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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Digital Projects Using Special Collections

Before you begin

Things to think through before you begin

Learning Objectives 

See the sample list in the section "Digital Projects Literacy and Primary Source Literacy."

  • What are your primary goals for your students?
  • Does your digital project align with those goals?
  • Can you set aside time in your syllabus for students to learn the necessary skills to complete your digital project?

Digital Tools

  • Which tool will help you meet your learning objectives?
  • Who will host the digital project and maintain it after the semester ends?

Public-facing v. Restricted Login for Digital Projects

  • Consider whether the goals of the class require a public-facing digital project. Benefits include a broader and more authentic audience for your students' work. 
  • Look over the UCLA Student Collaborator's Bill of Rights and consider whether you've offered students opportunities to engage in meaningful work, to be recognized for their contributions, and to self-select to remain anonymous or contribute in ways that are not public-facing.
  • This document offers plain language recommendations that address frequently asked questions regarding FERPA and digital projects in the classroom.
  • Keep in mind that public-facing digital work with collection materials will prompt ethical questions about privacy and considerations relative to copyright and fair use. See the section on copyright awareness.


  • Have you been in touch with the staff at the campus collections where you would like to collaborate? There are frequently many logistical issues that educators and librarians at each institution can assist with.
  • Have you set aside time in your syllabus for instructional sessions with librarians, orientation sessions with the collecting institution, and time for individual research, group work, and work with the digital tools?
  • Check with staff at the collecting institutions about staggering assignment due dates so that students do not all try to access resources at the same time.


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