Jul 25

Digital Humanities and Its Implications for Libraries and their Patrons: Part 3

An Interview with Harriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Matt Conner, Librarian at the University of California, Davis, and author of a newly released book, The New Library: Four Case Studies (ALA)

Editor’s Note: This interview is the final post in a three-part series of interviews with Harriett Green, conducted by Matt Conner, about digital humanities.

PART 3: Promotion of Digital Humanities to a New Audience

Matt: Can you tell me about your liaison work with departments and how you promote digital humanities?

Harriett: My approach has been to take up embedded librarianship where you really try to get involved with the faculty and students in the department.

So, I’ve been reaching out with anything from email newsletters to showing up at department events. There were a couple professors who already have pretty strong ties to the library and came in a lot already. Sometimes just talking to them about the collection and their class needs has led to me saying, “I can teach a class. Or send your students in and I can have research consultations with them.” I think I’m beginning to build more instruction programming and outreach and finding different ways to support them.

Matt: What kind of instruction do you do?

Harriett: The 300 and 400 level classes are where I’m working because introductory writing is handled by the undergraduate library. I’m doing research sessions such as showing ProQuest Historical Newspapers, how to use primary resources, how to approach the research process. I also include MLA, ABELL, and the Literature Resource Center, and I show how to find secondary sources. It seems that in the lower level classes, the 100 to even the early 300, they’re mostly just using the primary text and doing close readings. It’s not until the 300s and 400s where they’re doing the research that the professor feels like I should bring them in. But a lot of professors do take students to the rare book and manuscript library as well.

Digital Humanities and Teaching Practices

Matt: Is there a sense of how digital humanities is changing instruction as opposed to research? Are they using these tools in class? I mean I guess they would informally but are there changes in instruction that you can speak to?

Harriett: Yes, definitely. I’ve read about it a lot more than I’ve actually done it. But there’s definitely this movement that they call digital pedagogy where they’re talking about using these kinds of tools in the classroom, teaching students how to code. Teaching basic tools like having students blog and document their thought processes and that way. There’s a blog on Chronicle of Higher Education called ProfHacker. It’s a group blog by academics, and several have talked about digital pedagogy and what they’re doing specifically to incorporate it into the classroom. There are several good examples of small digital humanities projects that bring students into the research process. For the past couple years, Kate Benzel, an English professor from the University of Nebraska at Kearney was using our Carl Sandburg Archive. We digitized a bunch of his letters and notes, and she and a student were marking up the digitallly transcribed Sandburg’s notes in TEI text encoding. In his notes, he writes marginalia referring back to classical texts and other texts that he used for his poetry. And they were marking up that marginalia, then going back and finding the source texts for those marginalia and linking it to his poetry. I think that’s the kind of digital pedagogy that people are doing which is having students use these digital tools to look at the text closely and do close readings.

Matt: So, it’s not just the passive reception on a screen of what tools can do. Students are actually getting in and doing it.

Harriett: Right and having students use these tools in different ways. And it’s becoming a larger and larger movement as digital humanities really kind of started as research. Now they’ve done research and they want to know how to bring it into the classroom.


Jul 09

ACRL-ULS Fostering Leadership through 2014 Emerging Leaders

Editor’s Note:  Nataly Blas, Business Librarian, Loyola Marymount University

The creation of the program Emerging Leaders (EL) has been one of several initiatives ALA has developed in order to foster the growth of leadership skills in early career librarians. ACRL-ULS has taken an active role in promoting leadership opportunities to librarians by sponsoring one participant of the Emerging Leaders program. This year, I feel very fortunate and am thankful to ULS for sponsoring my participation in the EL program. Emerging Leaders kicks off with a leadership workshop during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Afterward, it grows and develops in an online learning and networking environment. The program concludes with a poster session presentation to display the results of the project planning work of each group at the ALA Annual Conference.

The ULS sponsorship adds to the Emerging Leaders experience by providing insight to an ACRL section and allowing exploration among the various ULS committees. As an early career librarian, participating in an ALA committee can seem a bit intimidating – the ULS sponsorship alleviates the first-time jitters by extending a warm welcome. As the EL program approaches its end in ALA Annual, the Emerging Leader will participate in an ACRL ULS committee and is given the opportunity to further develop their leadership potential by networking with fellow academic librarians and collaborating in ULS projects.

