Special Collections as Data: Studying Print Culture Using Digital Tools
Join the Rare Book Working Group (RBWG) and guest facilitator Sierra Eckert (CDH Postdoctoral Research Associate and Perkins Fellow) for the first of two introductory workshops on digital research methods and practicums in book history during COVID-19.
Book historians and print culture scholars have long been aware of the importance of metadata: information such as provenance, authorship, and copy-specific data about book objects, for scholars of the book, are key to understanding larger questions about the production, reception, and circulation of texts. This workshop is designed to offer a new set of methods for thinking about the data of book history.
This workshop (part 1 of 2) will provide an introduction for graduate students, faculty, and staff in book history interested in using existing digital repositories (library catalogs, digital projects), to collect, interpret, and visualize bibliographic data for a wide range of book historical materials, including rare books, periodicals, and printed ephemera. We will explore some of the existing methods and tools available for studying material texts in digital repositories and as facsimiles. We will learn the basics of building a book historical dataset, including best practices in understanding special collections source material as data. Finally, we will gain practical experience with the technical and critical steps through a hands-on workshop in generating data from digitized book facsimiles and catalog records. Some of topics we’ll discuss include extracting data from catalog records (like MARC), tools for to clean humanities data (like OpenRefine), and best practices in humanities data management and analysis.
No prior computational experience required.