The first day of class was an overview of the course and the expectations for the week. We made our introductions and discussed some of the aspects of digitization we would cover in the class. One of the instructors, Michael Nixon, discussed how digital objects such as photographs are representations of the real world, however they also leave out a lot of information. For example, a digital image of a garden does not include the smell of flowers, the photo might not indicate location or direction, or time of day. This extra information or metadata is important for considering the digital image as a more complete representation of what it’s attempting to capture. In addition to this, there is also the question of how photographs are displayed digitally. Not only is the photographer making decisions that effect the final image, but the computer is also processing information and interpreting the data within the image file in order to show a visual object on the screen.
Digital Humanities projects need to have a set of goals in order to be successful. Besides the project data itself, there are also other aspects to consider, such as storage formats, backups, and data migration. At each of these points of contact and transference, data can be corrupted or lost, and it’s important to have a set strategy that all members of the DH project are aware of and follow. Developing a set of best practices for DH projects at the outset can help team members feel more certain about their actions. There are many aspects of a DH project, from the initial idea and grant writing, to the digitization of materials and their transcription, hosting, and archival storage. Measuring development by milestones and using sitemaps and wireframes for communication can help all members of the team stay on track and feel positive about their contribution to the project.