The Digital Sexuality Archive

Digital Sexuality Archive

Carolyn Lewis (Assistant Professor of History, Grinnell College) and undergraduate Helen Eckhard (class of ’19) collaborated on the Digital Sexuality Archive, an Omeka site. The project began with Carolyn’s vision of a repository of digitized primary sources related to the history of sex and sexuality. Students researching these topics in Carolyn’s courses often report either becoming frustrated by the inability to locate usable sources via the standard Google search or overwhelmed by the abundance of results. Carolyn and Helen began the summer by making a list of approximately one hundred sites and archives that contained usable content. Early meetings with Erik Simpson and Rachel Schnepper helped them determine that a Google Form and Omeka site was the best way forward. Once Carolyn had created the Google Form, Helen took the lead on reviewing each of the sites on the list and completing the form for each. By early August, the team was ready to transform the spreadsheet into a csv file that could be imported into Omeka. Liz Rodrigues and Mike Connor guided them through this process.

Since going live in mid-August, the project has been noticed by one of the major institutions related to the history of sex and sexuality, the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History, and several scholars via Facebook and Twitter. Carolyn is continuing to build content and plans to direct students to the Digital Sexuality Archive for their research materials next semester.

Carolyn Lewis was a participant in the 2015 Digital Bridges Summer Institute. This project was supported by a Digital Bridges award for a faculty-student pedagogical partnership between Lewis and student Helen Eckhard, collaborating with Mike Connor and Rachel Schnepper of the Grinnell Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative and Liz Rodrigues of the Grinnell Libraries.