Wars of the Roses - Project Management Plan

The first step, and arguably one of the most important steps, is securing funding for this project, as without it, this project cannot exist. As this project concerns British and not American history, applying for funding through government programs, such as the NHPRC would be a fruitless effort. Applications for funding from universities such as the University of Notre Dame and Western Michigan University will be the first start. These universities have major medieval history departments and have, in the past, supported projects similar to this. In addition, Western Michigan also hosts a medieval history conference each year and therefore may be interested in a project such as this. Additionally, funding will be requested from the History Channel and the British Library – where many of the documents to be digitized reside.

Once funding is secured, the project will then contact possible users to discover what users expect and find useful from an online exhibit. Determining users’ requirements will enable the project to better serve those for whom the project is intended. The project will poll scholars, lay researchers, and those people who have a basic interest in the subject to better understand the needs of the audience.

Due to the size of the project and the number of repositories from which documents have been selected, copyright issues will have to be handled very early on in the project. This is likely to be one of the biggest problems the Wars of the Roses project will deal with. The Bodleian Library at Oxford University is engaged in a digitization project of its own and may not want to allow another project access to their materials. The Wars of the Roses project will try to gain permission to link to the repository site for access to these materials. Copyright for those materials will reside with the repository and not the project. As yet, there is no plan to digitize the documents considered for this project. Copyrights will be researched and secured before the project proceeds.

Once funding and copyrights have been secured, the selection, scanning, and metadata process can begin. As was stated in the Description and Selection Policy section, documents chosen will represent the dual aspects of the Wars and will present the audience with the variety of historical documents surviving from that period – such as letters and government rolls and accounts. Those documents giving the most information of Wars and in the best condition will be digitized first. Subject specialists will be consulted during the selection process to offer the audience the best information.

Scanning will take place at the institution, as most of the manuscripts are too fragile to travel. As using a scanner to digitize these documents may be difficult due to the fragility of the documents themselves, a high mega-pixel digital camera will take digital photographs of the manuscripts and transfer the images to a computer. The images will be high quality JPEG images for useful for a website. The images will be color, to preserve the nature of the manuscripts and to give the audience the flavor of how medieval documents survive today. The idea is to allow the audience to zoom in on these documents once they are posted on the website. The actual document image will not be searchable, but the transcription provided will be. To establish intellectual control over the images, they will initially be tagged with the repository name and the manuscript number. Each document is given a manuscript number when it enters a repository and that number will be used.

Tagging of the documents will be done immediately following the digitization process and the specialists involved in the project will decide upon subject names. Images will have a meaningful title and numerical designation. Many documents will consist of more than one image. The transcription process will follow. In addition to myself, subject specialists will also be called upon to transcribe the manuscripts. Proficiency in Latin, and occasionally French, is an important and necessary aspect of the training of a medieval historian and therefore, the subject specialists would be qualified to carryout transcription. Student workers will type and tag the transcribed documents upon their completion and their work will be reviewed. The transcription guidelines followed will appear in a statement to the user available on the website. Most likely, Filemaker Pro will be used as a database for the information, as it is both Mac and PC compatible. [INSERT TYPES OF SUBJECTS AND DIVISIONS]

A list of the documents selected and scanned and information about those documents – such as the language of the document – will be used to assign material to subject specialists for transcription or translation. Materials will be assigned by the expertise of the subject specialists. Once subject specialists are recruited by the project or become available through the sponsoring institution, the project will have a better idea of how to divide the transcription/translation work.

Intellectual control has been established over the documents selected and website exhibition can be planned. A website design specialist would be consulted to aid in producing a working website. The website host will be Omeka, unless a funding university wishes to host it on their website. Control over the information will have to be established, with power hopefully resting in the Project Director’s hands. Omeka is a clean website that may also attract users to the Wars of the Roses site.

Staff for this project will include a Project Director, subject specialists that will aid in selection and transcription, a website designer, a system administrator, and student workers for data-entry.

Hardware and software for the project includes two, perhaps three, high mega-pixel cameras with large memory cards, Photoshop (to manipulate the images), Filemaker Pro (for organization), and two computers with external hard drives of large capacity capable of storing the high-resolution images. The equipment can be obtained cheaply, though more money can be spent on a computer that will be able to run the required programs and handle the document sizes. Favor may be given to Apple products, as the technical support for these products is excellent and available 24hrs daily. Omeka is free.

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