The EL program has been a fulfilling experience that has sharpened my leadership skills and has given me the opportunity to network with other leaders in our profession. My team, Team L, was charged with developing a marketing and communication plan for ALA’s Learning Round Table. As part of our project, we surveyed its members in order to ascertain communication preferences and current involvement with the round table. Team L developed a plan based on the survey findings – the marketing and communication plan includes goals and objectives which encompass social media, website maintenance, branding, outreach, and assessment.

I look forward to the culminating Emerging Leaders poster session in the 2014 ALA Annual Conference and participating in ACRL ULS! I am also delighted to work with the former ULS Emerging Leader and talented librarian, Tarida Anantachai and look forward for the announcement of the 2015 ULS sponsored EL participant!


Jun 24

Digital Humanities and Its Implications for Libraries and their Patrons: Part 2

An Interview with Harriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Matt Conner, Librarian at the University of California, Davis, and author of a newly released book, The New Library: Four Case Studies (ALA)

Editor’s Note: This interview is the second in a three-part series of interviews with Harriett Green, conducted by Matt Conner, about digital humanities.

Part 2: Digital Humanities and the Profession

Matt: So, now I’m interested in what happens when you have this kind of product. So, you have an online digital project integrating text and maps and so forth. The faculty are so guided by tenure requirements and publishing. Do they use this for teaching? What happens to these projects?

Harriett: That’s another big issue that comes up especially if you read news about digital humanities in places like the Chronicle of Higher Education. Scholars do this for their research too. They spend an immense amount of hours gathering these materials and putting them together. So, you could almost say it’s like a book online in the sense that they have put together this huge archive, interpreted it, analyzed it, and made this interpretive product, this scholarly product, that other people can use for research.

Some of them use it for teaching and they get their students to work with them too. But they also do it as research projects. That’s what’s coming up more and more as faculty are getting into digital humanities: How can I show that this is just as much of a scholarly endeavor as that book? They are slowly making some progress. And some people are able to get tenure on digital portfolios and digital types of research, and even gain scholarly prominence through blogging.

Matt: You showed me a list of journals that were devoted to digital humanities-type work. So, outside of that, how much of an impact are they having on the journal American Literature or PMLA? Are they getting what we would call impact factor?

Harriett: More and more actually. At MLA 2012 in Seattle, there was a ton of panels on digital humanities and digital humanities projects. There was almost a sense that “This is what’s going to save our discipline.”

Matt: There is great angst about what’s going to happen in English.

Harriett: PMLA published a special issue edited by Bethany Nowiskie who has a Ph.D. in English and directs a digital humanities lab within UVA Libraries called Scholar’s Lab. And that issue of the PMLA journal was all about digital humanities. Shakespeare Quarterly did an open access issue that wasn’t digital humanities per se, but they had an open access issue where they had people submit articles online and review online, and that’s intertwined with digital humanities as well. Not just to submit to a journal but also engage in open access and open peer review. To bring your scholarship out into the open as well.

There’s many different ways that people have incorporated digital tools and digital methods into their work. SAHARA is a digital archive produced by Society for Architectural Historians, and the SAH also has a journal that very much incorporates digital images and audio into the published articles. So, many different humanities disciplines are starting to at least be aware of open access and trying different ways of scholarly communication and publishing.

New Discoveries by Digital Humanities

Matt: Do you have a sense of the new body of work that’s come out of this? Are we learning new things based on the frequency of some word or are we learning some new thing about the texts?

Harriett: Yes, I think we have. There have been articles that shed light on trends in Victorian literature, like how sentimental the novels truly were. Or, in digital history we can now compile thousands of different accounts and see how people were migrating and how they viewed different events. There are definitely projects that have started to reveal new insights into texts or new trends in history.

 


Jun 20

ACRL ULS/DLS Joint Social

Interested in university libraries, distance learning, or in just casually meeting some fellow librarians? Join us at ALA for the first ever joint ULS/DLS social. The social will be at Grill 55, Wine Room, at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, 3400 Paradise Road / Las Vegas, NV 89169-2770 (http://www.renaissancelasvegas.com/dinings/grill-55.aspx) on Saturday, June 28 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm.  Enjoy appetizers and a cash bar, while also networking with fellow ULS and DLS members and other conference attendees.

From the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Renaissance is less than a 10 minute walk–see map here: https://goo.gl/maps/zKdZJ .  We hope to see you there!


Jun 19

ACRL ULS Members-Only Online Discussion: July 14th

ACRL ULS Members-Only Online Discussion: July 14th

brought to you by the ULS Membership Committee

Reorganizing for the Future
Monday, July 14, 2014
2 PM – 3 PM (EDT)

Do you work in a “library of the future”? Would you like to learn how to reorganize so that yours can be such a library?

