The DiRT directory now shows uptake information -- which projects are using each listed tool -- to help digital humanists decide which of the many available choices best fits their specific research project. Ever since the DiRT wiki was rebuilt using a more robust, flexible content management system, we envisioned that the site would be able to pull in information about how tools are actually being used. This kind of information is essential to help users decide among the tens or hundreds of tools that could potentially be used to accomplish a particular task. Thanks to the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the skill and expertise of the Agile Humanities Agency, DiRT tool profiles now include links to projects that use that tool, drawn from the DHCommons project directory.
As part of this integration with DiRT, DHCommons, a sister project to DiRT under the umbrella of centerNet, now provides easy access to more information about the tools that make up the projects in its directory. A sidebar on each project profile provides a brief description of the tools that were used to build the project, along with a link to DiRT for more information. Similarly, the lists of all DHCommons projects that use a particular tool include a description of that tool and a link to DiRT.
The integration with DHCommons is another way to keep DiRT up to date with new tools that see rapid uptake within the digital humanities community. By monitoring new projects on DHCommons for tools that do not have DiRT entries, the DiRT editorial board can easily stay abreast of new developments within the digital humanities tool ecosystem and update DiRT accordingly.
The launch of the DiRT / DHCommons integration coincides with the significant expansion of the DHCommons project directory, thanks to the incorporation of all the project listings from the now-defunct arts-humanities.net site. Arts-humanities.net aimed to be a comprehensive hub of information on all aspects of digital humanities, from events and jobs to tools and projects. The tool listings from arts-humanities.net have been part of DiRT since it was rebuilt in 2011. The inclusion of the project information in DHCommons, combined with the integration between DiRT and DHCommons, brings that data full circle. Having tool and project information in a single place on arts-humanities.net made it easy to refer from one to another, but the scope of the site made it difficult to maintain. Keeping DiRT and DHCommons as individual sites, each with its own focus, while developing connections between them, is a natural evolution of the arts-humanities.net model with better prospects for sustainability.
Note: This is the second in a series of announcements about new features and developments for the DiRT directory, coming daily over the next two weeks. Yesterday, we announced our affiliation with centerNet. Check back for more "dirt" on DiRT!