Saturday, October 31

Day 4 Program

Coffee Quarantini (8:45-9:15 PDT)

Whatever time of day it is for you in your time zone, grab a beverage and come have informal conversations with other attendees at the conference!

Session 4.1 (9:30-11:00 PDT): Textual Collaborations

Chair: Emily Murphy (Assistant Professor, English and Cultural Studies, UBC-O)

1. Collaboration Across Time and Distance: Planning for 20 Years

Speaker: Janelle Jenstad (Associate Professor, English, University of Victoria)

Abstract: Linked Early Modern Drama Online is a new TEI encoding, editing, and anthology-building platform for Early Modern Drama. Funded by a SSHRC Partnership Development grant, LEMDO has a mandate not just to host individual editions, editorial projects, and custom anthologies of early modern plays but also to model the long-term collaborative processes required to edit 750+ plays over twenty years. This paper will outline the three main integration strategies we have devised to bring together expertise in encoding, programming, interface design, usability, textual editing, digital preservation, linked data, book history, teaching, and performance: (1) we create research products in collaboration; (2) we use the products of each other’s expertise to create our own research products; and (3) we create via seriatim or asynchronous collaboration. I conclude by describing the need for technological mechanisms to prevent dependencies that might hold up someone’s work.

2. Digital Dostoevsky, Virtual Dostoevsky: Collaborating Across Space and Time (Zones)


    • Katherine Bowers (Associate Professor, Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies)
    • Kate Holland (Associate Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Toronto)

Abstract: In 2019, PI Kate Holland and Co-PI Katherine Bowers received a substantial SSHRC Insight Grant to support a DH project called “Digital Dostoevsky,” which proposes to analyze Dostoevsky’s corpus using DH text analysis methodologies and tools. One of the challenges of proposing a DH project to use SSHRC funding is that its funding opportunities tend to be output-driven, whereas central principles of much DH work are openness, flexibility, and exploration. In this talk, Bowers and Holland address how they formulated their research questions and refined them, how their project took shape across multiple revisions, and what practical considerations they had to make in writing a grant proposal. Holland and Bowers will also discuss their virtual collaboration which, since 2015, has led to two SSHRC grants, a conference, a digital media project, two edited volumes, and an article cluster, in addition to the “Digital Dostoevsky” project, and best practice for successful collaborations.

3. The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project: A Case Study in Student Collaboration, Tool Development and Data Visualization

Speaker: Sarah Ketchley (Lecturer, Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, U Washington)

Abstract: The late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, a period that came to be known as the ‘Golden Age’ of Egyptology, saw great archaeological activity in Egypt. The unpublished diaries of Emma B. Andrews, who traveled the Nile with the millionaire lawyer-turned-archaeologist Theodore M. Davis for over two decades between 1889 and 1914, are an important yet underutilized resource for the history of this time. Andrews was present when Davis discovered eighteen of the forty-two tombs now known in the Valley of the Kings and her writing provides a detailed record of excavation often lacking in contemporary publications. Our research corpus has expanded to include a wide range of unpublished correspondence, historical ephemera, and historical newspapers, which give an overview of the social, geographical, and political history of Egypt at the time within the broader context of history of archaeology and Egyptology, gender studies and the social, cultural and political history of the Victorian era. The Emma B. Andrews Diary project is developing a ‘Who Was Where When’ database, in an effort to provide a range of contextual data for research and analysis. A founding member of the University of Washington’s Newbook Digital Texts, we have offered internships to over 200 undergraduate and graduate students in DH. Students work alongside faculty to transcribe, encode, conduct historical research and develop digital tools for textual markup, visualization, and analysis. This paper will discuss the range and significance of the primary source material, highlighting the digital tools built by students, and the lessons learned about workflow management and project sustainability. Student development work includes a ‘Historical Markup Tool’ to automate the process of encoding documents in XML-TEI, capturing named entities including locations and people, and an interactive D3 visualization built on a contemporary map, linking locations, dates, encoded primary sources and a range of historical biographies from our Omeka database.

