This past Memorial Day Weekend, members of the Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive (MFTA) presented their project at the American Literature Association conference in Boston. The MFTA began in May 2016 with funding from the NULab and involves a collaborative team between students and faculty at Northeastern and Sonia di Loreto, a professor at the University of Torino in Italy. The project aims to map Margaret Fuller’s foreign correspondence for the New York Daily Tribune (NYDT) from 1846-1850. Additionally, the project examines the network of relationships Fuller maintained with other writers and thinkers such as Horace Greeley, Cristina di Belgiojoso, and Giuseppe Mazzini. A central concern of the project is moving away from the purely biographical criticism of Fuller and instead considering her and her writing as political agents that shaped contemporary understandings of the Italian Revolution.
Currently, the project team has completed phase one of the project in which they’ve housed Fuller’s foreign correspondence online using Omeka. Additionally, the project also includes preliminary maps and networks of the circle of authors and political figures Fuller was involved with using Neatline. Moving forward, the team is interested in pursuing new avenues of funding and increasing the collaborative spirit of the project. One option for encouraging collaboration and decentralizing the site of knowledge production would be to invite students and scholars to participate in transcribing articles from the NYDT, assist in translating material to and from Italian and French, and even help create smaller exhibits that more closely analyze specific articles. While the project has relied on Omeka and Neatline thus far, the project members are not beholden to Omeka. In fact, they’re considering moving the project to a more technologically intuitive such as CERES, which would also provide better long term data curation. CERES is a WordPress based platform developed by and specific to Northeastern that also allows users to incorporate items from the Digital Repository Service (DRS) at Northeastern and the Digital Public Library of America. CERES will allow the project to customize how users interact with and explore the archive while also ensuring that the MFTA materials are secured and maintained for the long term in the DRS by Northeastern University Libraries. The MFTA welcomes suggestions and feedback and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.