A Shaky Truce’: Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960-1980 is a digital public history website that tells the story of American civil rights activism in Starkville and at Mississippi State University (MSU), the state’s land-grant institution, by using oral history interviews with community residents who remember how court imposed desegregation forced the town and university to confront its racial inequities.
Working in and with the digital humanities, we are keenly aware of how crucial experimentation is to our practice, and how essential it is to iterate based on these outcomes. After some consideration, we are introducing some changes here at DHCommons, which we hope will enrich your experience of both reading and contributing to the journal, as well as continuing to serve the community in useful and hopefully, interesting ways.
One of the central concerns that inspired the conception of DHCommons was the lack of a venue for what might be considered “mid-stage” projects -- those that had the potential to impact their field, but not fully realised -- and our commitment to this remains as strong as ever. It is still, we believe, necessary for a process that certifies the contribution of the mid-stage project to be available to the community, and we intend to keep facilitating that process through our unique reviewing practices. However, from this issue going forward, we would like to also extend our remit to projects that might be considered further along in their execution, or might even be considered as “completed.” While we are aware that there are other venues for reviews of such projects, we do hope that the digital humanities community will consider the particular advantages of publishing with DHCommons, due to the journal’s commitment to transparency and a balanced review process, which aims to provide comprehensive and constructive feedback for projects from a wide range of international, linguistically, culturally and disciplinarily diverse backgrounds.
We have also reconsidered our publishing schedule as we felt that the digital-only nature of DHCommons meant it no longer needed to be tied to temporal models of the print journal -- going forward, content for reviews and the ‘How Did They Make That?’ section (which still continues to be very popular!) will be published on a rolling schedule, which will enable to us to get more content out on a more regular basis. Issues will be archived annually, and specific calls for papers will still be in place, in order to create themed clusters, so please do contact us if you have any specific topics you’d like to see represented.
We at DHCommons are grateful to Neil Fraistat and Katherine Walter for their guidance regarding these changes, and hope that they will go some way towards making DHCommons an ever more vital and vibrant forum for the digital humanities community. We would also like to say a big thank you to our outgoing editors Isabel Galina and Laurent Romany for their incredibly important work in getting DHCommons off the ground; thanks too, to our ever-helpful editorial assistant Laura Hartmann, and we are very glad to welcome Christopher Hench on board, who will be joining us from UC Berkeley as Laura’s replacement.
On behalf of the DH Commons editorial team, Padmini Ray Murray, Managing Editor
In this Issue
- GO::DH Translation Toolkit
- You Can Read the Comments Section Again: The Faciloscope App and Automated Rhetorical Analysis
How did they make that?
- Creating a Public History Website on a Shoestring Budget with Limited Tech Literacy: The Starkville Civil Rights Project
- Sustainable & Accessible Interactive Documentary Storytelling Without Heavy Coding: The Story of the Stuff
How did they make that? Editor
The Story of the Stuff was conceived as a multi-faceted interactive documentary project that explores case studies about how communities, libraries, and archives deal with the influx of condolence material or “stuff” following public tragedies. It tracks the disposition and archival decisions for condolence items sent to Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Texas A&M following school shootings and a deadly accident, respectively.
Developed by a working group of Global Outlook::Digital Humanities, the Translation Toolkit (http://go-dh.github.io/translation-toolkit/) is our response to the need to give voice to the multiple languages in which the field is practiced. The Toolkit puts into question the concern, long held in the increasingly international field of Digital Humanities, that multilingualism is an issue affecting only a handful of practitioners and not, as we believe and propose, the entirety of the community. We see translation, in Boaventura de Sousa Santos words, as “dialogical and political work….[with] an emotional dimension as well, because it presupposes both a non-conformist attitude vis-à-vis the limits of one's knowledge and practice and the readiness to be surprised and learn with the other's knowledge and practice” (Santos 2005). Succinctly, the Translation Toolkit is the gathering of strategies to facilitate translation and multilingual practices that countless Digital Humanities practitioners shared with the editors.
The Faciloscope (see Figure 1) is a web application that employs a support vector machine (svm) (Cortes and Vapnik, 1995) classifier to annotate high-value facilitation moves in online, informal learning and discussion environments. These moves include Staging, Inviting, and Evoking moves. The Faciloscope app and its supporting “About” information can be accessed at: