Report on Integrating Digital Humanities into the Web of Scholarship with SHARE – Association of Research Libraries

“The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) released today a white paper that reports the findings of a two-year project investigating the value SHARE could have for digital humanities scholars. SHARE is an open-source community that develops tools and services to connect related research outputs for new kinds of scholarly discovery.

This project, partly funded by a grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities, explored how scholars promote discovery of their own digital humanities work, and how they find digital scholarship or its components for their own use….”

Digitizing Printed Arabic Journals: Is a Scalable Solution Possible?

“In 2017, JSTOR received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to investigate processes for digitizing Arabic-language scholarly content. Our goal in the project was to develop a workflow for scanning Arabic materials–especially journals– that is reasonably cost-efficient, feasible to implement at scale, and likely to produce high-quality images and metadata, including fully searchable text….

Through this investigation, we concluded that, using new metadata guidelines and OpenITI’s software, and leveraging specific workflows created jointly with Apex, it is possible for JSTOR to digitize Arabic language journals with the high-degree of accuracy needed to support search and discovery at a cost of approximately $3 per page, with the promise that this per page cost could be reduced further through continuous improvements in the OCR software engine. In this white paper, we contextualize our investigation in the broader landscape of digital scholarly literature in Arabic. We then document our approach and findings from this project, which took place over 20 months from April 2017 through December 2018. And finally, we lay out some areas we identified for potential further research….”

Open Access Books: The First 100 Books from Johns Hopkins University Project – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Barbara Kline Pope (BKP): This project was in development when I arrived at JHUP in late 2017. Greg Britton, our editorial director, took the lead in creating the OA proposal for consideration by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project is certainly In line with our mission as a university press to disseminate scholarship far and wide. And, we have been interested in experimenting with new business models and new ways of delivering important scholarship, especially in the humanities. It’s also appealing to move important content from an out-of-print status to one that is free and open to the world. 

As you noted, Mellon and NEH provided generous funding to bring 200 books back to life through this program. The first 100 were launched today on Project MUSE with an accompanying robust promotional campaign. We’re proud of the effort and eager to see the response. Our aim, as with all of our publishing, is to extend the reach of our authors’ work and to amplify its impact. What author doesn’t want engagement and impact? We conducted an experiment recently at JHUP comparing the reach of our open and gated content on Project MUSE, and we confirmed that we can dramatically increase engagement with our content through open publishing.

That aligns with my long experience at the now completely open National Academies Press….”

Born-digital, open source, media-rich scholarly publishing that’s as easy as blogging.

“Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required.

More fundamentally, Scalar is a semantic web authoring tool that brings a considered balance between standardization and structural flexibility to all kinds of material. It includes a built-in reading interface as well as an API that enables Scalar content to be used to drive custom-designed applications. If you’re dealing with small to moderate amounts of structured content and need a lightweight platform that encourages improvisation with your data model, Scalar may be the right solution for you.

Scalar also gives authors tools to structure essay- and book-length works in ways that take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital writing, including nested, recursive, and non-linear formats. The platform also supports collaborative authoring and reader commentary. The ANVC’s partner presses and archives are now beginning to implement Scalar into their research and publishing workflows, and several projects leveraging the platform have been published already.

Scalar is a project of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture (ANVC) in association with Vectors and  IML, and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities….”

Team Awarded Grant to Help Digital Humanities Scholars Navigate Legal Issues of Text Data Mining – UC Berkeley Library Update

“We are thrilled to share that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $165,000 grant to a UC Berkeley-led team of legal experts, librarians, and scholars who will help humanities researchers and staff navigate complex legal questions in cutting-edge digital research….

Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining have had to navigate a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance. For instance, imagine the researchers needed to scrape content about Egyptian artifacts from online sites or databases, or download videos about Egyptian tomb excavations, in order to conduct their automated analysis. And then imagine the researchers also want to share these content-rich data sets with others to encourage research reproducibility or enable other researchers to query the data sets with new questions. This kind of work can raise issues of copyright, contract, and privacy law, not to mention ethics if there are issues of, say, indigenous knowledge or cultural heritage materials plausibly at risk. Indeed, in a recent study of humanities scholars’ text analysis needs, participants noted that access to and use of copyright-protected texts was a “frequent obstacle” in their ability to select appropriate texts for text data mining. 

Potential legal hurdles do not just deter text data mining research; they also bias it toward particular topics and sources of data. In response to confusion over copyright, website terms of use, and other perceived legal roadblocks, some digital humanities researchers have gravitated to low-friction research questions and texts to avoid decision-making about rights-protected data. They use texts that have entered into the public domain or use materials that have been flexibly licensed through initiatives such as Creative Commons or Open Data Commons. When researchers limit their research to such sources, it is inevitably skewed, leaving important questions unanswered, and rendering resulting findings less broadly applicable. A growing body of research also demonstrates how race, gender, and other biases found in openly available texts have contributed to and exacerbated bias in developing artificial intelligence tools. …

Visualizing Chronicling America Data: 15 million pages of digitized historical newspapers | The Signal

“This week we celebrate an exciting milestone. Chronicling America, the online searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers, now includes more than 15 million pages! To mark the occasion, we are throwing a #ChronAmParty on Twitter and unveiling a set of interactive data visualizations that help reveal the variety of content available in a corpus of 15 million digitized newspaper pages….”

Statement on the Passing of Former NEH Chairman Bruce Cole | National Endowment for the Humanities

“Other notable achievements of his tenure include the debut of the Chronicling America online database of historic American newspapers, efforts to ensure open access to NEH-supported products through changes to NEH grant guidelines…”