Digital humanities

June 16th, 2018

Latvian schooner becomes focus of ‘strange shipwreck yarn’

“If any one wants an experienced skipper for sailing craft and a crew of seven able bodied seamen to sail any old sea on the face of the map they can get such a company right now at this port, for Capt. T. Krastin and his crew are without ship or employment.” So began a January 19, 1906, story in The Sun, a daily newspaper in New York City. It told of the “strange shipwreck yarn” of the captain and crew of the Kauss, a three-masted wooden schooner typical of the kind built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the Baltic Sea region.

April 13th, 2018

Mapping many museums is internship’s next task

The newest challenge in our virtual internships with the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Rescue Initiative is to create a map of the museum data that we have been collecting this semester. That means trying to figure out the smartest way to visualize thousands of data points.

March 29th, 2018

Address book from 1898 helps map Latvians in North America

In October 1897, an immigrant in Cleveland published the first edition of an address book for Latvians living in the United States and Canada. A second edition appeared in early 1898.

March 9th, 2018

Baltic countries home to hundreds of museums

A semester ago, I was among graduate students from George Mason University serving as virtual interns for the Smithsonian Institution, cataloging cultural repositories on several Caribbean islands affected by recent hurricanes. On some of the islands, the number of museums and other sites was a mere handful, but finding information on even them at times proved challenging.

March 4th, 2018

Immigrant’s 1923 death in East Alton leaves open questions

A poker game in a western Illinois river town turned deadly one weekend in October 1923, claiming the lives of two men, one of whom was a Latvian immigrant described in a local newspaper as a “gallant soldier.” His story, still in pieces, is a reminder that among the many Latvians who settled in America in the early 20th century are those who vanished from their ethnic roots and community.

February 9th, 2018

Concentration camp site in Latvia has long history of conflict

In a few days I am heading back to Latvia and this time my “to do” list will be enriched by a number of museums and other cultural sites I want to visit. The sites are ones I have been researching as part of a virtual internship with the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Rescue Initiative.

December 18th, 2017

What to do when Google Maps only goes so far

The work that I and three other George Mason University students have been doing as virtual interns with the Smithsonian Institute this semester, at its heart, is a matter of pinning down the locations of cultural repositories in the Caribbean Sea.

November 10th, 2017

Lesson learned: Research on the internet begins with access

Using the internet as a research venue offers a good opportunity to explore a topic that covers a wide geographic area such as the Caribbean Sea. However, as I’ve learned over the past couple of months as an intern with the Georeferenced Cultural Repository Inventory, in some cases the research may only be as thorough as access to the internet allows.

October 8th, 2017

Internship with Smithsonian teaches need for human intelligence

Antigua & Barbuda is a small island nation in the Caribbean Sea. If folks in the United States have heard of it, it might be because of the recent ravages of Hurricane Irma. Barbuda, population about 1,600, was evacuated. After the storm, people who live there have little to go back to.

July 13th, 2017

Experience of other students builds confidence

Since last September, I have been in the shoes of a student, pursuing a graduate certificate in digital public humanities through George Mason University. This summer my focus has been on remaking a history of mass communication course. And as a student, it is reassuring to know that others have faced this challenge before.