OnGoing Projects

Updated: April 29 2021

The main thrust of the IsisCB is the production of the Isis Current Bibliography, which involves producing the constantly updated Explore database, a printed annual bibliography, and annual additions to the EBSCO HSTM database. In addition, we are constantly working on developing different areas that will create a much more complex and streamlined tool for both users and curators. Below are some of the projects we have on the table for development:

  • Authority Semantics — In other words, teaching the machine to think like a historian. To do this, we will be adding another layer of relationships to the data. Right now all of our authorities (the concepts, authors, journals, historical persons, geographic and temporal classifiers) are independent of each other, and what we will do is provide a series of networked relationships between them. We can show how telescopes are related to astronomy, how Isis is related to the History of Science Society, how Africa is related to Nigeria, how the Holy Roman Empire is situated in both time and space.
  • Bibliographic Lists — The goal of this project is to make it possible to quickly add bibliographical lists that include both fully curated citations as well as “stub” citations. Doing this will allow us to collaborate with people more widely and more fully. When someone hands us a relevant bibliography, we want to be able to feature that bibliography in the CB in a way that makes the list relevant for people doing work in subfields. Our first use case for this will be the bibliographies that we have been collecting for the Pandemics issue.
  • Narrative Bibliographies — This project will be possible once the Bibliographic Lists functionality is operable. The idea is to think widely about how people can use the bibliographical data to tell stories. One way of doing this is to frame the stories historiographically (as most of the bibliographic essays that I am commissioning are doing). The idea is to build creative ways of linking the narrative component (the online essays) with the data component (the individual citations in Explore).
  • API Development — Currently the API for the data in IsisCB Explore is extremely limited. We intend to build it out in two ways. First, we want users to be able to grab data in interesting ways so that IsisCB data will play well with other projects on the web. Second, we want to increase how we can write and edit data to the CB, so that we can expand the types of tools we are using to curate the data.
  • Data Training for Historians — Although the phrase is probably overly ambitious, the bibliographical work we do in our office has applications for the general historian. All of our CB staff members learn how to think better about historical and bibliographical data, and we would like to share these practical insights. To that end, we have started developing a series of training modules for staff members and IsisCB collaborators on GitHub. This will be the nucleus of what we are calling “IsisCB Carpentry,” designed the model of software carpentry, to help build historians’ skills at working with data.
  • Cumulative CB Stories — What kinds of stories about the profession can we tell by looking at our citation data? We have data going back to 1913 that can be put to use to help us ask questions about who we are as a profession, where we came from, and where we are going.