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Editors' Note: July 2022

Editors' note on the July 2022 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities

Published onJul 25, 2022
Editors' Note: July 2022

Editors’ Note

Roopika Risam and Jennifer Guiliano

We hope that July has been treating you as well as can be expected. We’re also happy to share the July 2022 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities. This month, we bring you projects drawn from our open submissions process, showcasing the wide variety of disciplines, topics, and methods that appear in digital scholarship.

We’re wrapping up our first round of funding from the Mellon Foundation in August and are requesting your help documenting the value you have found in Reviews in Digital Humanities. We’d appreciate if you would take a moment to complete our 3-question user survey. The survey should take 2-3 minutes to fill out and asks about your relationship to Reviews, the role it has played in your work (including teaching and research), and what you would like to see from us in the future. Complete the survey here! We appreciate your valuable input as we continue working to improve the journal.

This month’s innovative projects each offer a unique take on the methods that digital humanities research encompasses. In this month’s issue, you’ll find reviews of:

  • Mapping Memphis, a geospatial project using funeral ledger data, directed by Abigail Norris and reviewed by Rebekah Aycock;

  • They Came on Waves of Ink, a digital mapping project of a U.S. Customs ledger for the Puget Sound Customs District, directed by Sean Fraga and reviewed by Katrina Jagodinsky;

  • DECIMA, a project mapping 16th and 17th century Tuscany, directed by Nicholas Terpstra and Colin Rose with two reviews by Cristina Migliaccio and Diona Espinosa; and

  • Linked Archives, a digital tool for linked data in archives, led by Jason Ensor and Helen Bones and reviewed by Spencer D. C. Keralis.

Three of this month’s projects engage with mapping, each producing unique insights for both content and method. Mapping Memphis sheds light on Black history in Memphis, Tennessee with its innovative use of ledgers from the T. H. Hayes and Sons Funeral Home, the oldest African-American-owned business in Memphis, Tennessee, as a data source. The project offers rich insight on African American communities in Memphis both in the past and at present.

They Came on Waves of Ink maps maritime trade in the North American West and the Pacific World, two areas often not explored in tandem. In addition, it offers an exemplar of using customs ledger data for digital history, opening up new and exciting possibilities for research on settlement of this region and the attendant dispossession of Indigenous peoples.

DECIMA draws on multiple census data sets to illuminate the history of Florence in the 16th and 17th centuries. This GIS project is particularly notable for its robust paratexts — user guide, glossary, translations, sub-maps, and teaching resources — that enhance user experience. A rich project that has generated both digital and analog publications, DECIMA demonstrates the importance and viability of developing scholarship at the intersections of Italian studies and digital humanities, as well as the importance of scholarship beyond the Anglophone world.

Our final review, Linked Archives, is a tool for linked data in archival collections. It showcases the promise of the Collections as Data movement in digital humanities and libraries, as well as the value of linked open data. In addition to its significance for large-scale data analysis in the context of archives, Linked Archives offers an example of how to form bridges between digital librarianship and digital humanities, two areas of discourse that have much in common but are not always speaking effectively to each other.

Notably, DECIMA is the first project for which we have two reviews, something we have been hoping to pursue. Doing so, however, has posed a challenge due to the difficulties that we — like other publications — have encountered during the process of soliciting reviewers. Given the state of the world, the academy, and the GLAM sector, these obstacles to finding reviewers are entirely understandable. We remain committed to finding ways to keep our workflow moving without putting undue burden on the digital humanities community.

If you are interested in editing a special issue of Reviews, drop us a note! You can also submit a project for review, nominate a project you admire, volunteer for our reviewer pool, and tell your colleagues and students about the journal.

Questions? Thoughts? Concerns? Contact the editors, Jennifer Guiliano and Roopika Risam, by email or through the Twitter hashtag #ReviewsInDH

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