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.
Awareness, understanding and having fun: fostering communities around the Standardization Survival Kit
Coordinators: Charles Riondet and Laurent Romary, Inria, team ALMAnaCH
The Standardization Survival Kit (SSK) is an overlay platform dedicated to promote a wider use of standards within the Arts and Humanities. It is built around research scenarios, providing contextual information on how standards can be applied in a given research project. Its development has been carried out within the PARTHENOS project, where Inria played a key role, both technically and in the design of the platform. SSK has now been integrated into the DARIAH ecosystem: technically, it is now hosted by the National Coordinating Institution of DARIAH-FR: Huma-Num. But also its everyday intellectual maintenance, both on an institutional and content level, is taken over by the DARIAH communities and in particular, the DARIAH Working Group Guidelines and Standards, chaired by Klaus Illmayer (OEAW, CLARIAH-AT), Marie Puren and Charles Riondet (Inria, DARIAH-FR).
The project’s objective was to put the technical sustainability of the SSK on track, by creating a long-living and scalable service based upon an active and motivated users’ community. This community would then naturally see the SSK as their reference platform to record the processes involved in digitally-based humanities research.
To achieve this, the first step was to make the SSK familiar and show its usefulness. The team followed a methodology of multimodal user onboarding, a process of getting the user to understand the key principles and features of a tool with 1) face to face meetings in the form of use-case development workshops, to engage more deeply the users with the SSK and 2) the creation of digital educational materials: a presentation cartoon.
Use-Case Development Workshops
Three workshops were organized during the project with the following objectives:
- Promoting the use of standards and best practices in the Arts and Humanities;
- Raising awareness of the SSK, within the DARIAH community and beyond;
- Demonstrating how this tool can be useful for both learning and teaching digital best practices;
- Encouraging researchers to enhance existing research scenarios and create new ones.
In order to be efficient and increase the depth of engagement of the participants, the attendance at the three workshops was limited to a reduced number of DH researchers, while each workshop was centered around a specific subfield of digitally based humanities research.
The definition of the use-case scenarios followed the general principles that have been developed during the conception phase of the SSK, namely:
- Acquiring a good understanding of the SSK by browsing through existing scenarios and identifying the main functionalities
- Brainstorming phase during which existing resources (bibliography, data samples, etc.) are gathered and selected to illustrate the scenario to be developed
- Initial definition and scripting of the scenarios, where the various steps (in the SSK sense) and being laid out on paper/collaborative document.
- Implementation of the scenarios either as XML TEI documents or added logging directly into the SSK platform and using the recently developed editing interface.
The three workshops were:
- in Vienna (Austria), January 17th-18th 2019, on the acquisition of text from printed or handwritten sources (OCR and HTR), the processing of textual data in a corpus, and the modelling of lexical data.
- in Tours (France), May 23rd-24th 2019, on the interoperability of archaeological data with the help of the CIDOC CRM ontology, as well as thesauri alignment. The overall goal was to develop specific SSK scenarios for the archaeology community, with a focus on the digital aspects (digitization, interoperability and sustainability of the data produced by archaeologists).
- in Liège at the DH Benelux, September 11th-13th 2019. The goal was to design medieval studies research scenarios for the SSK around the use of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) for providing access to digitized manuscripts.
Educational materials & user-friendly documentation: an SSK onboarding cartoon
Aiming for a simple and funny way to present the usefulness of the SKK, a cartoon was produced as part of a more global onboarding experience, with tutorials and highlights of the user interface. The SSK video, which is published on the SSK website and uploaded to the DARIAH-EU YouTube channel, was released in April 2019.
Impact and further steps
The activities carried out in this project have contributed to three of the key objectives outlined in the DARIAH Strategic Action Plan, which also give an indication of future steps for SSK:
- it contributes the SSK to the SSH Open Marketplace, the development of which is led by DARIAH. The work undertaken by this project ensures that the SSK can be added to the Marketplace from its launch, thus guaranteeing maximum visibility and sustainability.
- it supports and promotes research communities through the DARIAH Working Groups.
- it enhances the profile in training/education by delivering three high-quality training events, but also by inviting research scenarios, contributing thus to the development of open access training materials that can be used throughout the DARIAH community and beyond, with their possible integration within DARIAH-Campus.
* 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.