Historians on Trial-project/document analysis

Project and Document Analysis DRAFT
Consider the kind of materials you’ve chosen to focus on for this project, and consider the nature of the digital publication you are (hypothetically) planning. Then briefly answer the following questions:

1. What are the significant informational features of the documents that will need to be represented?
- Text, accurately transcribed

2. Who is the primary audience? Do they have special needs that can be supported through the encoding of the document?
- Primary anticipated audience is college students, both undergraduate and graduate, and professors in the field of history, specifically the history of women and employment.
- This audience will be particularly interested in textual analysis of court documents, particularly the transcripts of Rosenberg and Kessler-Harris, as well as articles and correspondence. The detailed encoding of the documents will allow users to search for keywords, names, dates, etc.

3. What functions do you want to provide for your audience: what kinds of searching? What kinds of navigation?
- Searching by
- ITEM (Court document, Correspondence, Scholarly article, Newspaper article, Website (narrative material), User comments)
- RECORD (location of the search term in the document record, such as name/author, Title (of document, of article), Date (publication date for articles), Subject (LC and project specific descriptors), User tags)
- Check boxes for either: Contains (words of phrase are contained in record) or Exact (phrase is exact)
- Advanced search will offer the same menus, but give users three search boxes and a date range box.
- Navigation by document type, topic, calendar, prosecution/defense
4. What are the significant chunks or subdivisions of your documents?
- court documents
- testimonies
- witnesses
- depositions
- motions
- briefs
- exhibits
- final arguments
- decisions
- opinion and orders
- fee related documents
- statistical analysis by EEOC expert Bernard Siskin
- correspondence
- newspaper and scholarly articles from various sources

5. List as many as possible of your documents’ significant features that you would want to encode, and provide a justification for encoding these features. Think about audience, likely uses of the information, and the balance of cost and benefit.
Court documents:
The audience will expect a dynamic searchability of these documents. This project proposes to provide a very high level of searchablility because it will allow for in depth scholarly exploration of the documents. Rather than simply reading articles about the case, college students can access the trial documents themselves and search parts of them for specific ideas, keywords, names, titles and dates.
This case brought to light two very complex debates: one, over the role of history and historians as expert witnesses in the courtroom, and two, over the historical character of professional women or women in the workforce in general. The question of whether women effectively repress themselves due to their natural lack of professional drive or whether employers repress the professional development of women because of their failure to challenge cultural prejudice against women presents a more general questioning of the meaning of historical analysis itself. Is historical analysis the practice of describing what occurred in the past in the most objective method possible, or is it a means to a socially relevant end? Should women’s history support the broader women’s movement, and if so, who is to say how it should go about supporting feminist goals? Is practicing the analysis of women’s history alone enough to support feminist aims, or do women historians need to do more?
A case involving such lofty questions is of great interest to the historical profession, and is therefore ripe for the more detailed and innovative analysis that is made possible by detailed encoding.
Newspaper and scholarly articles:
This case inspired a heated debate within the women’s history community, much of which took place in the press and in academic journals. This case was researched by and written about by many historians. The three collections that comprise this exhibit are the result of individuals researching or following the trial, and their research is characterized by the collecting of court documents and related articles and correspondence. I think this idea, that this trial inspired the amassing of documents that literally recorded the trial itself, speaks to the greater philosophical questions that the testimonies of Rosenberg and Kessler-Harris projected about the nature of history itself. Is history a record of the past, or is it an interpretation of the past? What is the role of the historian- to simply recount history, or to use history as a means to a social end, such as employment equality?
Hence, it is necessary to provide the ability to dynamically search the written material that was generated by the historical community in reaction to this case. Much of the individuals who published articles sided with Kessler-Harris, but I think that any time a majority agrees on one thing, it is important to consider the other argument.
Balance of cost and benefit:
The costs of encoding for this project will clearly surpass the costs of transcription. However, because the encoding is the purpose of this project, and is anticipated to allow dynamic searching of the material that was not previously possible, its cost will necessarily be worthy of the benefits.

6. What are the significant presentational features of your document? How much of this information do you consider important to capture?
- timeline
- glossary
- annotations
- calendar
- browse by topic
- not really sure what presentational features means….

7. What kinds of regularization of your document—if any—would be useful and appropriate? Would you regularize silently or preserve the original reading? Again, think about audience and probable use (including long-term use) of the data.
Regularization of names (people, places, organizations) and titles of books or articles will both be important for this project. Titles of published works are referenced throughout the trial transcripts, and the encoding for this project will be such that when a book is referenced without explicitly stating the title or full title, that reference word (“book” or “work”) will be tagged with the bibliographic information. Any misspellings in the documents will be tagged with the correct spelling. These regularizations will be “silent” in that the transcriptions will represent the exact word usage of the original documents. However, in some cases, misspellings or published works or other items may be annotated with further explanation.

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