Last week, NYU Libraries hosted Molly O’Hagan Hardy, Digital Humanities Curator at the American Antiquarian Society. After giving a public lecture discussing some of the theoretical aspects of using bibliographic metadata in digital humanities projects, Hardy led a workshop the following day that taught graduate students some of the skills and methods for utilizing bibliographic metadata in their own research. The events marked a successful beginning to the Polonsky Foundation Graduate Student Workshops in Digital Humanities: Tools and Methods series, which is supported by a grant to the Graduate School of Arts and Science by the Polonsky Foundation.

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, Hardy gave a talk entitled “The Presence of the Past: Histories of the Eighteenth-Century Transatlantic Book Trade in the Digital Age.” During the talk she discussed how the digitization of early modern texts offers an encounter with temporal dislocation as new and old media meet. She examined how the presence of the past in objects that have been retained and remediated is at once foregrounded and elided in the digital moment. Using examples from the eighteenth-century transatlantic book trade as represented in library catalogs and content databases, Hardy gave examples of time’s traces in the archives and how such traces can be re-conceived or eclipsed in digital humanities projects, ultimately asking how dueling temporalities define scholarly practices of research on archival materials in the digital age.

The following day, Hardy led a workshop on Bibliographic Metadata for Digital Humanists. After explaining how extraction of metadata from online public access catalogs (OPACs) can be a powerful first step in creating a digital humanities project, she introduced different types of special collections and union catalogs and gave a brief overview of Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC), the chief format for bibliographic information. The students learned how to use MarcEdit to transform catalog records into Dublin Core, CSV, and other formats useful for online exhibitions, visualization, and bibliometric analysis.

The workshops in the Polonsky Foundation Graduate Student Workshops in Digital Humanities: Tools and Methods series offer graduate students an intensive introduction to tools and methods for digital scholarship through day-long, hands-on sessions with experts in the field. Workshops will explore diverse approaches to research ranging from text markup and analysis to data visualization and mapping. Visit the Digital Scholarship Services blog to see the full list of workshops and public lectures.

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