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Editors' Note: June 2023

Editors' note on the June 2023 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities

Published onJun 26, 2023
Editors' Note: June 2023

Our frenetic summer at Reviews in Digital Humanities is in full swing. Last week, we held the first training for our summer cohort of topic editors. We introduced them to the steps of defining a vision for their first topic issues, and to the processes we use to manage communications here at Reviews (hint: we love spreadsheets).

We also had another meeting with Sherr Lo and Mariesa Kubasek at the Nonprofit Finance Fund, who are working with us on business planning. We’re closer than ever to better understanding just how much it costs to produce an issue of the journal and what that means for our plans for a long-term future for the journal. We’re grateful to the Mellon Foundation supporting this work.

This month, we bring you projects from our open submissions process. The projects focus on two fields of study: performing arts and Jewish studies. In this issue, we review:

  • Hispanic Theater Collection / Colección de teatro hispánico, a digital exhibit showcasing the theatrical past and present of Hispanic artists, directed by Gabriela Baeza Ventura and Lorena Gauthereau, and reviewed by María Ascensión Mazuela Anguita;

  • The Berkeley Folk Music Festival, a digital exhibit featuring multimedia materials on the history of the festival and the West Coast folk revival, directed by Michael J. Kramer, and reviewed by Allan Jepson;

  • Digital History of the Jews of Boston, a pedagogical exploration of Jewish history in Boston and beyond, directed by Simon Rabinovitch, and reviewed by Alison L. Joseph; and

  • In Search of the Drowned, a corpus development and data mining project that explores how to give voice to voiceless Holocaust victims, directed by Gabor Mihaly Toth, and reviewed by Jan Burzlaff.

Both the Hispanic Theater Collection / Colección de teatro hispánico and Berkeley Folk Music Festival projects add to our growing collection of projects that we’ve reviewed in the performing arts. Hispanic Theater Collection / Colección de teatro hispánico brings materials from special collections at the University of Houston to a broad audience. The design of the site and representation of materials is equally as intriguing for community members interested in or part of the U.S.’s thriving Latinx theatre scene as for scholars who wish to study it. The Berkeley Folk Music Festival shifts the focus of folk music away from narratives of the East Coast to its West Coast stories and revival. The digital exhibit makes meaning of the 3,000+ materials on the festival in Northwestern Library’s digital repository, with accessible introductory material for visitors who are new to the topic as well as juicy insights for experts.

Jewish studies has also been an area of study that we have been proud to feature in Reviews. In January 2021, we published our “Jewish Digital Humanities” special issue, edited by Amalia S. Levi and Michelle Chesner. Since then, we’ve been excited to receive nominations for other Jewish digital humanities projects through our open submissions process. We’ve used our special issues as a way to signal to broader digital humanities communities, particularly in ethnic studies fields, that their work is warmly welcomed at Reviews. Therefore, we see the increase in submissions in Jewish studies that we have received as a signal of the success of the special issue process. Jewish studies projects can now be browsed on the Jewish Studies page in the “Field of Study” section in our project registry.

Digital History of the Jews of Boston demonstrates the value of incorporating digital humanities tools and methodologies into undergraduate courses. The project site is a compendium of projects undertaken by Northeastern University students to explore the changing demographics of the Jewish community in and around Boston. In Search of the Drowned offers an innovative approach to recovering absences in Holocaust histories — namely the perspectives and experiences of voiceless victims who were murdered by the Nazis. Through data mining and corpus linguistics, the projects identifies leitmotifs in narratives of survivors, asking how they might offer insight on the experiences of those who died.

We have no doubt that you will find the projects in this issue as thought-provoking and compelling as we did.

Do you want new issues of Reviews delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to our mailing list! Want to nominate a project for review or submit your own? Drop us a note at [email protected].

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