Illuminating past labor: Making transformation processes of historical documents visible

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Historical documents often undergo transformations–transcription, annotation, re-formatting, and digitization–as part of preservation or humanistic inquiry. These processes modify documents’ content, artifactual form, and structure, which subsequently influences the ways in which they are read, explored, and interpreted. Transparency of such processes ensures proper attribution of curators’ labor, promotes greater inclusiveness, and enables a more holistic and critical interpretation of historical records. But how to engage with and make visible these transformation processes? In this paper, we begin to address this question through a visualization case study based on an exemplary collection of biographical student records from the University of St Andrews (Scotland) that date back to the 18th century. We present – illustrated through this case study - a methodology based on visual (re)-interpretations of historical records over time which, we believe, is relevant to a wide range of information collections within and beyond humanities research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventDigital Humanities 2020 Conference: Carrefours/Intersections - University of Ottawa and Carleton University., Ottawa, Canada
Duration: 20 Jul 202025 Jul 2020


ConferenceDigital Humanities 2020 Conference
Abbreviated titleDH2020
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • information visualization
  • data transformation
  • process visualization
  • historical university records


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