In addition to supporting digital scholarship and research at Northeastern, the Digital Scholarship Group also has several areas of research focus, arising from our work in developing innovative digital publication frameworks. These are domains in which DSG staff are engaged in active research, publication, and collaboration with other institutions.
Boston Research Center
DSG is engaged in an intensive preliminary planning and design process for a new digital research initiative focused on the city of Boston. The Boston Research Center (BRC) seeks to unify, for the first time, unique special collections related to Boston, data generated by the government, citizen groups, social media, digital modes of scholarship, and a wide array of researchers to offer scholars a seamless environment for studying a city’s history and culture. The BRC will be a dynamic research center that will enable scholars and communities to generate and operate on an array of archival materials and data in new ways, to draw upon a wide range of digitized resources and data sets, and to analyze multiple sources together through new services. The BRC will connect research collections of images, maps, texts, audio and video files, as well as spatial and statistical/numeric data collections. In summer 2018, DSG is developing a detailed project plan, specification, and initial prototypes on a set of pilot projects.
Design for Diversity
As a developer of systems that support the publication and study of cultural objects—historical texts and artifacts, archival documents, works of art—DSG takes seriously the ways in which the design of these systems reflects cultural norms and hegemonies, both overtly and at the deeper and more invisible layers of technical design. Working in partnership with the University Archives and Special Collections, and also with faculty whose research brings these issues into special visibility, we are seeking to bring an awareness of cultural specificity to our own development and design practices.
In 2016 we were awarded a National Forums grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to support the development of a teaching and learning toolkit on design for diversity. Read more…
Text Encoding and Data Representation Standards
Underlying many of DSG’s projects are complex text encoding and data representation standards including the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), metadata languages such as MODS, interoperability standards like the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), and linked open data technologies and standards such as RDF and OWL. DSG has world-class expertise in some of these (notably TEI) and a strong research interest in all of them. We work actively to contribute to standards bodies and open-source development initiatives, and our research also supports other institutions through consulting and workshops.
Digital Repository Systems
One of DSG’s major areas of research and development is CERES, the Community-Enhanced Repository for Engaged Scholarship: a repository-based framework for creating, publishing, and using complex forms of digital scholarship. CERES will soon be backed by Charon, a framework to support the transcription, encoding, translation, editing, and annotation activities involved in creating repository collections of full-text digital materials. In addition, DSG supports the TEI Archiving, Publishing, and Access Service (TAPAS) which offers a public service to publish and curate TEI data. The architecture of these frameworks, and their use of cutting-edge information standards, is an area of active research for DSG. The functional specification for Charon is now being circulated for public comment through the end of June 2017; please take a look and share your thoughts!