Join the ACRL ULS Committee on the Future of University Libraries in an online moderated discussion about how several university libraries evaluated existing resources in order to pave the way for new services. What efficiencies were found in operations? What tough decisions to modify or eliminate existing services were considered? How did reorganization free up resources to help the organization move forward?

For the discussion, we have gathered five stories that describe successful library reorganizations that support the future of the library. The writers of three of the stories will form a panel to discuss your questions using the stories as starting points for investigating how to set priorities, create efficiencies, follow aspirations, overcome constraints, and take advantage of opportunities. Below are some glimpses to get you thinking.

The online discussion is free. To register, please see https://acrl.webex.com/acrl/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=661077865. ACRL ULS members are offered first priority.

 

Priorities
Closing and merging libraries forced a focus on library priorities. “We closed and merged libraries, reviewed the library’s priorities, redeployed the staff, implemented innovative ways to develop, purchase and catalog materials, re-imagined the delivery of library services, and re-defined the roles of librarian and support staff.” [Read the whole story #1.]

Efficiencies
A whole library reorganization led to successful efficiencies. “The Review simultaneously created staff capacity that was re-deployed in areas where the Libraries are growing, and was informed by a staff survey that allowed people to articulate their strengths and interests and helped the organization reveal hidden talent and interest.” [Read the whole story #2.]

Aspirations
Restructuring is embraced to focus on future aspirations. “…University Libraries are nearing the end of a self-evaluation intended to prepare the organization for the change from an environment based on print resources to one built on digital materials.” [Read the whole story #3.]

Constraints
Budget constraints prompted the formation of a new access services department. “The new group began by identifying successes to replicate…. User needs, workflows, and capacity were analyzed, to leverage limited resources for maximum benefit. … [Operations] were standardized for efficient and consistent service.” [Read the whole story #4.]

Opportunities
Reorganization provided opportunities within access services units. “The goals of the Access Services reorganization for … libraries included removal of silos, increased cross-training of staff to flex during high-impact periods and to better inform workflows across divisions, re-envisioning the staffing and labor of certain service points, and integration of functions with Technical Services.” [Read the whole story #5.]

 

STORIES

Story #1.

The McGill Library faced a $1.8M cut in March 2013, representing 5.2% of the Library budget. A retirement program was implemented by the administration of McGill University in order to help reach the target. Although more than 30 (of 180) library staff members accepted the retirement package, the Library was not allowed to replace any of them. The “new retirees” left in July 2013, so an emergency plan was developed and implemented over the spring and summer 2013. The Library administration closed and merged libraries (including the Medical Library), reviewed the library’s priorities, redeployed the staff, implemented innovative ways to develop, purchase and catalog materials, re-imagined the delivery of library services, and re-defined the roles of librarians and support staff.  In addition, we dealt with dissatisfaction and negative publicity from faculty members, students … and unfortunately our staff.

Carole Urbain, Director, Academic Affairs, McGill University Library

 

Story #2.

In Fall 2011 the University of Minnesota Libraries undertook an organizational review with the intention to restructure the organization to better support the strategic plan and directions. The review concluded in April 2012 resulting in a greatly altered Libraries structure that coalesced expertise from across the organization around broad strategic directions.  The structural changes, while foundational, perhaps obscure some of the smaller, impactful intentions and outcomes of the process.  The organization adopted a “zone” model in which it increased supervisory spans and decreased structural layers signifying greater emphasis on managerial work and leadership (with still unfolding positive results!).  Work became more efficiently distributed across each zone, moving away from a model where functional expertise was replicated in each individual library, large and small.

In the newly formed Research and Learning Division (encompassing Public Service functions), Departmental Directors and Managers assumed the majority of Administrative and Operational Management responsibilities; thereby allowing Subject Liaisons and other specialist professionals (Instructional Design and Delivery, Copyright,  Data Services as examples) to more significantly focus on supporting those needs. New horizontal structures (Instructional Coordinators, Research Services, Data Management Curation) were created to provide the opportunity for increased focus in these areas while ensuring coordination across the organization. The Review simultaneously created staff capacity that was re-deployed in areas where the Libraries is growing, and was informed by a staff survey that allowed people to articulate their strengths and interests and helped the organization reveal that hidden talent and interest. At present, roughly 2 years out from initial changes, the organization is working through review and fine-tuning of the new structure to ensure continued focus on the intended outcomes.

