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Sara Georgini #ephn2016 séance 3

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Sara Georgini #ephn2016 séance 3

  1. 1. Rewiring Preservation, Access, and Early American Archives in the Digital Age Sara Georgini, Massachusetts Historical Society Épistémologie et pratiques des humanités numériques, 18 March 2016
  2. 2. OVERVIEW  Meet the Adamses: Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Archive  The Adams Papers at Work: Survey of Editorial Practices & “Analog” Methods  The Adams Papers @ Work: Survey of Editorial Practices & Digital Tools (3 Case Studies)  New Digital Tools and the Future of the Past
  3. 3. MEET THE ADAMSES
  4. 4. The Adams Family Papers Manuscript Collection contains more than 300,000 pages of • Correspondence • Letterbooks • Diaries • Autobiographies • Account books • Legal documents
  5. 5. The Adamses had an uncanny ability to be in interesting places at key moments in history… Their collective memory includes • The Battle of Bunker Hill • The vote for independence • Two residencies in the White House • Napoleon during the Hundred Days • The framing of the Monroe Doctrine • The defeat of the Southern “gag rule” and to record for posterity the world and events around them.
  6. 6. First Generation John Adams (1735-1826) Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818) Married 1764
  7. 7. Charles Adams (1770-1800) Abigail Adams (1765-1813) Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832) John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Second Generation
  8. 8. John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams (1775-1852) Second Generation Married 1797
  9. 9. Third Generation Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) Abigail Brown Brooks Adams (1808-1889) Married 1829
  10. 10. John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 June 1776 In all the correspondences I have maintained…I never kept a Single Copy. This Negligence and Inaccuracy, had been a great Misfortune to me on many Occasions. I have now purchased a Folio Book…and intend to write all my Letters to you in it from this Time forward.
  11. 11. John Adams to George Washington Adams and John Adams 2d, 3 May 1815 A Journal; a Diary is indispensible. … Without a minute Diary, your Travels, will be no better than the flight of Birds, through the Air. They will leave no trace behind them. Whatever you write preserve. I have burned, Bushells of my Silly notes, in fitts of Impatience and humiliation, which I would now give anything to recover.
  12. 12. Your favour of the 14th. found me deeply immersed in researches … after old Papers. … Every scrap shall be found and preserved for your Affliction [or] for your good.… I shall leave you an inheritance sufficiently tormenting, for example, The huge Pile of family Letters will make you Alternately laugh and cry, fret and fume, stamp and scold, as they do me. John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 24 December 1818
  13. 13. John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams, 27 September 1778 My Pappa enjoins it upon me to keep a journal, or a diary, of the Events that happen to me, and of objects that I See, and of Characters that I converse with from day, to day, and altho I am Convinced of the utility, importance, & necessity, of this Exercise, yet I have not patience, & perseverance, enough to do it so Constantly as I ought. My Pappa … has also advised me to Preserve Copies of all my letters, & has given me a Convenient Blank Book for this end….
  14. 14. JQAdams_MHS—available on Twitter®—chronicles JQA’s journey to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1809 and 1810 and his experiences there after he arrived. JQA Diaries John Quincy Adams began his Diary in 1779 at the age of twelve. He made his last entry in it in 1848 at the age of eighty, more than sixty-eight years later.
  15. 15. In 1839, Louisa Catherine Adams wrote to John Quincy to remind him of his promise to publish his father’s papers: Three years ago I laid before you a Letter written by you to [your] affectionate Mother, in answer to one of hers on the subject of your Fathers Papers, in which you in your strong language, promise if God spares your life, to perform this sacred duty; and will you let this Letter go down to your posterity, to show the nothingness of such promises.
  16. 16. CFA Diaries Charles Francis Adams began his Diary in 1820 at the age of twelve. He made his last entry in it in 1880 at the age of seventy-three, almost sixty- one years later.
  17. 17. Charles Francis Adams published numerous volumes, including • Letters of John and Abigail • Life and Works of John Adams, 10 vols. • Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, 12 vols.
  18. 18. The “Old House” at the Adams National Historic Site in Quincy, MA
  19. 19. The Stone Library at the Old House
  20. 20. The Massachusetts Historical Society at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston
  21. 21. THE ADAMS PAPERS AT WORK: EDITORIAL PRACTICES & METHODS
  22. 22. The Adams Papers Editorial Project  The Adams Papers Project at the Massachusetts Historical Society is charged with the task of preparing for publication in both print and digital media a comprehensive and authoritative edition of the most significant Adams documents.  Beyond the 300,000 pages’ worth of the Adams Family, the editors have gathered over 27,000 copies of Adams items from hundreds of libraries, institutions, and individuals in the United States and abroad.  The project's cut-off date is 1889, with the death of Abigail Brooks Adams. To date, nearly 50 volumes have been published by Harvard University Press.  John Quincy Adams designed and used this acorn and oak leaf seal after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quœ alteri seculo prosint: “He plants trees for the benefit of late generations.”
