Events //
ACCESS: Evolving Methods in Making Cultural Heritage Accessible (NEH@50)
Event Info
Date:Thursday, 09/15/2016
Place:Scholars' Lab Common Room
Registration:Required! Details below.

A fundamental mission of the humanities as an academic discipline is making cultural heritage accessible to the public, student and scholars. Classic examples of this are the herculean efforts of the several Founding Fathers Papers projects. The documentary editing methods used to present cultural heritage embodied in the primary source documents have evolved over the long tenure of those efforts to generate a series of projects focused on specific clusters of documents. The Washington Papers, which first began in 1968 and has been strongly supported by the NEH, has to a expanded to the development of the George Washington Barbados Diary and the George Washington Financial Papers projects.

Part of that evolution has been in making explicit interconnections between the materials and in providing interpretative layers to aid in the understanding of the cultural heritage, both in its original context and in today’s dynamic society. The Piers Plowman Project provides a variation on the presentation of cultural heritage as expressed in numerous versions of a fourteenth-century allegorical dream vision. The methods by which interconnections between the versions and interpretative layers has changed over the years with ever richer materials being made accessible. Consider also the cultural heritage inherent in the temporal and spatial associations among the more than 40 works (novels and short stories) that Faulkner set in his imaginary county of Yoknapatawph. The efforts of over 25 scholars are being focused through the Digital Yoknapatawph Project in making those associations accessible via interactive displays. Another project, Collective Biographies of Women, looks at 19th and 20th century mass-market short biographies of women to expose the social, literary, and historical networks that connected a surprisingly diverse and wide-range collection of famous, infamous, and now-forgotten women in the public mind. All of three of these projects are beneficiaries of NEH funding at key moments in their development.

This extended workshop will provide hands-on experience with these evolving methods through more than a dozen specific humanities projects that have been undertaken, completed or are ongoing at the University of Virginia through collaborations with the Center for Digital Editing, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and Scholars’ Lab.

  • Questions?
    Contact Scholars' Lab's Head of Public Programs Laura Miller.