EMCODIST – The Next Phase
Following the publication of our Dotcom-Archive website [link to Monday’s post] we’re delighted to announce that we’ve been awarded follow-on funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation [https://mellon.org] via the Email Archives: Building Capacity and Community (EA:BCC) programme at the University of Illinois [https://emailarchivesgrant.library.illinois.edu].
“Discovery environments for using email archives: Evaluating user needs with prototype version of EMailCOntextualisationDIScovery Tool” (or just “EMailCOntextualisationDIScovery”) is a new project that will build on Contextualizing Email Archives and the ECOMDIST discovery prototype we developed.
The award (approximately $57,000) will fund tool development, testing and user experience analysis in 2022 and 2023.
Emails are materially different from correspondence of the pre-digital age, but their significance as traces of the past is substantial, especially for organizations, where email is not only used as a form of correspondence but also as an informal mode of record keeping. We believe that the preservation of a meaningful, relatively complete email archive is one plausible pathway to supporting scholarly research on organizations.
Our work focuses on how researchers will engage with such resources, having previously developed an AI-based discovery tool (ECOMDIST), which we used to explore a dotcom-era email archive [https://dotcomarchive.bristol.ac.uk/]. Our new project will bring this technology to researchers in management and organization history, one of the key scholarly use cases for large-scale email corpora, and see how it can best be developed to support a context-sensitive discovery process.
Going to AoM?
One of our first activities on the project will be a Professional Development Workshop (PDW) at this year’s Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Seattle [https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting]. Sponsored by the Management History (MH) division, Introducing the “digitally curious” to email archives for organizational history will:
- introduce “digitally curious” management scholars to the use of email collections as contexts for research;
- orient scholars to new tools for interacting with sample email collections, including EMCODIST; and
- provide a forum for scholars to share and learn from each other about emerging best practices in the use of email as a context for research.
The PDW will take place on Friday, August 5, from 2:00-4:00p PDT in a hybrid format with in-person and virtual participation supported. To allow participants to access the email tools and collections, pre-registration is required. If you would like to register or to learn more about the workshop and the project, please email Shubhangkar Girish Jain (firstname.lastname@example.org).