Final Project

For your final project, you will work with a group to create a web-based mini-site that explores and analyzes a dataset from multiple angles. Your mini-site must contain the following components:

  • A full, annotated bibliography.
  • narrative of about 2,000 words that describes your research and findings about the topic you’ve been assigned. Included within the narrative should be:
    • At least five data visualizations that explore clearly defined humanities questions.
    • At least two maps that display some property of your data related to a humanities question.
    • At least one timeline that provides context for your topic.
    • Appropriate, appealing, well-captioned and credited illustrations or photographs.
  • A clear, full “About” page that contains the following information:
    • Full technical descriptions of the three levels of a DH project (sources, processing, presentation), along with full explanations of your reasoning for making the decisions you made at each level. You should cite relevant class readings to give context for these decisions.
    • Short bios of each team member, along with a full accounting of who was responsible for what.
    • Acknowledgments of the various people who helped you.
  • data critique that explains fully what information is included in your dataset, what information, events, or phenomena your dataset can illuminate, and what your dataset cannot. You should also give your account of the ideological effects of the way in which your sources have been divided into data (your dataset’s ontology).
  • Things you might want to include, just for fun (you don’t have to, but why not?): video, audio, slideshows, whatever else you can think of!

View last year’s projects

Note: these projects are currently down. I do have them archived, but haven’t had a chance to put them on our server yet. In the meantime, check out the projects from 2015!

More on the Narrative

Your visualizations should be enfolded into the narrative using the “splitting-a-sentence” strategy described by Alberto Cairo (and derived from Javier Zarracina) in these two videos (part 7gives context; part 8 describes the strategy itself). You may divide the narrative among various pages of your mini-site if you like.

Like any satisfying narrative, yours should have a beginning, middle, and end, and a clear and coherent point. The writing need not be as formal as a typical academic paper but should be polished, grammatical, and contain no spelling or typographical errors. Imagine you’re writing for an intelligent, educated audience which is not an expert on the topic at hand. Remember that your audience could be reading lots of different things on the Web; you need to give them reasons to keep reading your narrative! Your narrative should include full citations, using either the MLA or Chicago format (be consistent) and linking to sources wherever possible.

Hosting and archiving your final project

Every web resource needs to be hosted on a server in order for other people to access it. Your group will purchase its own server space to host your project. We will use Reclaim Hosting, which costs $25 per year and includes your own URL. (If you have server space of your own you’d like to use, please speak to Prof. Posner or Francesca Albrezzi.) Each group will pool its money to purchase its own server space.

At the conclusion of the class, you have the option of maintaining the server that hosts your project (meaning that you will continue to pay for the space) or letting the project expire. You’ll need to decide as a group which you prefer.

Whatever you decide, your group will submit a copy of your site as HTML files so that your project will be permanently archived as a static site on UCLA’s own servers. (Professor Posner will explain how to do this.) This means that while it will look like the site your group has built, you will not be able to update the archived version.


Here are all the possible datasets your group could choose for its project. You’ll fill out a questionnaire in lab on Friday, October 13, telling us your group’s top five choices, and we’ll do our best to give you one of those choices. If your group doesn’t get one of its top five, we’ll add two points to your project’s final score.

On Friday, October 20, your group will receive a digital folder containing:

  • the dataset you’ve been assigned (as a spreadsheet);
  • the names of some books and articles with which to begin your research process;
  • the name and contact information for an expert who has agreed to be interviewed as part of your research; and
  • information on how to contact librarians and conduct further research.
  1. Prisoner records from the Eastern State Penitentiary
  2. Contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art
  3. Photography at the Carnegie Museum of Art
  4. Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art
  5. Nixon White House recordings
  6. A database of Scottish witchcraft
  7. Artwork at the Williams College Museum of Art
  8. Nineteenth-century children’s books
  9. Cylinder recordings
  10. Photographs from science-fiction conventions
  11. A database of graphic novels
  12. Book acquisitions at the Osage, Iowa, public library in the early twentieth century
  13. What people had in their houses in the 1700s in rural Pennsylvania
  14. A database of archaeologists and classicists
  15. The letters of Charles Darwin