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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

This comment was written by Daniel Powell on 9 Jul 2013.

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Possibilities in Reviewing Digital Resources

As Jentery Sayers notes in the prompt for this exercise, formal reviews of digital projects and tools are rare. This being the case, undertaking such a review was a useful exercise in professional and theoretical development. It was useful professionally because, along with Jentery, I believe that such a genre will become more prevalent and necessary as digital scholarly objects proliferate. Theoretically, the exercise highlighted the difficulty inherent in effectively and formally reviewing such tools in a near vacuum. By this I mean that there seem to be very few established procedures or metrics for undertaking such an evaluation. This begs the question of what position digital tools such as the Database of Early English Playbooks (DEEP) occupy in academe; after all, they are often not a critical intervention in the same way as a peer-reviewed article or scholarly monograph. Much like all other digital scholarly efforts in the academy, how to evaluate and disseminate digital tools and projects is in a state of flux.

This being the case, my review of DEEP was centred on trying to ascertain the "usefulness" of the database in early modern scholarship. This proved easier than I anticipated, especially since the visibility of any particular resource is of course tied to its prevalence in search rankings, research aid listings on better-known sites, course syllabi, and the blogosophere.

In the same way that book reviews in peer-reviewed journals can aid scholars in efficiently and productively locating and using new research, reviews of digital scholarly objects will play an increasingly prevalent role in the evaluation of scholarly work in the digital realm.

Author: Daniel Powell
Word Count: 266
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