17 Nov 2011

Digital Humanities Resource Guide

This website curates a list of digital humanties initiatives with links to the projects. Generally interesting, but particularly so for the list titled "The Archive, Digital Preservation of Analog & Born-Digital Materials", which I have reproduced here:

  • Transcribe Bentham, based at University College London, has been crowdsourcing the transcription of thousands of manuscripts written by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). Anyone can sign up to participate, viewing the original documents, and transcribing and encoding them online in a wiki; instructions and a discussion forum are provided.

  • NEW! See also What's On the Menu?, which invites users to transcribe the New York Public Library's collection of 40,000 menus; a project of NYPL Labs.

  • The Rossetti Archive, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia under the direction of Jerome McGann, provides access to Dante Gabriel Rossetti's complete works, including high-quality images, detailed descriptions and commentary. Related works (contemporary and antecedents) are also included, along with a bibliography.

  • The Walt Whitman Archive – "an electronic research and teaching tool that sets out to make Whitman's vast work easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers, drawing on the resources of libraries and collections from around the United States and around the world." Directed by Kenneth M. Price (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Ed Folsom (University of Iowa).

  • Preserving Virtual Worlds – exploring methods for preserving digital games, electronic literature, and environments such as Second Life. A collaboration between Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Linden Lab (creators of Second Life).

  • The work of institutions such as the Ransom Center at the University of Texas in preserving born-digital textual materials.

  • Omeka – a free, open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions; developed by the team at Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University "with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming."
  • 16 Nov 2011

    How May Digital Collections Serve Scholarly Needs?

    "As part of the Collections Interoperability working group, we are investigating the question of scholars’ needs with digital collections: What kind of functionalities, features, and/or services do humanities scholars need in digital collections, in order for the collections to be useful in research?

    The reason we ask is twofold: First, we’d like to know what types of digital collections should be prepared and incorporated into the Bamboo research platform. While there are a few all-encompassing general digital collections, such as the Hathi Trust Digital Library, there are many more digital collections with limited content or specialized focuses, and it is hard to determine how to select collections for incorporation into Bamboo.
    Secondly, a larger question faces libraries and digital libraries about effective collection development strategies for digital collections: How can we build digital libraries that aren’t simply mass collections of materials or are based on libraries’ classifications, but that directly address scholars’ research needs?

    To explore this question, we decided to launch a study that would create a needs assessment for scholars and digital collections. Over the summer, I worked with Indiana University librarian Angela Courtney to contact humanities librarians, digital humanities coordinators, and academic technologists at the twelve member institutions of the CIC academic consortium and participating Bamboo partner institutions. We ultimately convinced nine librarians and staffers to work with us on conducting a survey and interviews with their humanities faculty. The participating institutions are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Michigan State University, University of Iowa, University of Chicago, University of Minnesota, Penn State University, and the University of Maryland.

    After months of IRB wrangling, writing the test instruments, pre-testing, and consultations, we launched the study in late October. A survey has been distributed to randomly selected faculty members in all of the English and history departments at the aforementioned institutions, and will run through December. Interviews will be conducted in November and December with select faculty members from fine arts and performing arts departments on the campuses who are involved in digital scholarship. Follow-up interviews will also be conducted with survey respondents who indicated a willingness to be interviewed.

    We anticipate that this study will enable us to gain new insights into the transformations occurring in humanities research with the advent of digitized materials. An update will be forthcoming as results are analyzed this winter, and we’re excited for what the data will tell us!"
    By Harriett Green