Part of my meta-DH series documenting DH/DS infrastructure: the hows & whys of treating a project team, lab, department, or campus as itself a DH project.
Caveat: This post consists of notes taken during my former DH Librarian role at Purdue (2015-2017), rather than my latest thinking at Scholars’ Lab. I’ll be sharing that updated thinking here soon!
This post thinks through the DH initiative’s relation to the existing Libraries IT team.
We want to recognize and support the Libraries IT team’s expertise, while also recognizing that digital humanists are peculiarly, intimately involved with technical decisions at all levels of a digital project, from hardware building and calibration through long-term digital maintenance and preservation. Autonomy in technical decisions, implementation, publicity, and maintenance is an important piece of digital scholarship’s success, and we should design workflows that allow the DH Center to lead decisions about its own technical setup within the campus and departments frameworks IT oversees.
As part of designing the DH Center, we would explore with IT service-level contracts, routine consultations and notice to IT early in new technical projects, regular invitations to IT for involvement, and support for Libraries IT’s experts (including GAs) to attend DH events and cross-training workshops in DH tools. At each digital project’s outset, we will decide who is responsible for creation, hosting, preservation, and maintenance among the DH Center, ASC, Libraries IT, Press and Purdue repositories, another campus unit (e.g. CLA IT), or the personal hosting of a project team member.
I’ve created an initial Digital Humanities @ Purdue resource website at dh.lib.purdue.edu (not yet finished with design, so hasn’t gone through final marketing and admin oversight or publication yet, although I’ve done an initial site feedback round with Paul, Libraries IT, and marketing).
The site’s initial goal was to provide an umbrella resource for anyone searching for DH activity at Purdue, and to show the Libraries is pursuing a DH initiative. The current basic site includes:
I am hosting this site (and all other websites that the DH Center contracts to host and maintain) on a separate dedicated DH Center server space. Libraries IT set up dh.lib.purdue.edu and dhdev.lib.purdue.edu for public and development sites; the main DH @ Purdue site will live at dh.lib.purdue.edu, while future projects will live at URLs such as dh.lib.purdue.edu/newproject.