Analysing Danish cultural heritage collections at the Center for Digital History Aarhus (CEDHAR)

Center for Digital History Aarhus (CEDHAR) exists to support and facilitate digital research by non-programmers and domain-experts in History, Global studies, and Classics at the Aarhus University. CEDHAR would like to expand these activities to take advantage of the digital resources (webarchive, digitized newspapers) in the Royal Library and to introduce humanities scholars to working with HPC on the cultural heritage cluster. As such, CEDHAR proposes to support two digital history projects during the technical implementation of their respective research objectives on the cultural heritage cluster. The aims of this ‘umbrella’ project are twofold:

  1. To enrich the digital humanities at Aarhus by executing at least two digital initiatives of different kind on the cultural heritage cluster, and
  2. Map the lifecycle of digital humanities project using the HPC cluster from research-problem conceptualization through its technical execution to analysis and publication.

There are several reasons why CEDHAR proposes to encapsulate two different projects in this single proposal:

  1. Efficiency: digital history projects rarely reach the scope requiring 6 months of HPC resources, while there is high likelihood of overlap in technical needs and implementation for projects in the same discipline.
  2. Overcoming sociotechnical obstacles: In digital history projects project, scoping and design of projects present the biggest challenge to project completion. The challenge of translating historical research questions into computationally tractable tasks is best overcome with synergy and collaboration. Running two digital research projects alongside in the same discipline makes it possible for involved researchers to discuss their agendas and learning, while sharing in CEDHAR consulting and digital training.
  3. Fostering digital community in history: Most historians have no programming skills and as such they find any engagement with technology frustrating and hard to carry on. Embedding such researchers in a community of cultural heritage cluster users, who they can share their concerns, and frustrations, and learn from one another, creates a safety network and lowers the barrier to entry for non-programming domain specialists.

The project is led by: Adela Sobotkova