Constance Crompton, assistant professor of Digital Humanities in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus, has received a $297,357 Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada, a project she co-directs with Michelle Schwartz (Ryerson University). Susan Brown from the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (University of Alberta), Don McLeod Robarts Library Head of Serials Acquisition (University of Toronto), and Elise Chenier director of the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony (Simon Fraser University) join Schwartz and Crompton as collaborators on the project.
The Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada (LGLC) project reconfigures Don McLeod’s books, Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada: A Selected Annotated Chronology volumes 1 and 2, as digital resources that will allow users to explore the people, places, events, and publications that defined the history of gay liberation in Canada between 1964 and 1981. Crompton and Schwartz are building an interactive digital resource for the study of LGBT history in Canada. This digital resource will exist as a freely available website and as an app available for smartphones and tablets.
By leveraging TEI-XML, semantic web technology, and graph databases (the type of database that powers social networking sites like Facebook), the LGLC illuminates connections between the people, the organizations, the periodicals and the demonstrations that defined the gay liberation movement as it moved from city to city, offering new insights into the political action, art, and lobbying that led to historic legal reforms in Canada. The LGLC project is supplementing the historical research that underpins the base text with new information about people, periodicals, and places, allowing users to generate custom maps and timelines in response to their searches.
LGLC is also an infrastructure pilot project within the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory at the University of Alberta. The XML-encoded volumes of Don McLeod’s chronology are housed by CWRC and will be integrated with their Online Research Canada database. By being included in CWRC, LGLC content will be made available as part of an interdisciplinary, open-access library database, for use by researchers and students worldwide.
Thanks to SSHRC's support, in 2104 the project welcomed three new research assistants, Jessica Bonney (UBCO), Raymon Sandhu (UBCO), Sarah Lane (Ryerson), who joined the LGLC's RA-Project Manager, Travis White (UBCO).