Digital infrastructure for digital humanities

Creating and using Docker images for digital humanities


“Digital humanities” involves using digital technology to study the humanities. In my digital humanities investigations I have wanted to run various digital humanities applications on my computer. These applications have software dependencies. Unfortunately the dependencies between different applications can clash with each other and sometimes interfere with the smooth running of your computer.

Docker containers offer a means of running an application on your computer without having the application dependencies interfere with other applications and their dependencies. This post introduces my creation and use of Docker images.

Creating and using Docker images for digital humanities

The Docker software enables you to package up applications and run them in isolated containers on your computer. The Docker Desktop software enables those containers to be run on the Mac and Windows operating systems. You can also run Docker containers on Linux as well.

DockerHub is a repository for Docker container images from software vendors, open-source projects, and the community. You can use the Docker Desktop application to download the Docker container image of an application you want to use and run the application. Docker provides a Getting Started guide here.

I wanted to go further and create Docker images for applications that I want to use for my digital humanities investigations. I have shared my Docker container images on DockerHub so that others can use them. I have shared the Dockerfile that specifies the Docker container image on GitHub. You can fork my GitHub projects and build on my activities. You can find the links to these artifacts in the Projects section on this website.

Gareth Digby
Gareth Digby
A student of the digital humanities

My research interests include digital humanities.