About the Process

we will be

In January, 2014, Lucia Binotti’s DIL/IAH Faculty Fellowship began. She and Pam Lach (Project Manager) started their weekly meetings in January to begin scoping and scaling the project. They explored possible digital humanities approaches to support Lucia’s vision, determining a set of deliverables would be feasible to accomplish in one year.

While scoping the project, Lucia and a graduate assistant, Anne Shirley-Harford, worked with students in SPAN 682 to explore several dialectical features of the Spanish spoken in North Carolina. The students’ preliminary research directly shaped the goals and methodologies for this initial phase of the project.

In April 2014 Ashley Bennink joined the team. Ashley’s research expertise in the lexical variation of medical Spanish in the USA is invaluable for our study. There are very few systematic studies in the field of healthcare variational linguistics. Ashley’s inquiry includes variants directly collected from clinical settings as well as those extracted from the few dialectal studies produced to date. Her work allows us to present a rich glossary of terms related to IPV, marked by geographical origin and organized in semantic fields.

In May 2014 the phase of collecting, scanning, and tracking Spanish texts on IPV began. During the summer Lucia downloaded many documents from the web and in August she started visiting key agencies in three of the U.S. cities that house well established preventive programs addressed to the Latin@ communities. These site visits drove the requirements gathering phase of the project; conversations with agency representatives helped Lucia understand which of the site’s potential features would be more useful to an audience of providers and advocates, as well as identify future features. During this phase Lucia secured collaborations with several organizations that count the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources in Spanish among their priorities. While traveling to these cities, Lucia gathered as many documents as possible.

Back in North Carolina, we assembled a team of students to process the documents. Vianey began the process in the summer, and Emily, Lauren, and Alicia continued the process during the Fall semester. Each of them scanned documents and entered them into a tracking spreadsheet. After several trial runs, Pam developed a data model, data dictionary, and a Resource Data Entry and Tracking Form for the students to create metadata about each document. The metadata gathered forms the basis of the Documents Repository visualizations. The visualizations allow users to explore the repository based on a variety of attributes — resource type, categories of IPV, services provided, target population, and resource language.

In October Matthew joined us and we started the linguistic analysis of selected documents. Lucia and Matthew OCR’d a subset of documents in Spanish and converted them to plain text to perform text mining operations with AntConc and Voyant. Meanwhile, Pam recruited several students from the Digital Innovation Lab’s AMST 840: Graduate Practicum in Digital Humanities to assist with tracking and processing documents for the repository.

The result of our year-long efforts is this prototype website. It contains multiple sets of visualizations: a map of the agencies Lucia visited, preliminary visualizations of a linguistic analysis of a subset of the collection, and the Documents Repository — a collection of nearly 230 documents in Spanish and English dedicated to helping survivors of interpersonal violence.