Digital Practices in History and Ethnography IG


Group details

Case Statement: 
IG Established


RDA’s Digital Practices in History and Ethnography Interest Group (DPHP-IG) works to advance data standards, practices and infrastructure for historical and ethnographic research, contributing to broader efforts in the digital humanities and social sciences.



-        Advance development of digital infrastructure for historical and ethnographic research through engagement with concrete scholarly practice and projects (such as Open Folklore, the Nunaliit Atlas Framework, the Platform for Experimental and Collaborative Ethnography and Indiana University’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures).

-        Advance conceptualization of the special characteristics and digital potential of humanities and qualitative social science data, including conceptualization of ethnographic and historical research data as  “big data.”

-        Advance capacity to share, integrate, visualize and act with different kinds of data and analyses, including qualitative data and the kinds of analyses produced through historical and ethnographic research.


Planned Outcomes & Benefits

-        Build a global network of people involved in the development of data infrastructure for historical and ethnographic research, providing opportunities to share digital tools and project development experience.  Monthly, call-in “project shares” since summer 2013 contribute to this.  

-        Link people involved in development of data infrastructure for historical and ethnographic research to data scientists and technologists, and to people in other research domains involved in data infrastructure development (leveraging the connections provided by RDA).

-        Characterize and recommend best-practice meta-data standards for researcher-created primary data (field notes, recorded interviews, etc.) in history and ethnography.  This will be the focus of the first Working Group spun out of this Interest Group.

-        Characterize and recommend user agreements, citation practices, digital exhibition protocols, and other mechanisms that will facilitate sharing and public availability of historical and ethnographic data (recognizing the need to customize access according to data type and context).

-        Develop an ethnographic project to document and analyze data practices and culture in different research communities, especially as represented in the RDA. The comparative knowledge created by the project can undergird deep research collaboration across diverse fields.



Membership in the DPHG-IG includes historical and ethnographic researchers working in diverse fields and settings, including folklore, Arctic Studies, Ancient Studies, and Science and Technology Studies, in universities, museums, national labs, and corporate labs.  Membership also includes librarians, software developers and data scientists interested in the humanities and qualitative social sciences, as well as advocates for open data and systems in these fields. 

    Kim Fortun (Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
    Mike Fortun (Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
    Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University)

Status: Recognised & Endorsed


Recent Activity

06 Dec 2019

RDA Plenary 15 Announcements - Registration and Calls for Co-located Events and Posters Now Open


RDA is excited to announce several important pieces of information related to RDA Plenary 15: Data for Real-World Impact, which will be held from 18-20 March 2020 in Melbourne, Australia at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, MCEC (   This event will be hosted by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) with the support of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).

28 Nov 2019

Deadline For P15 Group Session Submissions Extended To 5 December 2019

Dear RDA members, 


RDA's 15th Plenary meeting, Melbourne, Australia, 18-20 March 2020 


The deadline to submit session proposals for Plenary 15 in Melbourne, Australia has been extended to 5 December 2019, midnight UTC.

04 Sep 2019

RDA website unavailable due to maintenance on 4 and 5 September 2019

Dear RDA members,


The following message is to inform you that RDA website is scheduled for a technical maintenance from today 4 September at 10:00 UTC until tomorrow 5 September at 10:00 UTC.

Messages sent to RDA Group mailing lists will not be delivered during the maintenance period.


We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


RDA Team

24 Jun 2019

Plenary 14 Session Submission Deadline Is Thursday!

With Plenary 14 (P14) scheduled to occur from October 23-25, the deadline for session submission is this Thursday, 27 June at 16:00 UTC.

Submissions for meeting sessions are open to working groups, interest groups, joint groups and birds of feather (BoF) meetings.

Please note, however, submissions are accepted from group chairs only. If you submit a session request for a group, please notify the other chairs of that group.

16 May 2019

Plenary 14: Call for Sessions, Collocated Events, Posters and Registration Now Open!

Taking place from 23-25 October 2019, the 14th RDA Plenary will take place in Dipoli, the nature-immersed building of Aalto University, Helsinki, in Finland, “one of the happiest countries in the world”, states Per Öster, CSC-IT Center For Science Director and Co-Chair of the P14 Programme Committee.