Dwyer and Wong complete digital humanities projects at Oxford

This past summer MS/LIS students Kaylen Dwyer and Jasmine Wong participated in the Oxford-Illinois Digital Library Placement Program, an ongoing collaboration between Illinois and Oxford. The 2019 program partnered with the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) as part of the grant "Digging Deeper, Reaching Further: Libraries Empowering Users to Mine the HathiTrust Digital Library Resources." The students proposed their own independent projects and were advised by faculty members at Oxford e-Research Center, David de Roure and Kevin Page, and iSchool partners Professor J. Stephen Downie and Visiting Research Services Specialist Ryan Dubnicek.

Kaylen Dwyer
Kaylen Dwyer

For her project, Dwyer worked with HathiTrust's Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) records in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). Her research focused on the 583 Action Notes field that records preservation and conservation metadata.

"There have been many recent discussions about the usefulness of including conservation metadata within the bibliographic record, especially when it comes to digital libraries and shared print retention programs where the metadata records are shared between institutions," Dwyer said. "To facilitate this, I wanted to complete a full evaluation of the field—the prevalence of its use, how various libraries are using it, and what data is captured. I'm hoping the study will show the value of this metadata (or lack thereof) and identify best practices moving forward."

After earning her MS/LIS, Dwyer would like to find a job in digital scholarship or digital humanities, with a specialization in exhibits, text mining, or TEI. In the future, she would like to return to school for a PhD that combines literature, bibliography, and textual editing.

Jasmine Wong
Jasmine Wong

During her time at Oxford, Wong worked to develop, scope, and execute a digital humanities text analysis project, "Extracting and Analyzing Illustrative Quotations in English Language Dictionaries." According to Wong, the project gave her practical experience in dataset cleaning, text analysis using Python, and data processing with the HTRC Data Capsule.

"The work I conducted at Oxford is part of a larger research project exploring representation and bias in the Western literary canon," she said. "As a result of my summer placement, I now have a better sense of what the day-to-day research process looks like and how to structure my workflow to fit my own research style."

Following graduation, Wong plans to return to Indiana to work with The Startup Ladies, an organization that helps women and minority entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses, and continue the research she began at Oxford. Like Dwyer, she hopes to return to school someday to pursue a PhD in digital humanities.

As part of their summer placement, Dwyer and Wong attended the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School, which offers training in the digital humanities through hands-on workshops and lectures. There the students explored a range of issues surrounding humanities data types including data modeling, data curation and preservation, and reproducibility.

Wong will present the poster, "Piloting a Workflow for Extracting Author Citations in Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language," featuring research from her Oxford-Illinois placement at the 2019 iSchool Research Showcase on October 30.

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