October 28 / 29, 2019: Student-Led “Datathon” at the Maryland State Archives: Exploring data, investigating methodologies

Student-Led “Datathon” Exploring data, investigating methodologies

Working in small interdisciplinary student teams from the University of Maryland iSchool Programs (Undergraduate InfoSci, MLIS – Master of Library and Information Science, MIM – Master of Information Management, HCIM – Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction, and Doctoral program), and from the Drexel LEADS Initiative (Library & Information Science Education and Data Science), explored selected datasets from the Maryland State Archives Legacy of Slavery Project under the leadership of domain experts. The “Datathon” is the culmination of 8 weeks of data exploration in the DCIC in September and October, with 17 students (undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral). See flyer.

The main focus of the event was to unlock the black box of digital research: to understand and explore the conceptual and methodological challenges and ethical implications that digital brings to our understanding of the record and the archival context, and to suggest new ways for archives to become more accountable, collaborative and transparent.

The event was meant to encourage experimentation, collaboration, engagement and discussion between the group leaders and working groups, enable opportunities throughout the two days to discuss how we can explore the data and the decision-making involved, based on specific challenges.

The organizers are grateful for the Michael J. Kurtz Foundation‘s support of Computational Archives Science (CAS) work through prize funds and a “Certificate of Award in Recognition of Participation in the Legacy of Slavery / DCIC Collaboration”.


Mark Hedges (KCL), Maya Davis (MSA), Richard Marciano (UMD), Timothy Baker (MSA), Tim Brooks (MSA), Emily Oland Squires (MSA), Paul Young (TNA), Chris Haley (MSA), Eirini Goudarouli (TNA)


Happy Hour with: Alex Hill (MLIS), Phillip Nicholas (MLIS), LEADS Scholars: Rongqian Ma, Soania Pascua, Hanlin Zhang, and TNA Partners: Paul Young, Eirini Goudarouli, and KCL Partner: Mark Hedges, and DCIC Collaborators: Richard Marciano, Greg Jansen, Bill Underwood, Mark Conrad & Lyneise Williams


Computational Archival Science (CAS) AHRC Network

The Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) at the University of Maryland iSchool and the Maryland State Archives (MSA) in the US, together with King’s College London’s Department of Digital Humanities and The National Archives (TNA), in the UK, were awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) one-year International Research Networking grant for UK-US Collaborations in Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions, running from 1 February 2019 to 31 January 2020.

The AHRC-funded Computational Archival Science network addresses the application of computational methods to the contextualization of records within archival collections, at a time when the archive is becoming an increasingly digital space.

Through a series of events held in both the US and the UK, the network will explore how collections can be made available, digitally, for large-scale computational research. For more information about the network and its activities, you can visit the network’s page at computationalarchives.net.

Outcome

One of the main aims of the workshop is to publish a white paper and to establish a research agenda for sustained scholarly and data-driven interactions with the MSA’s Legacy of Slavery team.



PROGRAM

Monday Oct. 28, 2019

9:15 – 9:30: COFFEE

9:30 – 9:45: Welcome to MSA (15 mins)

  • Christopher HALEY (Director, Study of Legacy of Slavery in Maryland)
  • Maya DAVIS (Research Archivist)
  • Tim BROOKS (DB Specialist in the Info. Sys.Mgt. Dept.), Maryland State Archives, USA.

9:45 – 10:45: Introductory talks (15 mins each, total 1 hr):

  • The AHRC network, its objectives, its plan: Mark HEDGES
  • What is CAS? and plan for the event, structure & objectives: Richard MARCIANO & Michael KURTZ
  • Prior work at The National Archives (TNA): Eirini GOUDAROULI & Paul YOUNG
  • Representation of Race and Considerations of Erasure: Lyneise WILLIAMS

10:45 – 10:50: BREAK

10:50 – 12:05: Team Introductions (15 mins each, total 1 hr 15 min)

  • Team 1 – [Runaway Slave Ads]
  • Team 2 – [Certificates of Freedom]
  • Team 3 – [Manumissions]
  • Team 4 – [LEADS Fellows]
  • Team 5 – [Cemetery Records]

12:05 – 1:00: LUNCH

1 p.m. – 2:10: D1: DATA CLEANING
D1a. [10 min] presentations by Teams 1 – 3 using the general questions below to address

  • approach (methodology)/decision making
  • interesting findings
  • obstacles / issues – technical, interdisciplinary, team
  • opportunities identified

D1b. [20 min] Mapping exercise to identify common issues across collections and those unique to collections
D1c. [20 min] Summarize key lessons learned, common opportunities, critical opportunities for individual collections
D1d. [20 min] Initial summary of next steps

