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Introduction to Digital Scholarship and Digital Projects

This module offers an introduction to what digital scholarship and digital projects look like across the social sciences.


  1. Increased understanding of the digital work happening across the social sciences.
  2. Increased understanding of how the internet works.
  3. Knowledge of the basics of scanning a digital project.


Questions to Consider

  • Does the Ithaka S+R state of faculty survey, relative to digital research and analysis, ring true to your own experience?
  • How does Spiro flesh out current trends in digital scholarship across social science fields?
  • Thinking about the Watrall and Cantwell and Rashid pieces, is there room in the social sciences for digital methodologies to bridge disciplinary boundaries, or do they reinforce them?
  • In what ways is it useful for a field to define categories of digital work, such as in Thomas’s piece? How does this help or hinder work or the reviews of this work?
  • Cohen and Rosenzweig discuss some of the pros and cons of doing digital work. Do these characteristics apply to the work currently being done in your field?


Have a project in mind? Use the Project Planning section to think concretely about the lessons learned here and throughout the modules.

Project Lens

We will periodically ask that you look at and ask questions of existing digital projects to get you more comfortable with “reading” them, much like you’ve been trained to skim a book or journal article.

Today, look at Old Weather, https://www.oldweather.org/index.html.

  • What is the purpose of this project? What are the goals? Who created this project and who is it for? How do you find out? (Hint)

Now that you have scanned Old Weather, take a look at the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, http://www.slavevoyages.org/, and answer the same questions.

Updated on August 1, 2018

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