Local Digital Projects Hit The Big Time

This no longer counts as breaking news since the notifications were posted more than a month ago, but since this week is the week of the two big disciplinary humanities conference, the American Historical Association Annual Meeting in Denver and the Modern Language Association Annual Convention right here in Philadelphia, it is a good moment to send our congratulations to two locally-based digital projects, which are the recipients of the main prizes for digital projects of the respective organizations.

Goin’ North: Stories form the First Great Migration to Philadelphia (https://goinnorth.org) from our West Chester University colleagues Janneken Smucker and Charles Hardy was awarded the AHA’s Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History. https://www.historians.org/awards-and-grants/past-recipients/roy-rosenzweig-prize-recipients. The awardees were recently featured in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20161231_Dusty_tapes_to_innovative_website__tales_from_African_Americans__Great_Migration.html

Colored Conventions: Bringing Nineteenth-Century Black Organizing to Digital Life (http://coloredconventions.org) from our University of Delaware colleagues P. Gabrielle Forman, Jim Casey, Sarah Lynn Patterson, and David J. Kim was awarded the MLA’s Prize for a Bibliography, Archive or Digital Project. https://www.mla.org/Resources/Career/MLA-Honors-and-Awards/Winners-of-MLA-Prizes/Biennial-Prize-and-Award-Winners/MLA-Prize-for-a-Bibliography-Archive-or-Digital-Project-Winners.

Our warmest congratulations to both! Truly as sign that great digital humanities work is being done in the Greater Delaware Valley.

Upcoming Event: Presentation at GLAM Cafe, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Tuesday, December 13

Join us for a regularly scheduled GLAM Cafe and PhillyDH meeting on Tuesday, December 13, at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, starting at 5:00. There will be a presentation by Margaret Graham, who will discuss “In Her Own Right: Women Asserting Their Civil Rights, 1820-1920”, a new digital collections project involving Philadelphia-area institutions.

The multi-institution project focuses on historical materials documenting the struggle for women’s rights in the century leading to the passage of the 19th Amendment. Featuring materials from PACSCL (Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries) collections, the project looks at the region’s tradition of women working to expand their rights and opportunities, and examines the ways in which many different women were working in different spheres in support of women’s social, cultural and political rights.

The co-principal investigators are Margaret Graham, Managing Archivist, Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center, Margery N. Sly, Director of Temple University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, and Heather Willever-Farr, Manager of Digital Services, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Margaret has been leading the project’s technology working group and will discuss content, metadata, and technology at the GLAM Cafe at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on December 13, 2016, 6.00 p.m. Learn more about GLAM Cafe at: https://www.meetup.com/GLAM-Cafe-Philadelphia/

Upcoming Event: Project Launch, Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History through Political Cartoons, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Wednesday, September 16, 6-7:30pm

On Wednesday September 16, 2015 (6:00-7:30pm), the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) will host an event to premier the digital history exhibit, Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History through Political Cartoons. The digital exhibit will showcase a new open source image viewer and historic political cartoons that have been encoded in XML following Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5 guidelines. Please join us on September 16th at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as project staff will discuss and demonstrate the features of the new site. This will be followed by a document display featuring political cartoons, including an original Thomas Nast artwork and a reception. Please register for this free event at http://hsp.org/calendar/politics-in-graphic-detail-exploring-history-through-political-cartoons.

When: Wednesday, September 16
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Where: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Register for event: http://hsp.org/calendar/politics-in-graphic-detail-exploring-history-through-political-cartoons
Cost: FREE

About the project:

Over the course of the last two years, HSP has been working on a digital project intended to improve the image viewer that displays digitized materials from our collections. Our aim was to enhance discoverability and description of collection items, particularly of graphic materials, and engender content-sharing and linking among fellow institutions and scholars. This project, known as “Historic Images, New Technologies,” officially comes to an end on August 31 and the Politics in Graphic Detail exhibit site launches online on September 1. Politics in Graphic Detail, the result of our efforts, will feature the newly improved image viewer, along with annotated political cartoons from our archive.

Project Launch: College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education

The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education at Bryn Mawr College, in partnership with the Seven Sisters archives, announces College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education (www.collegewomen.org).

With the support of a one-year Foundations planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the seven women’s colleges once known as the “Seven Sisters” launch CollegeWomen: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education. College Women brings together—for the first time online—digitized letters, diaries, scrapbooks and photographs of women who attended the seven partner institutions: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, and Radcliffe (now the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University). These seven colleges, historically regarded as the equivalent of the Ivy League before those schools admitted women, have long stood at the forefront of women’s higher education in the United States, educating many of the most ambitious, socially conscious, and intellectually curious women in the country. As they were exposed to the novel academic and social landscapes of college life, many of these women actively chronicled their student experiences and ambitions through extensive letter writing, diary-keeping, scrapbooking, and photography. Their materials, which document a new era of women’s campus cultures, have been preserved in the libraries of the seven schools and serve as a rich resource for understanding a wide range of issues in women’s history and beyond. College Women makes these treasures available online and searchable together for the first time, enabling researchers to consider student materials in a larger context of movements for women’s education and expanded opportunities for women in American society.

College Women is currently available in a beta version, featuring 300 photographs, letters, diaries and scrapbooks from the seven partner institutions. The institutions will be expanding the content in the coming years as more historical documents are digitized and catalogued. This innovative project also demonstrates the potential for creating new research opportunities for students and scholars when institutions collaborate on building digital collections.

