The Participatory Design methodology continued into Phase Two of the project for which we established a small Design Group, our user community, consisting of scholars from different disciplines and at different career stages. This Group has been at the centre of the design of search practice by sharing their own methodologies and practices and working from these, together with technical developers at the Humanities Research Institute, to develop a resource around the test dataset, the Thomason Tracts. They have been actively and creatively engaged throughout the design process, not simply reacting to what has already been produced as is usually the case.
Participatory Design is an innovative approach in terms of Digital Humanities and as such its application has been necessarily fluid over the course of the project, in order to adapt it to the specificities and challenges of Humanities research. Consultations were held with the project team and advisory board, as well as Participatory Design experts in Scandinavia, to determine what the best way might be of conducting the Design Groups and opinions differed greatly on this matter. The following sections will describe a pilot Design Group conducted at the National Library of Wales and how we went on to gather participants and conduct the Design Groups.