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MITH awarded HathiTrust Research Center grant

MITH is pleased to announce that we have been awarded $39,690 from the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) for a prototyping grant in support of the HTRC’s Workset Creation For Scholarly Analysis project. In collaboration with HTRC, MITH will develop a prototype application to facilitate the distributed correction and enhancement of HathiTrust metadata records.

This work builds directly on several previous MITH projects, including a system for HathiTrust metadata correction developed by Travis Brown, MITH Assistant Director of Research and Development, as part of a partnership between MITH and the Princeton Prosody Archive, as well as work with Faculty Fellow Peter Mallios and the Foreign Literatures in America (FLA) team. We are excited to be pushing this work forward in ways that will help make the HathiTrust an increasingly useful resource for scholars.

As part of this new project, MITH will continue to collaborate with Mallios and the FLA team to develop a set of services and interfaces that will allow the FLA project (and other projects like it) to pull metadata records from the HathiTrust, correct and annotate these records using standardized vocabularies, gather corrections and annotations from other teams or scholars, and export enhanced metadata in formats suitable for publication as linked data. . . . Continue Reading

MITH’s Research & Collections featured on NPR’s All Things Considered

When National Public Radio’s daily news show All Things Considered wanted to do a piece on the challenges of digital archives and preservation, they contacted MITH about coming to our offices for an interview.  Last week, Audie Cornish came to MITH and interviewed several of our research staff including Executive Director Neil Fraistat, Associate Director Trevor Muñoz, and BitCurator Community Lead Porter Olsen, regarding MITH’s various projects related to digital archives and digital forensics, including the Deena Larsen Collection, the Bill Bly Collection of Electronic Literature, and the BitCurator Project.

The resulting piece will air TODAY, April 9th, on All Things Considered.  Check the NPR site to discover your local air time(s).  If you missed the show, it will be available soon on both the MITH site as well as on NPR.

Click here to visit the blog for All Tech Considered, the featured segment in which the story will air.

And: Join Us for a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” at 3 PM Eastern Time

Associate Director Trevor Muñoz will also be featured on Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” with NPR librarian Janelle Kinlaw starting at 3:00pm Eastern today, April 9th.   . . . Continue Reading

Podcast: New Voices in Digital Curation

Margo Padilla Margo Padilla, National Digital Stewardship ResidentLibrary of Congress and MITH@margo_padilla
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, April 15, 201412:30 pm

Residents from the National Digital Stewardship Residency cohort in Washington, D.C. will present on the digital stewardship projects they are engaged in at their host institutions. Margo Padilla, resident at MITH, will present her work on developing access models for born-digital collections. Molly Schwartz will discuss her project to make digital resources accessible in research libraries and the development of the Accessibility Toolkit for the Association of Research Libraries. Erica Titkemeyer will talk about her work at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, identifying the digital curation requirements of time‐based media art. Lauren Work will discuss the evaluation of at‐risk media to support digitization initiatives at PBS. More information about the residents and the residency program can be found here.

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Two New Start-Up Grants

MITH is delighted to announce that the University of Maryland has been awarded two Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Enhancing Music Notation Addressability (EMA) was awarded $59,971, and will be led by MITH Research Programmer Raffaele Viglianti. EMA originates from the idea that music notation, like text, can be “addressed” in new ways in a digital environment, allowing scholars to identify and name structures of various kinds. However, how can one virtually “circle” a section of music notation? and how can a machine interpret this “circling” to retrieve music notation? To research these questions, we are teaming up with the Du Chemin: Lost Voices project, which is reconstructing songs from 16th c. France.

We will work on analytical music annotations already produced by students and scholars as part of the Du Chemin project and re-model them as Linked Open Data nanopublications. In the sciences, nanopublication is providing the research community with ways of managing attribution and documenting quality of even small contributions. The nanopublication model facilitates accurate citation and promotes massively collaborative scholarship. We seek to extend these benefits to humanities scholarship. . . . Continue Reading

Podcast: There Is No Internet

Lori Emerson Lori Emerson, Assistant Professor of EnglishUniversity of Colorado at Boulder
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, April 1, 201412:30 pm

Emerson will discuss her current two-part book project, titled OTHER NETWORKS, and how it moves through both technical and user-based accounts of networks that outside of or before the Internet, asking both how and for whom each network works (in this case the “whom” will mostly be writers and artists). The project then looks at how the shift from rhetoric that celebrates liberationism via telecommunications networks in the 70s and 80s to rhetoric that calls for libertarianism via the Internet starting in the early to mid-90s may have actually been a kind of release of a repression. While you can trace an almost complete reversal of the meaning of ‘free’ and ‘open’ in relation to distributed networks to communitarian and even socialist, networks in the early 70s such as Community Memory and Project Cybersyn, you can also trace an even earlier reversal – perhaps the true seed of what’s called “cyberlibertarianism” – to the 1960s, in the conceptualization and design of ARPANet and ARPA-related networks that, in the spirit of the managerial theory of the day (just as much or perhaps more than in the spirit of the 1960s counter-culture), emphasized creativity, cooperation, and community. . . . Continue Reading

The Walt Whitman Archive

In the past few months, MITH has been developing software for a project related to the Walt Whitman Archive. The Walt Whitman Archive is an electronic research and teaching tool that sets out to make Whitman’s vast work, for the first time, easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers. Working in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, as well as the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the project team is focusing on Walt Whitman’s annotations and commentary about history, science, theology, and art being discussed during his time. These annotations survived in many forms, either as marginalia and underlinings on books, or as collages of newspaper clippings, or as separate handwritten notes. Studying this material can further our understanding of the poet’s self-education and his compositional methods.

