This morning I met with my super duper intern Beth G. to carve out a plan for liberating our e-text collections for a community hack fest (TBA). The idea came from a brainstorming session with John Walsh (@jawalsh) and Scott Weingart (@scott_bot) about hosting a hack series on campus. Actually, the idea came from John even earlier when I was trying to figure out ways to get a history professor colleague of mine excited about digital humanities. I will hopefully make a cameo or two in an Indiana history class he’s teaching this fall in which I hope to develop a class project around the Indiana Magazine of History (IMH), a prestigious scholarly journal which said professor, Eric Sandweiss, edits.
Eric and I have a long history as digital project collaboraters starting with the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection c. 2002, and in turn he has a long history in contributing to DH scholarship though he may not realize it. From the Cushman photo collection came his recent, critically-acclaimed book on Charles Cushman, his photography and the world he inhabited: The Day in Its Color. Anyway, I digress. John, a fountain of great ideas, said to me, “You should unleash a 100 years of the IMH, invite the community to play, visualize, analyze the data and share their results with you.” This would then illustrate to Eric and others like him, teetering on the DH verge, to take the plunge. Or if nothing else, demonstrate the power of open access data and feel giddy about that.
Beth is working on stripping the TEI for the Victorian Women Writers Project, Indiana Authors and Their Books, the Indiana Magazine of History, and the Brevier Legislative Reports. I plan to pitch an e-text hack session with access to the XML and plan text versions of these collections as part of the THATCamp ACRL this Friday, April 12th in which we explore tools that can work with both the markup (XML files) and the plain texts. The session will give folks, me included, an opportunity (read: dedicated time) to explore textual analysis and visualization tools while re-purposing content. I also hope to gather feedback about the best way to make these files available and how to engage the greater community for their contributions later this spring.