A Two-Way Relationship – Collaborating with Scholars in the Gale Fellowship Program

│By Chris Houghton, Head of Academic Partnerships│

The Gale Fellowship program is now in its third year of providing financial support, training, archival access and professional opportunities for scholars around the world. In 2022, Gale developed its Fellowship program to provide opportunities for scholars in Asia and Australasia to apply for full funding for a three-month residential stay at Oxford University, in partnership with the Bodleian Library.

Successful applicants to the Gale Scholar Asia Pacific, Digital Humanities Oxford Fellowship are guests at Jesus College and given full access to the vast resources of the Bodleian. Alongside this, the Fellows are provided with extensive training and support from Gale in Gale Primary Sources and Gale Digital Scholar Lab to aid their professional development in digital humanities research methods.

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Playing Games with Data: Building Interactive Narratives with Twine

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist│

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute, at the University of Victoria, BC, has taken place every June since 2001. The intensive week of workshops, lectures, papers and social gatherings has a long history of active engagement in learning, conversation and discussions of research and methodologies.

I have had the opportunity to attend each year since 2011 and have participated in 5-day workshops on topics ranging from text encoding, digital project management, mapping, data visualization, IIIF viewers, python programming, cloud computing and DH for department chairs and deans. As an academic with an active research agenda and regular engagement in both undergraduate and graduate classrooms, I have come to greatly value the in-depth and diverse conversations taking place during the week, and 2024 has been no exception.

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United Farm Workers and Chicano Literature: Primary Sources as a Tool for Language and Cultural Studies

│By Ray Linn, Gale Ambassador at Maynooth University│

I started studying Spanish nearly 8 years ago now, but it never interested me so much as last year, in the final year of my undergrad degree, when I enrolled in a Chicano/a Literature module. I hadn’t studied literature much previously, but in that class, I learned how essential it is to living. It allows us to connect with people whose experiences are different from our own, and to see the world through lenses that were previously unknown. But reading requires context. Using primary sources allows me to contextualize what I read when it comes from cultures and histories I’m unfamiliar with, allowing my view to expand and my understanding to grow.

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Finding Meaning in K-Means: Clustering Analysis in Gale Digital Scholar Lab

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist│

Of the six tools in Gale Digital Scholar Lab, clustering is often considered the most challenging methodology to interpret effectively. This blog post will explore the nature of this analysis tool and offer some tips for running an analysis.

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Refugees, Relief and Resettlement: The Early Cold War and Decolonization – The Building Blocks of a Digital Archive

│By Lindsay Whitaker-Guest, Associate Editor, Gale Primary Sources

This year, the global population of forcibly displaced and stateless people has grown to 130.8 million according to figures released by UNHCR. Existing global conflicts such as the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Gaza conflict, as well as environmental and climate disasters, are all contributing to the increasing numbers of people without homes to call their own.

Sadly, these journeys of displacement are not new. Population displacement is a fact of human history, and scholars and researchers can explore episodes in the twentieth century of refugee crises through primary sources in the latest module of Refugees, Relief and Resettlement. This post explores the primary source collections included in this new module and how editors at Gale Primary Sources approach turning poorly catalogued collections into fully searchable digital archive products.

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Plans, Charts, Images and Drawings: Eighteenth Century Collections Online as a Source of Visual Information Transmission

│By Sirkku Ruokkeinen, University of Turku, Finland│

In 1786, the Scottish economist William Playfair (1759–1823) published the Commercial and Political Atlas, reporting on the trade balance between England and continental Europe, West Indies, and North America. The work included something never before seen in print: line and bar charts. These statistical tools, although familiar to many of us now, are in fact quite complex devices and necessitate some understanding of their structure for a successful reading. So how were Playfair’s eighteenth century readers able to understand them?

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Building Projects in Gale Digital Scholar Lab

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist│

The outcomes of digital scholarship are often ‘non-traditional’, and may include digital exhibits, websites, databases, or interactive visualisations and narratives. The underlying organisational structure of such public scholarship is that of a project, usually with a distinct triggering research question and a definitive end point. Scholars may work with collaborators or contributors from multiple disciplines.

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New Environmental History Archive: Colonial Policy and Global Development, 1896-1993

│By Clem Delany, Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources│

What does Environmental History mean to you?

On sitting down to write a brief explanation of what environmental history is, I have spent the last twenty minutes staring into space thinking about Pando. Pando is, as I’m sure the sophisticated and well-travelled audience of this blog will know, the largest and heaviest living organism on earth. Pando covers 100 acres and is around 10,000 years old. That means that when Pando first began its long, slow life, there were woolly mammoth and sabre-toothed cats still living, although increasingly finding their parties a little light on company.

Pando is a tree. It is a quaking aspen in Utah; in appearance it is over 45,000 individual quaking aspens, but below ground it has a single root system. Each ‘tree’ is a clone of its neighbours, a stem of one single organism. And it is on my mind because I am trying to think of a pithy way to describe environmental history, an area of study where many different disciplines and topics meet, connected at their roots as different expressions of one phenomenon: human interaction with the natural world.

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Delivering Impact – Launching Gale Research Showcase and Gale Digital Scholar Lab: Projects

│By Becca Gillott and Chris Houghton, Gale Digital Scholar Lab team│

From newspaper columns to academic reports, “The Humanities in Crisis” is a common refrain. It is a widely held fear that, in societies increasingly focused on the risks and benefits of technology in the fourth industrial revolution, studying what it means to be human is seen as increasingly irrelevant.

Irrespective of these fears, the evidence indicates that the teaching of humanities is increasingly under strain in higher education. Where we are in the UK, every summer sees the closure of yet another set of humanities departments. Higher Education assessment criteria like the UK’s Research Excellence Framework and Teaching Excellence Framework have a growing focus on measuring not just the quality, but the impact of disciplines.

This focus on impact has led to interesting developments in higher education institutions as humanities departments find new ways of working and collaborating within and without the institution.

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Exploring Community and Identity in Sexuality and Gender History – Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Community and Identity in North America

│By Phil Virta, Senior Acquisitions Editor│

Queer history is full of groups and individuals that took a stand against injustices, fought to change discriminatory laws, advocated for acceptance, and spoke out for those who might otherwise remain marginalized.  Studying this history can inspire and educate us as we face ongoing challenges in society such as homophobia, transphobia, attacks on women’s rights, and a willingness to eliminate any mention of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Archives of Sexuality and Gender: Community and Identity in North America (ASG VI) offers interesting perspectives on society, sexual identity, community building, and gender issues.  It presents a history of North American society with materials that cover activism, social justice issues, disabilities, women’s rights, alternative sexualities, sexuality and religion, and ethnic communities.  The collections detail how identities developed in different social conditions, and how communities grew around dedicated, sometimes courageous, individuals and organized groups.

In this venture Gale Primary Sources has partnered with the ArQuives, Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives; the GLBT Historical Society; the Elihu Burritt Library (Central Connecticut State University); and Colegio de México, which represents Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  This archive comprises 28 collections that provide a personal historical perspective, helping researchers get to know the individuals and groups involved. 

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