Navigating the Complex Landscape of Digital Humanities Methods and Tools with the OpenMethods Metablog

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra


  2. 2. Aurélien Berra

    Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre (Paris Nanterre University)

  3. 3. Delfim Leão

    University of Coimbra

  4. 4. Gimena del Río Riande

    Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)

  5. 5. Nicolas Larrousse

    Huma-Num - CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique)

  6. 6. Maciej Maryl

    Institute of Literary Research - Polish Academy of Sciences

  7. 7. Yoann Moranville


  8. 8. Francesca Morselli

    DARIAH, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

  9. 9. Ulrike Wuttke

    Fachhochschule Potsdam (FHP / University of Applied Sciences Potsdam)

  10. 10. Joris van Zundert

    Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (Huygens ING) - Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

Work text
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A paramount challenge in present-day humanities knowledge production is to communicate research results in ways that aligns with increasingly digital research workflows. The OpenMethods metablog aims to explore and deliver a solution for this need in a Digital Humanities (henceforth DH) context. It provides a platform to bring together all formats of openly available digital publications. To this end the OpenMethods metablog provides a convenient and easy way for DH experts from around the globe to select, propose, curate, and highlight online published content. Suitable online content may be proposed by Community Volunteers. The OpenMethods platform is intentionally interdisciplinary and multilingual to facilitate a timely disclosure and spread of knowledge and to raise peer recognition for the related research results. The group of DH experts, known as the OpenMethods Editorial Team, currently comprises 23 editors from 11 countries.
The platform has been developed in partnership with the DARIAH community since it is an offspring of the DARIAH “Humanities at Scale” project (Engelhardt et al. 2017).
OpenMethods offers a collaborative model of open scholarly communication that is growing out of community practices and needs in DH (e.g. Spiro 2012). OpenMethods goes beyond traditional paper-based communication practices in several ways, as explained below.
1. OpenMethods is dedicated to the critical discussion of DH tools and methods. Digital tools and methods are genuine research outputs whose academic recognition is still lagging behind monographs and journal articles that serve as the highest value currency in current academia (Schreibman, Mandell, and Olsen (2011)). In addition to spreading the knowledge and raising peer recognition for existing digital resources, a core mission of the project is also to facilitate the culture of reuse of these materials.
2. OpenMethods is inclusive with a variety of content types like blog posts, videos, preprints, podcasts, etc. These are becoming increasingly important aspects of scholarly work (Dacos and Mounier (2010)) as they are not only accelerating discussions within and outside of academia but are also flexible enough to follow the dynamic and multimodal nature of DH methodology discourse.
3. One of the key aim of the platform is helping researchers in navigating through the rich and dynamically evolving DH landscape to find the most relevant tools and methods for their research. This is achieved via a novel form of expert community review. As an enrichment of the preselected valuable Open Access publications, successful nominations are categorised with tags based on TaDiRAH and a brief introduction in English is added to each post in which one of our Editors explains the relevance of the republished content to the DH practices. The multilingual character of the platform allows for the representation of multiple languages and cultures in the DH discourse yet currently this possibility is not exploited to its full extent.
4. The platform not only propagates the culture of reuse but has been built on reused tools itself. It is based on a WordPress CMS and the PressForward plugin. It enables us to create a simple workflow for our experts: almost all steps of their work (content nomination, discussion, review, publishing, keeping track of published content) can be undertaken within this plugin. Besides, we are constantly seeking ways to put DH tools in service of more effective content discovery and enrichment. For this purpose, we have created plugins to achieve interoperability with the entity recognition NERD service and the research discovery platform ISIDORE.
Our goal is to reach and engage the widest possible range of DH communities, from scholars taking the first steps towards going digital to DH experts who are shaping specific research areas as representatives for particular methods.
In achieving its goals OpenMethods faces many difficulties. In our poster we wish to highlight a number of these challenges:

Reaching a critical number of readership as a result of focused outreach strategy (like via our Twitter channel, presenting the platform on DH conferences).
Finding solutions for long-term incentivisation of the editors, ensuring that editors are recognised for their contributions, and sustaining a viable pool of reviewers.
Establishing bidirectional exchange between traditional journal publishing and novel components in scholarly communication such as blogging.

Our poster presentation will allow us to solicit the widest possible feedback from DH communities. To this end it will not only explain the aims and strategies of OpenMethods, but will also include an interactive demo. We also wish to encourage the conference attendees to join and expand the OpenMethods network, explore its potentials for advancing their own research methods and participate in the development of the platform.


Dacos, M., and Mounier, P. (2010).
Les carnets de recherche en ligne, espace d’une conversation scientifique décentrée. Albin Michel.

Schreibman, S., Mandell,L., and Olsen, S. (2011). Introduction.
(79): pp.123–35. DOI: 10.1632/prof.2011.2011.1.123.

Spiro, L. (2012). „This Is Why We Fight“: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities. In Gold, Matthew K.(eds),
Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis 2012, pp. 16-35.

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