LIT 6934 (FALL 2017)

LIT 6934
Fall 2017
Tuesdays, 6:30pm-9:15pm
CPR 257
Professor Steven Jones
Office hours, T, 3:00-5:00; TH, 12:30-2:30
(and other times by appointment)

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; GIS-based 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.

In this class 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. The workshop environment is meant to foster the sharing of ideas, research questions, tools, and prototypes. We’ll also learn about interdisciplinary DH work taking place at USF—in the Library, other humanities departments, and various centers. The chief outcome of the course will be a completed project proposal. The final requirement for the semester will be to present that proposal at a showcase event.

Some students may begin the semester with a project already begun. Others may come with only a research topic. In any case, the semester’s work will help them develop a completed proposal. A single student who is in effect project manager or principal investigator (PI)) for an outside project may take the course, or two or more students may take the course as team members on a shared project. The developing research interests and specific needs of the class will shape the shared content of the workshop.

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 and propose a DH project that addresses an important research topic 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 at an end-of-semester showcase event, either as a short pitch or as a digital poster

The ultimate outcome for the semester will be a completed proposal for a project and a demonstration of that proposal, not the completed project itself. However, for the final presentation, some limited digital prototypes, wireframes, or mock-ups will be helpful and are to be expected.

Please adhere to the USF Graduate Student Policy, found here:

Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) in order to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request. See

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READINGS (online and 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):

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”):

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:’-bill-of-rights/.

Croxall, Brian. “12 Basic Principles of Project Management.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. ProfHacker, March 3, 2011:

Dombrowski, Quinn. “Whatever Happened to Project Bamboo?” Literary and Linguistic Computing. 29, 3.1 (September 2014), 326–39:

Drucker, Johanna, David Kim, and others. Introduction to Digital Humanities (PDF and other formats).

Jagoda, Patrick. “Critique and Critical Making.” PMLA 132.2 (March 2017): 356-63:

Kraus, Kari. Introduction to Rough Cuts: Media and Design in Process (2012):

Leon, Sharon. “Project Management for Humanists: Preparing Future Primary Investigators.” In #Alt-Academy, Coordinating ed., Katina Rogers. May 6, 2011:

NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grants:

Nowviskie, Bethany. “On the Origin of ‘Hack’ and ‘Yack.” In Gold, Matthew K. and Lauren Klein, ed. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016:

Nowviskie, Bethany. “Ten Rules for Humanities Scholars New to Project Management.” Author’s website. November 2011:

Posner, Miriam. “How Did They Make That? Reverse Engineering Digital Projects.” Video, April 17, 2014:

Siemens, Lynne. “Project Management.” In Davis, Rebecca Frost, et al., ed. Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities. MLA Commons: Concepts, Models, and Experiments:


  • Readings and class participation in discussions ………… approx. 20%
  • Written project proposal, in assigned stages ………….… approx. 40%
  • Final presentation at showcase event, either as an oral slide “pitch”                                                          or as a digital poster ……………………………… approx. 40%



17  Narrative/Artist’s statement; includes research questions addressed/explored, key themes, goals, method, platform(s) and tool(s), basic architecture, field scan/comparable projects, outcomes/deliverables (including projected use cases). DRAFT due for discussion this week. Complete narrative due next week.
24  Narrative due, complete if not finished, along with work plan/schedule.
7  Budget + plan for hosting, sustainability, assessment.
14  Appendices: supporting media, digital assets of various kinds (image, sound, graphs, tables, maps, etc.), wireframes of objects and screenshots, mockups of objects and user experiences; some due this week, more next week.
21 Reading day (Jones available during office hours).
28 LAST CLASS; show & tell; complete written proposal due