Big Data is a controversial subject featured in the news almost daily, from the NSA spying programs to the rise of corporate data brokers. For better or worse this data exists, and the high value of information to both governments and private interests alike, make it look as though the practice is here to stay in one form or another. But, it is not the entry of data collection into the many aspects of our lives that I am exploring here; rather it is how this data can be mined in the future by historians. Continue reading
Shaker Heritage Society recently completed a dynamic on-line resource called Virtual Watervliet (VWV). Virtual Watervliet provides a high quality experience via a website or mobile application that helps users better understand the significance and development of America’s first Shaker settlement.
At the core of VWV, is the digital reconstruction of all known Shaker structures built in the publically accessible areas of the Watervliet Shaker National Historic District since the late 18th century. The digital reconstruction allows users to fly through the historic site and to rotate 3D models of historic Shaker architecture. Continue reading
The Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO) is a newly-formed international organization created to develop standards for the digital representation and sharing of family history and genealogical information. The standards are hoped to solve today’s interoperability issues independently of technology platforms, genealogy products or services. They are expected to provide opportunities for innovation and address robust user requirements such as search, capture and research administration.
In the fall of 2010, a group of technologists and users formed the “Build a BetterGEDCOM Project” to improve data exchange standards and to facilitate sharing between researchers. This grassroots effort has grown into an open forum for the exchange of ideas, and a substantial body of work has been produced. In order to realize the project goals, a more structured, organized environment was needed. It is hoped that FHISO will provide this environment.
The FHISO process is expected to identify practices and trends that require standardization and provide a transparent, collaborative environment that promotes innovation and consensus-building for the development of open standards. Following publication, the organization is expected to provide education and other support to encourage standards adoption and use. The FHISO standards will be publicly available at zero or minimal cost on a non-discriminatory basis according to an recently released FHISO statement. Anyone will be able to implement the standards for any purpose without royalty or license fees, the statement said.
FHISO membership is available to all who participate in the global family history and genealogical community. “The success of FHISO depends on the voluntary participation of its members representing all the global stakeholder groups,” the group said in its statement to the press. “In the standards-setting process, there is no substitute for the active involvement of vendors, developers, technologists, users and family history or genealogy organisations.”
FHISO can be found on the web, on twitter @fhisorg, on Facebook and Google+.
A notice at the New York State Library’s home page reports that technical issues have crashed the state library’s online catalog. The catalog has been unavailable since yesterday. A simple notice reads: “The Library’s catalog will be unavailable until further notice. We are working with the vendor to resolve the problem and apologize for the inconvenience.” Visitors can still search the Library’s website but catalog access to collections is down.
Nearly 60,000 books have been digitized as part of the first-ever mass book digitization project of the U.S. Library of Congress (LOC), the world’s largest library. Many of the books cover the period of Western settlement of the United States from 1865–1922 and provide historians a new source of information that would be otherwise difficult to locate and obtain. Hard-to-find Civil War regimental histories are also included; the oldest work to be included is from 1707 and covers the trial of two Presbyterian ministers in New York. All of the books are in the collection are in the public domain, according to library officials.
The new additions, along with previously digitized books can be accessed through the Library’s catalog Web site and the Internet Archive.
The Library of Congress has already digitized many of its other collections — more than 7 million photographs, maps, audio and video recordings, newspapers, letters and diaries can be found at the Library’s Digital Collections site.
The Internet Archive is the second-largest book-scanning project after Google Books. A subset of this project is the Google Books Library Project, which has agreements to scan collections of numerous research libraries worldwide.
In an effort to make its materials globally accessible, Cornell University Library is sharing tens of thousands of digitized books with the Internet Archive. The new collaboration re-purposes nearly 80,000 books that the Library has already digitized in-house or through its partnership with Microsoft and Kirtas Technologies. All the books are in the public domain, printed before 1923 mainly in the United States. They cover a host of subject areas, including American history, English literature, astronomy, food and wine, general engineering, the history of science, home economics, hospitality and travel, labor relations, Native American materials, ornithology, veterinary medicine and women’s studies.
The collaboration with Internet Archive is another step in Cornell University Library’s participation in mass digitization initiatives. Earlier this year, the Library announced an expanded print-on-demand partnership with Amazon.com that allows readers to pay for reprinting of books on an individual basis.
