In an annual tradition, Slate's history blog The Vault compiles a list of the ten most interesting digital history projects of the year (part 1, part 2). This year columnist Rebecca Onion has chosen two projects created by George Mason historians.
The first is A Liberian Journey: History, Memory, and the Making of a Nation, a joint undertaking between Sheila A. Brennan and Ken Albers of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and the Center for National Documents and Records Agency in Liberia, Indiana University Liberian Collections, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Slate writes:
The archive A Liberian Journey collects moving images and still photos of rural Liberian life, made by Harvard University scientists and doctors at the behest of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1926. Because the early-20th-century images were, as the site puts it, “shaped by the white privilege and racial attitudes of American scientists,” the consortium of groups that put together this site intended it as sort of a reclamation project—a place for present-day Liberians to share their own stories and photos of the people, places, and things chronicled by the Harvard visitors.
In America's Public Bible, historian Lincoln Mullen uses techniques of machine learning to plumb the Library of Congress' Chronicling America collection of 19th-century newspapers for Bible references. Using Mullen's interactive graphic, visitors can search for specific verses or sort by topics (“Golden rule”; “temperance”; “top ten most quoted”). Because you can then jump back to the page in Chronicling America where the reference appeared, the project makes it easy to see how the newspapers used verses in context.
January 10, 2017