DIG 6585 (FALL 2020)


[crosslisted: LIT 6934]
Fall 2020
Tuesdays, 6:30pm-8:00pm (synchronous online meeting in MS Teams; additional readings, videos, and other work, as indicated)
Professor Steven Jones

[jump to SCHEDULE]

Digital Humanities research projects, which are often collaborative and interdisciplinary, can take many different forms: digital collections or archive of texts, images, video, sound files, or other digital media; analyses of large corpora of texts, often with visualizations; data-rich maps; creative works, such as born-digital electronic literature, or digital + physical Alternate Reality Games; and so on. In each case, the DH researcher or team of researchers builds something—usually a framework for organizing a collection of digital assets of some kind and making them available to users—thereby addressing a research question or providing a platform for further research and learning. In some cases, researchers may develop new software. In other cases, they may use existing “off the shelf” software and platforms. Either approach can result in an effective DH project.

This is an online course: all readings, videos, digital tools, and other materials are open-access, freely available online. We’ll meet once a week as a group in Microsoft Teams, with student presentations, shared screens, and discussion. (See the USF guide to Teams best practices.) We’ll focus on the conception, planning, proposal, and development of DH projects. We’ll consider the nature of the project as a genre and a methodology, and we’ll look at issues of data, digital assets, infrastructure, platform, intended user base, and interface, as well as funding, collaboration (often interdisciplinary), publication, assessment, and sustainability. In the spirit of the workshop environment, we want to share ideas, research questions, tools, and prototypes. We’ll learn about interdisciplinary DH work already taking place at USF and elsewhere. The chief outcome of the course will be a completed project proposal. The final requirement for the semester will be to present that proposal in a demo-pitch.

Some students may begin the semester with a project already underway. Others may come with only a research topic. In any case, the semester’s work will help them understand how to develop a completed proposal, including limited digital prototypes, wireframes, or mock-ups. The developing research interests and specific needs of the class will shape the shared content of the workshop as a whole.

This course will provide a cumulative overview of the development process in stages, from research question to full proposal, in a collaborative space that supports creative development. The larger objectives are: (1) a theoretical and critical understanding of the affordances and constraints of the DH project as a genre and a methodology, including assumptions and interdisciplinary practices that frame DH projects; and (2) the ability to design, propose, and present a DH project that addresses an important research topic or set of questions in the humanities.

As a result of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the theory and history of the DH project as a genre and a methodology
  • Formulate an effective DH research question
  • Develop a detailed plan and timetable for a project
  • Critically evaluate and determine appropriate platforms and tools
  • Understand and apply appropriate technical standards, such as TEI, etc.
  • Design a project architecture, from back-end to interface
  • Write a hypothetical budget tailored to real-world funding sources
  • Produce a data-management plan
  • Imagine and produce effective use-cases
  • Plan for assessment and long-term sustainability
  • Put together a complete written proposal, including abstract, narrative, schedule, budget, supporting media, figures, tables, etc.
  • Present the proposal in an online demo-pitch at the end of the semester

See the following page for the university’s policies:

READINGS, VIDEOS (all open access)
Brown, Susan, Patricia Clements, Isobel Grundy, Stan Ruecker, Jeffery Antoniuk, and Sharon Balazs. “Published Yet Never Done: The Tension Between Projection and Completion in Digital Humanities Research.” DHQ 3.2 (2009): http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/3/2/000040/000040.html.

Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press, 2012, pp. 121–136: A Short Guide to the Digital_Humanities(“Questions and Answers and Specifications”): http://jeffreyschnapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/D_H_ShortGuide.pdf.

Black Digital Humanities Projects & Resources (JSTOR collection):

Collaborators’ Bill of Rights. Collectively authored at symposium, “Off the Tracks: Laying new Lines for Digital Humanities Scholars.” Directed by Tanya Clement. January 20-21, 2011: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/offthetracks/part-one-models-for-collaboration-career-paths-acquiring-institutional-support-and-transformation-in-the-field/a-collaboration/collaborators’-bill-of-rights/.

D’Ignazio, Catherine and Lauren F. Klein. Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020; open access edition):

Drucker, Johanna and David Kim. UCLA Center for DH Intro to Digital Humanities Coursebook, 2013: http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu; including esp. Drucker, “Analysis of DH Projects”: http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu/?page_id=15.

Jones, Steven. The Emergence of the Digital Humanities. (Routledge, 2014; open access edition): https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780203093085. Routledge, 2014.

NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grants:

NEH ODH Blog, “Planning your Next DHAG”: https://www.neh.gov/blog/planning-your-next-dhag-idea-audience-innovation-context .

“Reconstructing the First Humanities Computing Center,” NEH DHAG proposal materials for RECAAL project:

Nowviskie, Bethany. “On the Origin of ‘Hack’ and ‘Yack.” In Gold, Matthew K. and Lauren Klein, ed. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016: http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/58.

Nowviskie, Bethany. “Ten Rules for Humanities Scholars New to Project Management.” Author’s website. November 2011: http://nowviskie.org/handouts/DH/10rules.pdf.

Posner, Miriam. “How Did They Make That? Reverse Engineering Digital Projects.” Video, April 17, 2014: https://archive.org/details/howdidtheymakethat.

Sayers, Jentery. “Before You Make a Thing,” course materials: https://jentery.github.io/ts200v2/notes.html.

Sayers, Jentery, ed.  The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (selected open-access chapters): https://github.com/jentery/routledgeCompanionMSDH/blob/master/toc.md.

Siemens, Lynne. “Project Management.” In Davis, Rebecca Frost, et al., ed. Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities. MLA Commons: Concepts, Models, and Experiments: https://digitalpedagogy.mla.hcommons.org/keywords/project-management/.

Weingart, Scott B. Carnegie Mellon University Project Videos collection: https://cmu-lib.github.io/dhlg/project-videos/.

Voyant: https://voyant-tools.org
Juxta Commons: http://juxtacommons.org
Markdown: https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax
Mozilla Introduction to HTML: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Guide/HTML/Introduction
JS Bin online markup editor: http://jsbin.com/?html,output
Minimal Computing: http://go-dh.github.io/mincomp/
GitHub Pages: https://pages.github.com
Omeka: https://omeka.org
Processing: https://processing.org
The Programming Historian lessons: https://programminghistorian.org/en/lessons/
Reviews in DH: https://reviewsindh.pubpub.org
TEI: https://tei-c.org
Reclaim Hosting: https://reclaimhosting.com
Scalar: https://scalar.me/anvc/scalar/
StoryMapJS: https://storymap.knightlab.com
TimelineJS: https://timeline.knightlab.com
Twine: http://twinery.org
Wax: https://minicomp.github.io/wax/

Grades will be distributed approximately as follows:

Class participation ……………………………… … approx. 40%
Written and presented project proposal, in stages ………… approx. 40%
Final project demo-pitch ………………..……………..…….. approx. 20%

Core requirement for the new Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities
MA Lit cultural-critical studies
MA Lit elective
MA R/C 1-2 other electives
MFA elective (5 courses)
PhD Lit theory-rich course

[Readings are linked from the above list if not directly from the schedule.]
25 INTROS (MS Teams meeting; explore in advance of class: Reviews in DH Project Registry)

1 Posner, “How Did They Make That?”; Drucker and Kim, “Analysis of DH Projects”; Jones, Emergence, esp. chapter: “Practices;” and pp. 132-136, 167-175

8 Sayers, “Before You Make a Thing”; Sayers, “Kits for Cultural History”; NEH ODH Blog, “Planning your Next DHAG” (three posts); Black Digital Humanities Projects & Resources

15 Siemens, “Project Management”; Stommel, “Public Digital Humanities”

22 Luster, “Archives, Museums, and the Digital Humanities”; Szabo, “Apprehending the Past: Augmented Reality, Archives, and Cultural Memory,” The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, chapter 38

29 Brown, et al., “Published Yet Never Done: The Tension Between Projection and Completion in Digital Humanities Research”

6 DUE: NARRATIVE (humanities question[s] addressed)
“Reconstructing the First Humanities Computing Center” grant proposal

13 DUE: NARRATIVE (environmental scan)

20 DUE: NARRATIVE (method, platform, tools)

27 DUE: NARRATIVE (outcomes, deliverables)

Baker, “Preserving Your Research Data”

10 DUE: DATA PLAN II (incl. hosting, sustainability)
“The Cost of Customization: Building, Maintaining and Sustaining DH Projects”;
“Project Sustainability in DH: Collaboration and Community”

17 DUE: SUPPORTING MEDIA (visualizations, graphs, maps, charts, illustrations)
“Reconstructing the First Humanities Computing Center” grant proposal