DiRT plugin available for Commons In A Box (CBOX) Scholarly Network

CBOX site with DiRT plugin enabled

As the concluding post of our two-week series of announcements, the DiRT directory is delighted to announce a new plugin for the Commons In A Box (CBOX) scholarly networking platform that brings DiRT’s tool listings directly to people in an environment where they can discuss digital tools  and share their expertise and suggestions within trusted communities.

The DiRT plugin is already available for individual group owners to enable on the CUNY Academic Commons, NYC Digital Humanities, and the Texas Digital Humanities Consortium. Anyone who runs the Commons In A Box platform can download the “DiRT directory client” plugin from wordpress.org.

Members of a group in which this plugin has been enabled can search the DiRT database within the CBOX interface and indicate that they use particular tools; doing so will add those tools to their profile. Groups that enable the plugin can display what tools are used by their members. Users can also easily look for others who use a particular tool. The sitewide activity feed shows recent users who have added tools to their profiles, helping raise awareness of what tools are commonly adopted by projects.

In its previous incarnation as Bamboo DiRT, the DiRT directory included an “I use this” button on each tool profile that authenticated users could click to add a tool to their profile. However, this feature was very rarely used, not least because many active users of DiRT had never felt a need to create an account on the site. While early plans for CBOX integration involved taking advantage of DiRT’s own “I use this” button, the DiRT team realized that for most of its users, DiRT is a source of information, not a social space where people are interested in creating and maintaining a profile, or aggregating and broadcasting information about the tools they use. In contrast, an instance of CBOX, such as the CUNY Academic Commons, is precisely the kind of space where people develop and maintain profiles, and are more likely to develop communities of practice around tools. For that reason, the DiRT team removed the “I use this” feature from DiRT, and the integration with CBOX sites provides that functionality in a place where it is more likely to be used and fostered by a community.

The DiRT directory client was developed by a team at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York led by Professor Matthew K. Gold, with Boone Gorges as the lead developer. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation generously supported the development of this plugin, as well as all the other new features highlighted over the last two weeks: our affiliation with centerNet, integration with DHCommons, Spanish translation work, tool reviews, export options and API, adding tools using Twitter, the new tool lists feature, TaDiRAH terms and RDF, the “assignment-in-a-box”, and our “recipes” partnership with TAPoR.

As we conclude this series of announcements, as well as this phase of actively developing new infrastructure for DiRT, we would like to thank the Mellon Foundation, our development partners at The Graduate Center, CUNY, the Drupal developers at Agile Humanities Agency, DiRT’s volunteer steering committee, editorial board, and translators, new parent organization centerNet, and partner projects including TAPoR and Geohumanities SIG. DiRT would not be where it is today without your support.