Criteria for Digital Tool Evaluation

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.