Although Digital Humanities have been defined from a discipline perspective in many ways, it is surely a field still looking for its own objects, practices and methodologies. Their development in the Spanish-speaking countries is no exception to this process and, even it is complex to trace a unique genealogy to give account for the evolving field in Spain and Latin America (Gonzalez-Blanco, 2013; Spence and Gonzalez-Blanco, 2014; Rio Riande 2014a, 2014b), the emergence of various associations in Mexico (RedDH), Spain (HDH) and Argentina (AAHD) that seek for a constant dialogue (Galina, González-Blanco and Rio Riande, 2015), and academic lab and DH center initiatives such as LINHD (Spain and Argentina), GRINUGR (Spain), Medialab USAL, LABTEC (Argentina), TadeoLab (Colombia), Elabora HD (Mexico), among others, make it clear that research has become increasingly “global, multipolar and networked” (Llewellyn Smith, et al., 2011) and that the academic field is looking for a global outreach and aims to open spaces of shared virtual work. Virtual Research Communities (VRCs) are a consequence of these changes.
Virtual Research Environments (VREs) have become central objects for digital humanist community, as they help global, interdisciplinary and networked research taking of profit of the changes in “data production, curation and (re‐)use, by new scientific methods, by changes in technology supply” (Voss and Procter, 2009: 174-90). DH Centers, labs or less formal structures such as associations benefit from many kind of VREs, as they facilitate researchers and users a place to develop, store, share and preserve their work, making it more visible. The focus and implementation of each of these VREs is different, as Carusi and Reimer (2010) show in their comparative analysis, but there are some common guidelines, philosophy and standards that are generally shared (as an example, see the Centernet map and guidelines of TGIR Huma-Num, 2015).
This poster presents the structure and design of the VRE of LINHD, the Digital Innovation Lab at UNED ( http://linhd.uned.es), and the first Digital Humanities Center in Spain. This VRE focuses on the possibilities of a collaborative environment for (profane or advanced) Spanish-speakers scholarly digital editors. Taking into account the language barrier that English may suppose for a Spanish-speakers scholar or student and the distance they may encounter with the data and organization of the interface (in terms of computational knowledge) while facing a scholarly digital edition or collection, LINHD’s VRE comes as a solution for the VRC interested in scholarly digital work. Moreover, it will make it possible to add an apply tools that contribute to improve Spanish-English applications or tools developed locally, such as Contawords, by Iula-UPF http://contawords.iula.upf.edu/executions. Opening such an environment to the Spanish speaking world will make it possible to reach different kinds of communities, whose profile and training in digital humanities differ from the typical users of DH tools and environment. Testing all these tools in this new environment will, for sure, draw interesting project results.
In this sense, our project dialogues and aims to join the landscape of other VREs devoted to digital edition, such as Textgrid, e-laborate, etc. and, in a further stage, to build a complete virtual environment to collect and classify data, tools and projects, work and publish them and share the results with the research community. After having studied the structure and components of other digital virtual environment, our VRE has been designed on a humanist-user centered perspective, in which interface design, accessibility easiness and familiarity with tools and standards are key factors.
Therefore, the key of our VRE is the combination of different open-source software that will enable users to complete the whole process of developing a digital editorial project. The environment is, up-to-now, divided into three parts: 1) A repository of data to (projects, tools, etc.) with permanent identifiers in which the information will be indexed through a semantic structured ontology of metadata and controlled vocabularies (such as Isidore and Huni, but using LINDAT software by Clarin. eu). 2) A working space based on the possibilities of eXistDB to work on text encoding together with Tei-Scribe, a tool developed at LINHD to tag texts in an intuitive way, storing and querying, plus some publishing tools (pre-defined stylesheets and some other open-source projects, such as Sade, Versioning machine, etc.). 3) A collaborative cloud workspace which integrates a wiki, a file archiving system and a publishing space for each team.
Sustainability and long-term preservation are issues which we contemplate from the beginning, as our group is leading the addition of Spain into Dariah and LINHD is also part of a Clarin-Knowledge center with two powerful NLP groups from U.Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and IXA in País Vasco. Our project has been conceived according to DH standards and open-source tools and its infrastructure is supported by our university UNED.