Approved by the ADHO Steering Committee on 10 November 2022
This document describes the Conference Protocols for the annual international conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). The document provides information about conference planning and administration. It should be of particular value as a set of guiding principles and best practices for Local Organizers (LOs), the Program Committee (PC) chairs and members, and to conference participants and attendees. The protocols are maintained by the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC), as overseen by the ADHO Constituent Organization Board (COB) and Executive Board (EB), and are published by ADHO.
The document is organized to provide information as follows:
- An overview of the conference and its details
- Definitions of roles and responsibilities for committees and individuals serving on those committees
- A detailed timeline of conference milestones
- Templates for the Conference Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Call for Proposals (CFP)
- A glossary of acronyms used in the document
Wherever possible information will be contained within this document (available online). Where necessary, links to other documents, areas of the ADHO website, and other resources will be supplied. The CCC is responsible for disseminating these Protocols as well as other related documents to all organizers and committee chairs involved with the conference.
ADHO supports its own international professional/disciplinary conference each year.1 The conference is usually held in July.
The conference is known as “Digital Humanities [YYYY],” where YYYY is the four-digit year, A shortened version of the name is “DH[YYYY].” The social media hashtag for the conference is “#DH[YYYY].” The conference URL is “dhYYYY.adho.org.” ADHO will provide the LOs with access to this URL.
The conference includes an academic and a social program, as well as business meetings of COs, SIGs, and the ADHO Constituent Organization and Executive Boards (COBwEB). The PC oversees the academic program—which will normally include a mix of papers, panels, posters,
The annual Digital Humanities Conference takes place across an entire week. The conference begins on Sunday with the annual meeting of the COBwEB and ends on Saturday with optional excursions to experience local sights and culture.
- Sunday (Day 1): ADHO COBwEB meeting / dinner or social event (to be confirmed with LOs)
- Monday (Day 2): Executive Committee meetings of some constituent organizations / Workshops
- Tuesday (Day 3): First day of conference proper
- Morning: COBwEB re-convenes / Workshops
- Afternoon: Arrival and registration for participants / Workshops
- Late afternoon: Opening plenary
- Early evening: Reception
- Wednesday (Day 4): Conference sessions
- Thursday (Day 5): Conference sessions
- Friday (Day 6): Conference sessions, including closing session; conference banquet (either on Day 5 or 6 as per the LOs choice)
- Saturday (Day 7): Optional excursions
COBwEB and CO Meetings at the Conference
A number of business meetings take place during the week of the conference. These meetings require coordination between either the LOs, the EB, and the COs, individually.
The COBwEB meets on Days 1 (full-day) and 3 (half-day) of the conference. The EB coordinates with the LOs to identify a location for these meetings as well as catering options. The location must be large enough to accommodate at least 30 people seated in the round. The location should also have a projector, sufficient power outlets and extension cords, and wireless internet access for the attendees.
On Day 1, the COBwEB lunch and coffee breaks are paid for by ADHO. On Day 3, the COBwEB participates in any coffee breaks that the LOs have organized for workshop attendees.
Some COs hold their annual, day-long Executive Board meetings on Day 2 of the conference. More than a month before the conference, the EB Secretariat should inform the LOs which COs will hold meetings. The LOs should identify spaces where these meetings can take place (counting on approximately 20 attendees) and ensure that they have projection capabilities, adequate power supplies, and stable wireless internet access. Normally the LOs help the COs to coordinate catering for coffee breaks and lunch; the COs pay for all catering costs.
Some COs hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) during the conference as well. More than a month before the conference, the EB Secretariat should contact the COs to identify which wish to hold their AGM at the annual conference. The LOs should identify spaces where these meetings can take place (counting on 50 or more attendees) and insure that they have projection capabilities. AGMs often include food for their attendees; the LOs assist the COs to coordinate catering, and the COs pay all catering costs.
Conference Social Program
The conference typically includes a number of social events:
- The All-Exec Boards dinner or social (by invitation only) takes place on the evening of Day 1.
- The opening reception takes place following the opening keynote on Day 3.
- The Newcomers’ Dinner is organized by ACH on Day 4.
- The conference banquet takes place on Day 5 or 6.
- The conference optional excursions take place on Day 7.
The opening reception is included in the cost of conference registration. Fees for the other social events are not. Conference participants may pay to bring a guest to the conference banquet and/or excursions who are not registered for the conference. When registering for the banquet, participants must be able to indicate dietary needs / restrictions and be accommodated therein.
The All-Exec Boards dinner or social is an invitation-only event, organized for the Executive Boards of the different COs. The venue is chosen by the LOs in consultation with the ADHO Officers. The EB Secretariat will contact the different COs to get a head count and determine any dietary needs / restrictions of the participants. This event is normally paid for by ADHO.
ADHO financially underwrites the annual conference. Conference expenses and registration fees should be planned to break even with a minimum number of registrants (approximately 250), with additional surpluses and deficits for additional registrants (targeted at 500 and 750). Surpluses and deficits for conference finances are distributed at a ratio to ADHO and to the local organizer according to this formula: 75% ADHO / 25% LOs. As a point of information, ADHO makes it a practice to commit at least 20% of its share of surpluses (if any) for future conference travel bursaries.
Registration fees are set by the LOs, but should be kept as low as cost recovery will allow. There should be at least five separate registration rates: Members, Non-members, Student members, and Student non-members. There should also be a rate offered to anyone in an emerging country (as defined by the World Bank). The Non-member fees should be greater than the Member fees by at least the cost of an individual membership to the host CO for the conference. LOs may incentivize early registration through “early bird” rates or other discounts; they may also charge higher fees for late or on-site registrations. Registration typically opens at the beginning of April.
