MITH 498: Anatomy of DH Research

Winter Term 2018: Jan 2 – 22 (click here to enroll)
In-class meeting: Tuesdays / Thursdays 1 – 4:30 PM in 0301A Hornbake (MITH offices)
Online or Team Time: Mondays / Wednesdays unless indicated by *


Purdom Lindblad
Stephanie Sapienza
Ed Summers
Raff Viglianti

This course will frame and support collaboration on digital research with emphasis on introducing digital humanities workflows and research practices. The goal is to provide ‘small bites’ of each stage of digital work, from a survey of common theoretical and practical methodologies, to learning about project management, writing literature reviews and grant applications. By the end of the course, you will have the ability to scope, design, pitch, and participate in a digital project.

For students who are part of the DSAH or are seeking a MITH Internship, this course will provide a strong foundation from which to approach the practicum requirement.

Module 1: Survey of common DH Methodologies

Tuesday January 2 (in-class meeting)
*Wednesday January 3 is an in-class meeting

This module will introduce common methodologies in the Digital Humanities, such as archives, text encoding, and spatial humanities. We will survey theoretical papers, practical examples, and common critiques to DH.

Module 2: Project Management Part I (DH Workflows)

Thursday, January 4 (in-class meeting)
Monday, January 8 (online/team time)
Tuesday, January 9 (in-class meeting)

This module will introduce the fundamentals of digital project management and establishing your project’s workflow, and methods for collaboration. We will discuss how to structure your project data, create a team charter, and use selected project management tools. Project proposals resulting from work in this module will articulate the purpose and approach of your project, while the team charter states how things such as shared credit will work across the project’s lifecycle.

Module 3: Project Management Part II (Version Control)

Wednesday, January 10 (online/team time)

Digital work relies on collaboration and version control. Version control enables you to keep track of your many revisions, the various contributions to the project by team members, and repair mistakes. This module will introduce Git and GitHub as well as best practices for collaborating on a shared digital project.

Module 4: Writing DH Literature Reviews and Environmental Scans

Thursday, January 11 (in-class meeting)

DH research typically incorporates or creates digital resources; how should those be discussed and integrated into literature reviews for academic writing? In this module we will look at relevant examples, including journals focusing on the review of digital resources such as Scholarly Editing and American Quarterly. You will also work on your own DH literature review for your final project.

Module 5: Prototyping + Assessment

Tuesday, January 16 (in-class meeting)
Wednesday, January 17 (online/team time)

One challenge working with digital approaches is to anticipate the look and feel of the finished project. We will draw from design concepts and practices to produce many possible versions of a digital project, exposing the constraints and opportunities of each version. In this module, your team will produce paper and digital prototypes.

Module 6: Grants, Budgeting, Professional & Social Networking

Thursday,  January 18 (in-class meeting)
*Monday January 22 is an in-class meeting, presentations

In this module we’ll discuss how to talk about and persuade others to buy into your project by workshopping a quick elevator pitch, a conference presentation, and a grant proposal. We will cover how to think through the financial aspects of your project and create a project budget. Finally, we will discuss the social and political aspects of working within digital humanities communities of practice. We will cover alternative academic careers, building social networks, and modes of research.