3 Capstone Exercise

We do not have much time to build entirely from scratch. Therefore, since replicability and reproducibility are virtues in digital history we will cap the work in this course in one of two ways. Your final project is to craft or extend a work of digital history. That is:

  • You will demonstrate via your project, satisfactory competence and understanding of the five modules in this course

3.1 Option One- craft a new work of digital history

Use the data and your results from the module exercises in the workbook concerning the 14th Canadian General Hospital War Diaries. Identify and tell the compelling story you have found. Host this work on your own domain space. Your data and methods should be fully documented such that someone else could undertake the analysis for themselves.

The actual form of the project is up to you: but the key element is that the form you select should follow the function. Some kinds of analyses are better suited to the visual stylings of an infographic; others would be best explicated using a kind of long-form mixture of text and visuals; still others might be best represented for instance via an interactive map. You might find inspiration here.

3.2 Option Two- extend an existing work of digital history

Here are two previous projects completed in previous (longer) versions of this course. Study the author’s work, identify weak points (both in terms of the digital, and the historiographic), fork the source and then identify and ‘fix’ the weaknesses as best as you are able. Include a ‘coda’ to your version explaining the weaknesses in the original, and how you addressed them, and what other data or techniques you pulled in, and what someone in the future might choose to extend themselves.

This project was the result of a 16 week introduction to DH course at UCLA led by Miriam Posner. Extend one of the experiments in a new way using what you have learned in the previous modules in our course.

3.3 Reminder

The capstone exercise will have two parts:

  • the first part is from the options chosen above

  • the second part is a short 500 word post (or video, or other digital form where ‘500 words’ gives you an indication of relative effort involved) that reflects on your growth as a historian over the term with reference to the analysis in part one. Identify your greatest weakness and greatest strength that you have discovered as a result of taking this course.

You will share the work you have done for the capstone exercise and all ancillary files by keeping them in a repository in your github space; the final project may be mounted in your own domain (if appropriate). You will submit your final work to me by sending me the URL via an email with ‘Capstone Exercise HIST3814o - submitted’ as the subject.

3.4 Length

In this context, to speak of ‘length’ makes no sense. Page numbers and word counts do not scholarship make. In years past, students have submitted everything from long form graphically enhanced essays, to interactive maps, to videos, to posters. To know if you’re ‘done’, ask yourself:

  • Have I stated my key questions/provocations well? or, Have I identified the relative strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are my arguments grounded in appropriate secondary literature?
  • Have I described my methods well enough that someone else could reproduce them?
  • Have I explored the nature of my data/capta and thought through the implications?
  • Does my argument hang together?
  • Do my visuals support/enhance my argument/story?
  • Do I have all my sources (including data & code) cited? Use Harvard author:date style.
  • Have I documented the paradata?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to all the relevant questions, then you are done.

Remember: your project work is public.* Design & write accordingly.

*unless you have privacy concerns. In which case, you simply have to tell me that you have concerns. I do not need to know what they are. If you wish for your work to be private, we will make it so.