Digitally Democratizing Discovery: Mobilizing Global Citizen Scholars for Manuscript Studies

  • Date: 5 April 2016
  • Time: 3:15 – 14:45
  • Location: ETH-Zurich, Switzerland (Room HG E 33.3)
  • Event: Behavioral Studies Colloquium. The “Behaviroral Studies” Colloquium (851-0252-04L) is a shared weekly colloquium organized by the chairs of Prof. Hölscher, Daniel, Diekmann, Helbling, Schubert, Stadtfeld and Stern.
  • Hosts: Drs. Hölscher and Schinazi

Abstract

We need scholarship to be a collective, egalitarian, and democratic venture. It should not be the privilege of a few scholars to conduct research – everyone should enjoy the right to participate in discovery. In the Deciphering Secrets: Unlocking the Manuscripts of Medieval Spain Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), we are simultaneously: (1) educating the public about the nature of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim cooperation and conflict in medieval Spain and (2) harnessing the crowdsourcing power of tens of thousands of students to transcribe and index original manuscripts from cathedral and municipal archives. The tangible outcome of democratizing discovery is our rapid ability to investigate and collect data from thousands of pages of manuscripts. In turn, our multidisciplinary team, lead by Dr. Victor Schinazi (ETH) and myself, is creating visual compelling and information-rich digital 3D worlds, narratives, and investigations that enhance our understanding of medieval interreligious life in Spain in communities like early 15th century Plasencia. A snapshot of our work, the digital narrative titled, “La Mota: A Christian Assumes Ownership over Jewish Homes, circa 1416,” is available at https://youtu.be/H5MwORpIb7U.