I was very pleased to learn the different functionalities of a digital project, the forms it can take, and the purpose it serves.
During one of the seminars for my digital humanities course, I discovered that digital projects all come with a set of general steps “to follow” before and after their implementation. This means that goals needs to be set, methodologies must be determined, and resources engaged in them. There is usually a team working on one project, a process that observes the changes over time, as well as media (often visual) employed in it. The two main characteristics of such a project are the interdisciplinarity and the generative aspect of it. The first, means that it resorts to more than one discipline/ field of study in order to achieve its goal (for example, computing and literature, or history and data science), while the latter suggests that the aim of the project is trial before success, and that learning by doing and failure are two recurrent occurrences in the process.
The projects, then, differ in their form and purpose. Some of them use the online platform as their main mean of interaction with the user, whereas others mostly use the online medium to disseminate the information regarding the offline events and for networking purposes. The projects can be person-based, they can follow various historical periods in different locations (the routes of the envelopes of great philosophers of the Renaissance, http://republicofletters.stanford.edu/), or they can simply focus on one moment in time and space to recreate it online (e.g. the World’s Fair in Italy that took place in 1911, http://www.italyworldsfairs.org/). Last, but not least, the projects’ content may be front-ended or back-ended, which requires a different type of engagement of the user with the material. In the first case, the user is not concerned with studying all the data and drawing conclusions (as in the second case), but rather he or she is given the results (sometimes displayed in an interactive form) of a long-term research conducted by the digital project team.