Key Project Reflection

This assignment was modified from an earlier version designed collaboratively and/or in tandem by Brian Croxall and Dr. Cordell. The inspiration came from one of my first DH syllabi. Most of the current language and arrangement is Dr. Croxall’s (since he taught it first). Thus all criticisms should be directed at him.

For this assignment you will identify a “key project” to investigate—an ongoing digital humanities project that bears on your own research and/or ambition in digital humanities work. You will compose a 1000-word blog post in which you reflect on your key project’s methodologies, innovations, interpretive power, and design. Your aim will be to help your colleagues understand the projects’ contributions to its discipline and the interdisciplinary digital humanities community.

I’ve listed a few projects below you might choose, or you can use the DHCommons project registry or the Around DH in 80 Days initiative (which a previous Northeastern class helped launch) to find something that appeals to you more. Only one person should write on any given key project, so please use this spreadsheet to sign up for your project once you’ve chosen it.

Possible Projects to evaluate:

In John Unsworth’s talk, “Scholarly Primitives,” Unsworth argues that all scholarship makes use of the same basic tools, such as discovering, annotating, and comparing. In what way does your project meet or fail to meet these basic scholarly needs? As you investigate your project and prepare your posts, you should consider the following questions:

  • What are the project’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What assumptions have been made in designing the project? (What are their sources? How is the site designed? etc.)
  • What is the project’s primary audience? Is it addressed to other researchers, students, or both?
  • How easy is it to use the site or tool?
  • Could you see using this project in your own work? Why or why not?
  • How does the project connect to other work, either in DH or in its disciplinary field?
  • The big one: what does this project contribute to the larger body of knowledge in its disciplinary field? In the interdisciplinary field of digital humanities?

As you are doing this assignment, you should contact the editor(s) or project lead(s) about their work. You will find that most people in digital humanities are very willing to discuss their work, its methodologies, and its innovations.

These reflections are due by mid-term—let’s say October 15.