Digital Humanities: Sharing
Web Publishing Platforms
Web publishing is a broad term that generally means publishing content on the Internet. In the digital humanities, content can take many forms: digital archives or collections, blogs, multimedia projects, data, digital storytelling, and more. This section introduces some of the available platforms and static site generators.
Static website vs. content management system (CMS)
- A CMS is a platform that facilitates the creation, management, and display of a variety of content (text, images, video), typically without requiring specialized knowledge. Knowledge of programming or markup languages (ex. HTML), however, opens up options for advanced customization.
- A static website is hard-coded and requires manual changes for updates, and requires minimal HTML and CSS coding knowledge. This option is stable and requires less bandwidth.
Free hosting vs. self-hosted websites
- Some platforms like Wordpress offer free web hosting on their servers, but they are generally more limited in terms of plugin options and storage space.
- You can also manage your own site by paying for web hosting services. Reclaim Hosting offers affordable domain registration and hosting options for students, faculty, and digital projects.
Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too) is a free, open-source CMS platform developed with indigenous communities that is designed to empower communities to share their digital heritage on their own terms and in ways that align with their ethics, cultural practices, and protocols. The Mukurtu team is at the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University.
WordPress is a free, open-source CMS and web publishing platform that stands out for its flexibility because of the number of plugins available. It was originally designed for blogging, but has been expanded into a general web publishing platform. Wordpress.com provides free hosting with limitations. Wordpress.org is the place to go for self-hosting options.
Omeka is a free, open-source web publishing platform and CMS for sharing and curating digital collections, as well as creating digital exhibits and stories. It provides robust options for item metadata. Omeka Classic can be used by individuals or institutions. Omeka S allows for multiple sites within an institution. It also provides linked data capabilities. Omeka was developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.
Scalar is a free, open-source publishing platform geared toward long-form scholarship with embedded multimedia. It also also provides the capability for multimedia tagging and annotation, as well as for interacting with stories in a nonlinear way through different path structures. It was created by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at the University of Southern California.
Jekyll is a simple, "blog-aware," static site generator built in the Ruby programming language. It allows users to create a minimalist, efficient website that is not dependent on a database or application servers. It has templates, themes, and plugins.
Static sites are a good choice if you are comfortable working in the command-line environment, if you want greater security, and if you favor simple, streamlined, minimal computing.
Hugo is also a static site generator built in the Go programming language. It has more built-in features than Jekyll and is faster, but it does not have plugin support.
Common Tools for Teaching & Learning DH by Ashley Maynor, NYU Libraries
- This research guide provides a comparative perspective for WordPress, Scalar, and Omeka, as well as suggested tools for particular kinds of projects.
Hugo or Jekyll? 6 Factors You Should Know by Chis Macrae (2018)
Sharing Data Through an API
Creating Web APIs with Python & Flask - This Programming Historian tutorial by Patrick Smyth explains how you can build a web API for your site to allow other researchers to access your data. Note that if you have small datasets, an API might not be the best choice. However you can also share data through and API and a download option.
Humanities scholars have not always considered the life of their research beyond publication. A notable exception is the donation of personal collections to archives. With the growth of digital humanities projects and support for a culture of open research and open access, the digital preservation landscape is changing.
There are a number of data repositories and platforms that humanists can use to store, share, and preserve their research. Many colleges and universities, including University at Buffalo (UBIR), have institutional repositories. There are also disciplinary and interdisciplinary repositories. It is possible for research to be deposited in multiple places, but each publication or dataset should have a unique identifier.
Some repositories use the term "open science" but are actually more inclusive, supporting open scholarship regardless of discipline. The options listed below are free and designed for the open exchange of information. This comparison of repository features compiled by Dataverse in 2017 (which does not include Humanities Commons) provides some guidance on features to consider when choosing a place to preserve and share research.
UBIR - The University at Buffalo Institutional Repository collects, preserves, and distributes UB's research and scholarship. It includes articles, reports, audio files, images, and video clips.
re3data.org - This is a registry of global research data repositories that can be browsed by subject, content type, and country. Some are broad in scope and some are very specialized. Even if you are not looking for a repository for your own research, this is a great place to find subject-relevant digital content.
Humanities Commons - HC is a free open source interdisciplinary network and platform with a repository component that allows researchers and practitioners to share their work. In addition to allowing uploads of papers, presentations, data, and other research formats to CORE (Common Open Repository Exchange), it provides a forum for communication.
Open Science Framework - OSF is a robust open source platform for managing and documenting research projects. Don't let the word "science" steer you away. It can be used for humanities projects as well. Here is a post about how it is being used in the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project.
GitHub - GitHub is a repository and software development platform that provides a range of functionalities. It allows collaborative code development, review, and hosting with project management options (cards, notes, task lists). GitHub Pages and Wikis provide space to write, record, and publish project documentation.
Figshare - Figshare is a repository that allows researchers to make their data "citable, shareable, and discoverable." Up to 20 GB of private data can be uploaded and there is no limit to the amount of public data they will host. Figshare already hosts some humanities collections.
Multimodal & Interactive Scholarly Publishing
As the scholarly publishing landscape changes, new initiatives are exploring peer-reviewed, multimodal, short and long-form possibilities. Many of these innovative efforts are connected to university presses.
RavenSpace is a publishing platform for media-rich, interactive books in Indigenous Studies. It was started in 2010 at University of British Columbia Press, which partnered with the University of Washington Press in 2015. The project has many other partners such as Mukurtu and the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at USC (which developed Scalar). Like Mukurtu, it operates from a publishing model that respects Indigenous protocols.
This collaboration between scholars, academic presses, technologists, and librarians works to enable the publication of 3D scholarly editions. They have five inaugural project in development.
Manifold is an open-source scholarly publishing platform that can be downloaded and self-hosted. Alternatively, Manifold Digital Services offers fee-based hosting and publishing support. The platform allows for the integration of multimedia, annotation, community sharing, and interactivity. It is developed by University of Minnesota Press, the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), and Cast Iron Coding (Portland, OR). They also have a 2019-2020 pilot program with a variety of presses and projects.
Fulcrum is a publishing platform that allows authors to link source materials to book-length scholarship, such as archives of digital data, interactive multimedia, visualizations, 3D models, or digital maps. Originally supported by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, Fulcrum is developed by the University of Michigan Library and Press with institutional partners at Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Penn State universities.