A digital humanities center is nothing if not a site of constant motion: staff, directors, fellows, projects, partners, tools, technologies, resources, and (innumerable) best practices all change over time, sometimes in quite unpredictable ways. As small, partly or wholly soft-funded units whose missions involve research, or teaching, or anchoring a local interest community, digital humanities centers face fundamental challenges involving the long-term digital stewardship of the work they help to produce.
The importance of stewarding digital scholarship will only grow and the work will need to be shared by the entire digital humanities community. Founded sixteen years ago in 1999, MITH is proud of the way it has faced and continues to face these challenges. We would like to take this opportunity to document our practices in a series of blog posts, beginning with this one, in the hope of providing a clear and potentially useful record of our principles for digital stewardship, the issues we’ve faced, and our practices for dealing with them.
In this initial post, we’ll provide an overview of the actions MITH has taken to steward the variety of digital humanities work created here. In doing so, we’ll articulate the underlying principles that have guided our decisions and present some key lessons we’ve learned. Finally, we’ll point out some areas where further work is needed by stakeholders across the wider digital humanities community.