RDA and the Digital Humanities

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25 May 2016 33512 reads
Downloadable disciplinary info sheet: Cultural Heritage 


With the development of digital humanities research practice, the humanities domain is producing datasets to rival the volume and complexity of data from the hard sciences. Digital humanities (DH) research combines humanities and social science research methodologies with computational techniques to allow processes such as data mining, text mining, data visualisation, data modeling, data analytics and text encoding. Undertaking computational research requires that DH researchers have the skills to curate and manage their data over time, while addressing challenges such as the reuse of in-copyright material.

In October 2015, the RDA announced that it would begin working with the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO), an international group that promotes and supports digital humanities research and teaching, with Bridget Almas (Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University) acting as liaison. 


RDA Working Groups and Interest Groups

Many of RDA’s Working Groups and Interest groups create discipline-agnostic outputs and are equally relevant to the humanities as to the sciences. Groups which may be of particular relevance to digital humanities researchers include: 


RDA and the Humanities report 

For an overview of the Research Data Alliance, the landscape and particularities of the Humanities and the opportunities RDA provides for the discipline in terms of the Working and Interest groups and the Recommendations and Outputs relevant for the Humanities researchers, practitioners and service providers, view the RDA and the Humanities report written by René van Horik, from the Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) and RDA Europe 4.0 ambassador for the humanities.

In the report, René adds more IGs and WGs that might be relevant for the humanities:

The IGs and WGs active in the field of “Data Stewardship and Services” are relevant for humanities as they cover a wide range of activities, such as the management of data objects including metadata. They have a specialist role that incorporates processes, policies, guidelines and responsibilities for administering an organization's data in compliance with policies and/or regulatory obligations. A data steward is commonly responsible for data content, context, and associated business rules. Of particular interest seems to be the ​Domain Repositories Interest Group​.

If your Working Group or Interest Group may be of relevance to those working in the Digital Humanities, please email enquiries[at]rd-alliance.org to have your group added to this page.


Recommendations and outputs

With the RDA and the Humanities report, René indicates also Recommendations and outputs useful for the humanities.
The recommendation “​Metadata standards directory​” contains an overview of metadata standards for a wide range of disciplines, also for arts and humanities.
The “23 things: Libraries for research data” are an excellent starting point for humanities scholars and service providers to engage in data sharing and as a basis for further exploration of the more detailed recommendations of the RDA. It covers the topics “learning resources”, “data reference and outreach”, “data management plans”, “data literacy”, “metadata”, “citing data”, “data licencing and privacy”, “digital preservation”, “data repositories”, and “community of practice”.



Past RDA Digital Humanities events

DH2016, Krakow, 11-16 July 2016

The RDA was represented at the Digital Humanities conference DH2016 in Krakow with both a panel session and a pre-conference workshop taking place between July 11-16.

Evaluating Research Data Infrastructure Components and Engaging in their Development is a collaborative workshop which has been co-organised by RDA and the ADHO. This one day workshop was aimed at ADHO members who are interested in collaborating with the RDA to define, develop, test and adopt infrastructure for supporting the management, preservation and sharing of humanities research data. More information is available here: https://www.rd-alliance.org/rdaadho-workshop-evaluating-research-data-in...

Digital data sharing: the opportunities and challenges of opening research was a panel session which brought together a range of experts in research data management, and offered an overview of key themes in research data and research data management for digital humanities, including identifying and preparing data for deposit, repository infrastructures and the services they provide, and the potential benefits of re-using published research data. A representative from RDA provided an overview of the its work and its connection to digital humanities research, providing specific examples of relevant outputs.

RDA Europe provided three travel bursaries of €500 each to support participation in  RDA/ADHO Workshop: Evaluating Research Data Infrastructure Components and Engaging in their Development at DH2016 in Krakow. For more information click here: https://rd-alliance.org/group/digital-humanities-workshops/wiki/rda-euro...

Author: Rebecca Grant, Digital Repository of Ireland’s Digital Archivist