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University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
Kelly McDonough (Project Director: August 2020 to present)
Unlocking the Colonial Archive: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Indigenous and Spanish American Historical Collections

The transformation of Indigenous and Spanish colonial archives into readable and accessible data using artificial intelligence technologies, including transcribed texts, linked information, and automated search and analysis of pictorial elements. The UK partner, Lancaster University, is requesting £199,910 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

This project seeks to transform unreadable Indigenous and Spanish colonial archives into accessible data using artificial intelligence technologies. The core project team will consist of interdisciplinary researchers from LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at the University of Texas at Austin, the Digital Humanities Hub at Lancaster University, and Liverpool John Moores University. We propose three main research areas to (1) expedite the transcription of Spanish American documents using handwritten text recognition technology, (2) automate the identification and linking of information within this corpora using natural language processing techniques and linked open data models, and (3) facilitate the automated search and analysis of pictorial elements in the Spanish colonial archive through computer vision approaches. The research will be based on three digital collections under the aegis of LLILAS Benson and one from the National Archive of Mexico.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Latin American History; Latin American Studies

Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (Digital Humanities)

Digital Humanities

$149,915 (approved)
$149,915 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2021 – 12/31/2023