Radcliffe Workshop on Technology & Archival Processing


Monday, April 4, 2016, 1:30pm to 4:30pm


Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA


Radcliffe Workshop on Technology & Archival Processing

April 4, 2016, Knafel Center, 1:30-5:00pm

Please join us for the Radcliffe Workshop on Technology and Archival Processing, April 4, 2016. The afternoon program will bring together scholars, archivists, and computer scientists for a problem-solving event. Participants will be asked to consider the relationship between archival processing, technology, and digital humanities and how digital humanities may be slowly but profoundly changing archival processing methods.

Workshop Schedule

April 4, 2016 (Open to the Harvard Library Community)

1:30-1:40pm       Welcome and opening remarks

  • Marilyn Dunn, Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library and Librarian of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

 1:45-2:30pm       Plenary session – Matthew Connelly, Professor of History, Columbia University

“If [we] do not adapt, we may one day find ourselves buried beneath an avalanche of electronic records, far too many to cope with using traditional methods.” –Matthew Connelly

Columbia University History Professor Matthew Connelly examines the relationship between government accountability and the impact of the digital archive on the study of history through his teaching and collaboration with academics. In his seminar, “Hacking the Archive,” Connelly focused on the ‘digital turn’ in history, where historians now have access to unprecedentedly large and rich bodies of information generated from the digitization of older materials and the explosion of 'born digital' electronic records. Connelly argues that ‘big data’ poses a massive challenge to democratic accountability but the information revolution has also provided citizens with the means to address these serious challenges.

 2:30-2:45pm       Questions and discussion with audience

 2:45-3:00pm       Coffee break

 3:00-4:00pm       Session 2 – “Connections and Context: A Moderated Conversation about Archival Processing for the Digital Humanities Generation”

Connections and Context will consider how Digital Humanities are slowly and profoundly changing the worlds of archival science and scholarly research.  Scholars working with big data, born-digital, and digitized materials are using new research methods and are approaching the archive in entirely innovative ways. At the same time, archivists are grappling with how to provide meaningful description and access when data is everywhere but context can't fit in the screen. This session will examine how new types of research methods might inspire archivists to rethink the tenets and tasks of their profession and question how technologists, scholars, and archivists might forge ahead in a collaborative way to improve access and context.


  • Moderator: Mary Murphy, Administrative Librarian, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
  • Panelists 1: Meredith Evans, Director, Carter Presidential Library & Museum (Documenting Ferguson Project)
  • Panelist 2: M. Cristina Pattuelli, Program Director of the Linked Jazz Project and Associate Professor at the School of Information and Library Science, Pratt Institute
  • Panelist 3: Dorothy Waugh, Digital Archivist, Emory University Libraries
  • Panelist 4: Benjamin Moser, Authorized Biographer of Susan Sontag

 4:00-4:30pm       Questions and discussion with audience/Closing remarks