NEH Start-Up Grant White Papers (Part IV)

May 5, 2010

This is Part IV of a series of posts highlighting recent white papers from completed Start-Up Grants (Parts I and II and III also available).
All ODH programs (and some programs in other NEH divisions and offices) require the grantee to submit a "white paper" at the conclusion of the grant.  In ODH, we publish these white papers in our Funded Project Query Form.  In the white paper, the grantee provides a summary of the grant activities, what they learned, recommended best practices, and even what they might have done differently.  By making these white papers freely available, members of the public -- including other prospective applicants -- can learn from what has already been done and build upon it.
Below are summaries of three recent white papers added to our library.  Click on the title to access the download page if you'd like to read the full white paper.

Walking Cinema: Murder on Beacon Hill

Center for Independent Documentary
Project Director: Michael Epstein

Abstract: The MURDER AT HARVARD MOBILE project (wt) [now known as "Walking Cinema: Murder on Beacon Hill"] will re-version a well-known NEH-funded historical documentary about a notorious 1849 Boston murder into the basis of a 40-minute audio/video walking tour that will be accessed through a hand-held device similar to the iPhone.  By using the compelling story of a famous crime as its narrative spine, this project will provide student groups and cultural tourists with a layered look at the social and cultural history of some of Boston's most significant downtown areas while it provides a road map for use of open source Mobile Narrative Software.  The project will start in September, 2008 and end in February, 2009.

High Dynamic Range Imaging for Preserving Chromaticity Information of Architectural Heritage

Texas A & M Research Foundation
Project Director:  Wei Yan

Abstract: This proposal seeks to enhance the documentation of architectural heritage.  Precise color information (i.e. chromaticity, excluding lighting effects) as an intrinsic property of materials has not been accurately documented in the scale of large surfaces for historical buildings. Every day the materials of historical buildings are decaying and their colors are fading.  The colors we can see today will not be the same as future generations can see if we cannot preserve the chromaticity information.  We propose to develop a method to assist in recording the chromaticity of historical buildings with low cost and high efficiency based on the emerging High Dynamic Range Imaging technology. The significance of it lies in that by recording the chromaticity information, we can achieve more complete documentation for historical buildings and can detect color change of the buildings when measurements are done in a regular basis, which will provide important information for preservation planning.

Encoding Names for Contextual Exploration in Digital Thematic Research Collections

Brown University
Project Director: Julia Flanders

Abstract: The Brown University Women Writers Project (WWP) seeks Level II funding from the NEH Digital Humanities Startup Grants program for a new project to explore new ways of representing contextual information that will support advanced kinds of user interaction with thematic research collections. In this project we will be focusing on the representation of persons and personal names. We will first examine methods of representing names and the persons they denote, considering in particular the kinds of scholarly work that such representations can support. We will next develop an experimental data representation of the names and persons found in our published collection, Women Writers Online (WWO). Finally, we will build a prototype interface that exposes this data for reader interaction and exploration. The result will be to embed the primary sources in an extensible web of contextual information that can support interface features such as searching, exploration, and pattern visualization.