Things To Think About Before You Start
These are very brief notes on what you may need to consider before you begin. All these points are cursory and will need to be developed as your project progresses.
Probably the first things you need to consider are the topic and the output, as this will dictate much of what you do.
What is the project about? What are the parameters – time, geography?
What is the main output of the project? Is the main output of the project going to be an exhibition, or will it be an archive?
Will there be secondary outputs? E.g. if your main output is an exhibition that includes images you have digitised, what will happen to the digital images at the end of the project – will they be archived, will there be a printed brochure or catalogue?
The outputs will dictate the type of material you digitise and how you process it. Will it include images (e.g. digitised documents and photographs), objects, oral histories, original creations (e.g. creative writing, artworks)?
What equipment will you need to digitise objects and documents?
What equipment will you need to record audio or video?
What software are you going to use to process digital images and audio? We use open-source free packages – Gimp for images, Audacity for audio, and Blender for video.
Do you have the legal right to use the material? Will you need to get copyright permissions? For personal material from contributors do you want to get blanket permission to use the material in any way, or specific permissions for specific uses? Are people happy to be credited, or do they wish to remain anonymous?
If you store personal detail about individuals, then you need to consider Data Protection implications.
What will be the legacy of the project? What will happen to the images/objects after the exhibition ends?
Will there be a permanent online archive, either on your own website, or hosted elsewhere?
Will material be deposited with local museums or archives?
How are you going to let people know about the project? You may want to consider press releases, contacting local representatives and organisations, creating social media accounts.
Will the project be run mostly by volunteers? How will you recruit them?
How will the project be funded?
If you decide to apply for grants then this can be quite an onerous process, and the hoops to jump through are many.