All posts by

DH-Central, Progress post #3

Data Aggregation and Platform Refinement

Our project DH-Central keeps evolving and we are happy to present our state of mind today for the third milestone.

After doing a state of the art on Digital Humanities for the first milestone, we were busy these last weeks trying to imagine a proper way to get feedback and data from interested or potential users of a DH community platform such as DH-Central.

Initially, we thought sending targeted surveys would be an efficient way to achieve this data collection. Yet, after discussing with our project’s supervisors, we realized it is too difficult to make people answer surveys, especially when not knowing them, or when they have no pre-defined interest. Moreover, filling survey is a one-shot action, while the big challenge of our idea is to (1) motivate people to join our platform, (2) keep them active, and (3) make them spread the word. So instead of first sending surveys, then design the platform, we think the best is to do both at the same time, so that the platform self-generates with continuous feedbacks and data aggregation. In this article, we will first develop the main tasks the idea should contain and then present our final solution.

(1) To tackle the motivation problem, we realized a trickier way had to be involved to get data : a survey isn’t enough. The DH-ist should be excited to come in. Many ideas emerged with one criteria in common : “rewarding” the user with an experience. Indeed, by filling a quiz, we thought of plotting the user’s position among a DH-ists graph, or giving him his special DH role, or even grading him. There has to be something, probably visualizable, to motivate the user to participate in the process.

(2) To keep them active, this visualization should maybe evolve through time, benefiting from other participants, so that there is a ‘carrot’ that makes the users come back and check their status.

(3) We would like the users to invite their friends or colleagues to the platform. To encourage this, there has to be a somehow competitive or collaborative or collaborative aspect.

Finally, we have decided to implement a crowd-sourcing DH quiz platform for the basis of DH-Central. A sketch of its design follows. Users are proposed to either create forms, or answer forms. Thanks to this option, they will either want to answer forms to compare with the community thanks to fancy data visualizations, either want to create forms to test their friends and colleagues knowledge, or even both!

More concretely on the data visualization, there would be a map placing you as an IT expert for DH for instance… or more like a design expert. To make it more appealing, we could first invite some Digital Humanities influents / experts to upload their own quiz. Then we will have many quiz in many different domains, and we can start ranking people and adding visualizations again.


So with this strategy we manage to take into account the three criterias : participation to the quiz is motivated with an experience, and the users are pushed to come back and share the word with friends or colleagues.