Salem Witch Trial Project

What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The Salem Witch Trial database displayed and combined different kinds of file types and data. They have scanned pictures of documents from court records, personal letters, diaries and sermons. They display visual images of maps in which the accusations and  trials took place. They also include documents with lists of names and biographies of people involved and mentioned in court records. Lastly, they have paintings and other visual data preserved from the time period.

What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

Beyond simply organizing and compiling the data in one place, the way they chose to organize represents what information they labelled as important. Through the maps and documentation of the court trials, they perhaps sought to study the spread and influence of the accusations and trials, therefore leading to conclusions of why they were so prominent at this time. Other questions they could be looking to solve are: What is the relevance of the Salem Witch Trials and why is it important to analyze this data? Additionally, what about the historical context of the time in history made witch accusations legitimate, or argued to be at that time?

What tools are being used?  Created?

Most of the tools used were simply ways of getting different types of files and data in the same place. This includes searching through archives and selecting relevant information and scanning/digitizing it. They used a dichotomy of organization to put file types in logistical places on the website. They must have used some sort of scanning tool, or somebody working, to catalogue names and patterns in court documents. Lastly, they compiled similar data and gave items and documents tags in order for them to be easily searchable.

What methods are being undertaken?

In order for the project to be successful, the founders probably had to apply for grant money and funding in order to ensure they could access documents and use the necessary tools. This portion of the method also includes contacting and agreeing to terms with participating archives to allow access to the relevant information. Beyond gaining access, systematic research methods like searching through documents, scanning reports and photos, and organizing data was used in creating a thorough database of information.

Lucy Marr and Electra Washburn

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