Arts and humanities go digital The design of an open and collaborative environment for digital arts and humanities research to encourage unparalleled exchange and creativity in this diverse field across Europe. Digital Economy © Thinkstock Arts and humanities form a pivotal part of culture and education in Europe, involving an extensive variety of disciplines ranging from anthropology and literature to law and linguistics. The EU has endeavoured to enable digital means of research and increase access to data in these fields with the aim of promoting culture and education. Against this backdrop, the EU-funded project 'Preparing for the construction of the digital research infrastructure for the arts and humanities' (PREPARINGDARIAH) took up this challenge. The infrastructure aimed to connect people, information, tools and methodologies for investigating and exploring humanities in a digital environment. To achieve this, the project team analysed current mechanisms in digital humanities, investigating related content and services of data organisations across the EU. It particularly focused on the tools, technologies and standards involved. The project team created a strategic plan which outlined the primary functions of the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH). It designed the infrastructure in a way that balances decentralisation and efficiency, empowering researchers to work in conjunction with and contribute to the DARIAH community. Equipped with a detailed business plan, the project also secured financial support for building and operating the infrastructure. It designed DARIAH around four Virtual Competency Centres (VCCs), each aiming to attract numerous contributors. The first represented the e-infrastructure that provides developers with a shared technology platform and a comprehensive developer portal. The second focused on promoting the use of digitally enabled arts and humanities data in research and education, emphasising research methods, training, expertise and tools involved. PREPARINGDARIAH's third competency centre worked on scholarly content management, in particular on exposing and sharing academic content through research networks, libraries, publishers and other digital nodes. Its fourth VCC worked on advocacy, impact and outreach, targeting funding agencies, policymakers and industry. Effectively, PREPARINGDARIAH created a sense of European consciousness around research infrastructures for the arts and humanities. It brought powerful information and communication technologies (ICT) methods and tools to its community of researchers, building as well strong relationships with a wide range of similar projects and initiatives. Importantly, the project has embedded humanities research infrastructure development in the visions of many European countries. This important field, with all its creativity, inspiration and thought, will enhance the knowledge economy in Europe and underline its leading role in advancing arts and humanities worldwide.