By Laura Childs and Mariah Lewis

On Tuesday, September 24th, 2019, Fordham’s Walsh Library hosted a workshop entitled, “Introduction to Data Curation in the Humanities.” Led by Tierney Gleason, Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian, data curation is a term that encompasses how scholars in the humanities collect, arrange, and document research data for digital humanities projects. By focusing on the process of creating a DH project rather than the final product that is often seen as public-facing DH project online, this workshop encouraged scholars to see their DH research within a life cycle that will have different stages.

Compiling data for a DH project may seem intimidating, but Gleason’s workshop allowed attendees to understand data curation in a way that made projects seem attainable and accessible to anyone regardless of their familiarity with data. It all starts with keeping a project notebook to record data sources, adjustments to source data, and decisions about structuring and analyzing data during the active phases of project development. Since technology and funding streams to support web publishing are subject to change, project planning prepares DH researchers for the transition of their DH project websites into data sets and accompanying documentation for archiving in a digital repository. 

To ensure a smooth transition, Gleason covered how to use a project notebook to format a Humanities Data Curation Record as data documentation along with guidance for organizing data in spreadsheets. From using international date formats to managing blank cells to versioning and file naming conventions, the workshop was packed with tips that drew lines between working data sets that can be used in DH projects versus data sets that are optimized for publication. She mentioned Humanities Commons, Harvard Dataverse, and Zenodo as repositories that can be used to deposit DH data sets.

Later this year, Gleason plans to publish a series of online data curation tutorials that can be used for self-study or flipped classroom settings. Stay tuned to our blog and the Digital Humanities research guide for updates!

Be sure to register for our next workshop:
Topic: Copyright for Digital Scholars
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Walsh Library, Room 041 (lower level)

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