I commented on Fitzpatrick’s book as we’d already read it carefully! I have to say that I enjoyed the ability to take my scribbled marginalia and actually ask the authour something… delightful! I did worry that my questions were inane (maybe I’m not the planned audience, I should be more versed in the issues, etc.), but throughout our weekly readings, I was very concerned that the issues of value and product and market were being danced around. Where does humanities think it’s going in such a hurry? Again, it was great to ask the authour about it and maybe she’ll reply or folks will think about how to address those questions as they do their own future writing. It did seem community geared and maybe even productive.
My Guidelines for Evaluating Digital History Scholarship I draw from reading William Thomas, the Sherman Dorn section of “Part 1: Re-Visioning Historical Writing,” Writing History in the Digital Age, and thinking I did about parallelising the digital history with public while reading the Working Group on Evaluating Public History Scholarship Report and White Paper. They’re pretty rough, but here’s a selection of thoughts on the matter (the idea is to follow guidelines for assigning credit for tenure or otherwise):
1) Identify the type of project: does it parallel the argument form, archival work, or tool building? Judge its worth based on comparable principles; furthermore ascertain whether or not creating a digital work is justified: does it have more utility, value, or dimension in the digital medium than it would in another. Or, in the case of an online exhibit, meet preservation concerns for material culture?
2) Identify any component projects. Did the researcher have to do substantial digital archival work, for example, before preparing a digital work? programming? etc.? How much more time and resources did this use? (this for assigning more credit; especially if the baseline work is reusable by other researchers)
3) For an online argument, I would ask, broadly, whether or not it conveyed its argument in a legible manner (this concern comes from our readings where a new mode, like using hypertext. sometimes seemed to breach our conventions of reading a little too jarringly). For an archive or tool, whether it conveyed up front its order, purpose, reasoning, and options to alter or reuse in new ways.
I look forward to seeing the other students’ answers to this question.