Participation in pre-conference workshops, including SIG sessions, requires payment of both the entire conference registration fee and an additional fee to cover the cost of workshop expenses (primarily fees for the rooms and catering). Workshop organizers are not paid for their labor.
While the conference from year to year may involve very different financial outlays (because of regional economics, involvement of local universities, and so forth), certain standards should be followed to keep infrastructure, venue, food, and promotional item costs within reason, with the goal of lowering registration fees. The LOs, the CCC, and the ADHO Treasurers should begin budgetary conversations 30 months before the planned conference dates.
24 months before the conference, the LOs must submit a line-item budget—scaled to 250, 500, and 750 participants—as part of their annual report, which will be reviewed by the CCC, the Treasurers, and then reviewed by the EB and approved by the COB. Any deviation from the budget that, in sum, totals an increase greater than 10% of the approved total requires COB approval. An updated, scaled-participant line-item budget must be included in the LOs’ 12-month report and is again subject to approval by the EB.
Some funds may be available in advance to pay for reservation fees, publicity, and so forth; the LOs should seek approval from the CCC before requesting any advance funds from ADHO.
The conference often includes coffee breaks in between the sessions for participants. The decision to include coffee breaks or even meals is at the discretion of the LOs, but regardless of the decision the budget must include documentation of these costs, and the LO report should include a rationale of how decisions were made. If opting to provide coffee breaks, the LOs should insure that options exist for conference participants with various dietary needs or restrictions. If opting not to provide coffee breaks, the LOs should provide access to drinking water adequate to the number of attendees.
As a point of information the winners of ADHO conference bursaries are invited to attend the conference banquet free of charge. As such, the LOs should price fees so that cost recovery is possible for these approximately 40 bursary winners.
Sponsorships can provide extra funds for aspects of the conference. However, insofar as the conference is first and foremost an academic endeavor, it is important for both the LOs and potential sponsors to clearly understand what roles a sponsor may play. ADHO recommends that LOs create Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories for conference sponsors and include descriptions of these levels in their annual reports. While other forms of sponsorship may be considered, such proposals should be submitted formally by the LOs to the CCC for COB approval. Sponsorship specifically earmarked for bursaries may be included as part of one of these categories.
It should be made absolutely clear in all conference material that all sponsors’ contributions are financial—and not academic—in nature (either in cash or in kind). Sponsors should not be offered time in the academic program. A presentation by a sponsor cannot happen at the opening or closing ceremonies; such a talk could possibly happen at a dinner or an award ceremony that the sponsor has supported, after approval by the PC and the CCC. Any deviation from this principle requires consultation with the PC and CCC, with adequate time for discussion.
Different sponsorship levels could include some of the following:
- Logo of sponsor on the conference website, program, or conference bag
- Sponsor’s flyer/brochure in the conference bag
- Waiving the registration fee for one or more representatives
- Acknowledgement of sponsorship in the footer of pre-conference public emails (e.g. in the reminders to register, a line like “ADHO gratefully acknowledges generous sponsorship from XX in support of the conference”)
- A sponsor’s booth or table in an exhibitor’s area
Conference Promotion and Marketing
The LOs and PC will recognize ADHO as the primary organizer of the Digital Humanities conference in the conference’s publicity and programming materials.
ADHO’s official logo (downloadable here) should be used on the conference website, program, bag, flyer/brochure, and any other marketing materials generated for the conference. Use of the logo must meet the following requirements:
- The logo should not be altered in any way except to adjust the proportionate size of the logo to fit the material to which it is applied.
- When sponsors’ logos are also included in the same materials, ADHO’s logo should not be smaller than the sponsors’ logos and should appear on its own line above all other sponsors’ logos or in another most prominent position.
ADHO should be acknowledged in all official conference correspondence, e.g. “The Digital Humanities [Year] conference is organized by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.” This line should precede any acknowledgement(s) of sponsorship.
The LOs, in coordination with the EB Secretariat and ADHO’s system admin, set up the conference website (with URL http://dh[YYYY].adho.org). The website should be published no later than the last day of the preceding conference (e.g. the DH2021 website goes live no later than the end of the DH2020 conference). At that time, the website should include the conference dates as well as any other information that the LOs have been able to confirm.
In August of the year preceding the conference, the CFP is published on the website in the five ADHO languages (English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish).
As soon as possible, the LOs should include information about keynote speakers and prize winners (Busa or Zampolli); registration fees; travel and lodging information; and descriptions of social events and excursions.
Conference registration should open no later than 31 March during the year of the conference. Access to registration should be made clearly visible on the conference website.
The conference schedule should be posted to the website as soon as possible, but no later than 31 May of the year of the conference.
Conference Languages and Multilingualism
Language and the Call for Proposals
ADHO is a multilingual organization with a multilingual conference. The standard languages of ADHO as of 2019 are English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Proposals may be submitted in these languages and subsequently presented in these languages.The CFP for each conference is issued in these five languages with the expectation that ADHO supports the peer review mechanism to accept submissions in these languages. The PC chairs submit the approved CFP to the Multilingualism/Multiculturalism Committee (MLMC) for translation.
For each conference the PC and the LOs may propose adding one or two languages to the CFPs. Languages may be added when the conference would benefit from the inclusion of presentations in a language beyond the standard five. LOs and PCs who wish to do so are encouraged to consult the CCC and MLMC before doing so in order to consider the practical implications of doing so.
Recognition of Regional/Cultural Linguistic Emphasis
In order to effectively plan for expanding the reviewer pool to ensure proper evaluation of submitted proposals, it is recommended that LOs and PC submit any recommendation for additional languages to be added early in the year before the conference (e.g., January or February 2019 for DH2020) so that plans for outreach to translators and reviewers can be efficiently managed by LOs and PCs in collaboration with the MLMC.
Formally Bilingual Conferences
The LOs and PC may propose to present a formally bilingual conference, in which the academic program includes a more substantial integration of a second language (for instance, keynotes presented, translation services provided, enhanced promotional and publication support in two languages). This recommendation should be made at the time of the initial bid, and calculation of associated logistical costs should be included and reviewed in the annual budget reviews prior to the conference.
Conference Code of Conduct
LOs are charged with making the full version of the ADHO Conference Code of Conduct available to attendees and easily findable. Where appropriate, the short version can be publicized with a direct link to the longer version: https://adho.org/conference/code-of-conduct/. The Conference Code of Conduct will be introduced at the conference’s opening plenary / keynote, and the person presenting it will inform conference participants the names of persons of confidence, whom they should contact if they feel that the Code has been violated.
Local Organizers are expected to discuss the code of conduct and local support for conference-goers with their staff and assistants, and to publicize clear and helpful information for attendees. They may therefore wish to seek advice and examples from past LOs or DH conference websites.
When registering to submit or review proposals or to attend the conference, participants should be informed explicitly that registering constitutes an agreement to abide by the Conference Code of Conduct.
Bidding to Host the Conference
The call for hosting bids is posted at the beginning of each calendar year, three years prior to the conference in question, by the CCC. Bidding institutions have approximately three months to develop a formal proposal that includes a budget (expenses and income) and adheres to ADHO conference logistics. Bid organizers should be members in good standing of a CO. They should include in their bids accommodation options (hotels at various room-rates, on-campus housing, etc.), available transportation options, distances between venue(s) and accommodations. The bid includes proposing one or more weeks in which the conference could take place. It is generally preferable for a conference to take place in July.
Bids are submitted in draft form for review by the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC); comments and recommendations are returned to bidding organizers for incorporation into a final proposal that is then sent to the COBwEB for review and voting at the annual COBwEB meeting. Bid Organizers will make a short presentation to the COBwEB about their bid and answer questions. This presentation and discussion typically lasts 30 minutes. Bid Organizers are discouraged from bringing gifts for the COBwEB to this presentation. Bid Organizers are expected to bring a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them to this meeting. Winning bidders will be bound by the MOU and the ADHO Conference Protocols.
Insofar as the conference theme is jointly selected by the PC and the LOs, a bid should not be organized around a proposed theme.
Bid Organizers who are not selected are welcome to submit bids again in the future.
CO Conference Hosts
Each conference is “hosted” by one or more COs. The host CO(s) are responsible for nominating the slate of candidates for PC Chairs.
In most cases, the CO that is acting as host for the conference will be self-evident, given the region in which the conference will happen. In a case where there is no obvious CO associated with a conference location, the CCC chair will alert the COBwEB to the issue before the bids are submitted. The COB will determine then which CO or COs will serve as hosts.
Selecting the Conference Location
The COB selects future conference sites on Day 1 of the conference during its annual meeting. While the identification of bidding organizations is made public via the ADHO website, bidding documents, discussion, and decisions related to the selection process are confidential.
Dates for future conferences may be determined at this time or they may be determined later. However, the dates should be fixed no later than two years before it takes place.
Submissions for Conference Program
Submissions for the conference’s academic program have traditionally included long and short papers, posters, panel sessions, workshops, and mini-conferences. ADHO values each of the presentation formats equally and recognizes that the best presentation format for a particular piece of scholarship depends on that scholarship’s nature.
Proposals that are received after the deadline for submissions or that fail to conform to the guidelines announced in the call for papers will not normally be accepted for review, though the PC chairs may exercise discretion in this matter.
Posters may describe work on any relevant topic or offer project and software demonstrations.
Short paper proposals are appropriate for reporting on experiments or work in progress, or for describing newly conceived tools or software in early stages of development. Short paper presentations last 10 minutes. Short-paper sessions last 90 minutes and involve 5 short papers.
Long papers are appropriate for: substantial, completed, and previously unpublished research; reports on the development of significant new methodologies or digital resources; and/or rigorous theoretical, speculative, or critical discussions. Long paper presentations last 20 minutes at the conference. Long-paper sessions last 90 minutes and involve 3 long papers.
Panel sessions focus on a single theme and consist of a) one 90-minute panel of four to six speakers or b) three long papers.
Panels should not constitute more than 20% of the program, and panel proposals should make a clear case for the value that they add over individual papers. Panel proposers should be careful to consider issues of diversity in a regional context as they compose their panels.
Workshops and Mini-Conferences
Workshops are normally intensive introductions to specific techniques, software packages or theoretical approaches with a small number of instructors. Workshops last half a day. Proposals should include an agenda. In extraordinary circumstances, workshop organizers may propose two half-day sessions, where the second half builds upon the first.
Mini-conferences may take one of two forms: a full slate of speakers and presentations or a proposal to issue an independent call for papers from which submissions will be chosen.
Workshops, with the exception of the SIG-sponsored workshops (see below), and mini-conference proposals are peer-reviewed in line with other components of the academic program. Conveners of workshops and mini-conferences then undertake internal peer-review within the context of their event.
Workshops and mini-conferences take place on Days 2 and 3 of the conference. A nominal fee may be charged to workshop and mini-conference participants. Fees should be charged only at a cost-recovery level, including the cost for the room (if any), and the costs of coffee breaks or meals (if the LOs decide to have them) for workshop participants. Workshop facilitators should not be paid insofar as they are part of the academic program. They must register for the conference and pay the appropriate registration fees; however, they do not need to register and pay for the workshop that they are leading.
If they so choose, every SIG may organize one guaranteed pre-conference workshop or mini-conference OR one session for the conference program. These program elements are guaranteed acceptance. Each SIG may use whatever method it deems appropriate for organizing the session and providing peer review of its components. SIGs must notify the PC that they intend to organize a workshop or session prior to the conference submission deadline.
Innovations to the conference format are encouraged (such as changes to the presentation format), but must be approved by the CCC. They will be discussed in the months preceding the previous DH conference, and decided at the PC meeting during the previous DH conference. Once agreement is reached, format changes need to be advertised via the call for papers.
Conference Review Process
Call for Reviewers
Each year, a formal call for reviewers is made by the CCC to expand the pool of reviewers for that year’s conference. Expanding the reviewer pool ensures the quality of the academic program, reflecting the increasing breadth of disciplines, subjects, and cultures represented at the conference. The existing reviewer pool is automatically augmented by all members of the PC and LOs, and presenters and co-presenters from the previous year’s ADHO conference, who are deemed to be automatically eligible to review for the conference.
The CCC chair sends the call for reviewers via email to all CO presidents, AO presidents, and the SIG liaison for circulation, as well as sharing more widely (for example on the ADHO website or the Humanist listserv). Self-nominations are welcome. In submitting nominations, only the following information is required: the nominee’s full name, professional affiliation, email addresses, a statement of which reviewer criteria s/he meets, and language(s) in which each reviewer is professionally proficient. It is the responsibility of the CCC to review submissions for inclusion in the reviewer pool.
Reviewers must meet two or more of the following criteria:
- Be professionally associated (or recently associated) with an institutional DH program, project, or initiative;
- Hold at least a Master’s degree or equivalent in a DH-related discipline (including, but not limited to, the Humanities, Social or Natural Sciences, Library and/or Information Sciences, Fine Arts, etc.);
- Have presented at an ADHO-, CO/AO-, or SIG-organized conference, symposium, colloquium, or equivalent academic event;
- Have published a DH-specific article or essay in a scholarly journal or volume (either print or electronic).
The call for nominees should be sent by the end of August, with a deadline for nominations by early October, in order for proper vetting before the start of the review period. Once approved, reviewers will have the opportunity to identify areas in which they have particular expertise.
The call for reviewers’ nomination, and any further correspondence with nominees, should include the following statement:
Nominations for reviewers should reflect ADHO’s mission and seek to improve the diversity and inclusivity of the conference. In putting forward a candidate the nominator should be cognizant of and attentive to their own organization’s statement of diversity.
Reviewing is a responsibility and requires a commitment to review a minimum of four reviews in any of the formats available for the conference. In agreeing to review, candidates should be aware of this responsibility and should conduct themselves by the Conference Code of Conduct.
All correspondence with approved reviewers should be managed via ConfTool.
A reviewer’s term is considered to be open-ended. Once approved, and as long as they maintain their credentials as outlined in these protocols, they may continue to serve as a reviewer; reviewers who specifically ask to be removed from the reviewer list will not be included in following years’ lists.
In consultation with the PC, the CCC determines the form of the proposal review process (e.g., double-anonymous, reviewer-anonymous, or open). The determination will affect whether or not proposals are anonymized at the point of submission before review phase is open.
Each proposal should receive at least three peer reviews, regardless of submission category. PC chairs are responsible for determining the best algorithm for determining assignments of reviewers to submissions (e.g., via keyword). PC chairs are encouraged to consult previous conference acceptance models in determining the submission to acceptance rate across categories. In addition to reviewers’ comments and scores, other relevant factors may affect the PC’s decision to accept or reject a proposal, for instance the desirability of maintaining geographic and thematic breadth or issues of representation.
In consultation with the LOs, the PC chairs determine how many workshops and panels can reasonably be supported at the conference venue and use these numbers to inform their criteria for accepting proposals. Both the LOs and the PC need to be aware that the number of proposals accepted has a positive correlation with the number of registrations at the conference. Smaller number of acceptances may mean fewer registrations, and larger number of acceptances may mean more registrations. In either case, the LOs must be flexible with their budget and plan for contingencies.
The PC may designate any paper or session as a plenary if in their view it is of sufficient interest to the community.
Conference participants may not present more than twice in paper or panel sessions. If more than two submissions considered for acceptance include the name of an individual presenter, then during the final review phase the chair of the program committee will contact that participant and ask them which submission(s) they will withdraw to avoid exceeding that limit. This limit does not pertain to poster submissions.
ConfTool Conference Management Tool
ADHO contracts with ConfTool, an external provider for online conference software, for attendee registration and the submission of papers and abstracts. The Program Committee use ConfTool for the submission and refereeing of abstracts; it is strongly recommended that the LOs use ConfTool for registration and space-planning.
The PC chairs and LOs will have administrative rights within ConfTool, for the calendar year in which the conference occurs. The CCC Chair always has administrative access to all instances of ConfTool.
It is the responsibility of the CCC to ensure that the ConfTool software is up to date and properly licensed and that relevant information, including all users and credentialed reviewers, has been migrated forward from that of the previous year. The PC chairs have the option to request a finite number of modifications; if additional or significant modifications are requested, the ConfTool provider may invoice ADHO for additional customization.
It is the responsibility of the LOs to configure ConfTool to reflect the identity of the conference and to ensure that content pertaining to registration and meeting space is accurate and up-to-date.
ADHO has developed software for converting abstracts into TEI—ConValidator. The PC, whose responsibility includes delivering the conference abstracts in TEI format, should normally plan to use ConValidator. Information about the TEI schema used for abstracts and about options for publishing to the web (and optionally into print) are included in the ConValidator. ConValidator is maintained by ADHO’s Infrastructure Committee in consultation with the CCC.
Keynotes speakers affect the tone for the conference and how it is promoted. Keynote speakers should be chosen with cultural, disciplinary, geographic, and other forms of diversity in mind. It is recommended that the PC includes the LOs and CCC in discussions about how such forms of diversity work in a regional context. The PC may alternatively consider creating a plenary session that aligns with the conference theme. The PC should communicate with the keynote speakers concerning the disciplinary focus and level of sophistication of the ADHO audience, particularly if the keynote speaker comes from outside the ADHO community.
Normally, the program features two keynotes—including the talks given by the winners of the Busa or Zampolli prizes—and absolutely no more than three keynotes.
LOs have veto power over keynote selections insofar as they are responsible for the expenses of the keynote speaker(s), though not the expenses for the winners of the Busa or Zampolli prizes that are covered by ADHO. However, it is recommended that LOs raise concerns about potential keynote speaker(s) before the PC votes.
After the PC has voted on keynote nominations, the PC Chairs report on the process to the CCC. The CCC reviews the slate of keynotes for issues of cultural, disciplinary, geographic, and other forms of diversity.
In the event that a keynote speaker must cancel after they have been chosen, the PC should use their best judgment to decide whether to seek a replacement speaker.
Several ADHO awards are presented at the conference. Some of the awards are presented annually (Paul Fortier Prize and Conference Bursary Awards); others are presented on a rotating basis (the Roberto Busa and Antonio Zampolli Prizes). The ADHO Awards Committee oversees the protocols for and the presentation of the awards. That said, the application process for both the Fortier Prize and the Bursaries takes place through the ConfTool registration system, at two different times in the conference calendar. As such, the chair of the Awards Committee will need to work closely with the PC Chairs to ensure that the processes happen in a timely manner.
Normally, the Busa Prize is awarded every three years on the following schedule: 2019, 2022, etc. The Zampolli Prize is similarly awarded every three years on the following schedule: 2020, 2023, etc. These prizes take approximately two years to process, from a call for nominees to final acceptance by the prize winner(s).
Book of Abstracts
To document the ADHO community’s scholarly production over time and to help with future citations, the PC is responsible for the production of an electronic book of abstracts, (e.g., in PDF and XML formats) which is to be provided to all registrants. The book of abstracts must include: a list of all program committee members and LO team members; a table of contents organized by submission category and then alphabetically by first author; and all abstracts listed in the same order. Authors’ professional affiliations should be given with their names in the heading of abstracts. Figures, tables, and other illustrative materials must be included with the abstracts. Optional components may include an introduction by PC Chairs; a welcome from the LOs; and other material that the PC deems appropriate. The published Book of Abstracts will be made available on both the conference and the ADHO website.
A selection of conference papers will be published in ADHO journals (DSH, DHQ, Digital Studies/Le Champ Numérique, etc.). This issue of the journal must be open access. The LOs and PC Chairs will normally act as co-editors for the publication. The Communication Committee will post links to the journal issue and the papers published on the ADHO website.
LOs, PC chair, and the editor of the intended journal should begin work at the conference to select papers that will be invited as contributions to the conference issue. This issue should appear in the year following the conference.
Golden Rules of DH Conference Organizing
The following “Golden Rules” govern the processes of organizing and executing the Digital Humanities Conference.
Golden Rule of Consensus
In general, decisions during the organization and execution of the DH Conference are approved by consensus, at whatever level the decision must be made. In the event of a dispute, a super majority of the entire committee (2/3) is required. Should no resolution prove possible, the decision is referred to the CCC and, if need be, the COBwEB for a final decision.
Golden Rule of Replacement
If individuals who have been appointed or elected to positions related to the conference become unable to or fail to perform their assigned role, they may be replaced by the body that appointed them, through any means that that body finds appropriate.
Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC)
The CCC is responsible for maintaining the Conference Protocols and ensuring that they are followed by the LOs, PC, and others involved in the annual Digital Humanities Conference. Additionally, the CCC issues the call for bids for the conference; provides detailed information to those who are interested in bidding for the conference; provides feedback to initial bids; determines whether revised bids should be passed on to the COBwEB, on an individual basis; makes recommendations to the COBwEB about revised bids; maintains an annually-updated list of the pool of reviewers for the conference; maintains the draft-model call for proposals from which the program chairs draft each year’s individual CFP; maintains the draft-model report of the conference; conducts a brief survey of conference participants after its conclusion; ensures email lists are established for each year’s PC and that PC members are promptly subscribed to it; receives preliminary and final reports from LOs and PC chairs and conveys them to the COBwEB for review. The CCC also reviews requests for in-name sponsorship of digital humanities conferences. More information about the CCC can be found on the ADHO website: https://adho.org/leadership/conference-coordinating-committee-ccc/.
Normally, the CCC reviews these Conference Protocols on a three-year basis and makes a report to the EB.
The CCC is appointed by the COB. There are three members of the CCC: the Chair, the Chair-elect, and the incoming Chair-elect. The CCC members each serve for a three-year term, culminating in the position of Chair. This provides training and continuity for the complex mechanisms related to ADHO conferences. The CCC chair reports to the EB, and participates in regular meetings with EB officers and other committee chairs. The CCC does not in itself make decisions; rather, it acts in an advisory capacity to both the COB and conference organizing teams.
The CCC chair will supply each bidding organization with a packet of information that includes, at a minimum, examples of previous successful bids, budget models that calculate expense/income at a range of participation/attendance scales, calendars, and a list of required events and meetings. The CCC will be available to the bidding institutions to answer questions about the process.
After receiving initial bids from bid organizations, the CCC reviews the bids and provides feedback. Of key import is whether the bids have the required information (e.g., realistic, scaled budgets; discussion of how the conference code of conduct will be supported, etc.).
After receiving revised bids, the CCC reviews all of the bids and determines whether individual bids are ready to go forward to the COBwEB.
When the CCC forwards the bids to the COBwEB, the Committee will provide the COBwEB with short recommendations for each bid, noting the bids strengths and weaknesses.
After the PC has voted on keynote selections, they write to the CCC about the process and their selections. The CCC reviews the final candidates for issues of cultural, geographic, and other forms of diversity and advises the PC if they have any concerns.
Local Organizers (LOs)
The LOs are responsible for planning and managing the logistics and staffing of the conference, including the conference budget and finances; conference website; conference venue, including adequate space for all paper and poster sessions, workshops, constituent organization and special interest group meetings; catering, including Day 3 reception and Day 5/6 banquet; lodging options; conference registration, both online and at the conference; conference wifi access; name badge; and swag. The LOs arrange travel details for the keynote speakers, though not for the winners of the Busa or Zampolli prizes that are covered by ADHO. The LOs also produce a final report on the conference for the CCC.
The LO team is generally already identified when bids are presented to host the conference and is led by two chief organizers. The team may elect to add more individuals as needed. LOs have latitude to adopt organizational structures as best suit the process. Some form of online collaborative writing environment should be used to draft documents and achieve consensus, thus providing a shared record of activity.
The work of the LOs is overseen by the CCC and the EB. The LOs are non-voting members of the PC. The roles of Program Chair and Local Organizer shall not be filled by the same person.
When arranging hotel blocks, the LOs should insure that conference rates extend for at least one day before and after the full week of the conference, (e.g., Saturday through Sunday).
When arranging conference venue, the LOs should confirm that all presentation spaces offer adequate data and overhead projection, amplification, adapters for individual presenter computers. LOs should also ensure that adequate technical support is available for all presentation rooms.
LOs have veto power over keynote selections insofar as they are responsible for the expenses of the keynote speaker(s), with the exception of the Busa or Zampolli prize winners. However, it is recommended that LOs raise concerns about potential keynote speaker(s) before the PC votes.
LOs should take care that conference facilities are accessible to all participants. This includes but is not limited to adequate wheelchair access, signage for sight-impaired participants, food preparation that is responsive to dietary restrictions and allergies, and amplification of presentations for hearing-impaired participants.
When selecting a venue for the conference, LOs must ensure that there are adequate locations within a reasonable distance for participants to eat lunch and dinner. If not, the LOs should plan on providing lunch and/or dinner for participants, and may include these expenses in the cost of the conference.
Within two months after the close of the conference, the LOs must submit a report to the CCC. The report must include a brief overview of key conference features, participation statistics, comprehensive financial statements (including registration numbers by category), and recommendations for the future.
Program Committee (PC)
The PC are responsible for the structure and content of the academic program, including the call for papers, the peer review process, the selection of keynote speakers, and the scheduling of the presentations at the conference. The PC also produce a final report on the conference for the CCC.
The Program Committee is appointed two years in advance of the conference and consists of two co-chairs and one representative from each CO. The PC email list also includes (in ex officio capacity) the incoming PC chairs; LOs; CCC Chair and Vice-Chair; outgoing PC chairs; the ADHO EB Chair, the EB Secretariat, MLMC Chair, and SIG Liaison. The PC chairs and CCC chair are admins of the listserv.
Each CO has the right to appoint a representative to the PC but is not required to do so. The PC Chairs serve in addition to the designated representatives of the constituent organizations. The PC is considered to be in its final form when the CFP for their conference is issued.
The work of the PC is overseen by the CCC and the COBwEB.
PC Chairs have latitude to adopt organizational structures as best suit the process. Some form of online collaborative writing environment should be used to draft documents and achieve consensus, thus providing a shared record of activity.
The committee should organize a meeting at each of the conferences in both of the two years prior to their own. Committee members should make best efforts to attend conferences with the understanding that physical presence at conferences—while strongly encouraged—is not a requirement.
The Program Chairs are voting members of the program committee and may together cast a single deciding vote in case of a tie (see also Golden Rule of Consensus).
LOs have veto power over keynote selections insofar as they are responsible for the expenses of the keynote speaker(s), with the exception of the Busa or Zampolli prize winners. However, it is recommended that LOs raise concerns about potential keynote speaker(s) before the PC votes.
After the PC has voted on keynote selections, they inform the CCC of the process and their selections. The CCC reviews the final candidates for issues of cultural, geographic, and other forms of diversity and advises the PC if they have any concerns.
The PC ensures that each session of the conference has a chair who will introduce the presenters and will keep time for each of the presentations. The manner in which these session chairs are chosen is determined by the PC.
The Program Chairs initiate and oversee the review process for all proposals received by the deadline. It is desirable that the Program Chairs be experienced in programming a peer-reviewed conference and that they have served on prior program committees in this community.
The PC Chairs are members of a CO and are appointed by the ADHO COB. A slate of at least two pairs of candidates for PC chair are forwarded to the CCC by the CO (or COs) designated as conference host. The CO may publicly solicit nominations in whatever way best suits, including outreach to other constituent organizations. The submitted slate of candidates should include their institutional affiliation and position and experience organizing conferences. The CCC may request additional information about nominees if deemed helpful. PC Chairs may be considered individually or in a single nomination, however chairs proposed as a single nomination count as only one of the three required candidates. The slate of nominees is reviewed by the CCC to ensure that the CO(s) have provided (a) enough candidates and (b) appropriate information about those candidates. The CCC may request additional information about nominees if deemed helpful. The CCC then submits the list of candidates to the COB, which then votes and determines the two conference co-chairs. This voting should be accomplished and chosen PC Chairs notified in advance of the conference two years before their own.
The roles of Program Chair and Local Organizer shall not be filled by the same person.
The Program Chairs for a conference may not submit a proposal for presentation there. Members of the PC and reviewers may submit proposals, but every effort must be made to avoid conflict of interest.
