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Monday, October 26 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
Big Data is History: Curating Explorer's Legacy at the University of Iowa • New Sites for Old: Recoding, Migrating, and Sustaining Established Web Projects

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Presentation 1
Big Data is History: Curating Explorer's Legacy at the University of Iowa
Stakeholders across academia are engaged in research data management initiatives, incentivized by funding agency requirements to build services and tools for current and future researchers.

But what is the fate of legacy research data created in the decades before "data management"? Whether held in managed libraries and archives or desk drawers and basements, most research data produced before modern digital storage is captured in outdated formats and accompanied (or not) by wildly variable metadata. Curating old research data compounds many of the challenges of preserving legacy media (e.g. obsolescence, storage, funding) with the considerable domain expertise often required to interpret the data and make it discoverable and usable. Indeed, curating legacy data makes the need for good management all the more apparent.

Librarians and archivists may know enough to determine whether the data contained on a set of physical media is within their collecting scope, but this may do little to help prioritize further curation. How are they to know if the data still have value to science or society? Occasionally a data set is of such clear significance that it warrants extraordinary measures. In 2011, the University of Iowa Libraries became the steward of just such a data set. Data tapes created during the first U.S. satellite mission, Explorer, were found deteriorating in the basement of a campus building after decades of neglect. Explorer's scientific lead was Iowa's James Van Allen, and the data from three 1958 Explorer missions led to the first major discovery of the space age: the Van Allen radiation belts.

This presentation chronicles the librarians, archivists, physicists, audio engineers and journalists who teamed up to preserve this historic research data for the public and the scientific community. Explorer's Legacy (http://explorer.lib.uiowa.edu/) serves as the interactive digital edition which tells the story of this lost-and-found data.

Presenters: Emily Frieda Shaw (The Ohio State University), Matthew Butler (University of Iowa), Hannah Scates-Kettler (University of Iowa)

Presentation 2
New Sites for Old: Recoding, Migrating, and Sustaining Established Web Projects
This panel explores the transformation of two well-established, open access, library-based projects—Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database and the peer-reviewed journal Southern Spaces—to assess the challenges and opportunities associated with migrating, enhancing, and sustaining digital publications as web technologies change. It will also unveil an open access Drupal distribution ("e-journal-in-a-box") that enables the production of online scholarly journals through all stages of publication, from administrative back-end workflow to public-facing presentation.

Voyages is the basic reference source for the study of the slave trade by scholars, schools, genealogists, and the general public. Online for seven years, the site draws on four decades of archival research on five continents to offer public access to details of 35,000 slave trading voyages between Africa and the New World from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. It is one of the first web-based databases to use crowdsourcing to correct existing information and to attract new contributions to its core database. Faced with an uncertain future and possible extinction as its original code becomes obsolete, the Voyages' team is undertaking a complete rewriting of the site's code. Project director and distinguished historian David Eltis will report on the recoding efforts and the expanded capabilities of Voyages' new site, which include a Portuguese translation, enhanced mapping, and a separate interface to augment an intra-American slave trade database.

Now in its second decade, the open access, peer-reviewed, multimedia journal Southern Spaces is completing a migration of the site's content and review and administrative interface to Drupal 7. Southern Spaces managing editor Jesse P. Karlsberg and digital publishing strategist Sarah Melton will discuss building a test/staging environment for the journal, the implementation of a workflow module for tracking the progress of article submissions, redesign considerations, and a resulting "e-journal-in-a-box" that will become available as a publishing platform.

Presenters: Allen Tullos (Emory University), David Eltis (American Academy of Arts and Sciences), Jesse Karlsberg (Emory University), Sarah Melton (Emory University), Elizabeth Milewicz (Duke University)


Matthew Butler

Research Manager, University of Iowa Libraries

David Eltis

Professor Emeritus, Emory University

Jesse Karlsberg

Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory Center for Digital Scholarship
avatar for Hannah Scates Kettler

Hannah Scates Kettler

Digital Humanities Librarian, University of Iowa Libraries
Currently involved in public digital scholarship and pedagogy, social media, 3D digital representation and visualization, games and gaming, access and dissemination of higher education and research and big data archaeology.
avatar for Sarah Melton

Sarah Melton

Digital Projects Coordinator, Emory Center for Digital Scholarship
I’m the digital projects coordinator at the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS). My work—which revolves around scholarly communication, intellectual property, and data curation—involves coordinating several of our open access publications. Currently, I am the assistant... Read More →
avatar for Liz Milewicz

Liz Milewicz

Digital Scholarship Services, Duke University Libraries
Project planning, management, and transitioning Internships and other experiential training in digital scholarship Building new forms of literacy (e.g., publishing) into academic courses
avatar for Emily Shaw

Emily Shaw

Head of Preservation & Reformatting, The Ohio State University Libraries
avatar for Allen Tullos

Allen Tullos

Professor of History, Emory University
A graduate of programs in English, Folklore, and American Studies at the University of Alabama, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Yale University, Allen Tullos is currently a professor in the History Department at Emory University, and serves as co-director of the Emory... Read More →

Monday October 26, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm PDT
Salon A Pinnacle Hotel

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