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University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Bethany Anderson (Project Director: July 2016 to October 2018)
Christopher J. Prom (Project Director: October 2018 to September 2019)
Mark Sammons (Co Project Director: December 2017 to September 2019)
The Cybernetics Thought Collective: A History of Science and Technology Portal Project

A planning and pilot project to establish a collaborative digital archive for sources related to the cybernetics movement of the mid-late 20th century, derived from collections held by the American Philosophical Society, the British Library, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Archives, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne Archives.

The proposed Foundations project seeks to build collaborative relationships between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, American Philosophical Society, British Library, and MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections, to digitize and enhance access to cybernetics archives, and to assess the potential of advanced machine-learning methods to enhance their access and use. Specific work undertaken will include (1) selective digitization of archival material that exposes research networks of communication and thought and idea exchange; (2) creation and remediation of metadata; (3) preservation and basic access through established systems; and (4) initial testing and assessment of annotation, entity extraction, and network analysis tools in a prototype platform. We believe these approaches can enhance access not only to cybernetics material, but any large corpus of unstructured textual documents, and NEH support will help us explore these nascent possibilities.

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Project fields:
History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; History of Philosophy; History of Science

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

$49,973 (approved)
$49,954 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 4/30/2019