documentation: what's in it for us?

May 17th, 2010 |

In pondering this proposal, I’ve come up with four basic types of documentation that I think are relevant to digital humanities projects.

  • supporting creation of scholarly output
  • supporting reporting to funding agencies or academic departments
  • allowing sharing one’s research methodology with other scholars
  • informing and educating system administrators about the system-level requirements of the software itself

All these types of documentation are important, but I think it’s time to start talking with each other about that last type. We all want the results of our work to survive and mature, and one of the best ways to insure longevity and sustainability is to properly document system-level requirements—software dependencies, negotiated service level agreements, database design, etc.. Improving our communication with our IT system administrators ensures that we can meet as equals, moving away from handshake deals and hopeful bribery with baked goods as a means to attempting get the support our projects require.

We’ve learned some hard lessons at UVa Library about the sort of documentation and process definition that are required for long-term support of our digital tools and interfaces, and I’d love to share these with anyone who’s interested. Just as importantly, I’d love to learn from other attendees experiences creating usable system documentation for their projects.

related to:  karindalziel’s  session proposal

Comments Feed

2 Responses to “documentation: what's in it for us?”

  1. THATCamp 2010 » Blog Archive Says:

    […] Grizzle has already posted about the importance of generating basic documentation for maintenance of projects.  Perhaps those […]

  2. André Says:

    “Improving our communication with our IT system administrators ensures that we can meet as equals, moving away from handshake deals and hopeful bribery with baked goods as a means to attempting get the support our projects require.”

    Yes! This is the way forward. As a stereotypically beleaguered University SysAdmin, I seriously appreciate the courtesy and professionalism expressed here.


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