Digital Lab

Digital history presents us all with opportunities and challenges that are best tackled in collaboration. In order to facilitate such collaborations, we invite you to drop by the digital lab at the Gerstein Science Information Centre at any time.

The lab will feature multiple computer stations where you can browse and interact with various digital history projects and learn about their wealth of historical resources, innovative methodologies, and novel forms of engagement. You can discover all the projects featured on the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Digital Scholarship Unit website.

In addition, the lab will host a series of informal conversations with digital project leaders, offering attendees opportunities to learn about different projects’ aims, tools, and methodological innovations, and get some practical advice for your own digital initiatives.

If you have a dream project but don’t know where to start drop by the digital lab, ask questions and get inspired!

Location: Gerstein Computer Lab, 2nd Floor, Gerstein Science Information Centre (7 & 9 King’s College Circle)

Friday May 23, 2014

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM


C S Lakshmi* (SPARROW director)

Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women or SPARROW is an archive of Indian women’s history containing print, visual, photographic and film materials related to women’s history in India. Founded in 1988, it is the largest archive of women’s history in India. The archive collects oral history, personal papers, recorded speeches, photographers, posters, songs, art work etc. It also makes documentary films on women who have been agents of change in different fields.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000

Thomas Dublin* (State University of New York at Binghamton), Kathryn Kish Sklar* (State University of New York at Binghamton)

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 is a resource for students and scholars of U.S. history and U.S. women’s history. The collection seeks to advance scholarly debates and understanding at the same time that it makes the insights of women’s history accessible to teachers and students at universities, colleges, and high schools. The collection includes more than 108 document projects or archives and 4,200 documents and 150,000 pages of additional full-text sources, written by almost 2,300 primary authors.


The Doris McCarthy Fonds

Kirsta Stapelfeldt and Sara Allain, The Digital Scholarship Unit, University of Toronto Scarborough Library

Donated to the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2011 by the estate of Doris McCarthy, a celebrated Canadian author, artist, and teacher, the Doris McCarthy Fonds is currently being turned into a digital collection using Islandora, a sophisticated, open-source, digital assets management system. The collection is a vital research resource offering over 9 meters of textual records, 15,000 + photographic items, numerous primary documents such as artifacts, architectural drawings, postcards, journals, and correspondence, documenting McCarthy’s life as a teacher, traveler, artist, and writer, over a span of 80+ years. Not only will this session discuss the Doris McCarthy Fonds, but will also consist of a hands-on demo of Islandora’s numerous applications and functions. By the session’s end, participants will create an account using the system, will be able to upload and catalogue an item, and will gain a general understanding of digital preservation and long-term viability in building digital collections.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Kootenay Feminism

Marcia Braundy* (Journeywomen Ventures)

The Kootenays have historically been a hotbed of feminist activity. There was something in the air in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, something that held enough weight to induce Parliament to set forth a Royal Commission on the Status of Women; something that emerged from the grass roots across Canada, from small towns and villages to large urban centres; something that said: all is not right with our world, when more than half the population is being demeaned, underpaid, undervalued, overworked and over controlled. These pages tell the stories of many of those groups and individuals.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Gender and Work

Maria Ågren* (Uppsala University), Rosemarie Fiebranz (Uppsala University)

GaW is both a research project, studying how men and women supported themselves in early modern Sweden, and a digital indexing project aimed at recovering and interpreting information about concrete work practices. This information is stored in a specially constructed searchable database. The project addresses questions about how major societal transformations affected men’s and women’s work options and chances to survive. It pays particular attention to the role and meaning of the household, and to whether work affected how difference between women and men was conceptualized.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

A LOT: Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony

Elise Chenier* (Simon Fraser University)

Lesbians have been excluded from the official historical record, but their experiences tell a great deal about the past. They reveal what it meant for a woman to desire and love other women, and to survive and resist against a culture that treated them as sinful and deviant. Their stories open a window onto a world that once was, and help us imagine a world that might yet be. The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony was founded in 2010. It digitizes and makes available online lesbian oral testimonies.

Saturday May 24, 2014

10:00 AM -11:00AM

Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran Digital Archive

Afsaneh Najmabadi* (Harvard University).

Explore the lives of women during the Qajar era (1796-1925) through a wide array of materials from private family holdings and participating institutions. Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran provides bilingual access to thousands of personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, publications, everyday objects, works of art and audio materials, making it a unique online resource for social and cultural histories of the Qajar world.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac National Park

Philip Lichti* (Concordia University)

These projects exemplify the work of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, which serves as a point of convergence for collaborative digital historical research, teaching, and publishing among faculty and students at Concordia, as well as members of local, national and international communities. Canal is part of the Post/Industrial Montreal project, which considers how we might integrate oral history into historic site interpretation, museum exhibition and walking tours. The aim here is to create spaces of deep listening. How can oral history become a catalyst for public reflection, dialogue and even political action? The creation of Kouchibouguac National Park in 1969 resulted in the removal from Kent County of 260 families. Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac National Park seeks to return the residents’ voices to their lands by way of twenty-six video portraits.

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Wikipedia Hack-a-thon

Heather Prescott* (Connecticut State University) and Claire Potter* (The New School for Public Engagement)

*Special workshop, no pre-registration required*

Wikipedia is the world’s most popular reference work, but—as the recent spate of edit-a-thons has shown—women’s history is poorly represented there. This half-day, hands-on workshop aims to teach participants how to edit Wikipedia (our focus will be on women’s history, but the skills apply to any subject matter). Participants will learn the policies governing the site, register as editors, begin editing the content of their choice, and leave confident in their abilities to revise text, add citations and insert images. Participants should bring a laptop or tablet to use during the workshop.

Sunday May 25, 2014

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM


Donna Gabaccia* (University of Minnesota), Anduin Wilhide (University of Minnesota)

Sheeko is a collection of Somali youth stories created by and for Somali youth. During 2010- 2011, a team of Somali students collected dozens of interviews with Somalis between the ages of 18-25. Many of our narrators live in Minnesota and London. This website includes a selection of video clips from Sheeko interviews. Topics include: leaving Somalia, experiences in refugee camps, journeys to the West, living in the Somali diaspora, and adjusting to new places.

12:00 PM -1:00 PM

Chinese Women’s Magazines in the Late Qing and Early Republican Period

Joan Judge* (York University), Barbara Mittler* (University of Heidelberg), Matthias Arnold (University of Heidelberg), Liying Sun (University of Heidelberg), Doris Sung (York University)

The primary objective of the project is to restore complexity to early-twentieth-century Chinese history by liberating that history from its own reductive discourses on the failings of tradition and the promise of modernity. Our instrument and object of investigation is the popular press, a new medium that dominated the contemporary print market and became one of the prime sites for the dissemination of knowledge and the production of culture. In particular, our focus is on four seminal women’s or gendered journals—a key genre of the popular media—published between 1904 and 1937.

*These are digital lab project leaders

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