Planning and Managing Your Digital Project

Access your project description in the Google Drive folder with project description documents.

Use this document to share notes that can be useful as you move forward collaborating with your project mentor and Vivero co-leads.

What is this project? (10 minutes)


Miriam Posner’s “How did they make that?” blog post is a useful starting place for thinking through how you get from a project idea to a finished digital project. In the blog post, she outlines project stages for creating the following types of digital projects:

  • A gallery of primary sources
  • A digital scholarly edition
  • A mapping project
  • A network visualization
  • Computer-aided text analysis
  • A historical 3D model
  • A longform, media-rich narrative
  • Other

What kind of project is this currently?

If the project does not have a final form, what kind of form (or multiple forms) could the project take?

What are the pros/cons, possibilities, limitations, etc. of different project forms?

Document your thoughts, notes, and questions.

What is this project doing? (15 minutes)

Adapted from Miriam Posner:

  • What type of data? Where is it, and what condition is it in?
  • What are the research questions, or research topics?
  • What types of technology will be needed, or what types of technology could be useful?
  • Who is the audience for this project?
  • What do you find interesting about this project?
  • What questions do you have about this project?
  • What are the researcher’s goals for this project?
  • What are your goals for this project?

How would you answer these questions for the project you will be working on?

What questions are you not able to answer (or are not able to answer alone)?

What other questions do you have?

Document your thoughts, notes, and questions.

What technology might be useful (and where can I go to learn more)? (15 minutes)

List possible programs, tools, software, etc.

What are you already familiar with?

What seems like the best fit?

What information will help you decide how to move forward?

How can you learn more about possible tools and whether they will be a good fit for this project?

Identify two specific technology applications you want to learn more about. It could be something we introduced this week in bootcamp, or something else you find.

Gather links, documentation, or tutorials for those applications. Identify a concrete step you want to take next to learn more about the program.

What would help you decide if this program is a good fit for your project?

Document your thoughts, notes, and questions.

The Digital Resource Tools website (DiRT) is a resource that lets you search for available digital tools based on what type of data you are analyzing, as well as what digital approach or methodology you want to employ.

The Programming Historian website offers a wide range of tutorials for learning more about the digital tools historians use, as well as how they use them for historical research.

Miriam Posner also has an online “Highly Opinionated Resource Guide” that provides a detailed overview of tools, tutorials, and digital projects.

The internet provides access to a wide range of tutorials, programs, and troubleshooting guides, but figuring out what you are looking for and how best to find it can be overwhelming and challenging. The University of Victoria has created an introduction to Reading Technical Documentation that can help you figure out how to best ask and answer a technical question.

Northwestern University’s Knight Lab is a digital scholarship center that has developed a range of digital projects that can help you to create interactive data visualizations like timelines and maps with minimal technical knowledge or back-end coding.

Learn more about the resources and tools available for building:

How do I collaborative effectively? (10 minutes)

Successfully finishing your digital project will require effective project management and collaboration. The simple answer is you should find a project management approach that works for your group and your project. But, establishing clear lines of communication and expectations for how the group will function can facilitate positive and meaningful collaboration.

Some questions that can help clarify expectations for your work and collaboration on the project (adapted from Miriam Posner:

  • How will we communicate (email, Slack, etc.)?
  • Where will we store files (OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.)?
  • Will we meet in person? How often will we meet? Where will we meet? Who will schedule meetings?
  • What other kind of project updates are needed?
  • What is our plan if we need to reach out to other campus resources (Libraries, DLAC, etc.)? Who will arrange those conversations?
  • How will decisions be made for the project? How much does the faculty member want or expect to be involved in aspects of the project?
  • What are our personal preferences and past experiences about what makes an effective, positive collaboration? How will we address issues if those expectations are not being met?

Document your thoughts, notes, and questions.

Consult with your mentor, and be willing to revise if needed. The Development for the Digital Humanities website provides additional information for designing a project and working as a team.

Vivero co-leads are available for additional feedback and support.

Large Group Share-Outs (3 minutes per person)

Report back with a summary of your next steps. Have a question or thought to share with the larger group that we can brainstorm or problem solve together.

  • As of right now, where do you see the project going?
  • As of right now, what will you be learning more about for the project?
  • A question for the group, or something we could brainstorm or work on together?