CDL’s Digital Special Collections program is pleased to announce the public release of a draft prototype historical access system for the Social Networks and Archival Context Project (SNAC).

SNAC is a two-year research project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, that is creating a set of authority records by extracting information from archival finding aids and enhancing it with other sources.  The project uses the new standard Encoded Archival Context—Corporate bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF).  Data for the research is being provided by the Online Archive of California, among several other sources.  Learn more about SNAC.

CDL’s role in the SNAC project is to build a prototype interface that links the authority records in a “historical social network.”  Such a system has the potential to significantly expand access to a range of humanities resources, as well as our knowledge of the connections between people, families, and organizations over time.

The user prototype is being developed using an iterative approach.  This first release of the system provides the most basic functionality required for researchers to imagine how they might interact with archival authority records.  Development of further iterations of the prototype will continue through Spring 2012.

Tell us what you think!

We welcome your suggestions on both the design of the prototype interface and the processing of the data.  What features do you think would be most useful for researchers?

Direct access to the prototype system, a description of project work to date, and a link to the feedback forum can be found at http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/prototype.html.