Image from The Body Politic, Number 62, April 1980, courtesy of the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives

Image courtesy of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

The Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project, which I co-direct with Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives archivist Michelle Schwartz, explores the potential of digital research environments to recover Canadian contributions to the gay liberation movement.  The LGLC project reconfigures Donald McLeod’s remarkable Lesbian and Gay Liberation In Canada: A Selected Annotated Chronology volumes 1 and 2, as a resources within the CWRC corpus. The LGLC is a CWRC infrastructure pilot project.

By leveraging TEI (the XML markup language of the Text Encoding Initiative) 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 archival research that informs McLeod’s base text with new information about people, periodicals, and places, allowing users to generate custom maps and timelines in response to their searches. In addition to reproducing the text, the project will let researchers trace the events of the gay liberation movement using maps and timelines; model the shifting identities of the actors within the text; and critically evaluate the relationship between the text and the bibliographic material that underpins it. The project provides a foundation for our research on modeling identity and representing time at the level of code.


Find out more about how the Digital Humanities supports the LGLC’s research in this Research2Reality video.

The project is funded by SSHRC’s Insight program, with infrastructure support from Compute Canada, and is in development in collaboration with Susan Brown (Director Orlando and the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory, University of Alberta), Don McLeod (Head of Serials Acquisition at Robarts Library, University of Toronto), and Elise Chenier (director of the Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony, Simon Fraser University).

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