To see Cornell University Library’s contributions, visit http://archive.org/details/cornell.
In 2009, George Mason University and the American Historical Association will offer the first Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History. This award was developed by friends and colleagues of Roy Rosenzweig (1950–2007), Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of History and New Media at George Mason University, to honor his life and work as a pioneer in the field of digital history.
This nonresidential fellowship will be awarded annually to honor and support work on an innovative and freely available new media project, and in particular for work that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history. The fellowship will be conferred on a project that is either in a late stage of development or which has been launched in the past year but is still in need of further improvements. The fellow(s) will be expected to apply awarded funds toward the advancement of the project goals during the fellowship year.
In a 1-2 page narrative, entries should provide a method of access to the project (e.g., web site address, software download), indicate the institutions and individuals involved with the project, and describe the project’s goals, functionality, intended audience, and significance. A short budget statement on how the fellowship funds will be used should be attached. Projects may only be submitted once for the Rosenzweig Fellowship.
The entry should be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about the prize and application process should be directed to email@example.com. The deadline for submission of entries is May 15, 2009. Recipients will be announced at the 2010 AHA Annual Meeting in San Diego.
The University at Albany’s Department of History has introduced a new 36-credit History and Media concentration to its Masters program, allowing students to learn and apply specialized media skills — digital history and hypermedia authoring, photography and photoanalysis, documentary filmmaking, oral/video history, and aural history and audio documentary production — to the study of the past. The History and Media concentration builds on the Department’s strengths in academic and public history and its reputation as an innovator in the realm of digital and multimedia history.
Among the History and Media courses to be offered beginning in the fall of 2009 are: Introduction to Historical Documentary Media; Narrative in Historical Media; Readings and Practicum in Aural History and Audio Documentary Production; Readings and Practicum in Digital History and Hypermedia; Readings in the History and Theory of Documentary Filmmaking; Readings in Visual Media and Culture; Introduction to Oral and Video History; Research Seminar and Practicum in History and Media.
Instructors in the History and Media concentration will vary but will include a core faculty including: Gerald Zahavi, Professor; Amy Murrell Taylor, Associate Professor; Ray Sapirstein, Assistant Professor; Sheila Curran Bernard, Assistant Professor.
For more information, contact Gerald Zahavi, firstname.lastname@example.org; 518-442-5427.
New York Heritage Digital Collections has added fourteen new digital collections to its cooperative site at newyorkheritage.org , including three from Queens College; two each from the Brooklyn Public Library, CUNY Graduate Center, Yeshiva University, and Brooklyn College; and one each from SUNY Maritime College, Lehman College, and Metropolitan New York Library Council. These collections total 3016 items, and represent a broad range of research interests, including Brooklyn Democratic Party Scrapbooks, Fulton Street Trade Cards, Murray Hill Collection, Sailors’ Snug Harbor Archives, Waterways of New York, Breslau Memorial and Prayer Book, and Bronx Business for Everybody collections.
NewYorkHeritage.org is a project of the NY3Rs Association, which uses OCLC’s CONTENTdm Multisite Server to bring previously digitized collections together, allowing researchers to search across all items simultaneously. This project provides free, online access to images of cultural and historical significance in New York State.
Participants in New York Heritage Digital Collections are committed to enhancing the site by adding both content and contributing institutions on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to eventually connect one thousand collections and one million items from throughout New York State. All institutions interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact the 3Rs organization that serves their region.
The New York 3Rs Association is a partnership among New York’s nine reference and research resource systems. The New York 3Rs was incorporated in 2003 to further the ability of those systems to provide statewide services. The members of the New York 3Rs Association are: the Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.
An announcement yesterday from Dan Cohen, posted on his digital humanities blog:
THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp), which brings together scholars, librarians, curators, technologists, and developers for a two-day “unconference” that interactively explores the cutting edge of the digital humanities, was such a success this year that we’re bringing it back in 2009. Better yet, we are pairing it with the Digital Humanities 2009 conference being run by our friends on the other side of the Washington beltway, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. THATCamp 2009 will immediately follow DH2009 on June 27-28, 2008. Stay tuned to the THATCamp site for a more formal announcement and application guidelines.