Workshop at DH2019

DH2019 Pre-conference Workshop: I’m the one building the tool!

When: Monday, July 8, 2019, 9am - 1pm
Where: Digital Humanities Conference 2019, Utrecht, the Netherlands

In the modern world of “publish or perish”, the pressure to present polished results can lead to a focus on outcomes and immediately understandable forms of presentation. Sometimes, this results in an underrepresentation of the technologies used to produce these and an omission of its specific challenges. While awareness for the relevance of the research data used to produce a published article has been growing for many years, its acceptance as scholarly output is still contested. The same holds true for the actual software used to process data and create results.

At DH 2017 Montreal, the workshop “Building an Infrastructure for Historical Research Tools”, organized and/or attended by several of the authors, proved that a need for technical exchange exists. The workshop brought together developers, scholars with a programming or technical background, and generally people involved in the development of tools to support digital humanities research. A result of this workshop was the formation of DH Tech, “an international grass-roots community of Digital Humanities software engineers” (DHTech 2017) that holds regular virtual workshops for the discussion of technical questions, technologies, and ideas.

At the same time, the nationally organized Research Software Engineering (RSE) Community has been growing worldwide (see for example (RSE 2019)), while at DHd 2018 Cologne, some 100 attendees joined to form the DH-RSE working group, as a way to bring together the RSE and the DH communities at their intersection (de-RSE 2018). DH-RSE is a platform for exchange and communication for German-speaking software developers in the digital humanities (DH-RSE 2018).

Both groups, DH Tech and DH-RSE, aim to support dialogue and collaboration among Digital Humanities tool developers and provide a forum for collaboration as well as to increase the visibility of the people behind Digital Humanities research software and their work. In this joint half-day workshop we will discuss shared concerns and explore ideas for closer collaboration among technology-oriented DH researchers. The desired outcome of the workshop is a joint white paper, describing topics of concern and relevant steps for solving them.

If you ever had a moment of “how did they use that technology to do this,” “what software did they use and can I adapt it,” or “where is that data from and how did they process it” during a conference talk, this is your chance to meet like-minded people!


The workshop will focus on building a DH specific research software developer community. We will discuss expectations and needs of the workshop participants in regards to software development in DH, and possible broaden the discussion to topics such as:

  • Software development and academic careers
  • Open Reputation Systems
  • Collaboration vs. data-protection
  • Publication of preliminary results / open source first
  • Visibility of the technological side of DH


Please register via the DH conference website:

If you are interested in briefly introducing a DH-related software development initiative, have a specific topic you would like to discuss, or generally have questions, please email Julia Damerow (


de-RSE (2018). Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum gründen AG DH-RSE. (accessed 9 January 2019).

DH-RSE (2018). Research Software Engineering in den Digital Humanities (DH-RSE). (accessed 5 January 5 2019).

DHTech (2017). DHTech. (accessed 5 January 2019).

RSE (2019). Research Software Engineer Association. (accessed 9 January 2019).