DiRT receives grant for partnerships with Commons In A Box, DHCommons

The University of California, Berkeley and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York are pleased to announce that the Mellon Foundation has generously provided a $150,000 grant to fund a partnership between the DiRT (Digital Research Tools) Directory, Commons In A Box, and the DHCommons project directory that will develop APIs to link these initiatives, providing new ways for scholars and students to connect with digital research tools.

For scholars who work with digital tools and methodologies, directories like DiRT are essential guides to the broad range of digital humanities tools that are available to meet various research and pedagogical needs. DiRT provides users with the prompt “I need a digital research tool to…” and offers a variety of options, ranging from “visualize data” and “make a dynamic map” to “manage bibliographic information” and “publish and share information.” After choosing an activity, the scholar is presented with a list of tools that they can narrow down based on parameters like platform and cost. When selecting a tool, scholars often weigh factors including what other projects are using the tool and which communities of expertise can provide support. Connecting the DiRT directory to DHCommons and to the Commons In A Box platform–which powers an increasing number of scholarly community hubs such as MLA Commons and NYC Digital Humanities–will make it easier for scholars to connect with others who are using DH tools.

“Developing publicly available APIs for DiRT and DHCommons will allow us not only to contextualize tools by showing the projects that use them, but also to open up the rich data sets stored in these directories for scholarly inquiry,” said project director Quinn Dombrowski (UC Berkeley). “Enabling people to explore digital research tools within the Commons In A Box platform and to connect with communities of practice around those tools will lower the barrier to entry for scholars who are new to digital humanities,” she added.

“The DiRT Directory is a robust resource that provides important information about DH tools,” Commons In A Box Director Matthew K. Gold added. “We think that integrating information about DiRT tools into CBOX profile pages will make it easier for users of those tools to connect with and learn from one another.”

As part of this initiative, the DiRT directory (formerly Bamboo DiRT) will also be redesigned and relaunched at dirtdirectory.org in July 2014. All tool entries will be updated to use TaDiRAH taxonomy terms.

For more information and updates on this initiative, visit http://dirt.projectbamboo.org/development.