Learning to evaluate digital tools is an important part of digital scholarship. These questions will help you think about how a tool works, what features it has, and how difficult it will be to implement for a digital project.
- What are the key features of this digital tool? How is this digital tool distinct from other ones similar to it?
- What kinds of research questions might this digital tool help you answer?
- What kind of documentation is available for this tool?
- Is the digital tool free, or is there a cost to use it?
- What kinds of data/input does the tool require? Are there any privacy concerns regarding data? Who owns the data that is input?
- What biases does this tool have? What assumptions have the developers made in its creation?
- How often is the code for the tool updated?
- How difficult will this tool be to master? Does it require an outside expert or special technical skills, or can it be learned with practice?
- Could you use this digital tool for your project? Why or why not?
Adapted from Miriam Posner’s DH101 Tool Evaluation Criteria.