Equity: A Diving-in Note

At the beginning of this project, I did not know how I wanted to easily present my paradata to my audience. In further thinking about the assignment, I realised I envisioned my audience as English-speaking residents of Canada (most likely those in the Ottawa/Western-Quebec region) or those who were already interested or familiar with the Shawville Equity. The project could also be useful for (amateur) digital historians who also are working with an OCRd newspaper and could benefit from an explanation of my processes. I decided to use a blog format for easy accessibility and to visually illustrate the changes and progression of the project over time.  I also chose the presentation method because it will allow me to include graphics, links, and coding aspects.

This posting is written near the completion of the project. The rest will be written as if they are in the present, but they represent the chronological entries from my original rough project notes. This format should help the reader to engage with the subject matter and encourage them to understand the progression of my ideas over the last two weeks. It also divides the paradata into smaller, easier-to-handle chunks, and, because of the way that I generally tackled different problems each day, sets the project up as a serial, in which the audience is invited to follow through my journey and explore the different processes as I experienced them. It will include research questions, ideas, successes, and “fails”. My hope is that by following along, you, the reader, will be engaged, entertained, educated, and finish each posting with a sense of my process, ethical and methodological considerations, and an interest in continuing the project’s research aims.

This project is based off the January 14, 1897 edition of the Shawville Equity. I initially downloaded it as a poorly OCRd text file.

Initial questions I had focused on using several years’ worth of the paper to explore the changing French/English sentiments regarding the Second Boer’s War in South Africa. By the end of the project, I restricted my analysis to one file and asked questions such as: How often are well-known people  vs. regular people mentioned? Does this speak to the readership or function of the paper? Does the frequency of place names mentioned in the report mean anything in terms of how close or far away the locations were or was there something else contributing to the frequency of named locations throughout the text.

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