Summer Research Update

This summer I am continuing to work on the Moravian Lives project. Within the project, I read and semantically tag memoirs for people’s names, places, events, and other important entities. Using this information, we hope to be able to answer interesting questions involving the Moravian community.

One of the interesting questions that we have encountered recently is whether every person and place is worthy of a unique identifier. Originally, we were only giving unique identifiers to people who we had memoirs for and places we deemed to be important to the Moravian world in some way. However, recently we decided to give all places and people mentioned unique identifiers. We came to this decision because we don’t have a good idea of whether these people and places are important yet. While they may not be mentioned a lot in the memoirs we have already read, there are still a ton of memoirs we have not gone through and these people and places may be critical in those.

Emotion Encoding Update

After encoding memoirs for two weeks now, our team was able to uncover a number of religious events unique to Moravians that are often quite emotional. It is important for us to capture these events through textual encoding in order to analyze how often they occur and the emotional outcomes of these events. The first of these events is a religious awakening, which often occurs for Moravians when they are in alone in a field and completely alters the remaining course of their life. The example below is taken from John Darnbrook’s memoir.

The next event that a lot of Moravians experience is a visitation from their Savior, which appears to be in the form of a vision. It seems like this experience often allows the person to feel a closer connection to their Savior and can lead to feelings of satisfaction and love. The example below is taken from Elizabeth Clagget’s memoir.

The last religious event that we have discovered through text encoding the memoirs is the point where the person is ready to pass away and resign to their Savior. The most interesting part of this event is that rather than death being viewed in a negative way, the Moravians have more of a positive outlook of death. The following example is taken from Richard Fenton’s memoir.

Introduction to my Summer Research Project

In the digital humanities department at Bucknell University, we are making the most of our time during this pandemic by continuing to pursue our research endeavors remotely. This summer, I am working with Dr. Katherine Faull, Dr. Diane Jakacki and Justin Schaumberger on the Moravian Lives Project.

My particular focus in this project is using the CWRC-Writer program to markup emotion within memoirs from the Fulneck Moravian settlement in West Yorkshire, England. As shown in the following screenshot, the emotions tagged become pink so they can be easily picked out in the memoir.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with this project throughout the summer!