Archival Research and Creation of a Digital Text 1/14/15-2/1/15

Archival Research

Week 0:

Wednesday, January 14

  • Introduction, Expectations, Assignments, Grade distribution

Friday, January 16

  • Word Press set up–bring your computer to class!

Assignment #1: Trial post to website.

  • Due Monday, January 19:
  • Choose one of the sample DH projects on this site.  Given the six categories of DH approaches we have outlined e.g. distant reading, visualization, mapping, what is the primary DH focus of this website?  Is there a secondary approach addressed in the project?  How does method fit with the scholarly subject matter? In what way does the medium of the subject matter determine the choice of mode of digital representation?
  • Your post should be 300-350 words and should include 2 visual components. Post in category “Practice”

Week 1:

Monday, January 19

Wednesday, January 21

Visit Omeka site –-look at items, exhibit, collections

  • Use the search function to find items using the following terms:
    “Payne” “Maryland” “Virginia” “slave” “Moravian”
  • What items come up?  How did the search engine find them?  Were there any false hits?  Why?  (look at Metadata)
  • Create an exhibit of 3-5 items…  What is your thematic?  River, portraits, maps?
  • (Optional-if you have time) Try to embed an image and link to your exhibit in a WP blog

Friday, January 23

  • On physical vs. digital archivesLook at Livingstone Papers website the Scrolls preserved in the eruption at Vesuvius to consider:
  •  Are we interacting with textual material on the screen more than on the (manuscript or printed) page, and if so, how are our research practices changing?
  • Are our physical and emotional relationships to our objects of study shifting in a digital age?
  • Do digitized materials supplant our need to view the physical originals, or enhance the necessity of and desire for archival work?
  • Do digital versions of material texts highlight physical elements of texts that might otherwise pass unremarked?
  • What sources of knowledge and serendipitous discovery can be provided only in the physical archive? The digital archive?
  • Is there a developing consensus about best practices for digitizing and editing archival material?
  • Are there ways to create online reading interfaces that can more closely approximate the experience of reading physical materials?
  • Do archival materials of women and minorities present unique challenges in their transformation to digital forms?
  • What new pedagogical opportunities do open-source and free digitized materials offer, and how are students using them?

Contextual information


  • Assignment of manuscript materials for transcription.   Read them and report back on them on the Monday about ease of reading

Week 2:

Monday, January 26

  • Report back on transcription comprehension

Wednesday,  January 28

Friday, January 30

  • What is metadata and why is it so important?
  • Transcription practice–putting things together…

Transcription assignment #1 due Sunday night (2/1 11pm)

For Monday, read Whitley, “Visualizing the Archive” in The American Literature Scholar in the Digital Age, eds. Amy E. Earhart and Andrew Jewell (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011), pp. 185-208.

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