The documents containing Whitman’s annotations have been transcribed and encoded by the project team according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) standard, which allows scholars to precisely describe complex texts with paste-downs, doodles, mixed printed and handwritten content, etc. In the case of Whitman’s marginalia, it has also been possible to encode the editors’ understanding of what exactly the poet highlighted, annotated and commented on. . . . Continue Reading

Podcast: On Not Looking: Ethics and Access in the Digital Humanities

Kimberly-Christen-Withey Kimberly Christen-Withey, Associate Professor of EnglishWashington State University
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, March 25, 201412:30 pm

The digital humanities has its roots in fields of study dedicated to textual analysis and historical examination. The present moment is filled with DH practitioners creating visualizations of ‘big data,’ mapping connections between people and ancient cities, and building archives dedicated to long-dead authors. These worthwhile academic and practical pursuits point us to the center of the digital humanities landscape. But, if we move to the margins and begin to look at the projects and tools that emerge from indigenous communities, archivists and cultural specialists, we see a different pattern: images are purposely removed, archives are not ‘open to the public,’ maps of sacred sites are consciously not created, defined or linked to. How do we integrate these varied practices and philosophies into the possibilities offered by digital humanities scholars? It is one thing to call attention to difference, it is another to alter our display practices, question access parameters, and redefine our own ways of knowing based on systems of accountability that define an ethical field of visuality based on not looking. If seeing is believing and a picture is worth a thousand words, what can we learn from the act of not looking, or perhaps, more specifically, not seeing? . . . Continue Reading

Join MITH! We’re Hiring a Lead Developer

MITH is looking to hire a creative, team-oriented person to be our new Lead Developer. The successful candidate will work collaboratively with other members of the MITH staff on research-intensive projects in the digital humanities.

The Lead Developer will design, write, test, document, and deploy code. The Lead Developer will also establish development milestones, help provide technical management and oversight, and identify emergent technologies and best practices. We envision the person in this position as someone with a strong commitment to research and development who is focused on and excited about building high-quality software that demonstrates new possibilities for humanities research applications.

This position will report to the Associate Director and duties will be split into roughly four categories: Software Development (60%); Management of Development Processes (20%); Systems Architecture (10%); and Engagement with Open Source Software Projects (10%).

MITH both relies on and believes in the value of open source software. We hope that the Lead Developer will participate in supporting third-party projects and libraries that MITH uses. Engagement with open source technology is intentionally construed broadly to include all of the activities that might go into supporting projects. . . . Continue Reading

Podcast: What Falls Out: Preserving Our Digital Heritage with BitCurator

Porter Olsen Porter Olsen, Ph.D. candidate; BitCurator Community Lead (MITH)University of Maryland@pwolsen
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, February 25, 201412:30 pm

Take a moment and open your bottom desk drawer, the one with your old files in it. Rummage around for a bit and push way back until you see the inevitable papers, notes and detritus that have slipped out of various file folder and now lay at the bottom of the drawer. You will undoubtedly find papers back there, but you may also have a floppy disk or two, maybe a CD-ROM from a project long since set aside, or perhaps a flash memory card that has slipped between the folders. However, unlike the paper that surrounds them, these digital media are increasingly inaccessible as the hardware and software needed to access the data they contain are lost to disrepair, obsolescence and bit rot. It is worth taking a moment, while it is still at least possible to recover the data on these legacy drives, to think about what they contain: drafts of work since published, data accumulated over the course of a project, images and design work once painstakingly pored over. Like the leavings at the bottom of a drawer, these digital objects are frequently “what falls out” as we create, research, record and publish our digital work. . . . Continue Reading

Podcast: Heavy Data, Cultural Memories: Lessons from the AIDS Memorial Quilt Digital Experience Project

Anne Balsamo Anne Balsamo, Dean and Professor of Media StudiesThe New School for Public Engagement@annebalsamo
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, February 18, 201412:30 pm

“Epidemics, like wars, mark a generation for life.”

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was created 25 years ago as a work of community activism to protest the appalling lack of attention by the US health agencies to what was then, in 1987, an increase in improbable fatalities among previously healthy gay men in the United States.  Its first inception unfolded in October 1987 on the National Mall in Washington DC as part of the March for Gay Rights; it included 1,920 Quilt panels.  Now 25 years later, the Quilt encompasses more than 48,000 panels, representing 60 countries and commemorating more than 93,000 names.   It is the largest living memorial of its kind in the world.

The Quilt is also an “activist archive” of the late 20th century.  The activities that gave rise to the Quilt in 1987 are part of the history of the campaign for gay and lesbian rights in the US. The Quilt literally stitches together a million memories, a million stories, a million lessons about the relationship between individual lives, public culture, and political activism.  In its textile form, it is an unwieldy archive.  . . . Continue Reading