Preparing the DARIAH e- Infrastructure

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Tobias Blanke

    King's College London

  2. 2. Eric Andrew Haswell

    Nordisk Forskningsinstitut - University of Copenhagen

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Preparing the DARIAH e-
Blanke, Tobias
King's College London
Haswell, Eric Andrew
Nordisk Forskningsinstitut, University of
With this poster, we would like to lay out
our vision for DARIAH and first steps towards
its realization. DARIAH (Digital Research
Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities;
) is a European project
funded under the ESFRI programme (
), which aims to
conceptualise and afterwards build a virtual
bridge between different humanities and arts
resources across Europe. DARIAH is currently
in its preparatory phase, which will design the
infrastructure and build a sound business and
governmental model. From 2011, DARIAH will
begin its construction phase.
DARIAH starts off with the observation
that just like astronomers require a virtual
observatory to study the stars and other distant
objects in the galaxy, researchers in the arts
and humanities need a digital infrastructure
to bring together and collaboratively work
with dispersed scholarly resources (e.g. digital
content, services, methodologies). DARIAH will
be such an infrastructure with a European
dimension. Its aim is to bring together various
national infrastructures, such as the UK’s arts
and humanities e-Science initiative projects (
) and the German e-
Humanities infrastructure TextGrid (
). DARIAH has also helped
to found the Coalition of Humanities and
Arts Infrastructures and Networks (CHAIN),
an international group of arts and humanities
infrastructure initiatives.
DARIAH will be an infrastructure to promote,
support, and advance research in the digital
humanities. Digital humanities is a long-
established research field, with its origins in
the Forties of the last century. Over the
past 60 years it has progressed and a large
variety of digital humanities centres and related
organizations have developed. However, we do
not perceive the digital humanities to be a
closed field of existing centres but rather an
open and developing research environment.
Everybody interested in using digital means
for arts and humanities research is part of
the DARIAH community of practice. In this
view, the DARIAH infrastructure would be a
connected network of people, information, tools
and methodologies for investigating, exploring
and supporting work across the broad spectrum
of the digital humanities.
The DARIAH network will be designed to
be as decentralised as possible, empowering
individual contributors (e.g. individual
researchers; national centers; specialised,
thematic centers) to work with and within the
DARIAH community and shape its features
as to their needs. Each contribution of each
contributor builds DARIAH, linked together in
DARIAH's architecture of participation. At the
same time, however, collaboration across the
borders of individual centers requires the usage
of common technologies e.g. for authentication
or federation of archive contents.
DARIAH is about the
of digital
research resources by anybody and anywhere.
By providing data for anybody’s use, it is
an e-Research environment. With regard to
standards to foster interoperability of content
and compatibility of tools, DARIAH will not
prescribe but encourage. Researchers do not
have to
support interoperability and openness,
but they
may want
to support and benefit
from opportunities such as collaboration and
re-usability facilitated by interoperability and
openness. DARIAH provides community-driven
recommendations and fosters interoperability
and collaboration through incentives. This
approach means less central control over what
DARIAH contains and provides.
When DARIAH is operational after the
construction phase, technical products by
DARIAH will be manifold:
technological services and tutorials that help
existing humanities data archives to link their
systems into the DARIAH network
a package of software and consultancy/
training, which supports emerging data

centres in establishing their own technology
environment quickly
an interoperability layer that will connect data
means of linking into DARIAH for those
countries / disciplines that do not yet have e-
Humanities infrastructure and cannot afford
it in the near future
best practices and guidelines for individual
researchers that foster data interoperability
and preservation across the DARIAH network
We imagine DARIAH therefore to be not one
large infrastructure but more a means of linking
up people, services and data for research in
arts and humanities. Most likely, DARIAH
will not be one technical solution but many,
according to community needs and willingness
to collaborate. And it is in this context that
engaging with the active and vibrant community
of international digital humanists is high on
DARIAH's list of priorities. DARIAH is engaged
in important, in-depth work in modelling
research needs and behaviours, the results of
which will inform the further development of
We think that the definition in the DuraSpace
midterm report on what is a repository also
fits DARIAH: “trusted intermediary that makes
content (...) usable with a menu of added-value
services”. Of course DARIAH will not be one
large repository, but otherwise the idea of a
trusted intermediary fits well.
DARIAH will make an important contribution
towards e-humanities, providing additional
services to analyse, annotate and share arts
and humanities research activities. DARIAH
will stimulate and provide expertise on all
aspects of e-humanities, from best practices for
digitisation to metadata standards and advice on
analysis methods and systems.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2010
"Cultural expression, old and new"

Hosted at King's College London

London, England, United Kingdom

July 7, 2010 - July 10, 2010

142 works by 295 authors indexed

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Conference website:

Series: ADHO (5)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None