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.
DARIAHdocs as sustainable collaboration platform
Project team: Peter Gietz (DAASI International GmbH)
DARIAHdocs is an open source collaborative pilot project of DAASI International and DARIAH-EU. DARIAHdocs enables humanities scholars to work on their documents with fellow researchers together and simultaneously. To facilitate collaborative work, the DARIAHdocs service was built based on the cloud application Collabora Online, a commercially supported version of Libre Office Online. With DARIAHdocs you can:
- create text documents, tables, and graphics
- recall stored content from anywhere
- invite users to edit shared content with you
- work on documents with other users at the same time
- search for documents and much more
Aims of the project
The 1-year funded project aimed to test DARIAHdocs as an alternative to cloud based collaboration tools, tailored to the needs of the DARIAH community, and investigate its long term sustainability. The aims of the project were:
- evaluate which Open Source Collaboration tools best suit the needs of DARIAH researchers
- run the service in a production critical way for one year with a Nextcloud based file storage integrated with the DARIAH AAI
- promote its usage in the community and ask for feedback
- specify costs and business models for a long term sustainable operation for this community
During this evaluation pilot, DARIAH users and researchers whose institution is connected to the eduGAIN inter-federation could test the service.
Set up and testing
During the set up, the project team discovered a number of bugs that had to do with the integration of the system to the DARIAH AAI. These were resolved in the process, leading to a production-ready solution for user testing.
The testing was conducted by using the Selenium framework. Multiple user sessions to DARIAHdocs were created, all of which were under a different account. The logged in users were choosing a random file and typing random text into it so that each file had multiple users writing into it. After each „word“ (a random string of random length up to 10), the bot-users would take a short break before writing the next word, so that their writing behavior would be similar to actual human writing on a keyboard.
This testing showed satisfactory results in terms of usage, but it also documented some performance losses when multiple users were using the system at once. In order to deal with this and improve the service, the project team submitted a business plan for its further development and sustainability.
You can read more on the service and test it here: https://daasi.de/en/digital-humanities-english/dariahdocs/
* 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.