Project Requirements

Each student in the certificate program will develop a project that involves some kind of substantive design or implementation component. This project should use digital methods to address a significant research question in the student’s field of study, and should result in both a practical component and a written reflection. The practical component could take many different forms, including but not limited to:

  • A data set or digital collection (with or without an interface)
  • A prototype or wireframe
  • A program or set of scripts or processes for accomplishing or furthering some research activity
  • A game or interactive narrative
  • A schema or specification for a data set
  • A set of data analyses and/or visualizations.

Whatever the format, the project should constitute a meaningful experiment, prototype, or component that contributes to some scholarly research objective. The final project may also be an element of a larger project such as a PhD dissertation.

Projects will be approved by the DH Certificate committee. Students should prepare three components:

  • A project “artifact,” as described above. The artifact may be submitted (depending on format) by sharing a link with the committee, or by providing a copy of the artifact via an appropriate medium (such as USB drive, Dropbox, GitHub, or email attachment). The committee will review the artifact in its original format, not via printout or other indirect means. The artifact should include whatever instructions are necessary to use, interact with, or examine it for purposes of assessment.
  • A written project description. This should be a document of approximately 2,000 words to include: a description of the project itself; an account and justification of the methods, tools, data, standards, and other details of implementation; and a bibliography (including references to any tools and standards used).
  • A project presentation to the NULab community of approximately 15 minutes, followed by about 15 minutes of questions. Presentations should demonstrate the project, explain its methods and rationale, and situate the contribution of the project within a broader field. Presentations will generally be scheduled for early April; students may also count presentations that are not part of the formally scheduled sessions, provided that those presentations are at least 15 minutes long and have at least 2 NULab faculty members in attendance.

Example Projects

Angelenos Incarcerated: The LA County Jail Oral History Project

Joanne DeCaro, Spring 2017

Project Description: The LA County Jail Oral History Project aims to document the conditions, culture and recent history of the LA County jail system through the oral histories of former and current inmates. The  project wishes to create an opportunity to grant an authoritative voice to the literally disenfranchised minority of the former and current local inmate population in Los Angeles County. Five oral histories have been gathered from those who were incarcerated in one of the LA County jails from the 1980’s to present day. The project’s long-term goal is to collect 80 to 100 oral histories to form a representative sample of former and current inmates, taking into account factors such as race, gender, and sexual orientation.

The underlying philosophical goals of the project are to provide an opportunity for inmates and former inmates to create authoritative narratives of their experiences in the LA County jail system in a manner that supports inmates regaining and reimagining ownership of their life stories surrounding incarceration, and to foster dialogue and understanding with the inmate community and the general public.

View the full project here.

The Digital Atlas of Southern Memory

Caroline Klibanoff, Spring 2018

Project Description: In an era of fervent memorialization and contentious debates about who and what should be commemorated in the public sphere, the conversation has largely been limited to physical monuments such as statues, plaques and landmarks. These structures advance narrow cultural narratives about the past, require significant capital to establish, and allow for no interaction or annotation by the public. As a result, there is little opportunity for most Americans to participate in what gets remembered – and yet the hunger is there, visible in heated debates, defaced statues and renamed spaces cropping up in communities across the nation.

With a theoretical underpinning in collected memory studies and public history, the Digital Atlas of Southern Memory (DASM) presents a prototype for a platform that can enable broader participation in the commemoration process. It aims to be an engine for doing what public history, at its best, should do: meet modern, digital audiences where they are; help them connect with their own history, and awaken a curiosity – and usually, an opinion – about what they hope will be remembered.

View the full project here.