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How to do a HowTo - A short manual for the ACDH-CH Learning Resources Platform

Publish date
Time to read
9 minutes

Learning objectives

  • Be able to plan and write a contribution for the Learning Resources Platform
  • Know the basic didactic rules for creating learning content
  • Know how to insert and edit content in the Content Management System of the platform
  • Be able to publish one’s contribution on the Learning Resources Platform

What is the Learning Resources Platform (HowTo-Platform)

The HowTo-Platform of the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage is an exchange, knowledge and training platform for Digital Humanities. It was developed as part of the DiTAH project (Digital Transformation of Austrian Humanities) and offers introductions to various topics and areas in the fields of digital humanities, practical guides for software and tools, training materials and exercises.

The platform allows students and researchers to acquire knowledge and skills in self-study and to directly test what they have learned through interactive and practical exercises as well as short knowledge questions on the platform. All chapters and tasks are designed in such a way that they can be worked through independently. Thematically related chapters are combined in larger curricula, but can also be used and read individually, depending on one’s own skills and available time resources. In addition, literature tips and links provided in the articles offer users the opportunity to dive deeper into a particular topic.

Since all materials will be designed as Open Educational Resources (OER) and published with the license CC-BY, teachers in the field of digital humanities are invited to use individual chapters or whole curricula for their teaching. At the same time, the platform offers teachers the possibility to publish and share their teaching materials.

Who can participate and design training materials

Researchers and members of the ACDH-CH can profit from the platform and easily share their knowledge and skills in the area of digital humanities with students, (new) colleagues and other researchers on the platform. By participating in the creation of learning content, they make an important contribution to the open exchange of knowledge and development of tools and methods in the field of digital humanities.

Do any of the following points apply to you?

  • You are particularly familiar with a specific methodology or methodological approach in the field of digital humanities.
  • You teach a certain research area or method from the field of digital humanities in a (university) course and therefore already have teaching material(s) at hand.
  • You work with a particular tool or software in your research, and are an expert in its use.
  • You are an expert in a particular programme or programming language and would like to help (new) colleagues and students to use this programme more efficiently.
  • You have developed a tool or method and have written an instruction manual or documentation for colleagues and other researchers.
  • You would like to help young researchers and colleagues at the institute to get started in the field of digital humanities.

Then you have found the right place! With our HowTo-Platform and the following step-by-step guide you will be able to easily share your knowledge with others.

How do I design an article

You want to share your knowledge about a certain topic or tool in the field of digital humanities on the Learning Resources Platform. How do you do that?

Firstly, it is advisable to decide on a framework and create an overview that includes: your target audience, the learning objectives (or course content), the scope of the chapter and its structure, and a list of already available materials, as well as documents and exercises yet to be created.

a) Know your target audience: The HowTo-Platform is primarily aimed at students and (young) researchers in the field of digital humanities, as well as new colleagues at the ACDH-CH. Material for more proficient users may be provided too. In this case it is important to state the necessary prerequisites for the study material at the beginning of your post (preferably in the title or the introduction). For example, do I require basic skills in a programming language or should I already be familiar with a certain method, to be able to follow the instructions? The clearer you define the prerequisites, the easier it will be for learners to orientate themselves. You can also expand on an already existing course on the platform and create articles to elaborate on an idea or deepen knowledge. In this case, please pay attention to the learning objectives of the preexisting course and use those as your starting point.

b) Describe learning objectives: The terms “course contents” and “learning objectives” may seem very similar at a first glance, but differ considerably in meaning and how they are phrased. The course contents describe the subject of the article, for example, “Definition of basic concepts/terms”, “Introduction to text annotation”, etc. Learning objectives help you to structure the text and guide users by describing the skills and knowledge to be acquired after studying the materials. Learning objectives should therefore make use of active verbs such as: understand, recognise, be able to use, etc. It is better to work with learning objectives, as the user is able to immediately recognise what the objective of the chapter is, while course contents are often more abstract.

c) Decide on the scope: Decide beforehand which topics you want to cover with your practice material und which aspects you want to – or have to – leave out. Define clear margins, as topics and explanations otherwise quickly go off-topic. When writing an introduction to a certain programme, you do not have to explain every function of it – instead provide an overview of the most commonly used tools. More complex tools can be discussed in a further chapter for more advanced learners.

d) Define a (rough) structure: Before formulating your text, it is helpful to decide on how you want to structure it. Your notes about the scope and learning objectives can help you with this. When planning your outline, you should keep in mind that the article should be structured logically and be suitable for self-study. Start with a short introduction to the method or tool you are presenting and then structure the chapters in such a way that they build on one another.

e) Check available documents and materials and collect ideas for exercises: Do you already have notes, text elements or rough drafts on your topic? Oftentimes, you can expand on shorter texts that have already been created (by colleagues or yourself - please check copyright!) at an earlier stage. Collect all available materials and structure them into chapters. Do the same with your ideas for exercises or examples – check what is available and where it could be included. Think about where an(other) exercise, question or a short quiz could be integrated. You can also get inspiration from other articles or reach out to the editorial team – we will help you with the implementation.

