Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Sept. 16, 2021, 6:25 a.m. Humanist 35.241 - institutional support for DH websites?

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 241.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2021-09-15 15:51:41+00:00
        From: John Wall <>
        Subject: Institutional Support for DH Websites?

I would like to know from folks on this list who are working on digital
humanities projects that result in websites what sort of support they are
getting from their institutional libraries for maintaining their websites
once the projects are done.

My university’s library says they will archive files created as part of the
project and they will archive a snapshot of the websites, but they will not
support keeping the websites live by housing them on their servers.

This means that the websites for my project, which was supported by 2 NEH
DH grants and represents over 15 years of work by a team of nearly a
hundred people, now live on because my department head is willing to pay
rent for them on a university server. But she tells me she will retire in a
couple of years and that she cannot guarantee that her successor will
continue to be supportive. So all that work may cease to be available in
two years.

This seems to me to represent a refusal on our library’s part to meet one
of their basic missions, which is the acquisition, conservation, and
dissemination of knowledge. They spend millions of dollars building large
buildings to house books, installing shelves to store them and air quality
systems to preserve them, and creating systems for retrieving and making
them available to users. But they are not willing to develop systems to
maintain websites.

I would like to know what experiences you folks are having in this area. If
you are curious, all our work is now available through this umbrella site:

*John N. Wall*
Professor of English Literature
NC State University
Principal Investigator for
The Virtual St Paul's Cathedral Project
The Virtual Paul's Cross Project

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