Nordic Digital Humanities Laboratory

Project plan

The project plan describes the prestudy´s commitment and the plan for execution.
The plan is an agreement between NeIC represented by Michaela Barth and the pre-study manager Kristoffer L. Nielbo.
It is verified through a common agreement at the first NDHL workshop and approved by the NeIC representative.


1 Objective

     1.1 Background and project idea

     1.2 Project objective

     1.3 Limitations

     1.4 Recipients and approval criteria

2 Project schedule and costs

     2.1 Milestones, decision points

     2.2 Project cost estimate

3 Organisation

4 Working methods

     4.1 Requirement dialogue and change control

     4.2 Delivery and transferral

     4.3 Monitoring and learning

     4.4 Information distribution

5 Risks

Edition history




Background and project idea

Development of e-infrastructure in the humanities has typically focused on data enrichment for domain experts in core areas of humanities such as literature, history, and media studies. Only recently, are we starting to see infrastructural initiatives intended to support data-intensive research in digital humanities (e.g., modeling and analysis of large collection of cultural heritage data). These initiatives are, however, national and developed in parallel across the Nordics with limited knowledge sharing or cross-fertilization. To anticipate developments in national infrastructure and develop a pan-Nordic platform for expert users (i.e., researchers with rich code repositories and technical research profiles), Nordic Digital Humanities Laboratory (NDHL) will design and implement a shared compute and data infrastructure that can facilitate code and data sharing for highly heterogeneous and unstructured cultural heritage data across the Nordics. NDHL is a digital humanities initiative in the Nordic countries with the goal of providing said infrastructure for expert users initially and, in time, for the rest of humanities and arts. This project plan describes the pre-study for NDHL.

NDHL’s goal is to provide a shared software and application layer for modeling and analysis of cultural heritage data across the Nordics. The NDHL prestudy will provide design patterns and build community required to initiate NDHL.

Project objective

For the pre-study NDHL has three objectives (in decreasing order of importance): Infrastructure Design, Community Building and Funding Application(-s).

Infrastructure Design: By autumn 2021 partnering countries should agree on a minimal software stack with shared libraries and applications for Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden alongside documentation for execution, storage, and management layers for such a software stack in Denmark and Finland. This objective takes precedence over other objectives and all Workshops (see section 4) should explicitly state how they contribute to this objective. 0.55 of the budget and 0.75 of the workshops are directly dedicated to this objective.

Community Building: In order to facilitate successful infrastructure design and development it is necessary to build a stronger community among expert users and data and e-infrastructure providers in the Nordic countries. In the pre-study community building is considered as a direct product of Hack days and an indirect one of Workshops (see section 4). 0.075 of the budget is dedicated to Hack days, but if partners can commit time the Center for Humanities Computing Aarhus will cover additional funding for this under its outreach program.

Funding Application(-s): In order to develop and implement NDHL the partnering countries (or a subset hereof) should formulate a generic research infrastructure application ultimo 2021. The final workshop in December 2021 is dedicated to this objective. If the partners decide not to move forward with the infrastructure this objective is cancelled. The cancellation decision should be an outcome of the final workshop. 0.175 of the budget and 0.25 of the workshops are dedicated to this objective.

Result Time Cost
0.5 0.3 0.2

Table 1: Priority of the objective

Expected Benefit

Facilitate access to compute and data resources for a deprioritized research area, coordination between national eScience research and infrastructure initiates will faciliate access to relevant national data and compute resources across the Nordics (this is the core motivation for NDHL).

Mapping existing national solutions, as a by-product of coordination betweeen national eScience research NDHL will map national exiting national solutions, which will be available in a paper and the NeIC report.

Bulding a Nordic community, through the NDHL prestudy existing bonds between researchers will be strengthened and new bonds will be forged between researchers, data, and infrastucture providers.


During the pre-study NDHL will not provide implementation of (or commit to implement) the virtual laboratory. This task will ultimately depend on a future collaboration between national e-infrastructure providers and universities. Nor will NDHL provide ‘plug-n-play’ software tools for humanities research. Tools in or derived from the software library and applications layers have NDHL members as user group and are, therefore, likely to have minimnal documentation due to time constraints.