Jeffrey S. Bullington, Director, Physical Sciences and Engineering Libraries, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

And

Philip Herold, Research & Learning Director for Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

 

Story #3.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst University Libraries are nearing the end of a self-evaluation intended to prepare the organization for the change from an environment based on print resources to one built on digital materials. The Digital Strategies group, a committee that plans the Libraries’ digital activities focusing on digital content created or collected by the libraries, charged a task force to implement a strategic plan calling for integration of digital content and services into the Libraries’ workflow.

The Task Force began with some basic premises:

  • Collection and curation of unique content was paramount
  • Our Libraries did not intend to form a centralized Digital Library or Digital Projects office
  • Many existing positions in our organization were created to serve a bibliographic work environment, and that environment has changed dramatically

As the Task Force worked through these challenges the group members realized that the incorporation of unique digital materials and services into the mainstream workflows of the Libraries would require an examination of most aspects of the Libraries’ current structure and functions. Through its examination of individual units, the group has explored many topics including:

  • Recognizing the existence of a “shadow library” that accomplishes necessary tasks outside the formal organizational structure and how to incorporate it into the structure
  • Developing a pool of non-MARC metadata creation specialists
  • Developing a R&D/skunkworks/sandbox aspect to the organization
  • The redefinition of a subject liaison’s role
  • Developing cultures (i.e., new ways of thinking) throughout the Libraries
  • Re-tasking existing bibliographic positions for work with digital resources

The Task Force is nearing the end of its charge and is still having strong discussions about the organization and its future. We welcome opportunities to share our experiences with other libraries.

Brian P. Shelburne, Head, Image Collection Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

Story #4.

The MIT Libraries reorganized in 2010. Services, collections and staff were brought together by functions, toward the goal of  “One Library, One Collection.” The new organization’s shape was framed by the need to deliver services to an interdisciplinary research community working on a 24×7 basis across the globe, as well as a shift toward digital content. The organization’s size was constrained by economic realities.

Access Services for MIT’s four main libraries, Resource Sharing, Scanning, and Storage were merged into a new department called Information Delivery and Library Access (ID&LA). This diverse portfolio of programs came together as a patchwork quilt. Customer service, including collections as services, was the common thread joining together forty staff across varied locations, schedules, and service cultures.

Each of the teams within ID&LA was composed of talented staff, however, few had previously worked together to jointly solve problems. The new group began by identifying successes to replicate, toward solutions at scale. User needs, workflows, and capacity were analyzed, to leverage limited resources for maximum benefit. Many operations were standardized for efficient and consistent service, with some flexibility to support targeted user communities.

Early actions included encouraging staff to work across service points outside of their home library, centralizing electronic and print course reserves services, creating new approaches for stacks management, and integrating the retrieval of materials from the stacks for both patron requests and resource sharing transactions. Two unmediated borrowing services were added to extend the reach of MIT’s collections. Borrowing periods were increased to reduce barriers to access. An ‘auto-renew’ service will soon launch to save patrons time by anticipating their needs.  Expanded delivery of library materials to offices or dormitories is under active discussion.  ID&LA now leads improvements to the MIT Libraries facilities to increase support for collaborative learning and innovation.

Christine Quirion, Head, Information Delivery & Library Access, MIT Libraries

 

Story #5.

In 2009, Harvard University offered the first of two subsequent early retirement packages to staff and the ensuing Harvard College Library reorganizations, while prompted in part by a need to maintain workflows in light of the changes in staffing, provided the opportunity to review all workflows and ensure the skill sets of the staff were being used effectively.  This description focuses on the Department of Access Services within Widener and Lamont libraries, the main research and undergraduate libraries, respectively. 

The goals of the Access Services reorganization for Widener and Lamont libraries included removal of silos, increased cross-training of staff to flex during high-impact periods and to better inform workflows across divisions, re-envisioning the staffing and labor of certain service points, and integration of functions with Technical Services.  Specific goals included:

  • Commitment to cross training
  • Commitment to collections security
  • Staff participation in teams for policy and workflow oversight
  • Excellent customer service, internal and external
  • Information literacy for reference triage

Access Services staffing was reduced by over 30% as a result of early retirements, attrition, and the elimination of a category of less than half-time employee. Simultaneously, we were working with the campus-wide library community to ensure the launch of a new Scan and Deliver service with no additional labor. Additionally, after a hiatus, we reincorporated Serials check-in with no additional labor, including retrospective check-in. 

