Lunch + Learn on 9/10: Primary Source Databases

Teaching with Primary Source Databases workshop will offer insight into how primary sources can be used in multiple disciplinary contexts, for teaching qualitative and quantitative research methods, and for diverse projects and research outputs. Attendees can expect to learn about:

  • Approaches to research from varied disciplines
  • Different types of primary sources
  • Creative ideas for teaching with primary sources
  • Data mining and visualization with archives
  • Widening the scope of usage for digital library collections
  •  HTR (Handwritten Text Recognition) Technology for DHI efforts related to Full-Text Search in Manuscript Documents

This workshop will be held Tuesday, September 10, Noon to 1 p.m., 1014A&B Fenwick Library. For more information, please contact Leigh Ann Skeen,

Digital Humanities in the Archives: the Jerome Epstein World War II letters and Omeka-S

Join our Special Collections Research Center from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in their seminar room (Fenwick 2306) on Tuesday, July 16 for a special presentation by Ben Brands, inaugural L. Claire Kincannon Graduate Intern and Ph.D. candidate in History at Mason.

Brands’ presentation will explore the process and results of using digital tools to display and make accessible a series of World War II letters from the Jerome Epstein papers. Ben will discuss the various challenges and discoveries of this project, as well as showcase the final results, a website hosted on the Library’s Omeka-S server.

About the Speaker: Ben Brands was the 2018 L. Claire Kincannon Intern at the George Mason University Libraries Special Collections Research Center. He holds a B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in History from George Mason University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University. He has previously served as an infantry officer in the United States Army and as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Brands has written previously about his experiences working with the Epstein papers on SCRC’s blog.

About the Kincannon Graduate Internship: The L. Claire Kincannon Graduate Internship Endowment for the Libraries was created by philanthropist Claire Kincannon in 2016 to provide paid learning opportunities for graduate students with interests, career goals, and skills related to archives. In addition to the notable theatre-related collection that she gifted to the University Libraries, Kincannon donated the Jerome Epstein papers in 2015, which documents the civilian and military career of an army private in the Second World War from 1943-45, as well as other items related to the Epstein family’s history. Epstein, who passed away in 2002, was Kincannon’s cousin.

Speech Accent Archives Presentation 2/5

Join us for a DiSC Research Connections presentation “the sound of your voice: the speech accent archives” on February 5, 3-4 p.m., Main Reading Room, 2001 Fenwick Library.

Professor stephen h. weinberger, associate professor of linguistics, will discuss the architecture and the collaborative methodology behind the speech accent archive, and how practices are evaluated and lead toward a formulation of a set of best practices for online speech databases. Ongoing work on modifications to the archive will be addressed, particularly our new computational tools, the enhanced search capabilities with Unicode, and the new smartphone recording procedures. He will also describe how the archive is used as a research and teaching tool, with ways of sharing the data.

About the archive: the theoretical and practical value of studying human accented speech is of interest to linguists, language teachers, actors, speech recognition engineers, and computational linguists. It is also part of the research program behind the speech accent archive. The archive is a growing annotated corpus of English speech varieties that contains more than 2,700 samples of native and non-native speakers reading from the same English paragraph. The corpus contains more than 192,000 words of speech.  The non-native speakers of English come from more than 380 language backgrounds and include a variety of different levels of English speech abilities. The native samples demonstrate the various dialects of English speech from around the world.  All samples contain a complete digital audio version and include a narrow phonetic transcription.  Each speaker is located geographically, and crucial demographic parameters are supplied.  For comparison purposes, the archive also includes phonetic sound inventories from more than 200 world languages so that researchers can perform various contrastive analyses and accented speech studies.

DiSC Research Connections is a Mason Libraries’ program coordinated by the  Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC). DiSC Research Connections highlight digital research and teaching across the university in all disciplines. For more information, please contact Wendy Mann,

DiSC Supports Research Fellows

DiSC | 2700 Fenwick Library |

Two Mason faculty members were awarded 2017-18 Fenwick Fellowships which tap into the knowledge, resources and expertise offered through the Mason Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC). Jennifer Ashley, assistant professor of global affairs, and Alok Yadav, associate professor of English, will partner with DiSC on their respective Fenwick Fellow research projects.

“This is a digital project, which is not the skillset I bring to the table,” Professor Yadav said. “It’s in collaboration with the digital scholarship unit housed at the library. So the chance to draw on their expertise, to think about software structure and what it would look like, makes this a realizable project as opposed to a fantasy. I have ideas, but I don’t have the know-how to make that happen.” (Cruise, News at Mason, October 16, 2017) Read more

Established in 2016, Mason Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) partners with students, faculty, and staff by providing digital research support to facilitate digital research and teaching across the university in all disciplines.

DiSC is located in 2700 Fenwick Library, Fairfax Campus. For more information about DiSC, please visit the DiSC website or contact DiSC staff.