Digital Humanities Resources:
Perseus Digital Library. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/, 1995, Gregory Crane, Editor in Chief, Tufts University.
The goal of this project is to make the entirety of scholarship in English, Greek, Latin and Arabic available online. In reality, it is a continuously growing collection of classical Greek, Latin, Arabic texts and their English translations, with some commentary present. In addition to the texts, the library features a growing number of pictures of artifacts, buildings and archaeological sites. It has also branched out into 19th Century American, Renaissance and Germanic Materials, but these materials are more limited, and it is still mainly used as a resource for classicists. It’s anticipated audience members are students, and scholars, though the collection is accessible to anyone.
This collection features an extremely large assortment of full-text searchable documents, mostly original Greek and Latin texts and their English Translations. The database subdivides the longer texts into books and sections generally agreed upon by Classicists. The user can navigate through these documents by searching, or by browsing through the various sections. Both the ease of use and the sheer volume of texts, both in translation and in the original languages, make this a valuable resource.
This site is widely used by students and scholars as a basis for primary source research. It’s broader goal- to encompass all of human scholarship, is not an entirely feasible one. However, it continues to grow its collection of classical texts and this alone means that the scope of the project will grow. This site has a couple of drawbacks, though. First, you do have to know something of what you are looking for. This is not a site that you would want to just browse through. It helps to have some key words/ an author in mind. Second, some of the translations are older (pre-copyright). This in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that some of the phrases are translated differently than they would be in modern texts. For example, many of the god’s epithets in mythological texts are translated differently and therefore have different connotations than in more recent translations. All of that said, though, this is an amazing resource that contains good translations of texts not found anywhere else on line and that are difficult to obtain in print.
Documenting the American South, http://docsouth.unc.edu/, 1996, The University Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Documenting the American South, or DocSouth, is a database of digitized primary source material for Southern History from the collections at UNC. It includes maps, letters, journals, paintings, photographs, pamphlets and many other types of resources that span a wide time frame from the Colonial period to the Civil Rights Movement. It is geared towards teachers, students and scholars for their use in various academic endeavors.
The collection’s materials are divided by collection, author, geographic location, and by the collection in which the physical materials are held. The user can also search the entire collection. This makes it easier to track down the material that a student or scholar might need, and it makes it easy to find material that is related to the subject that the person is researching.
This project is widely used by people researching Southern History in various capacities. The format is good, however you do have to know what something about what you’re looking for to begin browsing the individual collections. It’s also helpful to have some understanding of the subject to formulate keywords that will return hits in the search box- for example the proper historical names for objects or conditions.
ARTstor, www.artstor.org, 2001, Neil L. Rudenstein, Chairman.
ARTstor is a digital library of images that schools, museums and libraries can subscribe for educational purposes. It was originally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but became an independent organization in 2004. The collection is drawn from many different museums, libraries, private collections and many other resources. Because of this, one of it’s goals is to centralize digital images and remove some of the burden of digitization from universities and museums by allowing them to retrieve the images from a central database.
ARTstor has a lot of nice usability features, including the ability to search using advanced terms, such as the date of the object in question, or it’s geographic location. It also contains many high definition images that can be zoomed in on and examined in great detail. The subscription also includes the right to download the images to an off-line viewer, print images and save them to hardware such as a portable hard drive.
This is a great image resource for scholars, students, teachers, and others affiliated with an educational institution, or who have access to it through a library or museum. The biggest drawback to this site is that it is not free. This is understandable, considering that it costs a lot of money to run a site like this, but it does limit access to those affiliate with or physically present at an institution with the resources to subscribe to the digital library.
Discovering Sherlock Holmes, http://sherlockholmes.stanford.edu/history.html, 2007, Linda Paulson, Stanford University.
This is a project of the Masters of Liberal Arts program at Stanford University and the Special Collections department of the Stanford Library. It involves publishing 12 Sherlock Holmes stories that were published in The Strand Magazine and are held in the Special Collections of the Stanford Library system. The stories are available for free in PDF form on the website and are also available in print for $10.00. The site seems geared towards teachers and students, and others in the Stanford community, but could also be used by any member of the general public.
The site not only includes the PDF copies of the stories as they appeared in the magazine, but also explanatory notes for each story and a general introduction to Sherlock Holmes’ author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and to the Victorian Era. This project as is, is very easy to use. It only requires a web browser and PDF viewer to use. The PDF format allows for easy printing and portability outside of the website, and it allows the user to see the illustrations and type the way that it originally appeared in the magazine.
Main Street, Carolina, http://mainstreet.lib.unc.edu/, 2008, Robert Allen and Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina.
This collection brings together many resources with the goal of helping towns and cities interested in recreating their downtowns’ past. The centerpiece of the project is a set of insurance maps of various North Carolina’s past. These are then merged with photographs, letters, historical commentary, and excerpts from oral histories using a GIS software that allows for these items to be placed within their geographical context. This same software allows for the manipulation of the maps themselves, so that they can be viewed in great detail, and so that the same location can be viewed on different maps or from different angles. This allows local museums, historical societies and down town centers to create a
This project is still in the pilot stage, so it’s hard to say how successful it will be, but the goal is feasible, considering how many towns are interested in on-going down town revitalization projects. There are currently 7 projects on the website. The major drawback of the at least the pilot program, is that it’s designed to work only with Mozilla Firefox. The data from the GIS system and the maps simply will not load when using either Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. The site warns the user about this limitation, but it still severely limits the site’s usefulness, since the majority of people use Internet Explorer as their browser, especially people who are not comfortable with technology. This may limit the site’s marketability to historical societies, etc., unless they can make the program compatible with more internet browsers.