By formulating this framework, you have created your golden thread and a structure for your training material. You can now start formulating your text or expanding on already existing text passages and materials.

How do I publish an article

When the text, questions and exercises are ready, they can be entered into the Content Management System (CMS). You can easily do this yourself.

To publish a text, you only need a GitHub account that is authorised for the ACDH-CH team. You can create the GitHub account yourself. Once you have created an account, please send a short message with your username and the e-mail address you use for GitHub to so that we can give your account access. Once that is done, log into the platform with your GitHub account and you are all set to start.

Step 1: Becoming an author

The first important step is to create an author profile for yourself. On the left-hand side under “Contents” select “People”. By clicking the button “New Person” you can now create your author profile. Save the entries and publish them.

Screenshot: Adding a new author

Step 2: Creating a new post

You can either create a new post under “Collections” and “Posts” with the button “New Post” or do this with the second tab entitled “Workflow”. In the workflow you can find all the articles that are currently being edited or that are awaiting approval and publication. Should you have to interrupt your work, you can come back to the tab “Workflow”, and find all the articles that are currently being edited in the column “Drafts” and continue working from there. As soon as you make any changes to your post, the platform will automatically remind you to save or discard them before exiting the page.

Screenshot: Creating a new post

When creating a new post (or opening a preexisting one by clicking on it), the screen will split into two halves. On your left is the editing area and on your right you can immediately see what your article will look like on the HowTo-Platform in the preview-mode. The preview-mode can be activated and deactivated with the eye symbol at the top right.

Every post starts with a few formal entries. Namely, the title, which should be short and succinct, the language, the date, the author(s), editor(s), tags and a short abstract. Some fields only allow selections from a drop-down menu. Should the desired option not be available, it needs to be created beforehand. A new author can be added by every user (see instructions in step 1), for new tags please contact the editorial team at

Following the formal entries of title, language and abstract, you will find the text field for the content of your article. It can be entered in rich-text-format or in markdown and you can change between the two at any time using the slider control (highlighted in yellow in the screenshot below). To save a post every required field, including content, must contain an entry.

Step 3: The most important editing tools for your content

In rich-text there are several different formatting options such as bold, italic, headings, lists, etc. at your disposal (encircled in green in the screenshot). Moreover, you can use the plus symbol (highlighted in blue) to use different preprogrammed features, like inserting pictures, videos, code blocks, tip boxes or quizzes.

Screenshot: Editing tools in CMS

A short explanation will be shown when hovering above each formatting symbol with your mouse. The following options are available (from left to right):

  • B (bold): highlight text in bold

  • I (italics): highlight text in italics

  • Code: insert short inline-code

  • Link: link an external resource

  • Headings: in different font sizes according to their hierarchical position

  • Quotation marks: insert a quotation. The quote will be set apart from the rest of the text by being indented.

  • Bulleted lists

  • Numbered lists

  • Plus (+): The plus offers many useful features to add multimedia content to your article and make it more interactive. These include:

    • Image: add images by uploading the file or entering a URL
    • Code block: insert a longer code block
    • Figure: insert images. Unlike the feature “image”, “figure” allows users to add markdown-content in the image caption and consequently add links or quotation marks.
    • SideNote: lets you add a note or tip. There are different options available that highlight a text in different colours in the text . The drop-down-menu “type” shows the options available.
    • Video: embed a video from Youtube, Vimeo or Nakala. You can also add the timestamp from which the video should start playing and activate the autoplay function if you like.
    • Quiz: This gives you the opportunity to design and insert one or multiple questions. The number of answer possibilities can be determined with “Options”. Each possibility must also be indicated as true or false. “Messages” allows you to add feedback for the learner, so that they know why an answer is true or false. “Control” allows you to name the button that should be clicked by the learner for verification. The system default for that is “Validate”. If preview-mode is activated (eye symbol), you can immediately see what your multiple-choice question looks like on the right-hand side of the browser and test the answer options. Correct answers are shown in green, wrong answers in red. Note that answers always must be clearly right or wrong.
    • Tabs: This feature allows you to create a section with tabs within your article. Users can then switch between several options without having to leave the main page. This could be useful, for example, when you want to explain the installation of a tool or programme that requires different input on different operating systems, e.g. Windows and Mac.

You are now familiar with the most important features of our CMS system and can start creating your own article.

Help and Contact

Should you have any questions or require help with the didactic preparation of your article and/or registration for the platform, please contact us via email at We would be pleased to assist you and are looking forward to your contribution to our HowTo-Platform.