Documenting Your Site

What are good documentation practices?

Documentation is a good idea for every project, as it saves significant time and energy in the long run for the project. Good documentation is both for the future of your group and for the Digital Scholarship Group's future. It should, ideally, be well organized, publicly visible, and able to be edited collaboratively.

The DSG makes several recommendations for platforms that are good for documentation. These include GitHub, wikis, and your project's website. We discourage the use of platforms like DropBox, Google Docs, and Word Documents.

You should document several things. The first and foremost is the regular project workflow, so that future project managers know how things move forward. You should also include transcriptional and editorial practices, any tools you use, and what settings new members would need to know about. In addition, conventions, controlled vocabularies, formats for system IDs, metadata standards, and training manuals should all be included in good documentation. You should also do workflow tracking through tools like Trello or Asana.

Documentation can involve several members of the project, but one project member should be responsible for ensuring documentation gets done, and we recommend assuring that member is able to commit a good amount of their time to that portion of the project. This documentation will constitute the institutional memory of your project, and we want to emphasize how important it is to dedicate time to it. Your project should also make time to review this documentation regularly.

A few good examples of documentation include the Women Writers Project internal documentation and the DSG Services Guide.