DiRT becomes a centerNet initiative

The DiRT directory and centerNet are pleased to announce that the DiRT directory has been adopted as the newest centerNet initiative. As a directory of tools for digital research, maintained by an international community of volunteers, DiRT will benefit from closer ties to centerNet’s member centers around the world, as well as to centerNet’s DHCommons project directory.

As a first step towards integrating DiRT and DHCommons, each site is deploying a new feature that pulls in information from the other. “People visit DHCommons to explore the digital projects that have been developed in their field,” explained Ryan Cordell, co-founder of DHCommons and co-editor of the DHCommons overlay journal. “By displaying information from DiRT about the tools that make up these projects, along with a link to where scholars can learn more about those tools, DHCommons will facilitate the development of new initiatives that build upon prior work.” According to DiRT Director Quinn Dombrowski, the integration with DHCommons fills an information gap on DiRT. “We used to have an ‘I use this’ button on DiRT in order to capture how many people use a particular tool, but we found that individual tool users weren’t engaging with DiRT that way. By pulling in information about tool use directly from project profiles, DiRT can show which tools are in use in the digital humanities community without requiring people to do extra data entry. The DHCommons integration is even better than a simple user count. DiRT now displays links directly to the projects where the tool is being used, which provides important context for how, and in which disciplines, the tool is used.”

centerNet board Co-Chair Neil Fraistat sees the integration of DHCommons and DiRT as an important step towards strengthening the network of projects and organizations within ADHO. “DiRT and DHCommons are both widely-used resources, but not all users of one are familiar with the other,” he said. “Providing contextually relevant information drawn from other ADHO projects is an effective way to introduce people to projects they might not explore as part of a list of initiatives.”

A new requirement that centerNet members maintain current listings of their projects and locally-developed tools will contribute to the ongoing maintenance of DiRT and DHCommons alike. centerNet will be represented on DiRT’s steering committee, and the DiRT Director will serve as an ex officio member of the centerNet board. DiRT, DHCommons and other centerNet initiatives will participate in semiannual strategic planning meetings to explore additional opportunities for integration and exchange across projects.

Note: This is the first in a series of announcements about new features and developments for the DiRT directory, coming daily over the next two weeks. Check back for more "dirt" on DiRT!