NeDiMAH Ontology Working Group Meeting:

Workshop at the DARIAH 5th General VCC Meeting
22 April 2015, Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Lubljana, Slovenia   Organised by
Lorna Hughes, Panos Constantopoulos, Costis Dallas, Agiatis Benardou
  The ESF Research Network, NeDiMAH, is developing an ontology of digital research methods in the arts and humanities (NeDiMAH Methods Ontology: NeMO,, in order to support the classification and understanding of digital research practice in the humanities, and to make this work more visible. It will enable the critical evaluation of digital humanities by providing an evidence base that is transparent. It will enable digital research in the humanities to be better-documented, and provide a framework for peer review and evaluation that incorporates multi and interdisciplinary research.

Largely grounded on still on-going empirical research on scholarly practices undertaken in several DARIAH-related projects including Preparing DARIAH, DARIAH-GR, and EHRI, NeMO emerged as a collaboration between NeDiMAH and the Digital Curation Unit, ATHENA R.C., partner and task co-chair in DARIAH VCC2, in order to deliver the NeDiMAH ‘database’ as a re-useable ontology of digital methods in the humanities.

NeMO has undertaken the development of a comprehensive model incorporating existing relevant taxonomies of scholarly methods and tools: TaDIRAH, Oxford ICT, DHCommons, CCC-IULA-UPF and DiRT have been reviewed and a mapping of the concepts defined therein onto NEMO concepts has been produced. The outcome of the project will be a formal ontology: an explicit specification of a conceptualization in the domain of scholarly research and their context of scholarly use, providing a shared vocabulary, i.e. the type of objects and/or concepts, and their properties and relations, which can be used to adequately represent the domain of arts and humanities scholarly practice in the digital age.

NeMO will be a means of documenting partnerships across disciplines and organizations, demonstrating the collaborative, scholarly, and human infrastructures of digital humanities, as well as technical infrastructures. Part of the research development of NeMO is developing the basis for a “knowledge base” of the "content illustrating digital methods use in humanities research”. This is currently based on case studies developed at a series of 6 workshops funded by NeDiMAH, and using the scholarly practice model that evolved from the model originally developed by the DCU for DARIAH.

NeMo will be launched in May 2015, when NeDiMAH concludes. As a research output of the Network, it will be communicated through presentations at conferences, and in a series of publications. It will be circulated widely through the NeDiMAH Network, and through the ESF Member organisations that contribute to the Network and therefore have an investment in its uptake. As a resource, its technical sustainability will be assured by DARIAH-GR, which will maintain and manage the online platform for NeMO, as well the model itself.

However, its uptake and intellectual sustainability can only be assured through a collective, community- wide initiative. Accordingly, NeMO will convene an editorial board to sustain the content that underlies the ontology, and explore the possibility of working with DARIAH-EU and CLARIN-EU to continue to encourage community input into the development of the resource. Specifically, we would like to discuss with the DARIAH leadership the possibility that the NeMO Editorial Board become a central activity supported by DARIAH-EU in order to activate international collaboration, and input by the wider digital humanities community. We do not expect this to have a financial support, instead, we hope that the community can be active in pursuing other funding opportunities for meetings and events, and even for future development.

The NeMO workshop at the DARIAH meeting Ljubljana introduced and discussed the outcomes of this collaborative work with the interested DARIAH partners, and explored ways to take it forward after the NeDiMAH initiative has been completed. This was an important opportunity for DARIAH participants to better understand NeMO, and the potential for involvement in the editorial board. We also had a series of discussions with the DARIAH directors and the VCC2 coordinators about this idea.