Within a month after the close of the conference, PC chairs must submit a report to the CCC. The report must include a brief overview of key conference features, participation statistics, and recommendations for the future.
Best-Practices Timeline for Conference Organization
The ADHO conference lifecycle is three years long, beginning with the bidding process and continuing through the post-conference report by Local Organizers and Program Committee chairs.
YEAR -3 (3 years in advance of conference)
The call for hosting bids is posted at the beginning of each calendar year by the CCC. Bidding institutions have approximately three months to develop a formal proposal that includes a budget (expenses and income) and adheres to ADHO conference logistics. The bid includes proposing one or more weeks in which the conference could take place. It is preferable for scheduling purposes for a conference to take place in July. Bids are submitted in draft form for review by the Conference Coordinating Committee (CCC); comments and recommendations are returned to bidding organizers for incorporation into a final proposal that is then sent to the COBwEB for review and voting at the annual COBwEB meeting. Bidding organizations are expected to bring a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them to this meeting. Winning bidders will be bound by the MOU and the ADHO Conference Protocols. A schedule for key milestones and dates can be found below.
Bid submission and selection
- (January) CCC publicly solicits bids for hosting conference (three years in advance; e.g. for the 2023 conference, bids will be solicited in January 2020).
- (February 28) Parties interested in submitting a bid should indicate that interest to the CCC Chair in writing.
- (April 30)
- Bid Organizers submit draft bids due to CCC. Bids should include a stepped draft budget prepared for 250, 500, or 750 registrants.
- CCC Chair contacts COBwEB to consider the alignment between bidding organizations and CO(s). In cases where there is no obvious CO associated with a conference location, the COBwEB will determine which CO or COs will serve as hosts.
- (May) Bidding cities and countries are announced to the COBwEB and published on ADHO website
- (May) CCC reviews bids from Bid Organizers and provides feedback to bidders
- (June) Revised bids are submitted to CCC. CCC recommends whether bids are ready for submission to COBwEB
- (June) CCC Chair submits bids to COBwEB with recommendations
- (July, at conference – Day 1 COBwEB meeting) Bid Organizers present 10-minute proposals to ADHO COB and EB. Presentations should emphasize the value of the location for its experience in emphasis on digital humanities and/or for how the DH conference would provide a boost to local digital humanities efforts rather than as a tourist destination. COB votes on bids and determines which location will host the conference.
- (July, at conference – Day 5 or 6) Current and all future LOs meet to debrief about conference, including lessons learned, issues to prepare for, etc.
- (July, at conference – Day 6) Winning bid is announced.
Year -2 (2 Years in Advance of Conference)
In the two years before the conference, the Program Committee (PC) is established, first with the Chairs and then with the rest of the committee fielded by the different ADHO Constituent Organizations (see “Committees”, above). The PC is responsible for all the aspects of the academic portion of the conference and will work closely with the Local Organizers (LOs) throughout the coming two years. If possible, the PC meets for the first time at the conference.
Selection of Program Committee Chairs
- (February) CCC writes to CO(s) hosting the conference to initiate nomination of PC chairs (two years in advance; e.g. for the 2022 conference, PC chair nominations are solicited in February 2020)
- (March) CO hosting the conference nominates a slate of of at least two pairs of co-PC chairs from which two Program Committee (PC) Chairs can be selected. (See “Committees”, above)
- (April) CCC reviews nominees and submits list of candidates who meet the established criteria to the COBwEB
- (May) COB discusses and votes on nominated individuals(s)
- (June) PC chairs are announced
Selection of Program Committee
- (June) Each CO appoints one person to serve on PC, using whatever process they deem appropriate
- (July, at conference) PC chairs hold first in-person meeting with committee members, representatives from the LO and CCC. At this meeting, the PC and LOs begin discussions about the conference theme.
- (May) Two years before the conference prior to their own, LOs and PC chairs submit a joint preliminary report to the CCC, including progress made on theme, negotiations with venues, and detailed budgets—scaled to 250, 500, and 750 registrants— including projected expenses and income. This report should also include information about conference planning staff (e.g., if the LOs have decided to hire a professional conference planning agency), and how this decision will affect progress and budget.
Publication of Conference Website
- (June, prior to the current year’s conference) The LOs, in coordination with ADHO’s webmaster, set up the conference website.
Year -1 (1 Year in Advance of Conference)
In the year preceding the conference, a significant amount of work takes place. The Local Organizers continue to plan for the venues where the conference will take place, secure housing for conference participants, and build out the conference website. The Program Committee begins its work in earnest with a meeting at the conference prior to theirs, creating the instance of the conference management system ConfTool, releasing the call for papers and workshops (CFP), and beginning the review process.
- (May) Before the conference prior to their own, LOs submit a written report to the CCC (one year in advance; e.g. for the 2022 conference, this report is due in May 2021). This report must include a revised and expanded budget including income and expense detail. This budget will be reviewed by the CCC Chair and EB treasurer(s).
- (July, at conference, Day 1) LOs and PC chairs each make an oral report at the COBwEB meeting
- (July, at conference, Day 6) LOs make a brief (normally less than 10-minutes) presentation during the conference closing session. The presentation should include conference dates; other helpful information may include estimated costs, housing options, and aspects of the social program.
- (May) CCC Chair initiates negotiations between the PC chairs and ConfTool representative. Based on the specifications agreed to, ConfTool submits an invoice.
- (July) ADHO treasurer must pay ConfTool invoice so the instance can be generated.
- (August) ConfTool instance must be fully operational, with any particular modifications necessary for the PC chairs
Call for Papers
- (June) The PC prepares a call for papers and workshops based on the model from the CCC. The draft may be modified each year to take into account the chosen theme of the conference. The deadline for submissions is traditionally 1 November, one year in advance.