4. Nine Projects, One Codebase: A Static Search Engine for Digital Editions


    • Joey Takeda (User Interface Developer, Digital Humanities Innovation Lab, Simon Fraser University)
    • Martin Holmes (Programmer Consultant, Humanities Computing and Media Centre, University of Victoria)

Abstract: The primary goal of the Endings Project—a collaboration between project leaders, programmers, and librarians to address longterm sustainability of DH resources—is to create completely static sites: websites composed of only HTML, CSS, and Javascript that have no reliance on server-side processing and thus, as we have argued elsewhere, stand the best chance in terms of archivability and usability in the long term. At the end of the grant cycle, the Endings Project, though successful in its conversion of its past and present projects into static sites, struggled to find a satisfactory solution for replicating the search functionality necessary for all of our projects. Most search engines require the use of server-side processing; though simple Javascript search engines, such as Lunr, do exist, they cannot feasibly handle the large document collections that comprise the standard digital edition. This presentation outlines the creation of staticSearch: an open-access codebase for creating a completely client-side search engine for static websites. A fully open-source project, staticSearch enables robust search capabilities for a wide range of digital humanities projects without the need for server-side processing. Built as a collaborative project between UBC’s Winnifred Eaton Archive and eight digital edition projects housed in University of Victoria’s HCMC, staticSearch can query any collection of XHTML5 documents and offers advanced searching capabilities, like Boolean searches and exact phrase matching, as well as faceted search filters based on configurable document metadata. This presentation discusses the creation of the staticSearch as a multi-project collaboration and how it can offer a robust, future-proof solution for searching across HTML document collections, as well as foster stronger connections between digital humanities resources.

Break (11:00-11:15 PDT)

Session 4.2 (11:15-12:30 PDT): Spatial Digital Humanities

Chair: Lindsay Der (Assistant Professor, Library, UBC-O)

1. For Geographical Imagination Systems


    • Luke Bergmann (Associate Professor, Geography, UBC-V)
    • Nick Lally (Assistant Professor, Geography, University of Kentucky)

Abstract: For many in DH, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are useful tools. But what if GIS were locales within wider realms of geographical imagination systems (gis), realms more adequate to diverse theoretical commitments of humanistic thought? Examining how various thinkers in spatial theory have conceived of phenomena, space, knowledge, and their entanglements, we advocate for geographical imagination systems that change the infrastructures of geographical computation and broaden its associated objects of intellectual inquiry. Could gis allow knowledge to be understood as interpreted experience? What if phenomena were represented as individuated out of process and internal relations? What if spaces and coordinates were co-produced with phenomena? We juxtapose such considerations with concrete possibilities realized by an experimental prototype gis under development.

2. Creating a Virtual Reality Application for Research on an Ancient City: Challenges and Prospects

Speaker: Kevin Fisher (Assistant Professor, Classics, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, UBC-V)

Abstract: This paper discusses the ongoing development of a virtual reality (VR) application for the archaeological investigation of a 3200-year-old city on the island of Cyprus. The project is a collaboration between the Computational Research on the Ancient Near East (CRANE) Project, the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project, and the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver. Its primary aim is to create a VR environment to advance research on the social roles of past built environments, while also serving as a platform for integrating various archaeological data streams, including both born-digital and legacy data. It emphasizes the challenges inherent in large digital collaborations with multiple stakeholders and in achieving the accurate re-creation of the experiential aspects of ancient urban life, while balancing research objectives, ease of data integration and access, and model fidelity.

3. Digital Mapping as a Resource to Enhance Negative Heritage Literacy


    • Haley Seven Deers (M.A. Student, History, UBC-V)
    • Jordanna Marshall (M.A. Student, Anthropology, UBC-O)

Abstract: The term ‘heritage’ often invokes feelings of familiarity, however when asked to strictly define it, people struggle with presenting an explanation. This task becomes more complex when ‘negative heritage’ is introduced. In this presentation, we will address the meaning(s) of (negative) heritage through an overview of the Negative Heritage Project. This project maps negative heritage sites across the globe, creating a comprehensive catalogue. The project aims to raise awareness about negative heritage and create a cohesive understanding of the concept through the presentation of “stories”. In particular, we will highlight the St. Eugene Mission Resort, located in Cranbrook, B.C., and introduce our plans to research the effects of the contested site on the community, including a breakdown of our research questions and methodology. Finally, Esri Story Maps will be introduced, highlighting how we have utilized this digital platform as an educational tool.

Conference Wrap Up Session (12:30-1:30 PDT)

Join us for a final networking and debrief session as we wrap up the conference, talk about upcoming affiliated events, and discuss possibilities for new DH collaborations.