A Documentation Checklist for (Linked) Humanities Data

Middle, Sarah (2023). A Documentation Checklist for (Linked) Humanities Data. International Journal of Digital Humanities (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42803-023-00072-z

Abstract

Documentation, including information, instructions, and use cases, is key to reproducibility in Digital Humanities research and usability of resulting tools and resources. However, despite multiple studies that support this assertion, clear and comprehensive documentation is often lacking due to fundamental incompatibilities with existing funding models and the resulting prioritisation of project tasks. Through a user study of researchers involved in using and producing Linked Ancient World Data, supplemented by existing literature, I identified components for inclusion in documentation to facilitate use of these tools and resources, as well as the reproducibility of methods used in their pro- duction. At the same time, it became clear that producers would benefit from a solution to simplify the process of documentation creation. As a result, I assembled a documentation checklist whose scope for application reaches beyond Linked Ancient World Data to other Humanities disciplines and digital methods. This paper starts by discussing previous work, before providing an overview of my survey and interview methods. I then present my findings and discuss their implications for future research and development, including an introduction to the checklist and its implementation. To conclude, I draw together threads from the pre- ceding sections and suggest wider structural changes to further facilitate and promote transparency and reproducibility in Digital Humanities.

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