Another year, another annual report (but this time, with Instagram!)

Instagram Game

Many around here thought that this first post-bicentennial fiscal year would be quiet, unexciting, a return to routine. What they didn't count on was the creation of a digital humanities curator position to refine, focus, and expand our already extensive digital projects; an explosion of our social media presence; and of course, the awarding of a ...

Big Data in Early America: Bibliometrics and The North American Imprints Program (NAIP)

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In recent years and in a variety of different ways, librarians are considering how different methodologies brought to bear on historical inquiry might shift their practices. Recent examples include Meg Phillips’s post in which she asks whether distant reading practices should inform archival appraisal practices to support more distant reading. Doing so would mean that archivists ...

The Antiquarian in the Twenty-First Century

digital antiquarian

Printed by Senefelder Lithography Company in 1830, the image on the right in the banner above recalls a transatlantic moment when antiquarianism was both a popular fad and an object of ridicule (think Walter Scott’s The Antiquary or Friedrich Nietzsche’s description of the antiquarian as “the mad collector raking over all the dust heaps of ...

“Black Printers” on White Cards: Information Architecture in the Database of the Early American Book Trades

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Since our founder Isaiah Thomas’s research for his ambitious The History of Printing in America (1810), AAS has held the largest collection of data on the early American book trades in North America and the Caribbean. The bulk of this information exists on 25 drawers of cards in our reading room and is known as ...

Catalog Camper or Archive Detective? My Summer at the AAS

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Samantha Cook is a senior at the University of Wyoming where she is majoring in History and Museum Studies. She spent last summer on an archeological dig in Italy, and this summer, she has been with us at AAS as a catalog camper, doing a completely different kind of digging. When I made the bold decision ...

Who is that Book-Clad Man? William Jenks on the Science of Early American Antiquarianism

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This image, a favorite around AAS, is part of a series a lithographs that circulated in the late 1820s and early 1830s, depicting people as an amalgamation of various objects: shells, vegetables, paintings, and in this instance, relics. This graphic motif harkens back to the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, whose portrait heads made of similar ...

Abby Goes Digital

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AAS is excited to announce the launch of an important new digital resource.  In partnership with the Worcester Historical Museum, AAS has digitized both the Worcester Historical Museum’s and our own collection of Abby Kelley Foster Papers.  Foster was a noted mid-nineteenth-century reformer, involved in both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements.  Both AAS and ...

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Mathew Carey Account Volumes: A Digitization Case Study

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Under cover of night on the Dublin docks in 1784, Mathew Carey, disguised as a woman, set sail for Philadelphia. Having spent the previous week hiding out in his friends’ bookshops along Grafton Street, Carey decided that this was the only sure way to escape the British officials who were in hot pursuit of him ...

Digitizing the Visual Records: AAS Plays Metadatagames

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Last week, about twenty AAS catalogers, research fellows, curators, and other staff members gathered to discuss the challenges that come with transforming the visual code of an image into a written code. The creation of metadata in the form of indexing images is an inexact science, and it is one challenge that faces us as ...

Evans-TCP: What it is and How Early Americanists Might Use It

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Molly O’Hagan Hardy is AAS digital humanities curator and an ACLS public fellow.  Every month on Past is Present she will be sharing news on digitization efforts at AAS, coverage of digital humanities projects using AAS materials, and ideas for such projects. Stay current with all things DH at AAS by checking out the “Digital ...

Our Need, Now an Employment Opportunity

On March 30-31, 2012, as part of our bicentennial programming, AAS hosted a symposium titled “Research Libraries in the Digital Age: Needs and Opportunities.” This symposium was intended to provide the AAS Council and staff with a set of perspectives that would help inform its vision of how AAS can best position itself to remain ...