DEXTER-DC: a 'digital rolodex' for micro-archives
DEXTER provides a much needed solution for referencing and for creating analytical annotations around heterogeneous source material (speech data, survey data, audiovisual recordings, photographs, diaries etc.), both digital and non-digital.
Humanities scholars frequently come across a plethora of sources, stored in multiple locations and with varying levels of accessibility and digitization. Currently, there is no easily accessible and CLARIAH community supported place to include such heterogeneous sources and at the same time create, store and share analytical annotations across these established online collections and non-digitized archives, so called ‘micro-archives’.
Micro-archives are ‘hidden’ records that haven’t been made accessible as archival records by their owners. Think of an individual researcher’s non-digitized fieldwork notes or tape recorded oral histories, a grassroots organization’s administrative records, or the infamous ‘shoebox in the attic’, where a family’s memorabilia are kept. These types of collections are often not covered by large-scale research infrastructures, yet their systematic inclusion and reuse in these infrastructures has great potential to complement, challenge or refine dominant narratives.
DEXTER-DC contributes to the discoverability and reusability of micro-archives by designing a web application for the annotation of both online collections and micro-archives. The application consists of a set of components that is interoperable with existing research infrastructures. The application functions as a kind of ‘digital rolodex’, allowing individual researchers and research teams to register previously inaccessible micro-archives without the need for full digitization and allowing others to refer to them as to any other online collection, and to create and explore analytical annotations in a standardized and sustainable way.
The various ‘rolodex’ components are developed at the KNAW Humanities Cluster and NISV and tested with the CLARIAH Media Suite. DEXTER-DC will facilitate annotation of online collections curated by NISV and Huygens ING.