The tools used to effect the change included a Skills Assessment of all Access Services staff in Widener and Lamont libraries to ensure that librarians and library staff had the opportunity to self-assess their contributions and potential in addition to assessments by managers.  Concurrently, working groups were created for the various functional areas comprised of librarians and library staff to ensure that all perspectives and expertise were informing changes to workflows and services.

The reorganization began with the Widener Access Services divisions of Privileges, Circulation, Interlibrary Loan, Harvard Depository Transfer, Stacks Management, and Serials, and eventually included the Access Services Department for Lamont Library (undergraduate library).

Follow these links to fuller reports on the process and results.

http://hcl.harvard.edu/news/articles/2010/access_services_reorg.cfm

http://hcl.harvard.edu/news/articles/2009/scan_and_deliver.cfm

Cheryl McGrath, Director, MacPháidín Library and Archives, Stonehill College


Jun 09

ULS All-Committees Meeting at ALA Annual

If you will be at ALA Annual in Vegas, please consider coming to our ULS All-Committees Meeting!

WHEN: Sunday, June 29, 2014 – 3:00pm to 4:00pm
WHERE: Las Vegas Convention Center Exhibit Hall, Mtg Rm C
LINK: http://ala14.ala.org/node/15029

These are open committee meetings for ULS. Anyone is welcome to visit if you’re interested in joining a committee next year or learning more about ULS. Some committees will officially meet but others will just have members present to answer questions. Committees present include: Academic Outreach Committee , Campus Administration and Leadership Discussion Group, Committee on the Future of University Libraries, Communications Committee, Conference Program Planning, Membership Committee, Nominating 2014 Committee, and Technology in University Libraries Committee.

ULS in ALA Connect http://connect.ala.org/acrl_uls
ULS blog: http://www.acrl.ala.org/ULS/

Hope to see you there!
Beth, ULS Chair 2013/14


Jun 02

ULS/DLS Session at ALA Annual: Leading From the Side

Now that the conference scheduler is available, are you figuring out what great sessions to attend at ALA Annual this year? Be sure to add this one about leading through innovation and creativity to the list!

Session flyer

 

Moderator: Carrie Moran, UCF Regional Librarian, Valencia College Osceola
Speaker: Jade G. Winn, Assistant Dean for Instruction, Assessment & Engagement, University of Southern California
Speaker: Kyle Denlinger, eLearning Librarian, Wake Forest University
Speaker: Wm. Joseph Thomas, Assistant Director for Research and Scholarly Communication, East Carolina University

Description: In collaboration, DLS and ULS bring together academic librarians to speak about their roles as leaders within their institutions, not through administrative authority but through innovation and creativity, with special emphasis on the changing landscapes of digital research and distance learning. Panelists will discuss their experiences including: communicating effectively to foster innovation; developing a self-awareness of leadership potential while recognizing that potential in others; and building coalitions horizontally and vertically within an organization.


May 28

ULS Social at ALA Annual

Interested in university libraries, distance learning, or in just casually meeting some fellow librarians? The ACRL University Libraries Section (ACRL-ULS) and ACRL Distance Learning Section (ACRL-DLS) have combined forces to host a joint social to help you unwind after a busy Saturday of programs! Enjoy appetizers and a cash bar, while also networking with fellow ULS and DLS members and other conference attendees.

When: Saturday, June 28, 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Where: Grill 55 Wine Room, Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, 3400 Paradise Road

For more information and to RSVP, check out the event’s Facebook page.


May 22

Congratulations to the new ULS officers!

The following University Libraries Section members have been elected to the ULS Executive Committee:

Vice-Chair/Chair Elect: Jason Martin

Members-at-large: Amanda Peters + Drew Smith

And thanks to everyone who ran for office!

Full ACRL election results are available on the ALA website.


May 19

Digital Humanities and Its Implications for Libraries and their Patrons: Part 1

An Interview with Harriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Matt Conner, Librarian at the University of California, Davis, and author of a newly released book, The New Library: Four Case Studies (ALA)

Editor’s Note: This interview is the first in a three-part series of interviews with Harriett Green, conducted by Matt Conner, about digital humanities.

Part 1: History and Culture of Digital Humanities

Matt: So, I’m very interested in the digital humanities, and the context I’m operating from is an impression that the sciences are much more active in new library developments and communications technology because apparently they initiated some of this after WWII. This is from my reading of library history where there was so much technology with the war that the sciences caught on. There were computers and automation. It was natural for the sciences to get involved, and today they are at the forefront with ebooks, for example. And physicists use their tool arXiv to publish directly online. My impression is that the humanities are really lagging and they’re very traditional.

