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Digital Scholarship: Plan Your Project

Plan Your Digital Scholarship Project

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Digital scholarship is often a complex undertaking involving the work of multiple people, priorities, and technologies. Thinking through your goals and the details of your plan before getting started will help you identify the processes and products that are most important to you and your collaborators as you move forward.  

Digital Scholarship Planning Guide

Following are questions and strategies you might want to consider when planning your digital scholarship project. They are loosely organized into broad topics that typically come up with most digital scholarship work. These questions and strategies are available in a google doc that you can copy and use to record your own notes.


Research question or statement of scholarly purpose

  • Articulate a research question or scholarship statement
  • Use this question or statement to guide your planning. Refer to and update it often

Goals and vision

  • What do you hope to accomplish with this project?
  • What will the process look like?
  • What is your desired end result?
  • How does this work contribute to your department's, school's, campus's, and the UW's priorities and strategic directions?

Raw materials

  • What types of content or files will you primarily be working with? For example, is this an image-intensive project or a primarily text-based project? Are you recording oral histories or mapping GIS data?
  • Will you be using content you create, content others have created, or both?
  • How will you create or reuse metadata that describes your images, text, video, data, etc.? Who will be responsible for metadata work?
  • Most digital scholarship platforms and tools are not repositories for storing content. Where will you store your original files and data?


  • Who will be involved with your project? Undergraduate students? Graduate students? Other faculty? Community members?
  • How do you envision each of these roles participating, and how will all of you work together?
  • Are there other groups on campus that might be able to work with you, i.e., the Library, Community-Based Learning and Research, the Office of Research, etc.?
  • How will participants be credited and/or compensated for their contributions? If you are working with students, be sure to consider their rights when working on digital scholarship and open projects.

Open scholarship status

  • Will your project be fully open? Digital scholarship is typically open, as is public scholarship.
  • If you are using others' work in your project, are you comfortable analyzing the copyright questions this may raise, or do you know where to find out more?
  • If you are sharing your own work openly, are you prepared to add a Creative Commons license so others can reuse your work as well?
  • Will you need to confer with your project collaborators about their preferences about open scholarship?


  • Will student scholarship be involved with your project through a class or in other ways?
  • If yes, consult the Library's Open Student Work Guide for resources and the Library's Statement on Student Rights in Open Environments
  • Schedule and scaffold project-related assignments throughout the quarter for maximum student learning and meaningful engagement.
  • Walk through whatever technology tasks you are asking of students so you have a sense of the time, technical infrastructure, and skills students will need
  • Consider prioritizing process alongside product so there is room for experimentation

Outreach, public impact, and assessment

  • What audiences are you intending to reach?
  • How do you plan to publicize your project and engage with your intended publics?
  • What might the public impacts of your project be?
  • How will you analyze and document the impact of your and your collaborators' work?
  • How will you assess the process and results of your project?

Sustainability and preservation

  • When do you anticipate that a first iteration of your project will be available to the public?
  • Will you be working on your project beyond this first cycle?
  • What aspects of your project will evolve over time or encourage further research?
  • How will you continue to staff, fund, manage, and contribute to the ongoing vitality of your project after the initial roll-out?
  • Are there digital files you need to store and preserve? How will you do this?
  • How will you back up your overall project site?
  • How will your project be maintained, for how long, and who will maintain it?


  • Do you anticipate a need for outside funding for any aspects of your project?
  • How will you go about identifying potential funding sources, and how will you administer any outside funding? The Office of Research's Research Resources page and the Library's Grants & Funding Guide have ideas for finding funding.