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Proposal


Prospectus (for proposal) Due: October 31
Oral Presentations: November 28 and December 5
Project Proposal Due: December 12

The final project for this course is to write a proposal for a digital history project.

The project can encompass any of the different themes and/or contexts of historical presentation that we have discussed in the course, e.g., an archive, an electronic scholarly essay, a textual edition, a GIS or data mining project, an exhibit, a teaching resource, or a discussion area.

Proposals must contain the features listed below, although you can organize your presentation in whatever format you prefer. The answers you provide you should be more than cursory; you should be writing at least 3,000 words of prose in most cases. Make a convincing case for why your proposal makes sense and why, for example, an organization or funder might support it.

  1. An explanation of the scope of the project and the genre of project you are proposing. This would include a discussion of the project’s content (what kinds of things are you going to include) as well as its audience(s) (who is the project for and how are you going to reach that audience).
  2. An overall map (visual or prose or both) of the project’s structure and how people will navigate it.
  3. A rationale for why a digital format makes sense rather than some traditional format.
  4. A review and analysis of sites/projects that are similar in content and genre and how your project builds upon or improves upon what has already been done. (This will likely be the longest section of your proposal.)
  5. A concrete discussion of the work and technical plan for producing the project, e.g., what will be required (financially, work, time) to complete the project? what kinds of software tools will you use? Will it use a database? You should base this section of the proposal, in part, on examining closely a project that you see as a model (even a partial model) for what you want to do. Try to carefully examine the architecture and design of that project to figure out what is involved. You should interview (phone or email) one of the creators of that site (or another related one) to find out what steps they took and what barriers they encountered—how did they accomplish their project? (Chapters 2, 3, and 5 of Doing Digital History should also be useful.)
  1. A well-designed home page for the project.

    Groups of two or three people can propose to work together on these projects. If so, you should be aware of the following caveats. The expectation in terms of scale and quality of work increases directly with the number of people involved. Projects done by two people should naturally be twice as large and/or well developed as those done by one person. Groups will need to accept that all members of the group will receive the same grade for the project, unless you can come up with an alternative arrangement to which we can all agree.

    Oral Presentation: On November 28 or December 5, you will make a 10-15 minute presentation of your proposal. You should try to “sell” your idea and the rest of the class should serve as a friendly but skeptical review board.