Materiality in the digital archive


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Materiality in the digital archive

  1. 1. Representing Materiality in a Digital Archive: Death Comes for the Archbishop as a Case Study Matthew Lavin CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Digital Research in the Humanities University of Nebraska – Lincoln Twitter: @mjlavin80
  2. 2. Digital Texts, or Digital Books?
  3. 3. • Her signature on the front end paper and her parenthetical phrase below it “(personal copy)” (Cather wrote her name in the middle of a cumulus cloud in a landscape of the Southwest.) • A folded fan letter pasted in the inside cover, which includes a snapshot of Kit Carson.
  4. 4. • A watercolor image of an adobe church on the blank recto preceding the limitation page. (Aside: Mignon says it’s a colored block-print.)
  5. 5. • A pasted photograph of Cather on horseback in a gravel- bed stream (on the contents page) • Additional personal photographs, on facing pages 16 and 17, following the prologue (Mignon, Charles. “Cather's Copy of Death Comes for the Archbishop.” Cather Studies 4 (2003). The Willa Cather Archive. Ed. Andrew Jewell. U of Nebraska-Lincoln. Web. 9 July 2013.)
  6. 6. • the interpretive payoff of imagining all digitization work in the context of data modeling • significant complexities associated with linguistic and bibliographical aspects of book, and resulting implications for digital text models • the pros and cons of widespread digital text modeling approaches, including text encoding work and digital cataloguing conventions • sites of future convergence for seemingly incompatible approaches • the minimum baseline for representing materiality in digital form (as well as what might constitute the optimum standard)
  7. 7. Digital Humanities’ Next Top Model
  8. 8. • Providing a resource • Key versions in circulation during Cather’s lifetime • “item-level” specificity for all books • relationships among multiple types of materials • distinctions among edition, issue, state, and impression • books as products of collaboration • revisions (amounts and scope) • technological processes • history of institutions
  9. 9. The Site Timeline
  10. 10. Item Browse
  11. 11. Technical Documentation
  12. 12. Raw data
  13. 13. TEI and FRBR
  14. 14. Pros: • Versatile / extensible • Machine readable in the most general sense • Includes both textual and “book” information • Provides a core basis for comparison of dissimilar objects • Provides a structure to record textual variance without necessarily making a judgment • DOM container hierarchies do not match mark-up type hierarchies • (A hierarchical structure mapped to data types could be oppressive) Cons: • High learning curve • Huge time investment • Lack of (current) analytics payoff • Not a complete book/text model … too much room for variety and idiosyncrasy? • DOM container hierarchies do not match mark-up type hierarchies • (A hierarchical structure mapped to data types could be useful) • Too versatile and open to idiosyncrasy?
  15. 15. Pro: • Nuanced bibliographical data • Powerful relational data • Designed to facilitate user discovery of related materials • Once you get the hang of it, easy to enter data • Easy to down-code to adhere to other standards Con: • Hard to explain • Hard to up-code into FRBR • Never fully realized or leveraged • High learning curve • Some question as to the realness of the categorical distinctions
  16. 16. Potential Connectors • namespace declaration • linked data • hierarchized markup • stand-off markup
  17. 17. Your Metadata is (are) My Data