2:10 – 12:30: OPEN INTERACTIONS

2:30 – 2:50: COFFEE

2:50 – 4:00: D2: DATA VISUALIZATION
D2a. [10 min] presentations by Teams 1 – 3 using the general questions below to address

  • approach (methodology)/decision making
  • interesting findings
  • obstacles / issues – technical, interdisciplinary, team
  • opportunities identified

D2b. [20 min] Mapping exercise to identify common issues across collections and those unique to collections
D2c. [20 min] Summarize key lessons learned, common opportunities, critical opportunities for individual collections
D2d. [20 min] Initial summary of next steps

4:00 – 5:00: 5-minute updates from the leaders + open the discussion to all participants

SOCIAL EVENT: 5:00: Drinks & 6:30: Dinner


Tuesday October 29, 2019

09:40 – 10:00: COFFEE

10:00 – 10:10: INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

  • Timothy BAKER (State Archivist, Maryland State Archives)

10:10 – 10:15: Overall plan for the day

10:15 – 10:30: 5-minute presentations: plans for the day from the working groups’ leaders

10:30 – 11:40: D3: INTEGRATION ACROSS COLLECTIONS
D3a. [10 min] presentations by Teams 1 – 3 using the general questions below to address

  • approach (methodology)/decision making
  • interesting findings
  • obstacles / issues – technical, interdisciplinary, team
  • opportunities identified

D3b. [20 min] Mapping exercise to identify common issues across collections and those unique to collections
D3c. [20 min] Summarize key lessons learned, common opportunities, critical opportunities for individual collections
D3d. [20 min] Initial summary of next steps


11:40 – 12:00: OPEN INTERACTIONS

12:00 – 1:00: LUNCH

1:00 – 2:10: D4: TOWARDS A RESEARCH AGENDA

  • Report out and integration of findings from D1, D2, and D3 discussion groups
  • Identification of top 5 next steps
  • Coordination leads and propose deadline for finalizing research objectives, identifying resources, and next steps.

2:10 – 2:30: COFFEE

2:30 – 3:15: Updates from the group leaders + discussion + next steps

3:15 – 3:30: Next steps (Richard Marciano, Christopher Haley, Maya Davis, Mark Hedges, Eirini Goudarouli). Outputs (white paper/publications). Events. Follow-up from groups.



LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Organizers

  • Archivist Chris HALEY, Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, MSA, USA.
  • Research Archivist Maya DAVIS, Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, MSA, USA.
  • Prof. Richard MARCIANO, Director of Digital Curation Innovation Center, University of Maryland, USA.
  • Dr. Michael KURTZ, Director Emeritus, Digital Curation Innovation Center, University of Maryland, USA.
  • Dr. Eirini GOUDAROULI, Digital and Technology Research Lead, The National Archives, UK.
  • Dr. Mark HEDGES, Senior Lecturer, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, UK.

Speakers

  • Timothy BAKER, State Archivist, Maryland State Archives, USA.
  • Paul YOUNG, Digital Preservation Specialist/Researcher, The National Archives, UK.
  • Prof. Lyneise WILLIAMS, Art History, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA.
  • Ginger DeLUCA & Linda ADAMSON, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church Annapolis, Cemetery Committee, USA.
  • Chagal MARCIANO, Environmental Science & Technology graduate, University of Maryland, USA.

Floating Experts

  • Emily OLAND SQUIRES, Director of Research, Reference, Education and Outreach, Maryland State Archives, USA.
  • Greg JANSEN, Research Software Architect, University of Maryland, USA.
  • Bill UNDERWOOD, Affiliate Faculty, University of Maryland, USA.
  • Mark CONRAD, NARA Information Services, USA.

TEAM 1: Runaway Slave Advertisements

  • Ani TANSINDA, InfoSci.
  • Yannan LIU, MIM.
  • Sakshi NANDA, MIM.
  • Neviya PRAKASH, MIM.
  • Willem KALBACH, MLIS.

TEAM 2: Certificates of Freedom

  • Jeneva BLACKWELL, InfoSci.
  • Rajesh GNANASEKARAN, MIM.
  • Alexis HILL, MLIS.
  • Phillip NICHOLAS, MLIS.

TEAM 3: Manumissions

  • Favion DAVID, InfoSci.
  • Anuja WANI, MIM.
  • Dan YANG, MIM.
  • Lori PERINE, Doctoral.

LEADS Scholars Facilitators

  • Rongqian MA, University of Pittsburgh, USA.
  • Sonia PASCUA, Drexel University, USA.
  • Hanlin ZHANG, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA

CEMETERY Records Team

  • Chagal MARCIANO, Env. Sci. & Technology, USA.