Welcome to Matrix

Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences works with museums, libraries, archives, and heritage sites to digitize, preserve, and provide access to collections of cultural and historical materials. We collaborate with scholars, educators, institutions, and community members to create tools and digital experiences that engage researchers, students, and the public in questions about the past and our shared culture. We build software and services that enable the analysis and interpretation of historical and cultural data in new and innovative ways. We work with students, scholars, communities, and institutions to build critical digital skills, capacity, and infrastructure.

Recent News

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Preview of the new African Online Digital Library (AODL) Launched

Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences is pleased to announce the launch of a preview for the new African Online Digital Library (www.aodl.org).  Since 2000, the African Online Digital Library (AODL) has served as a portal to Matrix's many digital projects focusing on African topics, featuring African voices, and providing access to African cultural heritage materials.  

The new AODL reaffirms Matrix's commitment to documenting, preserving, and providing free access to digital cultural heritage materials about Africa and developing equal and equitable collaborations with African scholars, collections holders and stewards, and cultural heritage institutions.  

This new version of AODL is only a preview.  As such, it does not include many of the features that will ultimately be included in the final version.  Most notably, cross project searching and browsing currently only includes a limited number of projects. In addition, all projects in the preview are Matrix projects.  Ultimately, our plan for AODL is to leverage linked open data to index and provide access to collections from scholarly projects, libraries, archives, museums, and other heritage institutions from around the world.  In doing this, it is our hope to make AODL a centralized hub for students, scholars, educators, and the public interested in exploring and studying the rich and vibrant history and heritage of Africa and its peoples through time and space.  

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Enslaved: October Meeting with Partners

On October 8-9, 2018, Matrix hosted a second meeting in East Lansing, Michigan, with Enslaved project partners to share updates and collectively work through the data model.

Over two breakout sessions, the Enslaved project partners refined controlled vocabulary terms for key Enslaved concepts such as Person Status, Event Type, and Document Type. Matrix presented on the outcomes of the first phase of the project and the group made plans for the implementation phase. The partners also discussed preparations for the upcoming
Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade conference that will be held at MSU March 8-9, 2019, as well as the future inclusion of additional partners to the larger Enslaved project.

Partner projects reported on progress they had made aligning individual datasets with Enslaved core metadata fields and the Linked Open Data framework. Matrix provided updates about the website design, metadata enhancements, and the project’s data model (ontology). The Matrix team also showed partners samples of Enslaved data in our current installation of Wikibase. This demonstration helped partners see how Enslaved will use its data model to structure data to promote connections across disparate datasets. Finally Matrix elaborated on the Enslaved Wikibase ecosystem by providing an overview of OpenRefine, QuickStatements, and BlazeGraph.

The principal partners in attendance were Walter Hawthorne, Enslaved co-PI from Michigan State University (MSU), Paul LaChance from the University of Ottawa, Jane Landers and Jessica Fletcher from Vanderbilt University, Sharon Leon from MSU, Henry Lovejoy from the University of Colorado – Boulder, Paul Lovejoy, Erika Delgado, Fernanda Sierra, and Luisa Cruz from York University, Keith McClelland from University College-London, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall of Rutgers University and MSU, Steven Niven from the Hutchins Center at Harvard, Daryle Williams from University of Maryland, Daniel Genkins from the John Carter Brown Library, Jim Schindling from West Virginia University, Kathe Hambrick from the West Baton Rouge Parish Museum, and Ina Fandrich, a consultant on Louisiana history and culture from New Orleans, LA. Also in attendance from the Matrix team were Dean Rehberger, director, Ethan Watrall, co-director, Ryan Carty, Catherine Foley, David Glovsky, Jeff Goeke-Smith, Alicia Sheill, Duncan Tarr, Liz Timbs, as well as Jeff Mixter from OCLC. Pascal Hitzler, from Wright State University, participated in a working group to discuss the Enslaved data model.

For more photos of the meeting click here.