  23. 23. The editors do not edit the Adamses’ words; rather, they continue the search for Adams documents, select the material to be included in the edition, provide a faithful transcription of the manuscripts, and supply annotation. This process is called documentary editing or historical editing. Documentary Editing
  24. 24. Manuscript The first steps in the process are selection of the documents to be included in a volume and transcription to create an electronic text from the original manuscript. Transcription
  25. 25. TRANSCRIPTION Every volume begins with creating an accurate, faithful, readable text. We preserve the words—nonstandard/ phonetic spelling, odd capitalizations and all—just as they were written.  Modern transcriptions of the correspondence, then, are far more comprehensive for historians to browse and cite.
  26. 26. SELECTION We select a chunk of manuscripts for each series, publishing 2/3 of approx. 500-600 document corpus at a time. We read as many versions of a document as possible, then compose a calendar summary (2-3 lines) of each one. This gives us a way to distinguish the big stories in each volume.
  27. 27. SELECTION Documents that don’t make the final cut do appear elsewhere—either in our annotation, or on our list of omitted documents in the volume’s endmatter. The Adams Family Correspondence series has a rich cast of characters, so editors offer a chronology to keep the reader in step with family events as they unfold.
  28. 28. COLLATION  Two pairs of editors team up for a tandem reading of the original manuscript against the transcription, reading every word and punctuation mark aloud, to verify that we’re supplying an authoritative text.  They finalize the descriptive notes, which run at the foot of each document to indicate how letters are addressed, docketed, and endorsed.  Descriptive notes are key since they tell us who knew what, and when.
  29. 29. Abigail Adams to John Adams, 25 June 1795
  30. 30. Collation Oral proofreading against the manuscript to render a more accurate text 1 2
  31. 31. Annotation Providing historical context to aid modern understanding of the documents Verification Ensures accuracy of the annotation
  32. 32. ANNOTATION  These brief but informative notes relate to the document and supply quick context for the reader.  We identify major people, places, and events that affect the Adamses and shape their universe of American history.  Pivotal documents—such as John Adams’s draft notes for A Defence of the Constitutions… or multiple iterations of the definitive Anglo-American peace treaty—are framed to reflect the singularity of the physical archive, and the historical significance of the event.
  33. 33. Published Volumes
  34. 34. THE ADAMS PAPERS @ WORK: EDITORIAL PRACTICES & DIGITAL METHODS
  35. 35. Digital Projects Then… http://www.masshist.org/adams/
  36. 36. …and Now
  37. 37. CASE STUDIES: DIGITAL TOOL / IMPACT
  38. 38. Digital Tools Adams Template OAC (Online Adams Catalog) Adams Digital Editions
  39. 39. 1. Tool: Adams Papers Template Custom designed MS Word 2003 template All editors create, edit, and update files in template. In order to streamline workflow, new template automates some XML encoding and enhances delivery of digital editions.
  40. 40. Adams Papers Template: Impact  Editors retain control of pages from transcription through galleys.  Editors have the opportunity to accomplish new humanities scholarship as part of a collaborative research model.  Increases efficiency of 18-month production process, as we craft the volume from selection through indexing.
  41. 41. 2. Tool: OAC (Online Adams Catalog)
  42. 42. Tool: OAC (Online Adams Catalog) Formerly a paper slip file to “control” the manuscripts within the archive, OAC is an item-level, digital catalog on the MHS website that provides information on all known letters to and from the Adams family from the 1750s to 1889.
  43. 43. Tool: OAC (Online Adams Catalog) Totaling more than 109,000 slips sorted by color:  Pink slips: recipient’s copy held in Adams Papers  White slips: letterbook copy held in Adams Papers  Yellow slips: held at other institutions  Blue slips: there is evidence the manuscript exists…somewhere
  44. 44. OAC (Online Adams Catalog): Impact Ability to see all multiple versions of a document (i.e. draft, letterbook copy, recipient’s copy) at once=quicker and more comprehensive selection process. Allows researchers anywhere to access an item-level catalog, and find out where other Adams documents are held. Easier to navigate 608 reels of microfilm.
  45. 45. 3. Tool: Adams Papers Digital Edition
  46. 46. 3. Tool: Adams Papers Digital Edition  Publications Department of MHS converted 45 published volumes, including 26 indices, into keyword-searchable text (online, free)  Outside vendor keyed from printed books and marked up with basic schema.  Proofread by HUP vendor.  Encoded in-house according to TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) schema using oXygen XML editor.  Captured all content, including cumulative index, as of 2006.
