How to create a digital project? (the articles edition)

Projects have been key to most people’s lives, whether in personal experiences, at work, or during school. But, how do we understand digital projects? It may seem rather simple, and in some ways it is simple, but they are very complex machines. Here are the key factors to take into consideration if you wish to start a digital history project.


The Field Guide to Human-Centered Designs by Ideo.org

This kit is designed for you to turn objects into human-centered ones, but what does this mean? It is both a combination in believing that all problems are solvable and in emphasizing closely working with communities. By doing this, you will build relationships, connections, and empathy with your communities, which can be highly valuable in the development and standing of your digital projects. This is important to consider at the beginning of establishing your digital project as it can impact how your end product will look like.

The process is split into three categories and each emphasizes what you need to bring in the digital project building process:


Omeka and its Peers by Scheinfeldt

One of the many questions we may ask is what format should our digital project take? For some, Omeka is the answer, and it is a very neutral website that allows for users to create community service-based digital projects. It is very popular, as well, amongst preservationists and scholars because it offers open source, low price tag, and vast abilities to create archives, storage spaces, exhibits, and much more:

This is definitely not the only means of formatting a digital project, however (i.e. WordPress, YouTube, Tiktok, Wix.com).

A Short Guide to Digital Humanities

If you can only read one short document on how to create digital projects, then this guide is the best option out of these all. It is an excellent source that breaks digital projects as a basic idea, details the importance of working with not just communities but institutions as well, how to evaluate digital scholarship to work for your project, and breaks down some of the processes and methods of digital projects. However, the most important here is discussing advocacy and asking if your digital project is relevant?

“Among its other activities, digital scholarship asserts the possibility of charged relations between consumers and producers of cultural work”

page 15 in “A Short Guide to Digital Humanities”

Done: Finishing Projects in the Digital Humanities by Kirschenbaum

We’ve all come to a point in our projects, laid down our pens or closed our laptops, and gave an exasperated sigh to say “DONE!” But, hold on– are you actually done? Kirschenbaum discusses how you know when the project is finished by detailing various scholars and their endings to their projects. Some found their finale not in an epic battle, but in knowing:

  1. The preservation of the digital project after the work is done?
  2. Knowing there is a processional and financial necessity?
  3. Went to press?

For digital projects, we cannot just close our laptops, but we must continue our work to ensure it lasts beyond the high of creating it.

NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

These grants are built to support digital humanities projects as detailed above and can be research, studies, enhancement, or a design. These grants are split into three levels of financial aid that depend how much the projects need. The need here is either to fund the continuation of the project or sometimes in the permanent establishment of the project somewhere.


In class, we will be looking at two sample grant applications supplied by the NEH for their Digital Humanities Advancement Grants to dissect why these projects are examples of “good” digital projects.

The first is on the mapping project through the University of Georgia Research Foundation and the other is on open accessibility to manuscript collections through St. John’s University. It should be noted that these grants are for projects that already began before they applied for these grants.

Some of the questions to consider for this will be:

  1. Look at the list of people under each project’s teams. What do these lists reveal about the human state of digital projects and of Digital Humanities?
  2. What does each project add to digital history and to traditional history?
  3. How do the teams envision the project continuing to sustain itself?
  4. How would you apply this to public history?

Get to Know Jane Seibert

When people hear that I’ve lived in five different states and another country, they may assume I’m part of the military or that my family is, but that was never the case for myself or my family. My father would tell me that it was because we had “wonderlust” in our veins– we could never stay put in one location for too long. After all, the world is vast and there is just so much to see and learn and do.

I begin with this part of my story because it has shaped who I am and has given me a vastly diverse background in my interests. From the highlands of Scotland to the deserts of New Mexico to Yellowstone National Park to the foundations of U.S. History in Jamestown, Virginia (and much more), I’ve had a taste of this “wonderlust” and it has lead me to Washington D.C. Throughout the various locations I’ve lived in, I became fascinated with the local history and how it transformed and reshaped how I had understood history. Because of this, my current obsessions lay in Native American Studies, Women’s Studies, twentieth-century history, art history, environmental history, and material culture.

As a first year Public History Master’s student at American University, I’ve sought to hone in on my background, be able to work on a variety of public history skills, and experiment with ideas and thoughts. I feel like a mad chemist at times with how wild my combinations are at times, but D.C. is my playground.

I have been fortunate enough to land internships and volunteer experiences in these places I’ve been and I have developed some digital skills because of these experiences. I’ve worked with social media for several organizations and helped create digital databases and archives, but that has been the extent of my digital skills. One of my biggest goals for this class is learn how to combine these skills into a historical space.

In this class, I want to focus on building on my digital history skills and learn how I can use them in the future in the public history field. I truly believe that in a post-pandemic world, the digital landscape will become a highly desired platform to tell stories, but even more so how we can combine them in the physical spaces of the public history world. There are just endless possibilities to how the digital world can intersect with the public history and I want to understand how I can combine the two successfully for my future endeavors. So, I’m approaching this class in a general form to build these skills.