Can I get help with Prospect?

The Digital Innovation Lab has a small staff and limited resources: the degree of direct support we can offer is limited and prioritized towards UNC interests. If you need help, try the following possibilities to find help for your questions:

  • Use the online learning materials on this website
  • Scan the table of contents of the Prospect user manual or search it for relevant terms
  • Discuss your issue with members of UNC’s OASIS staff who have Prospect training
  • Seek the help of trained student workers at the Digital Innovation Lab
  • Visit the Digital Innovation Lab Office Hours (limited time availability) http://cdl.unc.edu/dilcdhi
  • Contact the DIL at digitalinnovation@unc.edu

Is Prospect free? Is it open-source?

Yes, it is free and open-source. You can use it free of charge either by downloading it from GitHub or else installing it via the WordPress repository.

Is Prospect the appropriate tool for my Digital Humanities project?

Prospect is appropriate for collections of structured data: that is, groups of items that can be described by a predetermined and consistent set of data attributes (such as name, age, gender, etc), including data that points to images, webpages, audio and video recordings, and so on.Prospect contains tools that enable a team of workers (with different capabilities for levels of credentials) to collect, create, edit and revise the data. Once in place, the data can be made available to the end-user on WordPress webpages as well as through the visualizer.

Prospect’s visualizer loads all of your project data into the web browser from the web server so that it responds as quickly as possible. The current generation of web browsers begin to become sluggish and slow if there are more than about 6,000 records, but few DH projects grow larger than this scale.

Prospect does not (by itself) offer an appropriate solution for annotated text editions, automated text analysis, simulations, or mathematical models.

How does Prospect support my data and project sustainability requirements?

Creating a digital project requires a huge investment of time and energy, much of which is spent on creating “clean” data. You will want to be sure that the data and the results of your investment live beyond the very few years of any particular technology on which it initially runs.Prospect adheres to best practice guidelines to ensure a long-term strategy for data sustainability by:

  • reading and writing data in the universal CSV file format
  • enabling all configuration data to be imported and exported as human-readable JSON/text files
  • creating human-readable data dictionary text files that describe your data schema
  • using standard data formats for data values
  • offering a generalized platform that will be continually maintained as WordPress continues to evolve

My project is in a language other than English and for an audience of end-users whose language is something other than English: Can Prospect be translated easily for other languages?

Yes! Prospect adheres to the best practice language guidelines of the WordPress ecosystem. All of the text that appears on the user interface (on the server “back-end” as well as the web-browser “front-end”) is contained in a .pot file so that a translator needs to only edit that file to provide the appropriate translations in the target language by using the Poedit (or equivalent) application.

How does Prospect compare to other DH platforms that deal with structured data collections?

This chart offers a quick summary comparing Prospect to three other similar platforms, although there is greater detail in this blog post.