularly true in the arts and humanities, where the analogue tradition of libraries and archives remains very strong, while new modes of engagement with sources and texts enabled by technological advances remain in their infancy. The Collaborative EuropeaN Digital Archival Research Infrastructure (CENDARI) has established itself as a firm proponent of reevaluating these trends and resisting the gravity where its pull distorts the possibilities for historians to work effectively in the digital age. As such, the project has leveraged its strongly user-centred design processto advance new perspectives on the federation of cultural material an application of knowledge resources within a digital environment. As such, the project represents both technical and social potential to enable new forms of scholarly insight and communication.