Digital Humanities Project Evaluation
For this assignment you will work with a partner to investigate an important digital humanities project and present it to our class. In a three- to four-page, collaboratively written paper, you will consider the project’s methodologies, innovations, interpretive power, and design. You will then give a joint, 3-minute-20-second presentation to help the class understand the projects’ contributions both to its discipline (e.g. literature, history, philosophy) and to the interdisciplinary field of the digital humanities.
Projects to Evaluate You may choose to work on one of the projects listed below. However, only one group will be able to work on a particular project. To claim a project, go to http://bit.ly/dhproj2011 and put your names next to the project title.
- Rossetti Archive, http://www.rossettiarchive.org/
- Civil War Washington http://civilwardc.org/
- Hypercities, http://hypercities.com/
- NINES, http://www.nines.org/
- Valley of the Shadow, http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/
- Looking for Whitman, http://lookingforwhitman.org/
- The Mind is a Metaphor http://metaphors.lib.virginia.edu/
- September 11 Digital Archive http://911digitalarchive.org/
- African Origins, http://www.african-origins.org/
- Mandala: Rich Prospect Browser, http://mandala.humviz.org/
- Download it at http://tapor-dev.mcmaster.ca/~humviz/mandala/dev/standalone/Mandala-Default-1537.zip
- Find tutorials and manual at http://mandala.humviz.org/manual/
- Voyages, http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces
- In Transition: Selected Poems by the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhovern, http://www.lib.umd.edu/digital/transition
- Interactive Nolli Map, http://nolli.uoregon.edu/
- The Map of Early Modern London, http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/
- History Engine, http://historyengine.richmond.edu/
Paper As you investigate your project and write your paper, you must consider the following questions:
- What are the project’s strengths and weaknesses?
- At the beginning of the semester, we read 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?
Other questions you may consider:
- 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 / tool?
- 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?
Papers must be emailed to me as PDFs by the beginning of class on Tuesday, 25 October. Please name files in the following format: Last Name #1-Last Name #2-DHproj.pdf.
Papers should be posted to the blog by the beginning of class on Tuesday, 25 October. So we don’t have the front page of the blog covered in long posts, you should insert a “More” tag at the end of the first paragraph of your piece. Simply place your cursor at the end of the line and click the button shown in green below.
You should also include at least one link to your project in your paper/post. A logical place to do this would be when you first mention the project’s name. Create a link by clicking on the button shown in pink above.
Presentation You and your partner will prepare a short presentation about your project. Since you chose the project, it will already be something that is interesting to you, and that should make for some interesting presentations. But just to be sure things stay interesting, here are some rules.
- You will have exactly 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
- Your presentation will use PowerPoint, but you’ll be restricted to 10 slides. No more, no less. (It’s a half-Pecha Kucha!)
- Your presentation must also follow the 1/1/5 rule. That is, you must have at least one image per slide, you can use each exact image only once, and you should add no more than five words per slide.
- You can find images by searching Flickr for Creative-Commons licensed pictures.
- You must both present for approximately half the presentation. I won’t be timing this with a stopwatch, but you should generally each share half of the burden.
- You should have a works cited list of your photos, which will be on an eleventh slide, for the presentation.
It is not the intent of the presentation for you to tell us everything that you say in the written paper nor to show us every last feature of the site. Instead, you should be looking to give us an overview of the site, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. When designing the presentation, think SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE. The idea here is that the form’s restriction (paradoxically) promotes this creativity. You need to rehearse your presentation so that your commentary is linked to the slides, and to revise your slides, especially the text, to make it compelling to your audience.
Presentations will take place during class on Tuesday, 25 October.
Setting Up the Presentation In PowerPoint or a comparable program, set up a presentation with 10 slides. Set the program so that your slideshow advances every 20 seconds, without any input from you. Here’s how this looks in PowerPoint (well, on a Mac using Office 2011, anyway):
Step 1: Click on “Transitions”
Step 2, 3, and 4: Clear the “On mouse click” box, and set the slides to advance automatically after 20 seconds.
DH Project Evaluation Evalution Your grade on this project will be based on both the paper (50%) and the presentation (50%).
Your paper will be graded on your thoughtful assessment of the project, especially your consideration of the two required questions. You will be graded on the clarity of your writing and organization. While this is not a formal, thesis-driven paper, it must still be carefully crafted.
Your presentation will be graded on its clarity, creativity, organization, and meeting the rules listed above.
Talk to People As you are doing this assignment, you should absolutely consider contacting the editor(s) / project lead(s) about their work, especially if you are having difficulty with something. You will find that most people in digital humanities are very willing to discuss their work with those who are interested in it (even if that interest is compelled by an assignment).
- Deshpande / Lewis
- Dixon / Park
- Kasir / Coons
- Stoudemire / Crispino
- Factor / Sold
- Ramayya / Bhiwandiwalla
- Marcinkowski / Pershing
- Edwards / Webber
- Benn / Nissensohn
- Bolleter / Bang
Credits This assignment was designed by Brian Croxall with input and collaboration from Ryan Cordell. Furthermore, we draw on on ideas and language from Jason B. Jones and Mark Sample, under the terms of a Creative Commons license.