DARIAH-EU’s Virtual Competency Center on Research and Education

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DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts in Humanities — http://dariah.eu) is a large-scale, long-term, pan-European endeavor aiming to enhance and support digitally-enabled research across the arts and humanities. DARIAH aims to develop and maintain an infrastructure in support of ICT-based research practices. It will explore and apply ICT-based methods and tools to enable new research, improve research opportunities through linking distributed digital source materials and tools, and exchange expertise, methodologies, and practices across domains and disciplines.

The aim of this poster is to present one of the four primary contact points of DARIAH: the Virtual Competency Center Research and Education Liaison (VCC2). We would like to inform the DH community of our aims and encourage researchers to contact us and explore cooperation opportunities. The VCC is led by Susan Schreibman (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) and Erik Champion (DIGHUMLAB, Denmark). The VCC’s activities fall into four areas, each of which has a coordinator who serves as the primary contact point.

Understanding Research Practices

VCC2 aims to develop an evidence-based foundation to ensure fitness for purpose of planned digital infrastructures for scholarly research.

To achieve this objective, VCC2 will develop a research protocol and manual for transnational longitudinal research on scholarly practices and for digital tools and services user requirements elicitation. It will conduct baseline research on scholarly research practices, digital tools, and services requirements for the arts and humanities across Europe. It will develop a knowledge base of empirically-tested research practices in the arts and humanities, by tracking a) information access, use and curation processes, and their relations with disciplines, methods, research objects, tools, and services, and b) researcher feedback and case studies on digital tools and services use.

Work will build on earlier interview-based and questionnaire survey research in the “Preparing DARIAH” and EHRI projects, and on synergies with projects such as eCloud, ARIADNE, and NeDiMAH.

Training and Education Program

VCC2 aims to provide a training program for researchers in the methods, tools, and approaches needed to engage with the digital environment, including DARIAH services, tools, and content.

The Training and Education Program will focus in particular on the development and delivery of international summer school programs; development of collaborative, consortium-wide online training materials; and activities that foster a better understanding of teaching DH across disciplinary, institutional, linguistic, and cultural borders. In addition, the program will collaborate with institutions providing undergraduate and postgraduate training in the digital humanities to embed DARIAH tools and services in their courses and provide structured feedback on their use.

As part of its effort to support academic mobility and international opportunities in DH education, the Training and Education Program will also create a registry of undergraduate and postgraduate DH courses in Europe.

Community Engagement

Engagement with digital tools, methods, and content is an emerging practice for many arts and humanities researchers. VCC2 will seek to engage with these scholars about digital humanities, explain the added value digital data and methods can provide, whilst seeking to foster exchange and cooperation within scholarly communities.

To promote engagement with the increasingly large volume of research data being digitized, and in turn the research infrastructures designed to support the use of this data, we support communities of researchers in coming together to learn from each other and express their requirements.

Services to this end include: a series of workshops aimed at younger researchers wishing to make the move towards digital research methods; expert meetings in which confirmed researchers focus on the further development of specific methods and tools; and a publication series documenting results from DARIAH’s activities.

Virtual Research Environments

VREs are changing. What previously were closed systems where everything needed to be developed for that system are now becoming more modular systems where the appropriate outside tools can be plugged into a VRE platform.

With this in mind, it seems counterproductive to attempt to create a one-size-fits-all VRE. Instead, VCC2 expects to produce a VRE Blueprint: a document that can be used to guide the conversations between humanities scholars who wish to develop a VRE and the computer developers who will help them to realize this goal.

The blueprint will consist of a list of technical requirements that every VRE will have to meet, questions to guide the conversations between developers and scholars, an annotated bibliography, a list of common pitfalls in VRE development, and an end-user survey template to help developers get feedback from the VRE’s users.

This poster was originally presented at DH2013 on July 17, 2013.

About Christof Schöch, Dallas Costis, Matt Munson, Toma Tasovac, Erik Malcolm Champion, Susan Schreibman, Agiatis Benardou, Marianne Ping Huang, and Petra Links

Christof Schöch is a researcher at the Chair for Computational Philology, University of Würzburg, Germany. His interests in research and teaching are French Literature (Age of Enlightenment, contemporary novel) and Digital Humanities (quantitative text analysis, digital scholarly publishing). He writes about his research on a blog called "The Dragonfly's Gaze."You can find out more about him on his personal website.

Costis Dallas is Director of Museum Studies and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, and Research Fellow at the Digital Curation Unit, IMIS, Athena Research Centre. He is co-principal investigator of the Europeana Cloud, LoCloud and ARIADNE projects, and leads the work on “Understanding scholarly practices” in DARIAH-EU VCC2. His research interests are on humanities information work, ontologies and digital curation of cultural heritage.

Matthew Munson is a researcher at the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities in Germany, where he worked in the European project DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities) coordinating the DARIAH work package concerning VREs on the German and European level and coordinating the development of the 2013 and 2014 DARIAH international digital humanities summer schools. His current research interests lie in the area of semantic drift and methods of calculating the change in the meanings of words from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

Toma Tasovac is the director of the Belgrade Centre for Digital Humanities. He has degrees in Slavic Language and Literatures from Harvard and Comparative Literature from Princeton. He works on complex lexical architectures in electronic lexicography, digital editions, and integration of digital libraries and language resources. He is equally active in the field of new media education.

Erik Champion is Professor of Cultural Visualisation at Curtin University, Australia. He is currently working on a book for Ashgate’s Digital Humanities series, entitled Critical Gaming and Digital Humanities. He is the author of Playing with the Past (Springer, 2011) and the editor of Game Mods: Design,Theory and Criticism (ETC Press, 2012). Previously he was Project Leader of DIGHUMLAB Denmark and DARIAH VCC2 co-leader.

Trinity College Dublin

Digital Curation Unit, IMIS-Athena Research Center

Aarhus University

NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies