Abstracts submission using DHwriter

Dear DHers,

The submission page for the abstracts for DH2014 has opened. To submit a paper, panel, or poster go the following webpage, login or create a new user account and follow the instructions.  http://www.conftool.pro/dh2014/

For this year, the accepted document formats will be Word (.doc,.docx) and PDF.

In order to smooth the publication process we strongly encourage you to try to use a new writing tool called dhwriter.org. This tool produces special kinds of PDF, called “Review PDF,” that will contain the text of your abstract and also link to a clean TEI-encoded version.

Why should I try DHwriter?

Every year, reformatting the abstracts from their original submission formats (Word, PDF, etc.) into TEI (for publishing the on-line version and the book of abstracts) is a long and tedious process. Previous local organisers all agree that this task is one the most time-consuming of the entire DH Conference “adventure”. In order to make the process smoother, our local team has been actively working since the Nebraska meeting to build a web interface for writing abstracts in a format that would make possible (1) the reviewing process as usual using Conftool, and (2) an exportation in TEI for publishing the proceedings. This tool, completely independent from Conftool, should deal with all the key features you may want to include in an abstract (citations, figures, etc.). It can export in TEI and in a format we call “review PDF” which contains an automatically rendered layout of the abstract and on-line link to check a clean TEI-encoded version.  The first version of this tool is accessible on dhwriter.org. It is far from perfect as it has been developed in just a few weeks. We have made the code open-source and it is already available on GitHub.

It would help us enormously in the conference organisation if you could prepare your abstract in DHWriter, and then submit it as a Review PDF via Conftool, as it would cut down hours of work involved in preparing the book of abstracts for publication.

How should I use DHwriter to publish in DH2014?

You can think of DHwriter as a simplified version of Google docs. You can insert section, figures, lists, etc.  A word counter indicates how long your text is.

1) Go to dhwriter.org and sign in by clicking on the sign in button


2) Click on “not yet a member”


3) Fill the form and submit


4) You should arrive on a page like this one, and can start writing your abstract


5) Header. To enter the title, authors, summary and other metadata click on the small triangle near :


You should access a form where you can enter the information and the metadata.


To add, an additional author click on the (+) button


6) References To enter a reference click on the [1] icon.


There is a basic mechanism to enter citations in the form you like by simply entering a line of text. An autocompletion system is implemented looking for your reference in an (ever increasing) database of DH references.


Choose or type the citation and click on the save button. It should now appear in the text …


… and at the bottom of your text, in a special window called References


7) Images To enter an image or figure, click on


You can enter the URL of the image or upload it from your computer. You can also enter an title and caption.


A second pop-up window asks you the clarify the copyright status of the image you use.


Click “save” and the image should now be included in your text


8) Exporting in Review PDF. 

Once your abstract is finished you can export it in a format made for the reviewers called “Review PDF”. Just click on the following icon.


The first page of PDF produced includes a simple title page :


At the bottom of the page you’ll find an URL


This URL brings you to an TEI/HTML version of the your article, that displays nicely in a browser. This link will be used to publish your article on the web and in print, if your proposal is accepted.


The second page of PDF includes the abstract itself


Save this “Review PDF” in your computer. This will be the file that will be uploaded to Conftool.

9) Uploading your “Review PDF” file to Conftool

a. Go to http://www.conftool.pro/dh2014/


b. If you already have a login you can use this one. Otherwise you can proceed to create a new one :


c. Create your account and go to the Submissions form


d. Click, for instance, on “long paper” and enter the information about your paper and the metadata (please note that you will have to reenter them despite the fact that you entered them in DHwriter)

Capture d’écran 2013-10-14 à 14.19.17

e. Upload your abstract in the “Review PDF” format

Capture d’écran 2013-10-14 à 14.19.51

f. You are done !

Capture d’écran 2013-10-14 à 14.20.32

If you have any problems with this submission tool, or any questions about the process, please contact [email protected]. We would be glad to have any feedback regarding the DH Writer system so that we can improve its functionality.

One thought on “Abstracts submission using DHwriter

  1. Now that the deadline for submission is closed, it seems like a good time to reflect a little bit about it. And because the major new thing this year (so far) was the DHWriter, I would like to add some comments about how it went for me.

    First of all, I think the idea is a really good and important one. If we DH’ers can’t set up a robust and efficient workflow for submissions, without a lot of manual formatting and conversion, then who will? The choice of TEI as the master format for this is a natural one, although it also has some limitations.

    For the two submissions I was directly involved in this time around, one was submitted with DHWriter somewhere in the process (GitHUb > DHWriter > Conftool, to be precise) and one without (GoogleDocs > Conftool). Many things worked really well in DHWriter, like the metadata, general text sections, etc.

    Both submissions were collaborative efforts, which leads me to the first major limitation of DHWriter: although one account can have several documents, one document can only have one account, so that collaborative writing is possible only with password-sharing and turn-taking. (1:0 for GitHub and GoogleDocs).

    The next issue was formulas: in one of the submissions, we needed some mathematical formulas, and while GitHub’s and markdown let’s you integrate them nicely, obviously this is more of a challenge for DHWriter. We had to create images of the formula (markdown > PDF > Pinta) to do get them into DHWriter. Google Docs isn’t any better for formulas, of course.

    As for integrating the images, I think DHWriter did a nice job. No issues here, except that the images were too large to be displayed properly in the preview, although they came out just perfect in the “Review PDF”. By contrast, not all of our tables looked nice in the “Review PDF”: no borders, no formattig options, no protection against tables being split by page breaks. Images and tables work fine in GoogleDocs and GitHub, so this one goes to them, although PDF creation in GoogleDocs is also not flawless.

    And finally, the references system. I like the idea of the automatic endnotes with full references, although this is a bit old-style. But it is convenient enough. But support for “normal” footnotes would have been a plus.

    Anyway, this kind of post focuses on issues and limitations, but I applaud the principle and think that considering the very brief development period, this is already a perfectly usable tool with a lot of potential. The one major issue for me was the missing possibility to do collaborative writing, and this may not be an easy thing to fix. In any case, I consider this a test-run and hope that by the time we can (hopefully!) submit improved versions of accepted proposals using an improved version of DHWriter!

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