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HND-284968-22

Rice University (Houston, TX 77005-1827)
Daniel Barros Domingues da Silva (Project Director: July 2021 to present)
Towards a Digital Archive of the Atlantic Slave Trades: Unlocking the Records of the South Sea Company

The development of the Digital Archive of the Atlantic Slave Trades, an open-access resource that will digitize, transcribe, translate, and semantically link manuscript materials documenting the South Sea Company and its contribution to the trans-Atlantic and intra-American slave trades. The UK partner, Lancaster University, is requesting £249,788 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

The outcry for racial justice has spurred a growing demand for accessible information on the Atlantic slave trades’ difficult history. This project meets that demand through the creation of the Digital Archive of the Atlantic Slave Trades (DAAST), a new open-access digital platform that will democratize access to the archives of the Atlantic slave trade. This resource will leverage innovative methods—including AI, machine learning, and research description framework—to digitize, transcribe, translate, and semantically link manuscript materials. DAAST’s foundations will be built by processing the voluminous papers of the South Sea Company (SSC), one of the largest slave trading companies in history. The resulting archive will offer new insights on the Atlantic slave trades’ histories—especially the experiences of the enslaved. This project will thus revolutionize how the archives of the trade are accessed, and transform how cultural institutions display materials related to the traffic.

Participating institutions:
William Marsh Rice University (Houston, TX) - Applicant/Recipient
Lancaster University (Lancaster) - Participating Institution

Project fields:
History, Other

Program:
NEH/AHRC New Directions for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions

Division:
Digital Humanities

Totals:
$149,995 (approved)
$149,489 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2022 – 1/31/2025