[globaloutlookDH-l] DH Awards

James Cummings James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
Tue Feb 4 05:50:46 MST 2014

On 04/02/14 12:24, Marin Dacos wrote:
> Dear James,
> Nice to hear you on this list and thank you for your precise
> answers. I guess that, if I had known the rule, I would have
> explained what was new in Hypotheses in 2013. The main novelty in
> Hypotheses since 2 years (that means before 2013) is that we have
> decided to be open to non french contents. To do so, we have
> created specific steering committees for each language. So far,
> we have opened committees for german and spanish. The spanish
> speaking community is slower to join us than the german
> community, mainly because did not spend enough time, energy and
> money to promote the platform in Spain and latin america until
> now. We have plans to do so with different partners. If spanish
> speaking people in the list want to join this project, I would be
> very happy to discuss with you.

And I think those are all good developments which should be 
applauded. I'm sure you are happy to note that one of the blog 
posts successfully nominated is from hypotheses.org (and although 
the author nominated the English translation, it is available in 
the original French and German as well - it might have been 
better had it been the French that had been nominated, but I 
understand the logic of wanting the most diverse community of 
voters to read the English, sadly).

> My main concern related to the focus on novelty is that the
> opening of a new language will take more than one year to become
> a success. So, the question is : should we focus on the date of
> the start of the project, with a likely small success at the
> begining (so very little chances to win), or after some years of
> promotion and development (but then with no chance to win any
> award because it will be considered as an old initiative).

Yes, this is a fundamental problem. Though some projects are 
nominated near the end of their project lifecycle (i.e. when then 
publicly 'launch') hypotheses.org doesn't really follow that 
model being an ongoing service. Since you have already been 
adding new languages it seems to me that adding another new 
language isn't really an upgrade sadly, just a continuation of 
what you already do. If you do, say, have a major change to the 
underlying software that enables a significant change to the way 
the site works or how users (or admins) use it, then that would 
certainly qualify.  I understand that this isn't perfect, but 
unless the awards become a public judging of the entire field of 
DH and its history then I think there needs to be an annual 
component. (After all, if it was the former, then wouldn't each 
year we just be voting on whether anything new was better than 
the winners of the previous year? That has its own problems.)

> When
> we started Hypotheses, in 2008, it was a very small project, with
> no chance at all to be awarded, and now it is a success, but
> still no chance to be awarded. I guess that the best way would be
> to wait for the next major upgrade of the platform. But it will
> be a bit tricky to know how big and disruptive should be this
> upgrade.

I realise that isn't very satisfactory -- but yes, if the upgrade 
of the platform changes the prime way in which users are doing 
something inherent to the resource, then that would certainly 
qualify.  (And if you point to that in the nomination, it makes 
our job all that easier.)

> This is not a complaint. I just want to share with you my
> questions related to the best way to apply to DH Awards. Do you
> have any advices to provide?

Only the above. And to reassure you that hypotheses.org wasn't 
treated unfairly (or, at least, just as unfairly as our 
investigations of other nominated resources). We honestly do try 
to err on the side of including resources and also make no 
judgements whatsoever based on quality (good or bad).


Dr James Cummings, James.Cummings at it.ox.ac.uk
Academic IT Services, University of Oxford

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