Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - UNZE-IB-DIGIHUM (Information Behaviour in Digital Humanities)

Summary description of the project objectives:

Digital humanities (DH) tools are becoming common components of university environments, promising advanced cyber-infrastructure for future research and teaching in the humanities. In order to align DH activities to everyday university settings, we need a better understanding of information behaviour (IB) in these digital environments. The overall aim of this project is to align theoretical insights from IB, DH, and information system (IS) design with an empirical investigation at the host university, in order to gain better understanding of IB in DH activities, which will inform management of DH projects and applications. A combination of empirical, theoretical, and action research have been integrated into three main objectives of the study: 1) to investigate information behaviour in DH activities of scholars and students at the host university; 2) to build a theoretical model for management of DH projects, based on theoretical insights from several research fields, and the empirical knowledge gained by the objective 1; and 3) to transfer knowledge to the host through an action research (development of a new DH course and a prototype of a digital textbook), enabling an evaluation of the outcomes of the objectives 1 and 2.

Description of the work performed since the beginning of the project:

The project has been anticipated in three phases: design (October 2014 - March 2016), evaluation (April 2016 – September 2017), and presentation (October 2017 – September 2018). The first phase (design phase) has been successfully completed on time, resulting with a provisional theoretical model for managing DH projects. The project has started with two main research activities. One activity followed a case study of development and implementation of a DH project at the host, and investigated participants' IB in their DH activities. Another activity has reviewed the literature to explore possibilities to apply IB research in design of DH applications and management of DH projects. These activities provided empirical knowledge and theoretical concepts for building the provisional model as the first milestone of the project. The second phase of the project (evaluation phase) has started six months ago. During these six months, the project has made the first iterations over the main tasks. The evaluation phase involves an action research, based on the provisional model. The work on evaluation phase is progressing accordingly to the planned schedule. Some of the tasks have been already completed (development of DH course and a prototype of a digital textbook), while substantial progress has been made in all other activities for the second phase.

Description of the main results achieved so far:

The most significant result in this period was development of a provisional model for managing DH projects. The main strength of this model is that it combines insights from information studies and methods in software development, while still being based on values of the humanistic tradition and methods. In this way, the model addresses some important issues in management of DH projects that are generated by complex tensions between digital and humanistic aspects of DH projects. While the provisional model marked an important milestone of the project, the project resulted in many other achievements (presented through 12 other deliverables) such as a comprehensive literature review, a report on a case study, a report on a user study, but also development of two courses (Digital Humanities, and New Media) at the host university, and an implementation of innovative teaching methodologies on these courses. The researcher has also developed "Information Behaviour" course, which he will teach from the next semester, starting in October 2016. All the main results have been presented in international academic conferences and research journals. One of the main results of this reporting period is also a significant progress in a deliverable that is due in the second period (April, 2017) - publishing a monograph introducing DH to the local audience. The book "Digital Humanities: Debates, Applications, and Challenges” has been completed, and it is in a publishing procedure at the University of Zenica, with a plan to be released in December, 2016.

The expected final results and their potential impact and use:

In the remainder of the project, we aim to extend our theoretical model by capturing more empirical evidence through an action research, to which the knowledge gained in the first half of this project will be directly applied. The implementation of the prototype of a digital textbook will enable an evaluation of the provisional model, and serve as a second case study. A report on evaluation phase, supported by another literature review, will mark the second major milestone of the project. These activities (most notably the second case study and literature review) will lead to a final phase of the project, resulting in the final theoretical model for managing DH projects. During this period, the researcher will also finalise other important deliverables such as the report on using the new teaching methodology, and the final report of all empirical findings. The final results will be exploited through the various dissemination and outreach activities. The planned dissemination activities during the second period among others include: a monograph introducing DH discipline; a conference presentation of the final empirical results; a journal article reporting a case study; a conference presentation on the new teaching method; a journal article that will report the final empirical findings of the participants' IB in DH; and a journal article proposing the final model for managing DH projects. These presentations and publications will enable the knowledge transfer to potential end-users and relevant decision-makers and thus contribute to European competitiveness, but they will also crucially help the researcher to advance his research career.

The final results of the project are thus expected to have an impact on both global and local research community, but also on the personal career of the researcher. The new model, which will combine insights from both the humanities and digital methods, is expected to have a great impact on DH practitioners. At the same time, the project has an important socio-economic impact on local efforts to address brain drain in Bosnia and Herzegovina, caused by the war in the 1990s. Finally, the project will aid the fellow in significantly improving his independent research profile, and thus his re-integration into the European research area. This grant has helped the fellow’s career integration during this important period in his academic career, and it will continue to benefit his career during the next reporting period of the project.

More information about this project can be consulted on

Reported by

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Life Sciences
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