Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Digital Humanities Around the World in 80 Days

80 links to digital humanities projects around the world, HERE.

Day 8: Arab Image Foundation
Jun 29, 2014 
Established in Beirut in 1997, the Foundation holds a collection of more than 600,000 photographs from the mid-19th century to the present day. The Foundation has produced fifteen exhibitions and eight publications in partnership with international museums, galleries and cultural institutions. The collection has also provided an invaluable resource for artists’ projects, curatorial initiatives and academic research.

The contents of the AIF’s collection reflect both the general preservation mandate of the foundation and the specific research interests of its members. The artists, writers, filmmakers and historians affiliated with the AIF have, to date, initiated research projects in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina and Senegal. The result is a dynamic and at times idiosyncratic collection that does not merely illustrate the history of photography in the region but rather situates a wealth of different photographic practices in a complex field of social, economic, political and cultural factors.


Edited by: David J. Wrisley

Text by: David J. Wrisley

Day 15: Tombouctou Manuscripts Project | مشروع مخطوطات تومبُكتو
Jul 6, 2014 
Concerned initially with the manuscript tradition in Timbuktu, the archive began by digitizing one hundred legal texts from the Mamma Haidara Library in Timbuktu, Mali in 2004. Another sixty texts from the Ahmed Baba were then added. However, some texts were treated to further scrutiny, which included translating them into English.

The project has broadened its scope textually and geographically since then, including collections in Madagascar and Mozambique written in Ajami, collections in Zanzibar in Arabic and Swahili, texts from Somalia, Coptic Christian writings in Ethiopia, and materials in the Addis Ababa archives.

As the project grows and these materials are made available to a wide audience the site has chosen to focus on book history in Africa and the state of archives where these texts may be found. These are key strategies because of the way in which they place African manuscript studies on the global stage:

The former places the African world of books firmly within an international discussion in the growing field of “the history of books”, where it has no presence at the moment. The  latter, a more practical issue, approaches the way in which archives are constituted and appropriated: the politics of the archive. 

Edited by: Tassie Gniady

Text by: Tassie Gniady

Day 41: DH-JAC | 日本文化デジタル・ヒューマニティーズ拠点
Aug 1, 2014 
The Digital Humanities Center for Japanese Arts and Cultures, at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, is designated as a national 21st-Century Center of Excellence and has been dedicated to digital humanities resource building and research for over 10 years. Their original activities were focused on building digital archives and databases with a focus on Japanese and Kyoto-based cultural properties, but more recent years have seen an emphasis on using digital techniques to create further databases, develop methodologies for research using these datasets, and engaging in scholarship on the databases “to increase our understanding of disciplines across the humanities.” They also aim to fill a gap between the research of foreign Japan-based scholars. Their goal is “to adopt a global perspective and to promote the development of Japanese scholars whose skills match those of their foreign counterparts.”

The Center’s various databases include a collection of woodblocks used for printing in the Edo period (Printing Block Browsing System 板木閲覧システム), the Fujii Eikan Collection (藤井永観文庫閲覧システム), ARC Ukiyo-e Search System for Japanese prints (浮世絵検索閲覧システム), the Japanese Ceramic Database (日本陶磁器データベース), and Maps of Japan from the collection of Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi, among others that are listed on the Center’s and Ritsumeikan University Art Research Center’s websites. (Some links are out of date.) They contain extensive digital collections of unique resources and an important contribution to the furthering of access to Japanese cultural heritage online.

The Center is strongly associated with the Ritsumeikan University Art Research Center, which also engages in creating extensive online resources and was recently named a fellow Center of Excellence, as well as the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities (JADH). They hold regular symposia and seminars, offer research and financial support for junior scholars, and participate in the JADH annual conference. The Center additionally invites young scholars from outside Japan to participate in research projects as well as conduct their own research, aiming to “establish [themselves] as a global hub of education.”


Selected by: Alex Gil

Text by: Molly Des Jardin

Day 57: Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
Aug 17, 2014
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on more than 35,000 slave voyages that forcibly embarked over 12 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history. The Database allows you to do many things including
  • Search the Voyages Database. You can look for particular voyages in this database of documented slaving expeditions. Create listings, tables, charts, and maps using information from the database.
  • Examine Estimates of the Slave Trade. Slaves on documented voyages represent four-fifths of the number who were actually transported. Use the interactive estimates page to analyze the full volume and multiple routes of the slave trade.
  • Explore the African Names Database. This database identifies 91,491 Africans taken from captured slave ships or from African trading sites. It displays the African name, age, gender, origin, country, and places of embarkation and disembarkation of each individual. 
The database is the result of decades of work by scholars and institutions from many parts of the world, with the support of several major awards. The construction of the present open access web site, Voyages, was made possible by yet a major award in 2006, and was launched from Emory University. The National Endowment for the Humanities was the source of the bulk of the award, but supplementary funding came from the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard.

Selected by: Alex Gil

Text by: Site Info

Day 70: Kerala State Central Library Rare Books Online
Aug 30, 2014 
In 2005, the Kerala State Central Library began the enormous task of digitizing their collection of rare texts. The digital archive opened in 2006 and has been available online since. The digitized collection includes colonial-era publications and colonial government documents; gazettes for Travancore, Travancore-Cochin, and Kerala dating to 1904; and a 444-year old book on Alexander the Great. In the first year alone, the library digitized over three million pages, comprising 644 books in English and 63 books in Malayalam. In 2010, a second phase added nearly two million more pages from 480 books written in English. Work is ongoing to make Kerala gazettes from 1954-on available online as well.

At the library itself, physical access to these documents is highly restricted, so the digital archive has opened up this tremendous resource to the public. The digital collection is searchable through contents and title, author, and accession number, while a click on the small keyboard icon to the right of the search bar produces a keyboard that allows users to search for documents in English, Malayalam, and Tamil. A milestone for India’s digital cultural heritage, the release of the digital archive was greeted with great enthusiasm from the Indian media, with stories about the collection appearing in the country’s major news outlets.


Selected by: Roopika Risam

Text by: Roopika Risam

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