NEH Wayfinder Project: Establishing a Linked Data Future for African American Periodicals with the Advisory Board

Over the course of two days, the Wayfinder Project Advisory Board and Project Team met at Emory University on October 24-25, 2022, to consider and determine the opportunities and critical considerations for advancing a linked data version of the Bibliography of African American Periodicals at Emory University. High level take-away from the advisory board meeting is that Emory is on good footing with building an open linked data foundation for the bibliography and, well-developed, the linked data will support future phases and more selective and targeted work. The outcome of the meeting is a summary of the principles and requirements for the linked data project, functionality that the project should be designed to support, as well as questions that the project team would like to answer in the future.

A well-developed linked data project must or could be:

  • Open, include an index, and address the ongoing open editing of the information.
  • Capture user needs to inform newspaper digitization priorities.
  • Describe meaningful relationships between data points.
  • The data from these relationships become machine readable/searchable.
  • Plan for and begin the community engagement that takes time and trust to build but is critical for some of the future planned work and engagement (see below.)
  • Include more people of color in the project.
  • Encourage an interventionist pipeline like Colored Conventions. Students can develop local specialties to benefit themselves and the project.
  • Leadership of the digital project that engages with race and gender should or could:
  • Address community building.
  • Be transparent about methodologies used.
  • Design new tools based in local Black community practices.
  • Foster community building which is necessary for inviting crowd-sourced contributions to the data.
  • Include more people of color in the project, by:
  • Bringing members from HBCUs (Tuskegee, A&M, Rust and Tugaloo) for the next phase of the project.
    • Collaborate with UNCF Mellon faculty workshops
    • Center black storytelling and community collaboration and partner with the AUC and local Black Communities.
    • Recruit from the College Language Association and the Ramsey Brothers.
    • Provide flexible fellowships for faculty and graduate students.
    • Fund full-time positions.
    • More targeted work that may or may not be achievable through the next implementation stage, but should be designed for:
    • Educational or community engagement components, may include things like crowd-sourcing names and places,
    • Planning for digitization of newspapers and periodicals through timely funding sources that include NHPRC.
    • Building connections to paywalled materials could be a mechanism for advocacy for better access to those resources
    • Article-level metadata is highly valuable but expensive to produce. The linked data model should allow for the possibility of article-level metadata in future efforts.
      Decisions needed before implementation grant is written:
      Determine leadership for implementation.

Atlanta area archival and library leaders were invited to visit with the Advisory Board and Project Team at a sunset-reception in the Rose Library.