A Six Point Criteria for Assessing Digital Projects

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 I want to suggest a six point method for evaluating digital projects:

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 1. Contribution to the humanities
2. Collaboration
3. Cross/interdisciplinary networks-within and beyond the academy
4. Content & design
5. Openness and reflection of the process
6. Adaptability, transformation, and sustainability

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 First, the project must clearly articulate what the contribution and significance to the humanities will be made. Is a clear question being asked, and answered, by the project? Does the work provide new modes for understanding pre-existing scholarship? Does the work expose new methods for engaging with/organizing/classifying text, images, data, etc.? What new methodologies are developed through the digital project? Todd Presner (2012), in the Journal of Digital Humanities, posits the following questions as a way to determine a project’s contribution to a given field or fields:
● How is the work engaged with a problem specific to a scholarly discipline or group of disciplines?
● How does the work reframe that problem or contribute a new way of understanding the problem?
● How does the work advance an argument through both the content and the way the content is presented?
● How is the design of the platform an argument?
To demonstrate the significance of the project, an acknowledgment of similar projects is necessary. What has already been done and how is this project different? Will it build upon or diverge from pre-existing work? Are there models that have been followed or inspired this project?

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 As pointed out across all of the readings, collaboration (and building upon what has come before) is an integral component of all digital work. Acknowledgment of the many traditional, and non-traditional, roles and collaborators should be clearly articulated and documented. Not every person involved in the project will have the same level of involvement at the same time, but it is essential to recognize the efforts of all participants, regardless of the way they contributed. A digital project requires diversity of skill sets to succeed. Nowviskie (2011) states that digital production requires close and meaningful human relationships/partnerships amongst faculty and programmers, system admins, students & postdocs, creators and owners of content, designers, publishers, archivists, digital preservationists and other cultural heritage professionals. This is just one list of possible collaborators to a digital project.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Next, collaboration builds networks amongst the project participants, but the project could be networked in several other ways. It can be:
● Inter and/or cross disciplinary
● Link to other projects both digital and traditional
● Expand upon scholarly work already being done and create opportunities for new modes of scholarship
● Create connections with audiences both inside and outside of the academy (allow for contributions, feedback, and criticism)
● Provide a mechanism for easily linking to content from the digital project in other environments

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 The content and design of the project require a substantial consideration. What is the quality of the content and how/where was it acquired? How is the content visually represented? Is it interactive? Does it follow professional standards and is proper credit provided? If images are used, does it provide high resolution versions? What metadata standards are used? Is the text content edited properly and understandable? What design considerations were used? Was there a web designer consulted and is the project easy to navigate through? Is it visually appealing and engaging? Were usability tests employed to determine needed improvements?

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 A main ethos of DH is openness, so an important factor of assessment is how transparent is the project? Is it accessible? Does it provide substantial documentation and a narrative of its evolution? Does the narrative reflect on challenges, the process of creating the project, and ongoing plans for the project? How can users contribute to the project and adapt/learn from/modify it? Does it use open platforms to construct it and avoid proprietary applications if possible?

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Lastly, the assessment of a digital project should address the adaptability, transformation, and sustainability of the project. Can the project be made and remade? How do the project participants foresee the project evolving over time and what mechanisms are in place to facilitate adaption? How sustainable is the project and who will be responsible for the ongoing development and maintenance of the project? How can the project predict and avoid obsolescence? How will other audiences and scholars use and adapt this project?

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Most of the discussions in this week’s readings on assessment used tenure and promotion as a real application for assessment. However, the nature of these digits projects goes beyond that process and should be assessed based on an open engagement with all audience members (inside and outside of the academy) that will be using and assessing the projects.

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  • Welcome to Digital Praxis 2016-2017

    Encouraging students think about the impact advancements in digital technology have on the future of scholarship from the moment they enter the Graduate Center, the Digital Praxis Seminar is a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses that familiarize students with a variety of digital tools and methods through lectures offered by high-profile scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and incorporate digital technologies in their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored a particular area of digital scholarship and/or pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work. The two connected three-credit courses will be offered during the Fall and Spring semesters as MALS classes for master’s students and Interdisciplinary Studies courses for doctoral students.

    The syllabus for the course can be found at cuny.is/dps17.

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