Recipients and approval criteria

NDHL has three recipient classes: 1) project partners’ research units, 2) infrastructure providers, 3) funding agencies. Approval criterium for 1 and 2 is commitment/no and for 3 is funding/no. Commitment from from at least two national partners is sufficient.

Delivery object Recipient, delivery Recipient, transferral
Infrastructure design (paper) 1, Autumn 2021 1, Spring 2022
Early adopters and stakeholders (identification of) 1, Autumn 2021 1, Autumn 2021
Guidelines for documenation 2, Autumn 2021 2, Autumn 2021
Application 1, December 31, 2021 1, Spring 2022
Final report November 15, 2021 November 15, 2021
Workshop 1 December 18, 2019 .
Hack day @ NeIC AHM 2020 January 28-30 .
Workshop 2 May 2021 .
Workshop 3 November 2021 .

Table 2: Deliverables and recipients

Project schedule and costs

Milestones, decision points

Milestones coincide with workshop (WS) deliverables. Defined milestones (MS) and decision points (DP):

Date MS DP Description
Dec 18-19, 2019 WS 1 Requirements Planning content of shared stack
Jan 15, 2021 Requirements . Finalize WS 1 output
May 01, 2021 WS 2 Abstract description Stakeholders meeting in order to finalize abstract description of NDHL
June 15, 2021 Abstract description . Finalize WS 2 output
Nov 01, 2021 WS 3 Application  
Dec 15, 2021 Application . Finalize WS 3 output

Table 3: Milestones

Project cost estimate

Cost estimates are in Norwegian crowns (NOK).

Calculation item Hours Cost
WS 1 . 35.000
WS 2 . 70.000
WS 3 . 35.000
Hack days . 20.000
Administration . 40.000
Total . 200.000

Table 4: Cost estimate distributed on activities.


Role Name
Steering group NA (pre-studies are handled very light-weight)
Pre-study owner representative Michaela Barth
Project manager Kristoffer L. Nielbo
Working group Eetu Makela, Lars Borin, Lars Johnson, Kristoffer L. Nielbo

Table 5: NDHL organization within NeIC.

Working methods

NDHL adhere to principles for Open-Source Software (OSS) and publish software under the MIT license. For data NDHL follows the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) for management of metadata and, when possible, raw and derived data.

Requirement dialogue and change control

Stakeholder expectations and requirements are clarified in WS 1 and 2, where each stakeholder group will to present their current solution as well as nice- & need-to-haves for NDHL. Changes to requirements are then discussed and subsequently tested by the national coordinators’ research groups.

Monitoring and learning

Monitoring is carried out between NeIC and NDHL during bi-monthly management meetings and internally (in NDHL) national coordinators meet once a month on Slack (first Thursday in the month, 0900-1100). Activities are documented in GitHub repositories and through the website.

Information distribution

  • NDHL mail-lists (coordinator list and stakeholder list)
  • Slack for coordinators
  • Website for the public


Type Risk Probability Impact Responsibility Response
Lack of partner commitment 1 3 1 PM 1: dialogue w. coordinators about this issue; 2: admin overhead should be kept minimum; 3: motivate through action not talk
Lack of Nordic convergence 2 2 1 PM 1: Promote minimal shared infrastructure; 2: build MVP to exemplify; 3: promote convergence between at least two members
Decision to terminate project implementation 3 1 3 Working Group Termination is explained in final report to NeIC
Administrative overhead affects prestudy and/or project implementation 6 3 2 NeIC Dialogue between PM, working group, and NeIC
Travel and accommodation funds are depleted 1 1 1 PM Partner host covers catering and accommodation

Table 6: Risk analysis.

Edition history

Edition Date Comment
v1 Dec 12 2019 Original
v2 May 29 2020 Covid-19 Extension Update

Table 7: Version history.


No. Document name Document designation/Id
1 prestudy application application
2 link to website website