This assignment was designed collaboratively and/or in tandem by Brian Croxall and Dr. Cordell. The inspiration came from Dr. Cordell’s proposed DH syllabus. 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 investigate an ongoing digital humanities project and present it to our class. In a Pecha Kucha-style presentation (see below) you will consider the 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 global list to find something that appeals to you more. Only one person should present a particular project, so please use this spreadsheet to sign up for your project once you’ve chosen it.
Possible Projects to evaluate:
- African Origins http://www.african-origins.org/
- American Prison Writing Archive, http://apw.dhinitiative.org/
- Book Traces, http://www.booktraces.org/
- Civil War Washington http://civilwardc.org/
- Digital Karnak, http://dlib.etc.ucla.edu/projects/Karnak/
- Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/
- Envisaging the West, http://jeffersonswest.unl.edu/
- For Better for Verse, http://prosody.lib.virginia.edu/
- Global Shakespeares, http://globalshakespeares.org/
- History Engine, http://historyengine.richmond.edu/
- Hypercities, http://hypercities.com/
- The Map of Early Modern London, http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/
- Mapping the Republic of Letters, https://republicofletters.stanford.edu/
- Mapping Soweto, http://mappingsoweto.org/
- The Mind is a Metaphor, http://metaphors.lib.virginia.edu/
- Mining the Dispatch, http://dsl.richmond.edu/dispatch/pages/home
- Our Marathon, http://marathon.neu.edu/
- Preserving Virtual Worlds, http://pvw.illinois.edu/pvw/
- Railroads and the Making of Modern America, http://railroads.unl.edu/
- Rossetti Archive, http://www.rossettiarchive.org/
- Shelly-Godwin Archive, http://shelleygodwinarchive.org/
- The Sonneteer, http://cocoon.lis.illinois.edu:8080/lis590dpl/wapiez/Sonneteer/
- September 11 Digital Archive http://911digitalarchive.org/
- Speech Accent Archive, http://accent.gmu.edu/
- Transcribe Bentham, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/transcribe-bentham/
- Visualizing Emancipation, http://dsl.richmond.edu/emancipation/
- Voyages, http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces
- Walt Whitman Archive, http://www.whitmanarchive.org/
- Willa Cather Archive, http://cather.unl.edu/
- Women Writers Project, http://www.wwp.brown.edu/
- Writing of Indigenous New England, https://indnewengland.omeka.net/
- Another amazing DH project you discover through your own research
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 presentations, 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.
Given the condensed nature of this course, you will prepare a short presentation about your project for our first day of class. Since you chose the project, it will already be something that is interesting to you, and that should make for some compelling presentations. But just to be sure things stay interesting, here are some rules:
- You will have exactly 6 minutes, 40 seconds.
- Your presentation will use PowerPoint (or Keynote or Google Presentations), but you’ll be restricted to 20 slides. No more, no less. (It’s a Pecha Kucha!)
- Your presentation must also follow the 1/1/5 rule. 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 should not attempt tell us everything that you might say in a written paper nor show us every last feature of the site or tool. Instead, you should be looking to give us an overview of the site or tool, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. When designing your presentation, think SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE. The idea here is that the Pecha Kucha form’s restrictions (paradoxically) promote creativity.