Final Project: Digital Gomatos Collection

This term, your final project will be the selection, preparation and publicization of a resource in the Gomatos Special Collections of Reinsch Library. These materials will be housed in the working archive I have prepared <>. Each student will acquire a login code to this archive site and will work with me and the rest of the class to become effective users of the tool, particularly as readers and users of Dublin Core descriptive metadata. The goal of the project is to continue the work not only of making the Gomatos collection visible and accessible, but also of learning how to research, digitize, and otherwise prepare a written archive entry that may be used by others as a research tool. Your work in this project will be public, in keeping with the ethos and goals both of digital humanities and of scholarly community; if this is a problem, let's talk—I'd like to hear your concerns.

I have prepared a sample resource for you to examine—Bernard Mandeville's 18th century economic work, The Fable of the Bees. Please examine this resource and the template resource completely before you begin work on your own project.

The class will work as a team to populate an archive sub-collection on one of the Gomatos' areas of strength—for instance, travelogues and narratives of voyage.

The Process

  1. Use your login codes to review the Mandeville entry in the collection, including its Dublin Core description, tags, item type metadata, and so on.
  2. Select your resource, in consultation with Dr. Howe and your peers.
  3. Read your resource in its original form and take notes on the item's nature, purpose, genre, content, and any material nuances (marginalia, illustrations, missing pages, binding, and so on).
  4. Look up this resource in the English Short Title Catalog to learn about the Gomatos edition. Save this link. Discover if Google Books has a digitized copy of this resource, and save that link as well. Consider other web tools for book/edition history, like 18th Century Book Tracker.
  5. Conduct preliminary research on your resource, and compile a working bibliography of reputable sources both general and more specific.
  6. Compile an annotated bibliography of your sources for presentation to the class. We will meet in the Gomatos Room, so you can share your resource and your sources. How will you be describing the item? What are its distinctive features? What is significant about it as a historical text? A literary, economic, philosophical text? What is significant about the history of its publication?  Is there anything significant about this particular edition or material artifact?
  7. Write a researched introduction to your resource, drawing on the materials in your annotated bibliography. Your introduction should be approximately 1000 words in length, and it should include embedded links to any reliable, reputable Internet resources (for instance, Google Scholar texts or other books, as in my example). It should be formally written for a general academic audience, but not necessarily experts in that specific topic. This will be workshopped.
  8. Begin building your archive entry online. Do not make it public until it is fully revised and edited, with all links, tags, descriptions, and other fields completed as directed.
  9. Generate page images of your resource, using a digital camera of at least 3MP. You must include the title page and any essential front matter, like a table of contents. You should further select a portion of the text to digitize based on its significance in the resource as a whole. Create images of at least 10 pages. These images should be cropped and sized to approximately 450x800px, with a resolution of 180px. Ensure that your pages are legible!
  10. Use ABBYY FineReader, or some other reliable OCR software you have personal access to, to digitize your page images to create a searchable PDF.  This is a time-intensive process, as it requires attention to detail. You will need to correct typos in your PDF and ensure that the words in your file are those actually in the resource. This will be presented. Take notes, so you can highlight your edits. I will want you to turn in hard copies of the unedited scans and the edited copytext well before the project is due.
  1. Complete the final draft of your resource entry by uploading all revised and edited materials to the archive. Ensure that all external links work properly, that you have tagged your resource with the resource's LOC subject headings, added a link to the ESTC and GoogleBooks (if necessary), and filled out all necessary Dublin Core and metadata fields for the record entry.
  2. Workshop the final draft of your entry in situ.
  3. Complete any revisions or additions as per workshop and in consultation with me. Then, when we're satisfied, make your entry public—and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
  4. After you've relaxed a bit, complete the reflection assignment.