Posts Tagged ‘digital history’
I attended The Future of Civil War History conference recently at Gettysburg. One outstanding element of the conference involved a series of field experiences, two-hour plus morning tours with various experts covering topics like battlefield rehabilitation or the fighting in downtown Gettysburg, but these filled up incredibly quickly during the pre-registration period. My guess is that the conference organizers could have hosted twice as many of these as they did and they would still have been oversubscribed. Read more.
From the Digital Public Library of America:
March 5, 2013
Cambridge, MA, The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) announced today the appointment of Dan Cohen as the DPLAs founding Executive Director. Cohen, currently a tenured professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University and the Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, brings to the DPLA more than a decade of experience in digital humanities and a deep commitment to the future of libraries, archives, and museums. Cohen will begin his tenure on April 18, 2013.
Dan Cohen’s appointment is exceptionally good news for the future of the DPLA, said John Palfrey, President of the DPLA Board of Directors. Dan’s contributions to the field of digital humanities and to libraries are already extraordinary. He has led major open source development projects, helped to digitize important works of culture, supported teachers and students in accessing fantastic digital materials, and written about the importance of libraries, archives, and museums in a digital age. We are very fortunate that he has agreed to lead the DPLA as the founding executive director.
“Dan Cohen’s appointment is exceptionally good news for the future of the DPLA,” said John Palfrey, President of the DPLA Board of Directors. “Dan’s contributions to the field of digital humanities and to libraries are already extraordinary. He has led major open source development projects, helped to digitize important works of culture, supported teachers and students in accessing fantastic digital materials, and written about the importance of libraries, archives, and museums in a digital age. We are very fortunate that he has agreed to lead the DPLA as the founding executive director.” Read more.
From Teaching the Hudson Valley:
Teaching the Hudson Valley, in conjunction with the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council (SENYLRC) is offering a five-part workshop series on using primary resources. The series is free to K-12 teachers, librarians and educators at museums, historic sites and other informal learning sites in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Sullivan County. Interested educators are encouraged to apply as space is limited. The deadline is November 26. Read more.
From The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education:
Fordham University has announced plans to establish the Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans. The project aims to create a national database for burial grounds and cemeteries of enslaved African Americans within the United States. Read more.
From The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education:
The first conference held by The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education will be held on March 22-23, 2013 on Bryn Mawr College campus and will bring together experts and novices to share insights, lessons, and information on the landscape of women’s history in the world of twenty-first century technology.
‘Women’s History in the Digital World’ will bring together scholars, archivists, digital humanists, students, and all those interested in the development of women’s history in the new era of digital humanities research. The conference will begin with a keynote address by renowned digital humanist, Professor Laura Mandell on Friday March 22nd, followed by a reception. Panels will be held all day on Saturday March 23rd.
Find the call for papers (Deadline December 14, 2012) here.
From The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education:
The first conference held by The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education will be held on Bryn Mawr College campus and will bring together experts and novices to share insights, lessons, and information on the landscape of women’s history in the world of twenty-first century technology.
The seeks scholars working on women’s history projects with a digital component, investigating the complexities of creating, managing, researching and teaching with digital resources. We will explore the exciting vistas of scholarship in women’s histories and welcome contributors from across the globe. Key issues, new projects, theoretical approaches and new challenges in the digital realm of historical and cultural research on women. All thematic areas and time periods are included: this is a chance to share knowledge, network and promote stimulating conversations in women’s history in the context of digital humanities initiatives today.
We invite individual papers or panels on new projects, theoretical approaches, teaching, research and new challenges in the digital realm of historical and cultural research on women.
Please email abstracts (200 words max) and a bio (100 words max) firstname.lastname@example.org by December 14th 2012.
Check the website for further updates or follow us on Twitter @GreenfieldHWE
From the National Endowment for the Humanities:
This program is designed to fund the implementation of innovative digital-humanities projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the field. Such projects might enhance our understanding of central problems in the humanities, raise new questions in the humanities, or develop new digital applications and approaches for use in the humanities. The program can support innovative digital-humanities projects that address multiple audiences, including scholars, teachers, librarians, and the public. Applications from recipients of NEH’s Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants are welcome. The deadline for submission is January 23, 2013. Read more.
Copyright and fair use are important topics for those of us working in the digital realm.
Certainly, old photographs, letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, and other original works can provide essential historical detail for online exhibits, institutional websites, and educational resources. But how do we know when it is okay to post those items online and when doing so would violate copyright law? Read more.
Digital or not, all projects can benefit from good, solid project management.
In a previous career, I spent close to a decade honing my project management skills creating print publications for a large network of nonprofit organizations. My colleagues and I sent hundreds of items to print every few months, and each had to pass through a lengthy review process on the path from creation to final product. By trial and error, by formal training, and by informal observation, I learned how to plan, how to communicate options, and how to adjust when faced with unexpected roadblocks. Read more.
Working at a special collections library, I am only too aware of the high costs of providing digital access to historical materials.
Sure, it’s wonderful to be able to view historical photographs or manuscript collections or even published volumes online. But it can take a lot of resources to get those materials on the web. From the imaging technology to the staff time (and expertise) to the server space for the digital files, posting significant amounts of archival materials online can be quite expensive.
So I was intrigued to learn about Project Gado, an open-source digitization robot – yes, robot – that is helping to scan the collection of 1.5 million historical photographs at the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper.
Originally developed at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Africana Studies, Project Gado is now continuing its efforts to create a tool that will help small repositories digitize archival materials. (The project seems aimed at photographs in particular, but I think other types of non-fragile loose pages could be excellent candidates for robot scanning.)
A demonstration of Gado 2 in action.
Video courtesy of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Africana Studies.
The Baltimore Sun recently published an article about how the Afro-American Newspapers are using the device. You can also browse some of the images digitized to date here, and learn many more details about the project in this video presentation from a recent computing conference, PyCon 2012.
Of course, having an open-source digitization robot does not equal free digitization.
Project manager Tom Smith reported at the PyCon conference in March that the second generation robot, known as Gado 2, has scanned 11,000 images at about half the cost of normal digitization. He hopes that adding an additional machine might do even better. Apparently, the operator and the robot do about twice the work of one person; maybe an operator and two robots could do the work of 3 people, and so on. The project recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the staffperson who oversees and supplements the robot’s work at the newspaper. The project also offered supporters of that campaign a kit to build their own Gado 2 robots for about $500.
You may not want to trust Gado 2 with fragile or priceless archival materials, and it’s clearly not intended to work with bound volumes, like diaries or ledgers. But if you’re ready to tackle a major digitization effort with photographs or other sturdy sheets of paper, Gado 2 may be worth investigating further.
If a scanning robot is too far out for your institution, you may still be able to cut costs the old-fashioned way: with volunteers. The National Archives, for instance, is relying on hundreds of hours of volunteer labor each month as it digitizes its large collection of Civil War Widows’ Pension files, a unique resource for genealogists and historians.
Again, don’t mistake volunteer work for “free.” Institutions with robust volunteer programs dedicate significant staff resources to recruiting and managing their volunteers. But dedicated volunteers could help make a daunting process more manageable.