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Case Study: Functional Requirements and Solutions Design for a Sustainable Digital Humanities Infrastructure (2018 & 2019)

1 Mar 2019

 

Client: Oxford University IT Services & Humanities Division

Project Phase 1: Functional Requirements for a Sustainable Digital Humanities Infrastructure (2018)

 

In 2018, Athenaeum21 carried out an in-depth analysis of the functional requirements of Digital Humanities (DH) projects at the University of Oxford, including extensive interviews with DH project leads, followed by technical and functional analysis for more than 30 DH projects. Our charge, from the university’s IT department and Division of Humanities, was to help the University to design and more sustainable infrastructure for the DH projects. Our research uncovered a more robust and detailed picture of how both active and retired DH projects differ from the most common research data management and preservation models, and of their unique technical sustainability and preservation issues. In response to these diverse needs, we propose a layered service model for creating a sustainable digital humanities technology infrastructure. Breaking down the functional requirements into “layers” acknowledges the differing life cycles of different technologies and allows for the potential of a distributed, organization-wide solution. Some of the outputs of this work, are available in a presentation from the Fall 2018 meeting of the Coalition of Networked Information. 

 

Services Provided:

  • User Needs Research & Analysis

  • Local and International Market Research

  • Environmental Scan

Methods Used:

  • Interviews (in person and via telephone) with internal and external users and stakeholders

  • Desk Research

  • Competitor Analysis

 

Project Phase 2: Solutions Design for a Sustainable Digital Humanities Infrastructure (2019)

 

The second phase of this project was a solutions design phase in which potential technical solutions and technologies were mapped to each service layer in our model (see above). A more detailed solutions analysis resulted in proposals for technologies for each of the service layers. The work included providing indicative costings for each solution, as well as a detailed analysis of required skills for each solution. A21 worked with the IT department to bring together stakeholders in DH from around the University and held a workshop to discuss the pros and cons of the different technological approaches. 

 

Services Provided

  • User Needs Research & Analysis

  • Local and International Market Research

  • Environmental Scan

  • Service Design

  • Solutions Design, including costing and identification of required skills

Methods Used

  • Interviews (in person and via telephone) with internal and external users and stakeholders

  • Desk Research

  • Competitor Analysis

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