Feb 01

Session Proposal: After the End: How Libraries can Support the Continuity and Preservation of Digital Humanities Projects

Sure, the fun part is actually doing the project – digging into the data, creating cool models and maps, driving the discussion and exploration of a chosen topic. But what happens after the project concludes? How are the products created during the project managed? What about the documentation and systems used? The responsibility for a digital project humanities project does not end when the final product is created and shared. Libraries are uniquely placed to provide support not only during a project, but afterward as well. I’d like this session to explore ways that libraries can create and market the services needed to support digital humanities projects when they’ve reached their end. At what point should libraries become involved in the project? Should DH projects consider the limitations of library information systems when being planned, or should libraries be flexible to handle a wide range of data and products?


  1. Christine Connors

    In the enterprise we often have operations teams to which projects are handed off. No, not as fun, but just as critical! These teams keep the quality high, but also got to make updates when appropriate. Perhaps some of those practices may be of use.

  2. Frank Skornia

    When I was working at a nonprofit, I helped write several grant applications for archival and oral history projects, and one of the main points looked for in the grant applications was how the project would be sustained or maintained after the grant project period ended. I believe that libraries can be important collaborative partners in this aspect, if they have taken the time and effort to build the infrastructure so that when a project ends they can take up stewardship for it. Partnerships like that can help strengthen a grant application, as well as strengthen ties for the library with the rest of the community.

    Additionally, what you talk about Christime reminds me of what I see a lot from video game developers. They’ll create a game, release it, and then move on to their next project. The released game then tends to move to a different team that becomes responsible for maintaining the code through support and patches, as well as possibly preparing updates or expansions.

  3. Amanda Rust

    Ithaka S+R just released a great Sustainability Health Check Tool for this kind of question. The tool (and larger report that goes with it) implies the kind of hand off that Frank describes, I think: once a project goes into maintenance mode, the library may have greater / different kind of responsibility.

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