National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Digital Edition Publishing Cooperative for Historical Accounts (DEPCHA)

Wheaton College in Massachusetts is the host institution for the Digital Edition Publishing Cooperative for Historical Accounts. This unique publishing cooperative will leverage relationships and technical expertise developed under the Modeling Semantically-Enhanced Digital Edition of Accounts (MEDEA) project, a primarily European-based project funded through a 2015 Bilateral Digital Humanities award from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the German Research Foundation. Building on this work, DEPCHA would offer publication and access services for editions of historical accounting records. Editors would be able to upload their transcriptions of account books and financial ledgers from multiple formats—Excel, Drupal, XML/TEI—without needing encoding expertise. As outputs, it would offer visualizations including price timelines, commodity pie charts, and network diagrams for export to editors’ websites. The hosted data would also be converted to Resource Definition Framework (RDF) for discoverability and reuse by other researchers.

During the planning phase, the cooperative is focusing on the transfer of technical knowledge (derived from the MEDEA project) to its U.S.-based participants; and software development and demonstration of the viability of the platform to integrate three digital editions: the George Washington Financial Papers project; select account books from the Cameron Family Papers pertaining to the Stagville plantation in North Carolina; and accounts of Laban More Wheaton, a member of the family that founded Wheaton Female Seminary.

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