by Miriam Posner, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Digital Scholarship Commons
Here at the Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC), we're charged with helping to shepherd digital projects from idea to reality. One of our first digital projects is the Georgia Lynching Project (GLP), the brainchild of sociology professor Roberto Franzosi. The GLP will make accessible an extraordinary collection of data about lynchings in Georgia from 1875 to 1930.
A digital scholarship project is an unsual animal, because it requires new kinds of collaboration. Humanists generally work alone, and technologists generally work with other technologists. So how do we make sure everyone's talking to one another and the project is moving on track?
Meetings, of course! Lots of meetings! As project manager for the Georgia Lynching Project, I'm anxious to ensure that everyone feels heard, that we all have realistic expectations, and that we're all on the same page about what the project should look like. That means having those discussions early and being explicit right from the beginning.
Our first meeting was really a meta-meeting. We got to know each other and hammered our a project charter, which is a document that lays out ground rules for how we'll work with each other over the course of the project. We based ours on the invaluable "Iterative Design for a Project Charter for Interdisciplinary Research."
One of the first things we had to figure out was what we'd all do. Here's how that worked out:
Franky Abbott: Scholarly Contributor
Contributes to the discussion about how the resource is organized, presented, and contextualized.
Erica Bruchko: Librarian Consultant
Advises on copyright, metadata, usability, and searchability. Advises on southern history.
Sari Connard: Lead Developer
Works to implement technical aspects of the project.
Roberto Franzosi: Project Initiator
Stays involved in the development process, lends scholarly vision to project.
Miriam Posner: Project Manager
Arranges meetings, ensures good communication and adherence to timelines, keeps track of progress, removes roadblocks
Ben Ranker: Senior Software Engineer
Helps to build and implement the software
Scott Turnbull: Manager, Software Engineering Team
Helps identify the technical scope of the project. Helps form high-level technical strategy for implementing the project. Work with the software engineers to ensure on-time and in-scope delivery. Addresses technical roadblocks.
Roger Whitson: Digital Humanities Consultant
Helps conceptualize possibilities for the resource. Brainstormer!
We also talked about how we wanted to communicate with each other (a private WordPress blog), whether it's OK for individual team members to present on the research (it is!), and how often we wanted to meet (once a week).
The next step was the fun part: brainstorming our feature list! More on that to come!
If you're interested in working with DiSC on a digital scholarship project, let us know! You can reach us at email@example.com.
Want to learn more about collaboration on a digital scholarship project? Here are some of my favorite resources:
Kirschenbaum, Matthew G., Bethany Nowviskie, Tom Scheinfeldt, and Doug Reside. “Collaborators’ Bill of Rights." Maryland Institute for Technology and the Humanities, January 22, 2011.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “Done: Finishing Projects in the Digital Humanities.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly 3, no. 2 (Spring 2009).
Ruecker, Stan, and Milena Radzikowska. “The Iterative Design of a Project Charter for Interdisciplinary Research.” In Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Designing interactive systems - DIS ’08, 288-294. Cape Town, South Africa, 2008.
Siemens, Lynne. “‘It’s a Team If You Use “Reply All” ’: An Exploration of Research Teams in Digital Humanities Environments.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 24, no. 2 (June 1, 2009): 225 -233.
Warwick, Claire, Isabel Galina, Melissa Terras, Paul Huntington, and Nikoleta Pappa. “The Master Builders: LAIRAH Research on Good Practice in the Construction of Digital Humanities Projects.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 23, no. 3 (2008): 383 -396.
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