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Digital Projects Toolkit

A guide for planning, implementing, and preserving digital scholarship projects.

Project Planning

These initial planning considerations set you up for success by helping you outline the parameters, budget, partners, labor and tools needed to complete your project.

A. Project Plan

The choices you make in planning out your digital project will determine its potential impact and accessibility in the future. Think carefully about who the intended audience is, how long you want the project to exist, who will be responsible for it after you leave Davidson. These questions will guide you in making decisions that will enable your digital project to thrive during your time at Davidson and beyond. 

The first step of a digital project is to identify the question, topic, issue phenomenon the project seeks to address.

The research question(s), along with hypotheses, serve as a guiding framework for research. These questions also reveal the boundaries of the study and setting its limits.

Creating a Research Question

Hulley et al. (2007) suggest using a set of criteria- known as the “FINER” criteria-to find out if you have a good research question. The FINER criteria are outlined below:

F – Feasible
A good research question is feasible, which means that the question is well within the researcher’s ability to investigate. Researchers should be realistic about the scale of their research as well as their ability to collect data and complete the research with their skills and the resources available to them. It’s also wise to have a contingency plan in place in case problems arise.

I – Interesting
The ideal research question is interesting not only to the researcher but also to their peers and community. This interest boosts the researcher’s motivation to see the question answered. For instance, you can do research on student housing trends if it is right up your alley, as they do change often.

N – Novel
Your research question should be developed to bring new insights to the field of study you are investigating. The question may confirm or extend previous findings on the topic you are researching, for instance.

E – Ethical
This is one of the more important considerations of making a research question. Your research question and your subsequent study must be something that review boards and the appropriate authorities will approve.

R – Relevant
Aside from being interesting and novel, the research question should be relevant to the scientific community and people involved in your area of study. If possible, your research question should also be relevant to the public’s interest.

These questions influence factors, such as the research methodology, sample size, data collection, and data analysis. These factors, in turn, will determine the platforms, tools, structure, layout and visual look of your digital project.

Once a solid research question is identified, additional considerations can be answered including:

  • What is the budget
  • What are the time considerations
  • What data will need to be collected
  • Who are the collaborators

A collaborator's agreement ensures that everyone working on a digital project is clear about the roles, responsibilities, expectations and outcomes. It can be simple or robust depending on the complexity of a project. In general, a collaborator's agreement will include the following:

  • A name and description of the project
  • A collaboration schedule
  • How will both parties work to achieve the end goal
  • Individual responsibilities and obligations of each party
  •  Milestones and goals to measure progress

Below is a link to an example of ac collaborator's agreements:

A project charter is a document that defines the project and helps it stay on track by outlining the timeline and responsibilities.

Project charters typically include:

  • Project Name
  • Project Goals
  • Problem and Value Statements
  • Vision
  • In Scope/Out of Scope
    • In Scope
    • Out of Scope
  • Deliverables and Work Products
    • Key Tasks and Outcomes
  • Definition of Done
  • Stakeholders
  • Project Team
  • Cost and Estimated Schedule
  • Assumptions, Constraints, Dependencies, and Risks
    • Project Assumptions
    • Project Constraints
    • Project Dependencies
    • Project Risks

Source: LTS Project Charter Template

B. Technology & Infrastructure

Consider carefully the technology you will use to create and store your digital project. Include your technology choices on your project charter and how you will use them. Doing so, will allow you to troubleshoot any potential issues and enable current and future collaborators to access your work, follow up and/or problem solve. 

Technology can become outdated quickly, so create at least one back-up of your digital project to ensure accessibility in the future. 

Content Management Systems

The following content management systems are available to Davidson faculty, students, and staff via Davidson Domains

Tools and Resources

There are a variety of digital tools are available for your digital projects. These tools range from organizing research materials, publishing and sharing information, analyzing text and data, visualizing data and creating maps. While this list is not exhaustive, it provides several examples of readily available tools.

If you have any questions about incorporating a tool in your digital project, please contact the library at

Data Visualization

       ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping and analysis solution. Use it to make maps, to analyze data, and         to share and collaborate. ArcGIS Online includes everything you need to create web mapscreate 3D web         scenescreate web apps, and create notebooks

Media Production

  • Video & Audio Resources
    Technology & Innovation at Davidson provides projectors, screens, presentation remotes and web camera kits. Learn more at Computers & Software and Oral History + Podcasting: Technology

  • Digital Storytelling & Oral History
    Davidson provides support for digital storytelling and oral history, including permissions forms, technology, and one-on-one consultations. Learn more at Oral History + Podcasting.

  • Podcasting
    Davidson has its own podcast studio located in the basement of Chambers next to the MakerSpace. The podcast studio is a soundproof room with 2 microphones set-up to record with audacity. Any member of the campus community can book time to use the studio to record a podcast. Learn more about podcasting at our podcasting research guide.


  • Scripto

    A free, open source tool enabling community transcriptions of document and multimedia files.

  • Zotero

    Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. Visit the library's Zotero Research Guide for more information.


Web Publishing

Text Mining


Selecting Storage

When selecting file/ media storage, think about accessibility during the project creation phase and after you leave Davidson. For example, access to a student's Davidson Google Drive will be lost one year after graduation. Will all the collaborators continue to have access to data/ files? Where will data/ files be kept or transferred?

Best practices include keeping multiple copies. You may also consider having a cloud storage and external hard drive option for your digital project.

Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage (Not Davidson-affiliated)

External Hard Drives 

  • Note: "Keep in mind that external hard drives must be rotated out and replaced at least every five years. Removable optical media (specifically gold “archival” DVDs or M-discs) may be an appropriate choice for smaller institutions, as long as they are not used as the only storage location." (

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