Midterm Essay: Evaluate a Digital Project

Due: 2/7 by midnight. You will turn in a 4-5 page Word document on Canvas. Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font, double spacing, 1-inch margins. Your document can and should contain links. After you turn your paper in on Canvas, copy it to your Hastac blog, so that we can read each other’s work, reformatted as a blog post.

Assignment: You will pick one of the examples of digital activist web projects anywhere on our syllabus (or you can suggest another project), and you will write a 4-5 page evaluation of this project.

What is an evaluation of a website, and how do you write one? You will want to answer the following questions:

  • What is the content of the website?
  • Who are the authors, editors, and other collaborators? Who funded the project? (If it is unclear, note that as well.)
  • What does the project try to accomplish?
  • Who is the intended audience for this work: Teachers, researchers, or students of a certain academic discipline or a group of disciplines? The public?
  • How do you use the website? What are the paths that it encourages you to take through its content?
  • How easy or difficult is the website to use?
  • How easy to find is it using search engines? One measure of this: Does it “link out” well? Do other sites link to it?
  • How searchable are the contents of the website itself. For example: if the website contains scans of page images, are those scans searchable? Is the OCR “dirty” or “clean”? (Here is an example of dirty OCR.)
  • Is its encoding open access, for example, if it has XML-encoded texts within a digital archive?  If yes or no, what are the consequences of this?
  • *All of the prior questions are in service of this larger question, which should comprise a substantial portion of  your essay: What does this project contribute to the larger body of knowledge in its disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary field(s)?
    • To answer this question, you will need to do a little research to discover what other projects–either websites or articles–on this topic are published.

 

Sample Project Reviews: (note that these don’t precisely follow our assignment – the genre of the DH project review is a nebulous one)

 

Credits: This assignment was designed by Kirstyn Leuner. It borrows language from Brian Croxall and Geoffrey Rockwell.

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