Georgia Library Conference 2018 Presentation
Digitizing Black Life and Culture in Middle Georgia is a Digital Humanities (DH) collaboration between Mercer University’s Department of Africana Studies, Mercer University Library, and the Macon-Bibb County Clerk’s Office to digitize and create a searchable database of primary source materials that document slavery and African American life in Macon, Georgia and the surrounding areas. These records reside in the Macon-Bibb County Courthouse and include property records detailing the sale/purchase of slaves, Chain Gang records, and plantation maps. Ultimately, this project will provide access to primary source documents for researchers, local community members, and the public to better understand of the breadth and consequences of slavery in Middle Georgia before, during, and following the Civil War period. As the first Digital Humanities project Mercer University Library has initiated, building the framework alongside our partners was a learning experience.This project was initiated with the hope of supporting students, faculty, and the community while simultaneously kickstarting Mercer University’s DH program. We will discuss the genesis of this project to its successful implementation and the library’s role facilitating DH research. Our discussion will include working as partners with faculty, building institutional support, applying for funding, training students, creating workflows, and promoting and launching the resource. Additionally, we will discuss specific challenges and lessons learned in developing our particular DH project and collaborating with community partners. Finally, we will address the future of the project which will involve going into the community to educate the public about the history and impact of slavery in Middle Georgia.