Project Management




So, I thought I’d write about a real-life thing I do for work that is I think technically a DH project.  Might be better than whining about how I don’t understand text mining.

I manage a sheet music digitization project for the music library that I work at.  It was designed and set up by my predecessor, so for me it’s a legacy project I inherited (I often wish I could spend my time doing other things, but that’s a different matter).  This is, for me, a decent chance to get my hands dirty with project management.

Here’s the site, if you want to take a gander:

Basically, we have lots of old sheet music in boxes.  Before my time, most all article metadata was created and uploaded to a paid site platform saved to a local (WRLC) server.  From there, a sheet music consortium out of UCLA extracts and harvests metadata to share with the consortium.  

The consortium is here:

Thus, anyone interested in looking at old sheet music has access to tons of digitized scores from numerous institutions across the nation.  The metadata and thumbnails exist on the consortium’s website, and the real images stay on our server.  

My task has been to scan and upload – with beefier metadata – sheet music that isn’t already in the consortium.  No reason to scan and upload a sheet if another school has already done it.  

In terms of project management, it’s been a bit of a bear understanding all this.  I had no experience with this sort of thing.  My predecessor left me with plenty to read over, but there was still a hefty learning curve on my part.  Part time staff who have been doing the work have been helpful, but often they just understood one narrow aspect, and didn’t understand how that aspect fit in with the whole project.  I’m also pretty dense, and get frustrated easily – neither of which has helped.  

But recently I have had the time and person-power to really sink my teeth into it, and I feel better about the whole thing.  It helps that there’s really no timetable for it’s completion – no pressure to get it done fast.

Speaking of which, re-reading over the Cult of Done Manifesto has reminded me to breathe and relax about this project.  I especially appreciate the laughing at perfection part – it’s good to want to get it right, but not at the expense of never moving forward.  

While this does count as a Digital Humanities project, it also just seems to me like a project, with the humanities aspect left to someone else.  I personally don’t feel all that invested in the thing, but it is my job, so I do it.  Hopefully someone somewhere is getting something out of these scans.

Have a look at the site’s I’ve linked above, and let me know if you have thoughts or questions.