Halfway Through Day of DH …

and I suddenly realise it’s Day of DH. Aside from a personal technical glitch (participating in any substantive event early the day following St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin) here we are!

europeana logoThe DHO has recently undertaken the role as Irish aggregator for the Europeana Project. This involves harvesting metadata from an variety of digital collections at Irish cultural and higher education research institutions. One of the challenges we face in this is mapping the variety of metadata employed to the ESE standard for Europeana ingestion. This morning we met to plot strategy for how we can use the DHO repository to facilitate this process. This sort of meeting is a typical DHO occurrence involving participants for different sphere’s of DHO staff each contributing their expertise. Kevin Hawkins (our visiting Metadata Manager) has been in touch with individuals at Europeana to investigate ESE. The DHO’s IT Manager, Don Gourley, has been speaking with other Europeana aggregators to learn from their experience. Bruno Voisin, our Programmer has been experimenting with a number of routes that we can take to facilitte the metadata harevesting process. Together with the DHO Director Susan Schreibman, we are working to a project plan to allow this to provide our Irish partner institutions with an efficient and effective means to expose their digital collections to a global audience.

And the Meetings Continue…

The DHO is mandated to upport digital humanities scholarship on the Island of Ireland. We carry out a variety of outreach activities running workshops, symposia and an annual summer school. In addition to carrying out consultations with project partners at Humanities Serving Irish Society (HSIS) institutions many of the research projects are reaching a stage where they are ready to share their digital collections with the academic world. We are meeting this afternoon to strategise on how we can balance our development resources amongst the various projects looking for assistance. One of the biggest challenges that we face is finding sustainable long-term solutions for research collections that are within the developmental capabilities of individual projects.  The DHO has delivered digital project management workshops at an introductory and intermediate level targetting post-doc and faculty members often facing their first experience with such an enterprise. These workshops have covered all aspects of project management particularly emphasising the need to start planning for the ‘end’ of a project right at the beginning. Yet, all too often, budgets are spent getting material digitised with little concern for making the material accessible and available at the conclusion of the project. There’s no easy solution to the problem. Even armed with knowledge of best practices, decisions are made to attempt to extend meagre resources and sacrifices are made to attempt to get maximum return on investment, and projects paint themselves into a corner to deliver on promises. When you are involved with so many different and disparate projects, its easy to see how the same mistake is repeatedly made and so easily avoided, but when you are in the trenches and heads-down on a single project, its easy to think you are making a shrewd choice and then being forces to make harsh decisions later in the process.

An Occassional Treat

It’s tough working with so many different projects and sharing your knowledge and feeling challenged to actually get the time to do hands on DH work yourself. Every now and then though I get a chance to discuss a single project face-to-face and imagine some of the great possibilities that that project offers. We carry out a variety of consultations with HSIS researchers. Occasionally and even more rarely I get to do this over a pint in a pub. Tonight I shared a couple pints and some high level discussion with Charlie Travis who is working in the Long Room Hub and work whose explores the influence of space and place on the work of twentieth century Irish writers. It’s a treat to share ideas, imagine interesting ends and think about what could be especially when place helps positively shape the discourse at hand ;-)