- (July) CCC reviews and approves the call for papers and workshops
- (August) Once approved, CCC shares CFP with COBwEB for informational purposes and passes CFP to translators
- (August) Once translated, the CFP is published on the conference website, no later than 31 August
Meeting of Program Committee
- (July) The PC and LOs meets one year in advance of their own to begin the work of the PC. It is recommended that a meeting be held at the conference for all committee members in attendance.
Call for Reviewers
- (August) CCC sends the call for reviewers via email to appropriate CO and AO representatives and SIG liaisons for circulation.
- (early October) CCC reviews newly nominated reviewers and those who have not reviewed for two years against the reviewer criteria
- (late October) CCC chair contacts approved reviewers via ConfTool; further correspondence with reviewers (including instructions and timelines), will be from PC chairs.
Selection of Keynotes
- (June) The PC chairs and LOs collectively determine how many keynotes will take place, including special awards such as the Busa and Zampolli.
- (July) PC chairs open keynote nominations from both the PC and the LOs
- (August) Keynote nominations completed. LOs invited to review keynote selections for possible veto. Barring veto, the final choice rests with the PC.
- (September) PC completes voting for keynote selections
- (September) PC submits names of keynote speaker(s) to the CCC for review
- (October) Pending CCC review , the PC Chairs and LOs jointly issue invitation to keynote(s), including information about the conference focus and theme.
- (November) Keynotes should be confirmed.
SIG Guaranteed Sessions
- (September) SIGs interested in offering a special (guaranteed) session at the conference use best practice to design a session (e.g., via call for papers, special invitation to speakers, etc.)
- (November) SIGs submit session title and abstract(s), names of speakers to the PC chairs for inclusion in the academic program and publication in the book of abstracts.
Year -1 through Year 0
The review process crosses two years of preparation. Proposals for the conference are due in the fall; the review period starts shortly thereafter and ends near the close of the year. Following the review, proposal authors have the opportunity to provide responses to their review, which original reviewers may in turn respond to.
Approximately six months in advance of the conference, one or both of the PC Chairs should visit the conference site and meet with the LOs to review local arrangements, meeting spaces, lodgings, etc. ADHO will cover up to €500 of the cost of PC co-chairs travel to the conference site, if their home institutions are unwilling to do so. At this meeting the conference schedule should be reviewed to ensure that all required sessions, meetings, and events have been taken into account.
- (July) CCC, with the help of the previous PC chairs, puts out a call for reviewers to the COs and SIG conveners.
- (August) CCC discusses and, perhaps after revision, approves PC reviewer plan
- (September) PC chairs submit completed list of proposed reviewers to CCC
- (November) Review period begins at most one week after the close of submissions
- (December) Review period closes at most six weeks after close of submissions
- (December) Response period opens at most one week after the close of review period
- (January) Response period closes two weeks after the start of the period
- (January) PC reviews author responses; original reviewers are invited to respond to author responses for two weeks
- (January) Site visit by PC Chairs; PC Chairs consult with LOs about the number of sessions the conference venue can support
- (late January) Response period closes
- (February) Notification of acceptances, no later than 1 March
- (March) PC chairs forward abstracts of those who nominated themselves for the Paul Fortier Prize and who were accepted for the conference to the ADHO Awards Committee
- (April) Revised version of accepted abstracts due
Year 0 (Year of Conference)
In addition to the completion of the review period, the year of the conference brings several new tasks. The ADHO Awards Committee must put out a call for the annual conference bursaries, review the applications, and coordinate with the ADHO treasurer to make sure funds are disbursed. The Local Organizers must start conference registration. The PC must finish its review process and prepare the digital book of abstracts, based on the revised abstracts submitted by presenters. At the conference itself, the Awards Committee must evaluate the nominees for the Fortier Prize. After the conference has closed, the LOs and Program Committee prepare reports about the conference. Finally, the PC chairs continue serving on the next year’s PC as outgoing chairs.
- (February) Awards Committee prepares call for bursaries
- (early March) Awards Committee communicates the call for bursaries to PC chairs for inclusion in ConfTool
- (March) Bursary Award application feature opened in ConfTool. ADHO Communications Committee announces bursaries via ADHO website and social media.
- (April) Bursary Award application period closes after no fewer than 2 weeks
- (April) Bursary notifications sent no later than two weeks after application period closes
- (July) Bursary awards presented at the conference banquet, which recipients are encouraged to attend free of charge
- (July) ADHO Treasurer disburses funds to Bursary recipients, no later than 31 July.
- (March 31) Conference registration opens, with all information published on conference website including the banquet, and all workshops and cultural excursions. Lodging information and travel information should also be in their final forms.
- (May) LOs will draft a certificate of participation and registration, and make it available to any who require it for professional or travel purposes.
- (May) Final conference schedule published on conference website.
Conference Book of Abstracts
- (June) Book of Abstracts published electronically.
Current and Future LOs Meeting
- (July) At the conference, the current and next LOs and CCC chair meet to discuss lessons learned and to answer questions.
- (September) PC chairs and LOs submit individual conference reports to the ADHO CCC.
Glossary of Acronyms
The following abbreviations are used throughout the document.
- ADHO: Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations
- AOs: Associated Organizations
- CCC: ADHO Conference Coordinating Committee
- CFP: Call for Proposals
- COs: Constituent Organizations of ADHO
- COB: ADHO Constituent Organization Board
- COBwEB: COB with EB
- EB: ADHO Executive Board
- LOs: Local Organizers
- MLMC: Multilingualism/Multiculturalism Committee
- PC: Program Committee
- SIG: Special Interest Group of ADHO
1. Constituent Organizations (COs) and other groups affiliated with ADHO may choose to support additional events (such as regional conferences or special interest events).