Updates on our Work

It’s been a few months since our last blog post, but now that the academic year is in full swing, we have a new goal of posting to the blog at least once every two weeks. There should be plenty to share and discuss: This year is shaping up to be an exciting one for Civil War Washington, as we start to see some of the behind-the-scenes projects we’ve been working on for the past twelve months or more come to fruition.

Since May, project directors and staff have been working on infrastructure and content for the site, and we’ve also talked about Civil War Washington in a range of venues, sharing about our project and soliciting feedback. A few highlights:

  • In May, Ken Price presented his paper “The Work of Recovery: Civil War Poetry in Washington, DC’s Armory Square Hospital Gazette,” at the annual meeting of the American Literature Association.
  • In June, I participated in the week-long seminar “Geographical Information Systems in the Digital Humanities,” led by Ian Gregory at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, BC.
  • At the annual meeting of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, held at Stanford University in June, Price,  Brett Barney, and I presented our paper, “Civil War Washington: An Experiment in Freedom, Integration, and Constraint.”
  • August saw the launch of version 2.0 of our project relational database. Currently, the database is internal only, but we anticipate making a public version of the database available by late 2011 or early 2012.
  • Courtney Geerhart joined the staff of Civil War Washington for several months this summer as an Institute of Museum and Library Services intern. She worked on transcribing and encoding compensated emancipation petitions, scanning primary documents, and researching information for the project database.
  • Also this summer, Matt Bosley, an undergraduate student in human nutrition, joined the staff of Civil War Washington, after taking Susan Lawrence’s history of medicine course last spring. He was so taken by the work Lawrence describes in her “Cases in the Classroom” post, that he sought out additional work on our project. To date, he’s worked his way through more than 1,100 medical cases from DC hospitals, checking the transcription and encoding and adding essential metadata.
  • With the start of the academic year, we welcomed three additional staff members, Janel Cayer, graduate research assistant in the Department of English; AJ Howell, who comes to Civil War Washington through the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) program; and Rob Shepard, a graduate student in the Geography Department and a graduate research assistant in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.

We’ll be writing more about many of these topics in the coming months. In particular, look for more posts on compensated emancipation petitions, the project database, wounds and injuries from DC hospitals, and the project GIS.

~Elizabeth Lorang

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