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DMDH 2014: Workshop 5: Project Ideation and Development
April 5, 2014
Big Project, Small Project:
Steps in Ideation and Development
Multimodal Scholarship: scholarship
that takes place in more than one
medium (mode), and addresses subjects
which it argues cannot be accurately
conveyed in a single mode.
(strenuously resists being defined!)
(see slides from Workshop #1)
Alt. def.: using computers to do things
which would be difficult for scholars to
do, which allows scholars to do things
that computers can’t do.
"If We (Profs) Can Be Replaced by a Computer Screen,We Should Be!”
Digital Humanities: using digital tools to produce
Multimodal scholarship: using tools to display and
disseminate traditional scholarship
What is the difference
(“produce” vs. “display and disseminate”?)
Why does the
digital humanities and
• Individuals and bodies whom you
encounter or work with may have opposing
perspectives on the definitions.
• Whether you present your project as DH
or as multimodal scholarship may be
significant in terms of funding.
• You may want to adapt a fluid self-
presentation that allows you to cast
yourself as either, depending on the
What are the components of
the objects you work with?
• Book: words, pages, author(s), editor(s), publisher(s),
reader(s), physical edition(s), digital editions, reader
• Performance: sound/video file, performer, venue,
Ultimately, you define
what form your project
• an objective (a goal or a question)
• benefit (for you? for others?)
• concrete outcome
ideas is more about
How else might I find
Almost anything you care about
can become a project, if you
commit to it.
Ideation Questions (Round Two):
• Are there any existing projects that do anything
similar to what you want to do?
• What is the legal status of the material that you
• What kind of access do you have to these
• What would be the smallest version of this project
possible? (i.e., proof of concept)
Ideation Questions (Round Three):
What will it take to make this happen?
• What skills are involved?
• What are my real strengths, and where
might it be better to collaborate with
• Who will you need to work with?
• How long do you anticipate this project
Ideation Questions (Round Four):
Publishing your practice
• Could you produce your project in a more
traditional format for your discipline? (e.g., an
essay?) How would your project provide different
coverage than a traditional argument?
• How does your planned project intersect with
what other people are doing?
• How can I share my process? To what extent and
for what reasons do I want to do so?
• What makes this a DH -- or multimodal -- project?
How does your understanding
of your work differ from the
way that others understand it?
The life of your project
is in the way that
(other) people use it.
In digital humanities, you may need
to build your audience before you
build your project.
The scope of graduate student labor is ill-
defined. You will need to define what is
required, and articulate that to others.
How does my project fit
into my graduate program?
Balancing a DH project with a
graduate degree program
•Consider how and whether you
want to position your project
within the boundaries dictated
by your program and its degree
Balancing a DH project with a
graduate degree program
•Identify the people who are overseeing and
evaluating the work you do on your project.
•Meet with those people to discuss the
practical aspects of your project’s running
(adapted from AmandaVisconti’s “Five Tips For Getting Started On A Digital Humanities Dissertation”)
• creating and maintaining a schedule
• knowing your own skills
• being aware of and making use of resources
• having a realistic conception of all of the
• Develop granular goals.
• Make your schedule for increments of time
that work for you.
• Assess how well the schedule is working,
and adapt it as needed.
• What types of work do you have the most
• What types of work do you find
• What aspects of collaboration do you
embrace? What aspects do you struggle
BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR ABILITIES.
Investigate available resources
•UW Libraries Digital Initiatives
•The Simpson Center
•UW Information Technology (UW-IT)
Asking is the key to
developing a cohort.
Your project may be more
transferable than your
Where else can I ask?
Be mindful of the return on investment
(ROI) for each activity.
Why would you want a project,
given how much work it is?
When managed mindfully, a
DH project can provide a
sense of agency that
complements and enhances
traditional academic work.
Try integrating DH in the
Have students create one of the
Stay tuned for our next workshop!
Saturday,April 12th, 9:30a.m.-1:00p.m.
Available Tools: Free, Cheap, and Premium
• Finding tools, and deciding when they’re worth buying.
Thanks to our sponsors!