  47. 47. Impact: Adams Papers Digital Edition  YOU can read verified transcriptions of the Adams Papers manuscripts anywhere with an Internet connection. Enjoy!  Hyperlinks connect related people and events across volumes.  Refines our annotation style to meet the high editorial standard of creating a comprehensive, consolidated index.  Supplements and “talks to” related documents in Founders Online, making it easier for scholars of all ages to traverse primary sources.  Also supplements older Adams Electronic Archive, which contains manuscript images and rough transcriptions of the nearly 1,200 letters John and Abigail Adams exchanged.
  48. 48. Editorial Practices & Digital History Tools: Observations  Make the technology work for you. Deliberate over your choice of software, and create a clear workflow with built-in checks to reinforce editorial standards.  Feature the archive, and find a digital way to express its unique nature and scope. Do your subjects write long letters? Digital editions and TEI might be best. Are they brief and Tweet-able, like JQA? Or would TAG’s zoom-worthy galleries better suit your primary source material and scholarship?  Think about audience. Who will see your work? How will you maintain it 10 years from now? Most digital history projects, like the Adams Papers, exist on front-facing platforms and undergo peer review. OAC, at 60 years old, evolves daily as we redate letters, identify authors, and learn of new material. Think about the resource you’re creating for scholars. Preservation and access are still key, but our “discoverability” and navigation of the early American past relies on the thoughtful curation of manuscripts’ digital lives, too. With that in mind…
  49. 49. NEW DIGITAL TOOLS & THE FUTURE OF THE PAST
  50. 50. New Digital Tools  Adams Papers Website We answer roughly 100-150 reference questions a year, and we thought about what researchers ask during the site redesign. NOW… A crisp, clean look invites you to “meet the Adamses” and their manuscript trove New features include an interactive Timeline and… Biographies & Family Tree …All ways to present our reference materials and datasets in both “traditional” and interactive formats
  51. 51. New Digital Tools: The Jefferson Case Study (in progress, your feedback is welcome!)
  52. 52. THE THOMAS JEFFERSON PAPERS  MHS holds the largest collection of Jefferson’s private papers, after the Library of Congress  “The Private Jefferson” exhibit was organized around his interests in gardens and architecture, as well as his political and personal writings
  53. 53. Curating Digital Jefferson  MHS partnership with Microsoft New England and Brown University’s TAG (Touch Art Gallery) team to bring “The Private Jefferson” to life in manuscripts
  54. 54. Curating Digital Jefferson  Since 1943, our fellow editors at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson project (Princeton) have created scholarly editions (see also Founders Online) of the third president’s public and private correspondence  MHS has digitized major holdings, including his Farm Book, book catalogs, architectural drawings, and his manuscript draft of the Declaration of Independence
  55. 55. Curating Digital Jefferson Via one large touch-screen and several mounted tablets, like this one, TAG encourages visitors to:  Experience multimedia overviews that amplify and explain the physical exhibit’s themes  Learn about Jefferson and his world at their own pace, pausing or enlarging images, words, and historical commentary with a tap of the screen
  56. 56. Curating Digital Jefferson… The Future of the Past? Visitors can also:  Set primary sources in historical context, via short videos and scholarly interviews  Visit Jefferson virtually, via Skype in the Classroom  Dive into the document, using the touch-screen zoom capability to investigate how and why founding-era documents were made, thereby transforming TAG into a digital tool that supports the craft of historical editing.
  57. 57. Digital History News, Training, & Resources  News & Reviews (also: training, jobs, fellowships, and more)  Digital Humanities Now  HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaborative)  Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH)  Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO)  centerNet  Digital Humanities Summer Institute  Digital Humanities Winter Institute  Digital.Humanities@Oxford Summer School  National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Office of Digital Humanities  ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships  Alfred P. Sloan Digital Information Technology Program  Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Scholarly Communications and Information Technology Program  Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)  MacArthur Foundation, Digital Media & Learning  Debates in the Digital Humanities, University of Minnesota Press  DH @ Work (humanities labs, regional consortia, and digital pedagogy)  Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University  Scholars’ Lab, University of Virginia  Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  The Praxis Network  CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative  Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative  Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University  MIT HyperStudio  Digital Media & Learning Research Hub  dh commons  UCLA Digital Humanities  King’s College London, Digital Humanities Department  Digital Toolbox  Bamboo DiRT (Digital Research Tools)  TEI (Text Encoding Initiative)  Omeka  historypin  Neatline
  58. 58. Rewiring Preservation, Access, and Early American Archives in the Digital Age Sara Georgini, Massachusetts Historical Society Épistémologie et pratiques des humanités numériques, 18 March 2016

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