Centre for Digital Humanities

Tailored Software Solutions

The Research Software Lab (RSLab) of the Centre for Digital Humanities consists of a team of ten specialized developers, all with humanities backgrounds in for example linguistics, history, musicology, or artificial intelligence. Our dedicated developers can provide advanced software solutions to help you push the boundaries of research in the humanities.

We offer comprehensive technical support in the following ways:

  • Designing and developing new tailor-made software solutions for targeted research and education, including databases, visualizations, and text & data mining tools;
  • Adapting existing software to meet your specific needs or providing advice on suitable ready-to-use software;
  • Reviewing your self-written code to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness;
  • Advising on the technical component of your research proposal, assessing its feasibility;
  • Providing guidance on FAIR principles, software sustainability, IT related funding opportunities, and more;
  • Collaborating as co-authors on scientific papers and conference presentations.

For whom?

The RSLab primarily caters to researchers and teachers in the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University. However, we also welcome external researchers and organizations with a clear humanities connection, such as cultural institutions, universities, and museums, to submit their project ideas. If you are interested in collaborating with our development team, please email us at digitalhumanities@uu.nl to schedule an appointment.

How do we work?

The RSLab promotes the development of software solutions that offer wide-ranging interdisciplinary applicability and/or provide the research community with reusable building blocks. Throughout the development process, one or two research software engineers will collaborate closely with the scientific project team.

RSLab offers different digital support in various forms: consultancy, small-scale development, and large-scale development. If funding is not yet secured, we can assist you in identifying suitable grant opportunities and formulating the technical component of your proposal to include our support. Furthermore, researchers and teachers from the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University can apply for small-scale development projects free of charge. These projects could involve building a tool to support ongoing research, creating a simple web application to present research results, developing a plugin for existing software, or creating a standalone visualization or demo for a research proposal.

The majority of the work we do at RSLab is supported by research funding. In this case, we strongly prefer to assist in writing the application. Once funding is secured, we can offer more involved long-term consultancy or work on large-scale software development projects. These projects are more wide-ranging and include online databases, text analysis tools, and interactive visualization applications. See also the full software portfolio of RSLab.

FAIR principles

At Utrecht University, we emphasize the importance of applying the FAIR principles to our software: We strive for tools to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The RSLab subscribes to the adage “as open as possible,” promoting the use of free and open-source software. We believe this approach encourages widespread adoption, user contributions, and collaboration. Sharing code used in data processing and analysis not only enhances research verifiability, but also enables others to reuse data and make improvements.

Software portfolio

Over the years, the RSLab has built an extensive and diverse portfolio of software solutions. Please follow this link to explore. Almost all of our software and source code is freely available through Github, and soon Ineo, the CLARIAH digital resources platform, and the Research Software Directory of the Netherlands eScience Center.

The RSLab is a member of the European Association for Digital Humanities and the global Association for Computers and the Humanities.