Guest lecture on Stainforth Project, 1-27-14, “Digital Curation” grad seminar (Mél Hogan, JOUR6871)

I tailored this guest lecture about the Stainforth Library of Women Writers project for Mél Hogan’s graduate course in digital curation (JOUR6871). You will find my slides below. Students came from a variety of departments and, in this course, will build their own archives in WordPress. One important point I wanted to make was to convey the way that the Stainforth project thinks about the archive in contrast to the way traditional humanist scholarship makes use of archives. I also emphasized a theory of the digital archive as creating versions of and access to textual artifacts.

During and following the presentation, we had a very productive discussion about the form of archives. We asked: Can we think of artifact dispersal as not necessarily a negative, but perhaps just another iteration of the life of the archive? How are archives affected by the gender of their contents and historical gendering of spaces, like the gentleman’s library (versus the lady’s dressing room)? How do we assess the value of artifacts archived if different collections assign different values? Are all archives “nutty” (we said) in their own way — meaning, they all collect for a certain reason and impose that meaning on their collection? How can we design an interface that will make the Stainforth digital archive more participatory and annotatable (sp?) for users — instead of just files and images to look at? (Mél and others — please insert comments for ideas and questions that I missed. Thank you!)

Useful links:

  • Stainforth Library of Women Writers project description
  • Exhibit and Blog: What we can learn from building the Stainforth Library of Women Writers (for MLA 14)
  • Stainforth’s Library Catalog manuscript in LUNA, available for all (open access)
  • The Stainforth Library of Women Writers project website, in beta (where our project components will live)

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