About DASH Domains

What is DASH Domains?

Digital Arts, Sciences, & Humanities (DASH) is a cross-disciplinary project from the University of Minnesota Libraries and Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services (LATIS), organized around emerging digital tools and methodologies for scholarly, pedagogical, and artistic projects.

DASH Domains is an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to “roll up their sleeves” and get started creating, making and experimenting with things for the web. DASH Domains provides web hosting for some popular platforms such as WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar, as well as a range of other applications that may be interesting for teaching, research, or creative projects. DASH Domains is a pilot initiative with a twofold mission: 1) to build faculty and grad students’ skills and awareness about the process of making things for the web, and 2) to provide web hosting for DASH-related projects.

This is a pilot project that involves a partnership between LATIS and the University Libraries. The pilot will run from January 2016 through June 2017. At that time we will decide whether to continue offering this service.

Because this is a pilot with a limited timeline, DASH Domains may not be suitable for your needs. We can provide consultation about this and other options. If you participate in this pilot, we will ask you to provide feedback.

About support: we are not able to provide the same level of support as we would for central technologies such as Moodle. In part this is because DASH projects are meant to be more experimental and iterative. Part of the fun is learning about setting up and using the tools. We also do not have the capacity to provide substantial support for DASH projects. More on support below.

Why is this important?

DASH is the intersection of arts, sciences, and humanities disciplines and the use of digital technologies for scholarly, pedagogical, and artistic projects. DASH projects are usually delivered through the world wide web and can include data and text mining, data visualization, GIS and spatial research, digital storytelling, rich media, and interactive displays. As a result, a wide variety of software and web development skills may be necessary to bring a DASH project to fruition.

DASH Domains was created to provide scholars and students with a relatively easy way to install and configure many of the tools that make DASH projects possible. DASH Domains provides access to install a wide variety of well-known content management, survey, image and file management, and community building web applications within a customized and personal domain, all through an easy to use graphical user interface. While there are over 70 applications available to install, the U of M DASH team is especially excited to provide installation capabilities for three applications in particular: WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar. LATIS and the University Libraries are making DASH Domains available through Reclaim Hosting, which also provides documentation on getting started.

Who is eligible for DASH Domains accounts?

Faculty and graduate students working on DASH teaching, research, and art projects are eligible for a DASH Domains account. During the initial phase of the pilot, they will learn about this opportunity through consultations and collaboration with DASH support staff in the Libraries and LATIS.

Undergraduate students may be given access to a DASH Domains account to install applications depending on the nature and scope of the project being proposed.  Undergraduates may be given access to DASH Domains project applications (such as a specific WordPress or Omeka installations) through course assignments or other projects at the discretion of DASH Domain account owners.

Staff in the Libraries and LATIS can also request accounts, with preference for staff who support DASH projects.

We have 500 accounts available. While we’re not concerned about using up all the accounts, we want to develop a manageable and useful pilot.

When is it appropriate to create an account?

Faculty and graduate students with DASH projects that involve creating content, whether they do that on their own or with students in a course, may want accounts, particularly when needing to use applications such as WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar. They also might be interested if they want to create any DASH content outside of the password-protected spaces of Moodle and other centrally supported technologies.

Because this is a pilot, DASH is well suited for course projects, as it’s more likely all involved can finish projects within the timeframe. Also, it might not be necessary to make the content available for a long time. That said, keep in mind there are options to migrate content.

When it’s probably not appropriate

If content will be developed over several years and needs to persist, DASH Domains might not be the best solution unless there is a plan in place to migrate content after the first year. If the content is not meant to be shared publicly, DASH Domains may also not be appropriate.

A variety of easy to use tools are also available to U of M users for easy and simple website creation. These tools should be considered first for simple content management needs, especially in regards to to departmental, course management, and personal websites.

If you’re not sure whether you should request a domain, email us (dashdomains@umn.edu).

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