Session Idea: Desiderata for a Guide to Digital Service Vendors to Small Public Humanities Sites

As Christa noted in an earlier Session Idea, last year at THATCamp Philly there was a session on how one might set up a Digital Humanities Center for the Greater Delaware Valley. Among the possibilities that were discussed at that session was that digital humanists with particular skills might pool their talents as consultants to local public humanities sites that otherwise would not be able to do digital work, either from unfamiliarity with what is possible, lack of technical skills, or lack of time to undertake digital work.

That aspiration is admirable, but perhaps hard to achieve with the varied affiliations and responsibilities of campers at THATCamp. So I wish to propose a more modest aid to the small public humanities site community: a list of technical service vendors (soup-to-nuts website design firms, audio guide developers, database designers, digital photographers) with whom they might work to increase their familiarity with digital media and develop grant applications to support digital projects. The site would link to service providers and link to representative projects to illustrate their work. Ideally, such a list would make it easier for small sites to find technically skilled partners and also expand their imagination of what is possible in the digital realm.

I propose this as a separate session idea, but it could also be considered as part of the renewal of the Regional Digital Humanities Center idea that Christa proposed.

Session Proposal: Evaluating Digital Humanities Projects

How can we evaluate digital humanities projects? Funders often require some sort of evaluation, and as practitioners we want to know that we are accomplishing our project goals. Yet there are no clear measures for evaluation. Digital humanities projects don’t go through the same sort of peer review as traditional print scholarship. Evaluation is important for academic scholars wishing to build credibility for digital humanities projects within an academic portfolio and for public historians and others who wish to learn how to most effectively reach target audiences. How can we design and build effective tools for evaluation into our projects so that we can measure their scholarship, their accessibility, their impact, and more.