Harriett: It’s a mix of factors. There are a number of people doing work in digital humanities that’s right on par with what people are doing in e-science and e-social science in terms of text mining, data mining, and mining their archive.

There’s a disciplinary orientation: With the sciences and the social sciences, the way they use their data, the way they process their data, the way they share their data and share research lends itself much more easily to automation, to publishing things online, to pushing out huge data sets. Whereas the way the humanities works, from literature to the performing arts, is that you have texts—you have performance—things that aren’t so reducible to data. So, the way that the humanities do research, and the way they delve into the text or the art or the image requires more visceral elements that you can’t reduce down to data.

And so with digital humanities, the challenge has been putting the materials that they use for research in a digital archive that is usable. You can scan texts, but how high is the quality of the scan? With images: can you get it in a high enough resolution to see all the aspects to be able to interpret the image? So, I think part of the challenge is getting the research archive into a form that they can use online and then producing tools to analyze the archive.

Again, I think for science and social science with the way they interpret, analyze and use their research, the tools that are out there lend themselves much more to that kind of work. The humanists, on the other hand, are trying to do close readings of the text, trying to find trends, or extract some new way that the author is looking at the text or the history.

What Is Digital Humanities?

Matt: So, when I was finishing up a degree in English in the late 90s, the big contribution of the new technology was to mount manuscripts so that medievalists and Early Modernists would no longer have to travel to examine them in person. They could see them online. They could get all the marginalia and the illustrations, as well as the actual text. That was a connection that was really clear to me. So are you in the business of scanning things to get them into databases now?

Harriett: Not as much: Google and commercial publishers are doing increasingly more digitization, and libraries are still digitizing their collections–we have our Digital Content Creation unit at Illinois that digitizes a lot of our holdings. But if you actually look at grants for the NEH or even IMLS, they won’t fund solely digitization. Perhaps when you were in school that was a research endeavor, where now it’s more like processing in the sense of cataloging. I work with faculty after all that work is done, who are doing actual research. So getting the OCR, the optical character recognition, scanning the text behind the text, and then analyzing it through text-mining or doing network analysis of the different people who are mentioned in the text or something like that.

The Products of Digital Humanities

Harriet: This has been going on for decades. In the early twentieth century you can find scholars who were doing word counting and word frequency by hand and then there was the application of tools since the 60s and 70s and just in the last 20 years, it’s really ramped up.

Matt: So, these tools need some online text to be applied. And you find these texts through Google?

Harriett: Yes or you can use a plain text file from your own library archive. There are also free text archives like Documenting the American South out of the University of North Carolina Libraries. So, there’s some open text archives as well. That’s part of the digital humanities as well: Not only taking collections and texts and digitizing them but also putting them into a form that people can actually use. With a text, you can highlight passages then copy and paste it into Voyant and do all sorts of analysis.

Matt: So, you’ve got word frequency. You’ve got various kinds of visual outputs. Are there other kinds of analysis? Or are those pretty much the methods that people use.

Harriett: That’s one method. So with the Center for New History and New Media [http://chnm.gmu.edu], they have a number of tools as well: Omeka is a visual archive that allows you to build exhibitions. TEI, the Textual Encoding Initiative? With metadata, you mark up information about an object, but with TEI you actually mark up the words and say this is a noun, this is a name, this is a place, that kind of thing. And so then people can datamine texts and say okay what are all the places in this text and then they’ll pull it out based on what’s marked up. Abbot is a tool out of Nebraska that automates the mark up of text into a standardized TEI schema.

Matt: So, people can decide what they want to mark-up based on their project.

Harriett: And you can mark-up manuscripts. The Text Encoding Initiative itself is a big part of the digital humanities, especially for literature and the marking-up of texts. For example, Civil War Washington has a database where you can find people that are in documents from the Civil War era in Washington, D.C. and you can look at maps. Another big part of digital humanities is maps: GIS, geo-location, layering maps with different information which they’ve done as well.

Matt: This text mark-up feature sounds metadata like, but it’s not. It’s built into the tool.

Harriett: With metadata you just apply it, whereas textual mark-up is actually much more of a research intensive process because you’re reading the text and deciding whether this is a quote or this is a person that I want to make sure comes out in the text. So, it’s almost a close reading of a sort when you do text encoding. And there are articles out there on this by leading scholars like Julia Flanders and Sid Bauman.


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