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DHIL Charter

The DHIL (Digital Humanities Innovation Lab) Charter is a living document. It was prepared in late 2016-early 2017, and will be reviewed and renewed as new members join the lab. New members of the lab will review and provide feedback on the Charter.



  • Stimulating and disseminating innovative digital scholarly research
  • Training and mentoring in digital research methods, project management, and collaboration skills
  • Developing partnerships with aligned groups at SFU and externally


  • To provide a framework for research excellence in digital scholarship by optimizing library/researcher resource sharing.
  • In collaboration with campus partners we promote and disseminate digital scholarship research. We support new data-intensive research methods to ask distinctive questions about unique and complex cultural data.  
  • To promote and develop interdisciplinary digital scholarship networks and a robust community of practice by providing physical meeting and work spaces, by supporting research projects, by co-hosting training workshops and outreach events, and by developing linkages with DH initiatives at other universities.
  • To offer technical support and consulting services for faculty and graduate digital scholarship projects, such as developer time, access to research assistants, grant consultation, data management, digital publishing platforms, and systems administration.
  • To establish best practices in developing, disseminating and sustaining digital projects.
  • To support the development of highly qualified personnel through the DH Fellow and RA program.


The DHIL is committed to:

  • inclusivity and respectful interactions
  • interdisciplinarity
  • transparency in how lab resources are allocated
  • collaborative knowledge creation
  • recognizing the contributions of all members of a project team
  • developing resources and software that are open access and open source (subject to ethical and privacy concerns)


Communication best practices

  • Preferred avenue(s) of contact (project updates, questions, clarifications, meetings:
    • Basecamp is the preferred avenue of communication for project-related questions, updates, and clarifications, as well as general lab matters such as meetings, events
    • Email is the preferred avenue of communication for correspondence with non-Lab members, including project PIs and SFU staff
  • Guidelines for managing meeting schedule and documentation. Our goal is for
    • All lab members to meet in-person once a month
    • Lab directors to check in during office hours either in-person or via Skype once a month
  • Notification of extended absence (>1 week)
    • An extended absence is one that affects the team member’s regular workflow
    • In the case of an extended absence, email the Research Fellow and they will add to Basecamp/Google Calendar
  • Regular check-ins
    • All lab members will provide regular updates about their DHIL-related work using the check-ins function on Basecamp

Project-related best practices

  • All researchers will be asked to make a formal project proposal and submit a final report
  • The guidelines for proposing a project will be as clear and transparent as possible
  • The criteria for evaluation of proposals will be clearly stated on the website
  • All proposals will be evaluated according to technical feasibility and research merit by members of the DHIL and library personnel
  • The DHIL will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for each lab project and, where appropriate, a Hosting agreement; the MOU and Hosting agreement will be reviewed by the project lead, who may suggest revisions, and will be signed by both parties.
  • The Lab strongly encourages researchers to make the products of their research openly accessible via depositing to a repository and assigning appropriate open access and open source licenses

Evaluation (individual and lab)

  • At the end of each term, lab RAs will meet with the DHIL Planning Committee to review and self-evaluate their work over the term
  • At the end of each term, DHIL lab members will evaluate the processes of the lab
  • At the end of each year, the Research Fellow will prepare a formal report to describe the work of the lab (projects, events, workshops, processes, etc), following the template written by the lab team. This report will be presented at a year-end meeting with the lab team for self-evaluation and feedback.
  • Evaluation of lab directors and staff, and the overall functioning of the lab, will be reviewed with the University Librarian, Systems Librarian, and Research Commons Librarian in May of each year.

Conflict Resolution

  • In the event of conflict within the lab, the lab members involved should seek resolution by contacting the co-directors; in the event that the conflict is not resolved or not resolvable in this way, the lab members involved should seek resolution by contacting the appropriate staff member at the Library.

Credit and attribution

  • We expect that all projects that receive substantial support from the lab will credit the DHIL in their work and allow the lab to promote their work on the DHIL site.
  • We believe that all kinds of technical, intellectual, and mechanical work on a project are deserving of credit and all collaborators should be empowered to take credit for their work.
  • We strongly suggest that project leads credit individual lab members in scholarly publication (digital or print) if they have made substantial contributions to the research.
  • All lab members who collaborated on a project should be credited on it based on the most comprehensive community conventions. Possible credit might include, but is not limited to, co-authorship, website credits, within the code or Readme files, etc.
  • Projects that involve developing code will include a list of contributors to the project in the code base which describes their contributions.
  • Following SFU Policy R 30.03 (“Intellectual Property Policy”) code, data, and other research materials developed or produced by the lab are owned by university members who created those materials.
    • 3.3.1 University Members who create IP own the products of their intellectual endeavours and are free to publish those products without commercial intent, to pursue Commercialization with the assistance of the University, or to pursue Commercialization of the IP in their own right. (
  • We urge all project leads to follow these principles, and consult other related documents such as the Collaborators’ Bill of Rights and the Code of Conduct.