As a partner in the PRTLI Cycle 4 funded project e-INIS, ICHEC is collaborating with the Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO). As part of this collaboration we are providing software development expertise in the form of a dedicated staff member along with other resources.
The Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO) is an all-island digital humanities collaboratory working with Humanities Serving Irish Society (HSIS), national, European, and international partners to further e-scholarship. The DHO is a knowledge resource providing outreach and education on a broad range of digital humanities topics. It provides data management, curation, and discovery services supporting the long-term access to, and greater exploitation of, digital resources in the creation of new models, methodologies and paradigms for 21st century scholarship.
The primary effort of the DHO & ICHEC collaboration was the design and implementation of the Digital Research And Projects in Ireland (DRAPIer) portal. DRAPIer is an interactive database of digital humanities projects created by third level institutions on the island of Ireland and acts both as a project index for the whole community as well as a showcase of the digital humanities efforts in Ireland. Research institutes register their projects themselves together with academic and technical details, and the search interface then easily allows exploration of the various fields to find related projects, whether one is looking for a collaboration or needs expertise.
Central to the DHO is also an information system based on the Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture (Fedora). ICHEC contributed to the setup of the DHO's Fedora servers, providing both hardware and software development. The DHO repository provides a central hosting location for digital humanities projects whose institutions cannot or have no desire to host themselves. An early effort based on this repository is the Doegen project website, which provides access to digitised audio recordings of irish speakers throughout the country. The portal also provides members of the Doegen project with a transcription workflow which eases collaborative work between staff and students in an effort to transcribe, translate and annotate the records and store the resulting work in the Fedora repository.
Through practical research support projects like DRAPIer or Doegen, the DHO & ICHEC collaborative efforts focus on building a reusable framework for the storage, access and preservation of digital humanities materials, which should allow data to be transparently moved from a repository to another when the need arises. Apart from the technical work, this also comprises an educational effort targeted at humanities researchers, both in regards to general knowledge of the software (Fedora) and the fundamental data quality requirements for long-term preservation (minimal metadata, use of standard markup schemes etc.).