In 2018-2019, DARIAH focussed on the chronic problem of software and tool sustainability in the digital humanities, while also looking forward to the build phase of the Marketplace for data, tools and services. The DARIAH Theme call of 2018-2019 entitled ‘Strategic Service Sustainability for DARIAH’ attracted a high number of well articulated and competitive applications in the area of training, standardisation, datasets, geolocation and annotation services, thesauri and vocabularies, among others.
With an overall budget of 67,305 €, DARIAH funded six projects for a year. Over the next couple of weeks we will be presenting their results with a special focus on each of these six projects.
Towards a Sustainable Annotation Tool: Integrating Recogito with DARIAH
Team: Rebecca Kahn, Leif Isaksen, Rainer Simon, Elton Barker, Valeria Vitale (Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society)
Towards a Sustainable Annotation Tool: Integrating Recogito with DARIAH was among the winning projects of the DARIAH Theme Funding call for 2018-2019. Recogito is an online platform for collaborative semantic annotation of texts and maps developed by Pelagios, a Digital Humanities initiative aiming to foster better linkages between online resources documenting the past.
Established in 2011, Pelagios has become the foremost driver of Linked Open GeoData in the humanities by virtue of building and nurturing a dynamic worldwide community of scholars and practitioners, and by means of developing methods and tools for that community to use in their everyday work. Winner of the 2014 Open Humanities Award, Recogito currently has over 5,000 registered users and between 200 and 1,500 edits per day on average.
While Pelagios already enjoyed an informal working relationship with DARIAH through the GeoHumanities Working Group, the grant was extremely helpful in allowing us to work on technical developments which embedded Recogito within scholarly practice by establishing it within the DARIAH ecosystem of tools and services; and by working with the DARIAH community to better reach interested institutions and individuals.Pelagios team
The project team aimed to bring Recogito into the ecosystem of tools and services offered by DARIAH, by addressing the two issues of 1) technical interoperability, and 2) user community support.
Interoperability: enabling technical adoption and repurposing
● Integrating with TextGrid: implementation of drag-and-drop support for importing TEI documents stored in the TextGrid repository directly into Recogito.
● Integrating with the GeoBrowser: Recogito now supports exports in more output formats (e.g. KML) while also exploring ways to use the spatio-temporal animation in GeoBrowser.
● Search and Discovery API: extension of Recogito’s API and metadata harvesting interface to make content from Recogito available to external repositories such as the DARIAH’s search infrastructure.
● Single Sign On: evaluation of the implications of implementing the Shibboleth-based DARIAH AAI Single Sign On mechanism in the context of Recogito’s current authorization mechanism, in order to inform the future development roadmap.
● Additional result: RecogitoJS – this funding played an important role in addressing a community need for providing an easier way for developers to re-use Recogito’s annotation interface in their own applications. This initial work resulted in bootstrapping RecogitoJS – a new, independent open source project for embedding Recogito’s text annotation interface into custom environments and applications.
● Additional result: GeoNames packager script – development of a packagers script, which allows users to build their own custom gazetteer for Recogito, using GeoNames data. By creating the utility, which is open and free to use, and hosted on Github, users who are running their own instance of Recogito are now able to configure their own subset, or gazetteer of places, depending on their needs.
Community Support: building a wider user base
Building a community which enables interdisciplinary digital Arts and Humanities research with commitments to openness, and methodological innovation which promotes best practice are shared objectives of both Pelagios and DARIAH. With the help of the grant, the project team was able to address this potential shortcoming in three significant ways:
● Recogito training: Workshops were organised for training users on using Recogito for research and in teaching. Several of these workshops took place, including at the DARIAH Annual Event in Warsaw in May 2019, and at workshops in Vienna and Gottingen.
● Formalising collaboration with DARIAH WGs: The project team strengthened collaboration links with several DARIAH Working Groups, including the GeoHumanities WG, the DH Course Registry and #dariahTeach. As a result, the GeoHumanities WG has included Recogito and the Pelagios method of creating semantic links between decentralised sources in their upcoming course materials (to be published in 2020).
● DARIAH & The Pelagios Network: While not yet a fully-fledged member of the Network, DARIAH is represented in the regular Pelagios network meetings while it provided infrastructural support for the network’s regular, virtual meetings.
● Linked Pasts: The annual Pelagios colloquium, organised in December 2019, welcomed DARIAH community members into the broader LOD community by funding travel costs of representatives from the GeoHumanities working group, as well as from DARIAH Belgium.
● Language Resources: The “Recogito in 10 Minutes” tutorial was translated in Italian, Spanish and Arabic in order to increase the reach to non-Anglophone users. These translations come on top of the already-existing versions in English, Dutch and German.
The DARIAH Theme Grant, and the institutional support that we have had from the HIIG, have allowed Pelagios to strengthen our technical interoperability and develop our community resources at a critical time for the project.
By being able to build tools which allow use across communities (such as TEI integration) and providing language resources that make the community more accessible to non-English speaking users, we have been able to build a much more resilient community, which we feel will carry the Association forward into 2020 and beyond. For this we would like to thank DARIAH and the HIIG for the support, and recognise their essential contributions to the Pelagios Network.Project team
* DARIAH Theme is an annual thematic priority set by the Board of Directors of DARIAH-EU. The aim is to stimulate activities and events related to an important topic of research in the digitally enabled arts and humanities by issuing a call for funding.