Biographies: Atlantic Slave Database Conference
Michigan State University
November 8th & 9th 2013
“In 2011, with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, MSU’s History Department and MATRIX initiated Biographies: The Atlantic Slave Data Network (ASDN). We seek to provide a platform for researchers to upload, analyze, visualize, and utilize data they have collected, and to link it to other databases which together will complement each other in ways to create a much richer resource than the individual databases alone. There is a significant need for such a collaborative research platform. During the past two decades, there has been a seismic change in perception about what we can know about African slaves and their descendants throughout the Atlantic World (Africa, Europe, North and South America). Scholars have realized that, far from being either non-existent or extremely rare, various types of rich documentation about African slaves abound in archives, courthouses, newspapers, prisons, churches, government offices, museums, ports, and private collections. Since the 1980s, a number of major databases were constructed in original digital format and used in major publications of their creators. But they have lacked a platform for preservation and therefore are at risk of being lost as their creators retire. A growing number of collections of original manuscript documents have been digitized and are beginning to be made accessible free of charge over the Web. However, our task as historians is more than to preserve images of primary sources, but to interpret those sources by finding new ways to organize, share, mine and analyze as well as to preserve original materials which might otherwise be discarded or lost…”
Conference program is here.
The website is live and available here.
NOTE: African Diaspora, Ph.D. will be livetweeting a number of the panels. Follow @afrxdiasporaphd or the hashtag #ASBDmsu for more!