Supporting Digital Humanities

Throughout 2020, Intersect has been engaged to provide engineering services to the Digital Humanities department of Western Sydney University (Western), implementing a  system to catalog, manage and cross-reference eighteenth-century library records for innovative research on the acquisition, circulation, and dissemination of books during this time period.

The library records cross-reference and link the following collections:

  1. French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe – Mapping Print Charting Enlightenment (MPCE)
  2. English Short-Title Catalog(ESTC) – Helsinki Bibliographic Metadata
  3. Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth Century Atlantic (LRC18C)

The Intersect engineering team worked with Western academics  to:

  1. Migrate existing collections from other tools into an online database management tool, Heurist (Heurist Academic Knowledge Management System). Heurist is able to handle large databases with minor/no updates and has a very user-configurable interface.
  2. Collaborate with expert stakeholders from the UK, USA, and Finland to come up with a database schema to suit the needs of the diverse project team and significant data of varying quality.
  3. Using advanced Python libraries Intersect cleaned and ingested more than a million records during 2020.
  4. Intersect has also developed an automated, researcher friendly script for Heurist that could filter records based on multiple different parameters, and import Author, Religion, Work, and Book(Edition) records from the ESTC database to the LRC18C database.

With the Heurist system containing cleaned, digitally available eighteen-century libraries data, researchers can perform data analysis to find new linkages and insights such as, which book was borrowed frequently, who borrowed frequently,  if British social and material culture played a role in shaping identities and helping Americans to feel part of a wider British-Atlantic community and possible impacts on public affairs and Age of revolution.

Intersect is supporting the  “Digital  Humanities Down Under” 2020 conference and has contributed technical skills to the website for the upcoming The Australasian Digital Humanities Summer Institute which is sponsored by renowned Australia, New Zealand, and Canadian organizations.