It has already been over a month since starting as a Research Assistant for the Unstable Archives project under Professor Robb, and we have already completed several objectives on the agenda. Among the goals that we have met are transcribing the English-language letters of Gerard Gustavus Ducarel and coding metadata for each item featured in the digital archives. So far, I have gotten a fair share of experience working with both the digital humanities and archival research, as much of my daily duties involve digging through scholarly resources and fitting metadata into XML standards.
Currently, we are in the process of moving over the project’s main page to WordPress, and I’ve begun going through the correspondence and documents of Robert Clive to find any references to Ducarel or even Sharaf un-Nisa. The process of searching through physical manuscripts on loan from Van Pelt library and digital archives to locate mentions of possible associates of Ducarel (Debi Singh, Robert Clive, etc.) has often ended up producing few results; however, I’ve still found the process of researching archival records to be still fascinating and has allowed me to gain more context of the time period and region.
Overall, I have been thoroughly enjoying my experience on this project, and it has allowed me to experience various aspects of the work of a historian today. There are still several weeks to go and I’m excited to take on additional projects over the next month!