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The Blaeu Atlas open to a map at the base of Olin Library's Andrew and Jayne Kagan Grand Staircase in the Newman Exploration Center (Level A).
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2022 Humanities Digital Workshop Projects

For the eighth consecutive year, Washington University librarians are participating in the Humanities Digital Workshop (HDW) under the directorship of Joe Loewenstein, professor of English, and with assistance from two staff members from the College of Arts & Sciences Computing division, Douglas Knox and Stephen Pentecost. HDW is an eight-week session that offers training, research, and infrastructure support to faculty interested in expressing their research in digital formats. 

HDW project teams consist of a principal investigator (PI; typically faculty), graduate, undergraduate, and library fellows. For eight weeks, library fellows devote twenty hours each week to their assigned HDW teams. 

HDW has been in existence since 2006, and three to four library fellows have been assisting projects since 2015. This year, the University Libraries fellows are Michael Schaefer, Walter Schlect, Sarah Swanz, Andy Uhrich, and Joan Wang.

Michael Schaefer, history and philosophy librarian, is working with Peter Kastor, professor of history, on his project Creating a Federal Government. Schaefer, along with a graduate and an undergraduate student, is testing out MapBox as a potential custom base map for a future website. While the team isn’t building the website, the members are testing MapBox’s suitability for the kind of website a future developer will build for the project.  

Walter Schlect, Germanic languages & literatures and comparative literature librarian, is working on Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology Ila Sheren’s project, Race and Community Art on the US-Mexico Border: A Collaborative Mapping Project, which aims to temporally and geospatially represent in a digital format artistic endeavors around the border that are either created by or implemented in a communitarian setting. These artworks span a wide range of approaches to medium and authorship, and we seek to understand the ways that artistic production is affected by demographic data, geographic features, and (when available) the security apparatus along the border. 

Sarah Swanz, humanities data curator and data services librarian, assists the different HDW teams with training and consulting on topics like OCR, text mining, OpenRefine, StoryMaps, documentation practices, and accessibility.

Andy Uhrich, curator of Film & Media, is serving as the PI for his project and is working with students on transcribing the audio recordings of the Civil Rights School, which the producers of the groundbreaking documentary Eyes on the Prize attended in the summer of 1985. The School included talks by civil rights historians, legal scholars, and activists. It formed the basis for the history and politics synthesized in Eyes on the Prize. The students are using Otter.ai to create automatically generated transcripts which they then clean up and turn into XML files to eventually provide public access.

Joan Wang, Chinese Studies and East Asian Studies librarian, is supporting three faculty members from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures: Jianqing Chen, Zhao Ma, and H.H. Kang. Wang provides some research consulting for Ma and Kang but is working most closely with Chen, assistant professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and of Film and Media Studies. Her project team is representing paratexts of Chinese books using digital tools and methods. The project aims to reveal the culture and history of Chinese books through their paratextual settings and historical traces imprinted or marked on books. In addition to assembling a corpus of rare Chinese books through access to a Chinese pre-modern books database, the project team is testing applicable digital tools for the purpose of describing and tagging paratexts.

All HDW ’22 groups will give rapid presentations on Thursday, July 21, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm in January Hall 110. Those presentations will be open to the Washington University community.