graceful degradation

Graceful Degradation: Managing Digital Humanities Projects in Times of Transition and Decline

First announced at the Digital Humanities 2009 conference, the “Graceful Degradation” survey is now open at:

This is a survey of the digital humanities community — broadly conceived — on project management in times of transition and decline, and what we see as the causes and outcomes of those times. We invite participation by anyone who has worked on a digital project in or related to the humanities.

Decline is a pressing issue for digital scholarship because of the tendency of our projects to be open ended. One could argue that digital projects are, by nature, in a continual state of transition or decline. What happens when the funding runs out, or the original project staff move on or are replaced? What happens when intellectual property rests with a collaborator or an institution that does not wish to continue the work? How, individually and as a community, do we weather changes in technology, the patterns of academic research, the vagaries of our sponsoring institutions?

“Graceful Degradation” is being conducted by Bethany Nowviskie of the University of Virginia Scholars’ Lab in the United States and Dot Porter of the Digital Humanities Observatory in Ireland. The survey will run through September 2009, when initial results will be presented during a poster session at Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts in Belfast. Full summary results will be presented and published in summer 2010. All responses are held confidential, unless specific permission to identify people and projects has been granted. Participants will have the option to grant this permission at the end of the survey.

We encourage your participation and look forward to sharing the results of the survey!

Please contact if you have any questions.