So you wanna create a clearinghouse for tools, data, projects, and/or resources? A lot of people also think that it's a good idea. You'll soon be hearing from many people who have serious doubts about the feasibility of your project. Here's some issues to think about:
Kinds of content
How broad is the scope of your clearinghouse? Tools? Data sources? Projects? Resources? News about "what's happening" in the digital humanities community? Information about scholarly practice associated with tools?
Tools, data and projects
- Are you only going to be including tools/data/projects designed specifically for digital humanities, or general purpose tools/data/projects that can be applied to digital humanities? (e.g. The Valley of the Shadow vs. Project Gutenberg)
- Are you going to include commercial tools/data? Are there any conditions? (e.g. has a free version, has educational discount, etc.)
- What kind of metadata are you going to add to increase findability? (e.g. supported platform, price, license, etc.)
- What's the minimum amount of information that must be included for a tool/data source to be included in the directory?
- What kind of resources are you going to include? Pedagogical material? Information about standards and best practices? Information about copyright? Metrics for evaluating digital humanities projects?
- Are you going to be creating new content, or aggregating content from elsewhere?
Adding and updating data
- Are you going to pull in data in some automated way, or is there going to be a manual process?
- If there's a manual process, what will the incentives be to contribute? (Money? Access restrictions for non-contributing users? Relying on goodwill and/or enthusiastic students?)
- Can only people with authority (project PI, company representative, etc.) add or modify information about tools, resources, and/or projects?)
- Do users need an account to add data? If so, is the authentication tied into existing systems (e.g. Shibboleth, Open ID, etc.)?
- Is there a way to display all of a user's contributions in a way that can be shared, to enable the possibility of receiving credit for contributing to the site?
- How is it determined that information is out of date?
- Who fixes out-of-date information, and how?
- Is there an approval process for adding or changing information?
- Is there going to be an option on the site to review the content in the clearinghouse?
- If so, which kind(s) of content? Including tools/projects that aren't completed?
- What form does a review take? A comment box? Numerical rating? Thumbs up (and/or down)?
- Who can write reviews? Even anonymous users? Only registered users? Through a formal system similar to peer review?
- Are there guidelines or metrics for reviews?
- Who is your audience? (Self-identified digital humanists? Tech-savvy scholars who don't self-identify as digital humanists? Scholars who are new to using digital humanities tools and methodologies? Students? University administration? Others?)
- If the audience is a significantly different group of people than the people inputting the data, are there guidelines to ensure that the data is targeted correctly at the audience? (e.g. considering the level of technical expertise, using the right tone and jargon, etc.)
Interface and access
- Will your audience be amenable to visiting a website to access the information in your clearinghouse, or will they expect to access it from a pre-existing VRE or social network?
- Is the information in your clearinghouse going to be available for other systems to ingest? (This could include anything from RSS feeds to web services that can be tied into Moodle or Facebook.)
- Will the information in your clearinghouse be exportable?