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Durham University

Department of English Studies

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Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Claire Warwick

Warwick, C., Terras, M., Galina, I., Huntington, P. & Pappa, N. (2007). Evaluating Digital Humanities Resources: The LAIRAH Project Checklist and the Internet Shakespeare Editions Project. Openness in Digital Publishing: Awareness, Discovery and Access - Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Electronic Publishing – Vienna, Austria – June 2007, Vienna, Austria, ELPUB.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The following paper presents a case study of the way that the research done by the LAIRAH project may be
applied in the case of a real digital resource for humanities scholarship. We present an evaluation of the Internet
Shakespeare Editions website according to the checklist of recommendations which we produced as a result of
our research. The LAIRAH (Log analysis of Internet Resources in the Arts and Humanities) project based at
UCL’s School of Library Archive and Information Studies, was a fifteen month study to discover what
influences the long-term sustainability and use of digital resources in the humanities through the analysis and
evaluation of real-time use. Our research objectives were to determine the scale of use and neglect of digital
resources in the humanities, and to determine whether resources that are used share any common characteristics.
We also aimed to highlight areas of good practice, as well as aspects of project design that might be improved to
aid greater use and sustainability. A further aim was to determine whether digital resources that were neglected.
In our study we concluded that well-used projects share common features that predispose them to success. The
effect of institutional and disciplinary culture in the construction of digital humanities projects was significant.
We found that critical mass was vital, as was prestige within a university or the acceptance of digital methods in
a subject. The importance of good project staff and the availability of technical support also proved vital. If a
project as to be well-used it was also essential that information about it should be disseminated as widely as
possible. Even amongst well-used projects, however we found areas that might be improved, these included
organised user testing, the provision of and easy access to documentation and the lack of updating and
maintenance of many resources. The paper discusses our recommendations, which were presented as a check-list
under four headings: content, users, maintenance and dissemination. We show why our findings led us to make
such recommendations, and discuss their application to the ISE case study.

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