Crowdsourcing, Small-, and Large-Scale Collaboration

Friday, April 15, 12:00-1:15 pm
Strozier Library (Scholars Commons Instructional Classroom) [Map]

“Capacity and Care”: DH Crowdsourcing, Small-, and Large-Scale Collaboration

The simultaneous bane and boon of most digital projects can be summed up in what Dr. Bethany Nowviskie, Director of the Digital Library Foundation, called “capacity and care” in her September 2015 keynote lecture at the NEH Office of the Digital Humanities. In this address, capacity refers to a project’s desired and expected growth potential, while care reflects the neglected but necessary process of ensuring that projects grow humanely (i.e., without promoting the spread of value-laden metaphors). By pairing these concepts, Nowviskie effectively argues that “making a case” for DH projects requires more than just making sense of the interpretive, cultural information-processing, and sharing capacity of small and large corpora; it requires giving attention to the kinds of (sustainable) working relationships that DH projects increasingly need.

For the final Digital Scholars meeting of 2015-2016, Dr. Silvia Valisa and Dr. Will Hanley will demonstrate some results of their large-scale digital projects and share their thoughts and experiences on conducting (and sustaining) collaborative projects in many sites — with digital librarians at home and abroad, across disciplines, and in the graduate and undergraduate classrooms.

Valisa’s development of the Il secolo project has sparked a series of collaborations related to platform development and metadata harvesting with faculty, staff, and graduate students in the FSU Libraries and the School of Information. As a bibliographic project alone, Il secolo is already a coup: it is a rare primary research tool for scholars of 19th-century Italian and European history that, until this digital collaboration, was accessible via micro-film or CD only in situ, in Italian National libraries. (FSU is the only  institution in the world outside of Italy to own and digitize this historical resource.) However, as a DH project, Il secolo is just as significant: building and maintaining the database has provided the libraries an opportunity to test and implement new semantic searching tools for their Islandora platform.

Hanley’s development of Prosop — a linked, flexible pool of historical names and demographic information — has led to a series of workshops, formal and informal collaborations and, most significantly, the development of DH curricula at FSU. In Fall 2016, Hanley will lead an undergraduate class in digitizing, encoding, and publishing the full text of a daily newspaper from Alexandria, the Egyptian Gazette, for the year 1905. Inspired by another Middle Eastern newspaper project, Till Grallert’s work on the Arabic-language Cairo/Damascus newspaper al-Muqtabas, Hanley’s class is an experiment in microhistory, pedagogy, collaboration, and academic labor, as well as an attempt at modeling a small-scale application of TEI.

Participants are invited to read the following in advance of our meeting:

and to browse the following resources for background:

All are welcome, and participants are encouraged to bring tablets or laptops.

We hope you can join us,



2 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing, Small-, and Large-Scale Collaboration

  1. Pingback: Sustainable collaboration and a democratic structure in DH projects | FSU Digital Scholars

  2. Pingback: Reflections on “Capacity and Care”: DH Crowdsourcing, Small- and Large-Scale Collaboration | FSU Digital Scholars

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