Digital Humanities and the Monograph “Companion Website”: Adapting and Visualizing Data from Documentary Research by Judah M. Cohen and Adah Hetko
This presentation highlights the considerations and challenges involved in creating a digital humanities project from research originally conducted for a historical monograph. Thanks to an IDAH fellowship, the presenters sought to expand Cohen’s project on 19th century American synagogue music (to be published in book form in early 2019), into a broader, more immersive, and interactive multimedia space. We will discuss how, through consultation with IDAH staff, we settled on the project’s first steps; selected and prepared biographical and geographical data for the mapping part of the project; and gained insight into the complexity of working with 19th century musical sources. A significant part of the presentation will include preliminary data visualizations developed in the Carto mapping system, which allow us to discuss emergent patterns and formulate new questions—including previously unseen geographical groupings of historical figures and the movements of figures over individual lifetimes. We will conclude with a summary of future plans for this project, and a reflection on the role of digital humanities in adapting and expanding the monograph’s conventional historical narratives.
Archives Speaking for Themselves: Modeling Discourse in Traditional and Community Cultural Archives by Kate Mullen
Archives charged with preserving, curating, and stewarding cultural heritage are often acknowledged for their placement in large traditional institutional settings such as governmental agencies, universities, and museums. In the last decade, with the advent of accessible digital repositories and accompanying notions of archival democratization, archival scholarship has shifted toward the study of a more participatory heritage that invites content originators and localized communities to participate in documentation and preservation processes. However, precise definitions of participatory and community archives are elusive in scholarship due to the diverse nature of archival purposes. To distinguish between community and traditional archival discourses, I examine discursive definition from the point of view of the institution itself. I use public-facing discourses from individual archives, including mission statements and “about” pages from distinct institution and organization websites, to identify differences between larger institutions and community-based cultural heritage archives in the United Kingdom and the United States. Part of an ongoing project, this analysis utilizes text analysis and topic modeling to identify key characteristics in discourse and compare them to oft-used scholarly conceptions of archives and their purposes. This poster summarizes initial results from the project and highlights the potential of digital humanities capabilities in archival studies.