The project grew out of discussions among the institutions that began in 2012, led by The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education at Bryn Mawr College. In the Spring of 2014 the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a planning grant to Bryn Mawr College on behalf of the group to develop a portal and set common standards for cataloging and indexing their collections. Staff members at the libraries of all seven institutions have worked in teams over the last year to design and test the site and develop standards for its operation.

Design and construction of the site was done by Interactive Mechanics, LLC of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The project also received advice from a team of leading scholars in the fields of women’s history, history of education, women’s archives, and the digital humanities: Ellen Gruber Garvey (New Jersey City University), Helen Horowitz (Smith College), Mary Kelley (University of Michigan), Laura Mandell (Texas A&M University), Katherine Rowe (Smith College), and Susan N. Tucker (Tulane University).

The College Women beta site has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


For additional information, contact:

Eric Pumroy, Associate Chief Information Officer and Director of Special Collections Bryn Mawr College | [email protected]

Monica Mercado, Director of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education at Bryn Mawr College | [email protected]

Upcoming Event: Official Launch Event, Workshop and Panel Discussion for Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera (R-CADE), May 1

Please join us for the launch of the Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera. This event will be a workshop and panel discussion of the GameBoy Camera, and both events are open to the public. More details below…

Shoot, View, Play: A Study of the GameBoy Camera

On May 1, The Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center will officially launch the Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera (R-CADE). The R-CADE is a collection of hardware and software made available to scholars for research purposes. Unlike many archives, the R-CADE does not necessarily aim to preserve these artifacts, at least not in the traditional sense of this word. Scholars are free to take apart, dissect, and repurpose artifacts in the R-CADE as they attempt to understand their historical and cultural significance.

The May 1 launch event will focus on the GameBoy Camera, which was one of the earliest digital cameras on the market and which also allowed users to take pictures of themselves three years prior to the emergence of the term “selfie.” Scholars will convene to discuss the device’s historical and cultural significance and to share their own attempts to remake and repurpose the camera.

The event will include both a workshop and a panel discussion about the object. During the workshop, Patrick LeMieux (Duke University) will lead a group of students and faculty in hacking and reconfiguring the GameBoy Camera. Workshop participants will construct their own GameBoy cartridges. During the afternoon panel discussion, a group of scholars will share their investigations into the GameBoy camera. That panel discussion will feature: Elizabeth Demaray (Associate Professor of Fine Art, Rutgers-Camden), Meredith Bak (Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies, Rutgers-Camden), Grant Wythoff (Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University), and Patrick LeMieux (Ph.D. student in Media Arts+Sciences, Duke University).

The workshop will take place in the ModLab (Fine Arts 215) at Rutgers-Camden from 10:00am until 1:00pm, and the panel discussion will take place in Fine Arts 110 from 1:30pm until 3:30pm. Both events are open to the public.


DPLA Pennsylvania Aggregator Prototype

As part of the efforts to start building a Pennsylvania DPLA hub, we have recently completed a PA DPLA aggregator prototype:

It currently contains 136,419 records from 157 collections and 29 PA institutions!

The prototype was developed from December 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, using the Hydra Open Source software platform. Through the process, we were also able to develop our familiarity with DPLA’s technical and metadata requirements, understand workflow challenges, and start testing the organizational structure proposed.

For more information about what the prototype is (and what it is not), and how you can get your institution involved in this exciting project, please check the About page:

Thank you so much to the PA DPLA Aggregator Prototype Team (Linda Ballinger, PSU; Doreva Belfiore, Temple U.; Mohamed Berray, PSU; William Fee, State Library; Andrew Gearhart, PSU; Ben Goldman, PSU; Patricia Hswe, PSU; Delphine Khanna, Temple U.; Katherine Lynch, Temple U.; Steven Ng, Temple U.; and Kristen Yarmey, U. of Scranton).

And thank you also to all the institutions who accepted to have their collections harvested for testing purposes and worked with us to iron out technical difficulties.

Let the project team know if you have any questions or comments.

Upcoming Event: Launch Event for “Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Great War,” at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, June 26

Join the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and collaborating institutions in the Delaware Valley (American Philosophical Society, Chemical Heritage Foundation, College of Physicians, Library Company of Philadelphia, Swarthmore College, Villanova University) for the launch of “Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Great War,” a digital resource highlighting little-known primary source materials relating to World War I. In commemoration of the war’s centennial, partner organizations will curate and contribute Great War content to the site throughout 2014-2018, starting with the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 2014.

A launch event for the project will be held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (1300 Locust Street) on June 26th, 2014 at 6:00 pm. The event will include physical and digital document displays of WWI materials, and Peter Williams, author of Philadelphia: The World War I Years, will be speaking on life in Philadelphia during the First World War. A reception will follow the discussion. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. For additional information and to register, please visit: http://hsp.org/calendar/home-before-the-leaves-fall-philadelphia-and-the-first-world-war

Congratulations to the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia


Great news for Charlene Miers, MARCH, and the staff of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia! They are recipients of a 2-year grant from the NEH to accelerate content development. The grant is for $300,000. Congratulations!

Thanks in part to suggestions made at THATCamp Philly 2012, the Encyclopedia has also launched a new and improved website, which you can access here: http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/


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