Topic: Financial Papers

Testing the Financial Papers Website

by Erica Cavanaugh, Research Editor
March 17, 2017

One of the primary goals of the George Washington Financial Papers Project (GWFPP) has been to make Washington’s financial records freely accessible. The GWFPP team has worked tirelessly to provide accurate transcriptions as well as to build and illustrate relationships among people, places, and themes. However, what would be the point of all this if no one could use the website? In order to make sure the GWFPP site is accessible, efficient, navigable, and meaningful, we conducted usability testing in December 2016. Using the University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab, we invited students and some faculty members to explore the site and assess its navigability and accessibility.

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“[T]he life of a Husbandman”1: Visualizing Agricultural Data from George Washington’s Financial Papers

by Prajeeth Kumar Koyada
February 24, 2017

As a student analyst for The Washington Papers, I have the opportunity to work on a variety of interesting tasks. One of these tasks includes figuring out how to make George Washington’s documents more accessible to the public.

For Washington’s financial records, this is especially important. While the records detail Washington’s purchases, and thus his belongings, it is difficult to gain deeper meaning from the records in their raw form. We could look at each document line-by-line—discovering that Washington bought twenty bushels of corn one day in 1790 and then sold four pounds of beef the next—but we do not gain any broad historical insight from such information. In order to see meaningful patterns and trends, we must look at the data as a whole.

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The George Washington Financial Papers Project: Building Content-Specific Taxonomies and System Specifications

By Senior Editor Jennifer Stertzer & Research Editor Erica Cavanaugh
April 28, 2016

One of the many interesting challenges the George Washington Financial Papers Project (GWFPP) team has faced is how best to make content accessible, or more accurately, intellectually accessible. This is hardly a new challenge, though, as editors have always worked to move beyond mere availability.

Regardless of approach (whether print or digital), documentary editions are created to make documents and content accessible: transcriptions make hard-to-decipher text readable; annotations provide contextualization and aid in understanding; and indexes allow users to search for both explicit text as well as indirect references, concepts, themes, and ideas. Indeed, several of the project’s goals relate directly to this intellectual accessibility: to provide accurate and understandable transcriptions and manuscript images, to supply context for these materials, and to create an opportunity for reader/user engagement.

What makes this challenge particularly interesting for the project has been the opportunity to create accessibility while developing a content management/publication platform. This allows us to experiment with how best to organize and structure the content within the system so that we can build a variety of access points. We will explore the different aspects of this process in the next few blog posts from the GWFPP team, beginning with our work with taxonomies.

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Nearing Completion, the George Washington Financial Papers Project Will Expand Scholarship on Washington and the Versatility of the Digital Humanities

By Jennifer E. Stertzer, Senior Editor
January 29, 2015

Making George Washington’s financial papers accessible had been an early goal of the Washington Papers, but given the intricacies of the financial papers and our means of publication, very little had been done. In the 1980s, the Washington Papers published several cash accounts (in print) from the ledgers in the Colonial Series of the Papers of George Washington. Over the years, we included a few others as documents and used them for our annotations where possible. Things began to shift as we moved forward with our digital rendition of the letterpress volumes. We began to think about solutions for the financial papers, and our ideas grew and evolved with the huge advances made in the field of digital humanities in the last few years.

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New Financial Papers Project Video

December 4, 2014

Interested in learning more about the Financial Papers Project?  This video details the importance of studying George Washington and his detailed financial records, as well as the work happening now to create a digital resources for educators, students, historians, businesspeople, and those generally interested in the life of Washington. The Financial Papers Project is funded in part by a grant from the NHPRC.

You can watch the video on YouTube or Vimeo, or on our Videos page!

To learn more about the Financial Papers Project, see our Financial Papers Project page.


 

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