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The American Antiquarian Society is launching a new initiative with a conference and workshop to explore critical, historical, and practical challenges of archival research and access, offering project-based development and discussion focused on the AAS’s unparalleled holdings in pre-1876 books, manuscripts, newspapers, and graphic arts. The Digital Antiquarian conference and workshop are presented by the AAS, with generous support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

The two-day conference will open up questions related to digitization, cataloguing, and research design, exploring applications of digital tools and methods to diverse library materials, and identifying needs and opportunities in the development of critical bibliography appropriate to 21st-century tools. Leaders in book history, curators and librarians from university and independent research libraries, and innovators in the digital humanities will convene in Worcester to exchange ideas about the past, present, and future of historical information literacy and the archive. The conference has been organized by Thomas Augst and Molly O’Hagan Hardy. Kenneth Carpenter, Carl Stahmer, and Michael Winship will give keynote talks. Papers will be presented by Blake Bronson-Barlett, Matt Brown, Craig Carey, Dawn Childress, Matt Cohen, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Lisa Gitelman, Leon Jackson, Mary Kelley, Michael Kelly, Lauren Klein, Thomas Knoles, Meredith Neuman, Kyle Roberts, Will Slauter, Todd Thompson, Jessica Showalter, and Ed Whitley. The conference will include a reception and project showcase, sponsored by New York University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, including A New Nation Votes, Cassey & Dickerson Friendship Albums, Early Caribbean Digital Archive, The Occom Circle, TEI Archiving Publishing and Access Service (TAPAS), and Walt Whitman Archive.

Following the conference, concepts and methods will be more deeply explored in a five-day workshop dedicated to practice-based learning in digital humanities in the AAS’s major areas of archival development and research. The workshop will introduce students to fundamental questions about how data is organized and used in contexts of archival development and research. Intended for faculty and graduate students interested in archival research, as well as students in library and information sciences, the workshop will discuss archival practices of acquisition, preservation, and cataloguing, survey best-practices for archival research (both at AAS and other historical archives) and offer hands-on training in project-development utilizing AAS holdings. Topics and exercises will focus on how metadata for archival collections are created, organized and remediated in digital environments, using AAS digital projects as a case study; how special collections collection catalogs are organized based on the specificities of the collection, standardized through authority work, and related to and different from union catalogs; how decisions about digitization are made, including questions around optical character recognition, encoding (TEI), tagging, cataloguing formats, and newspapers; and finally, how collections are developed and the ways in which digitization impacts that process. The workshop reading and resources list is avaible on our website.



Rooms at the Courtyard Worcester were on hold under the name "Digital Antiquarian" at a reduced conference nightly rate of $129 plus tax until May 1, 2015. For reservations at the conference rate, please visit the Marriott Courtyard's Digital Antiquarian webpage or please call the Courtyard at 508-363-0300.

Reservations for dorm rooms at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute are no longer being accepted.


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By appointment:
Monday: 9-5
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 9-5
Thursday: 9-5
Friday: 9-5

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