In this case study, Gil gives a short description of the design philosophies behind Ed, a system for producing online digital editions. These design philosophies focus on the concept of minimal computing, which includes a holistic analysis of overall system costs in creating and, as importantly, maintaining online resources. The minimal computing approach analyzes these overall costs in the context of historical and current global inequalities in access to resources, including technologies, and suggests a way forward that increases local control while decreasing long-term maintenance costs.
Más Tecnologia, Más Cambio?: Investigating an Educational Technology Project in Rural Peru / Emeline Therias, Jon Bird, Paul Marshall
Excellent analysis of use of educational technology in rural Peru, questioning many basic assumptions of programs based on simple hardware distribution rather than addressing social settings and context. Useful for considering digital archival projects where community partners are in areas with little hardware and network service. Also provides analysis of factors leading to success, again providing guidance for community archives projects where there may be participants with a variety of hardware and network access.
Diversifying the Digital Historical Record
The Diversifying the Digital Historical Record website has essential coverage of a series of national forums, led by co-PIs Michelle Caswell and Bergis Jules, “focusing on community archives integration in a national digital platform and the potential impact for representation of diverse communities in our digital cultural heritage.” See also the publications and final report with important conclusions, particularly for software development, including for example that “Rather than create a central digital repository for community archival materials, community archives practitioners instead express a need for a structured online space to create a network, share resources and best practices, and leverage each other’s expertise.”
User Participation and Democracy: A Discussion of Scandinavian Research on System Development / Gro Bjerknes and Tone Bratteteig
Excellent introduction to the history of and philosophical underpinnings of Scandinavian participatory design, a foundational movement for current participatory design, values in design, and critical technical practice movements. Notable for emphasizing the political nature of the practice of participatory design, in that in its beginnings it was seen as a method for democratizing the workplace. This article, written in 1995, suggests that a move towards ethics de-emphasizes the political aims of earlier participatory design projects, and that political (i.e. social justice) aims should be re-introduced. An excellent reading that will expose systems designers to the long history of participatory and user-centered design that would be well-paired with more recent readings that incorporate additional intersectional analyses, allowing system designers to contrast the Scandinavian emphasis on a class analysis (through a focus on the democratic rights of workers) with later work incorporating race, gender, and disability.
CWRC Ontology Specification – 0.99.6
The CWRC Ontology Specification (at version 0.99.6 as of this posting) is an excellent example of a thoughtful technical specification showing the process of both creating methods for standardizing data while grappling with the difficult process of distilling human experience into data definitions. The intellectual context included in the robust documentation would be helpful for any project dealing with questions of standardization in cultural heritage data. The ontology itself offers a rich vocabulary for literary study and history with a strong emphasis on representing concepts through careful gender and intersectional analysis. The ontology is a project of CWRC, the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory, which “brings together researchers working with online technologies to investigate writing and related cultural practices relevant to Canada and to the digital turn.”
Enhancing Description to Make African American Materials More Discoverable / Katie Rawson & Trevor Muñoz
This study path will ask learners to replicate the methodology/follow the model described in Dorothy Berry’s case study “Digitizing and Enhancing Description Across Collections to Make African American Materials More Discoverable on Umbra Search African American History” in order to better understand the value and values of additional description in surfacing materials from marginalized groups.
Testing Interfaces with Diverse Populations / Todd Suomela
The study path introduces students to user experience testing reports, and introduces ideas from feminist HCI and psychology in order to critique and improve those tests and reports.
Documenting Systems / Sarah Sweeney
This study path guides the learner through close examination of system documentation by highlighting the elements of how to write and read the documentation for content management systems, in this case Mukurtu.
See No Evil / Miriam Posner
Software helps companies coordinate the supply chains that sustain global capitalism. How does the code work—and what does it conceal? Posner’s article is both brilliant and approachable, investigating the ramifications of the modular design of supply-chain software: the modular design of both the code and the supply chain make it impossible to fully know what happens at all levels of the supply chain, and thereby makes it impossible to ensure fair labor practices. This article pairs particularly well with discussions of object-oriented programming models.
Cultural Object Online Descriptions / Susan Barrett
This study path guides the learner in evaluating how cultural objects are described online, and develop recommendations for their improvement based on evaluating and incorporating non-Western knowledge descriptions.