NLM History of Medicine Lecture

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held on Thursday, April 5, from 2pm to 3pm in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. Trevor Owens, Head of Digital Content Management at the Library of Congress, will speak on Scientists’ Hard Drives, Databases, and Blogs: Preservation Intent and Source Criticism in the Digital History of Science, Technology and Medicine https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=26993&bhcp=1

Carl Sagan’s WordPerfect files, simulations emailed to Edward Lorenz, a database application from the National Library of Medicine, a collection of science blogs, a database of interstellar distances; each of these digital artifacts has been acquired by archives and special collections. Born digital primary sources are no longer a future concern for archivists, librarians, curators and historians. As historians of science turn their attention to the late 20th and early 21st century, they will need to work from these born-digital primary sources. We have already accumulated a significant born-digital past and it’s time for work with born-digital primary sources to become mainstream. This presentation will give a quick tour of individual born-digital artifacts toward two goals: arguing for the need for archivists, curators and librarians to develop reflexively approaches to establishing preservation intent for digital content grounded in a dialog with the nature of a given set of digital objects and its future research use; and suggesting how trends in computational analysis of information in the digital humanities should be combined with approaches from digital forensics and new media studies to establish historiographic practices for born-digital source criticism. Owens will conclude by suggesting the kinds of technical skills archivists, librarians, curators and historians working with these materials are going to need to develop. Just as historians working with premodern documents require language and paleography skills, historians working with digital artefacts will increasingly need to understand the inscription processes of hard drives, the provenance created by web crawlers, and how to read relational databases of varying vintages.

Owens is author of three books, the most recent of which, The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation, is in press with Johns Hopkins University Press. Learn more about this book, and read a preprint of the draft, here http://www.trevorowens.org/2017/06/full-draft-of-theory-craft-of-digital-preservation/.

This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and archived https://videocast.nih.gov/PastEvents.asp?c=221, by NIH VideoCasting https://videocast.nih.gov/.

All are welcome.

Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen Greenberg at 301-827-4577, e-mail stephen.greenberg@nih.gov, or via the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

In addition, we warmly welcome you to visit our blog, “Circulating Now,” where you can learn more about the collections and related programs of the History of Medicine Division of the NLM: http://circulatingnow.nlm.nih.gov/

Here also you can read interviews with previous lecturers: http://circulatingnow.nlm.nih.gov/tag/lecture/

Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/about/visitor.html

Share this Post

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.