Matthew Lincoln

The source code for this site is maintained at

This site is built using Django and relies on Bootstrap. The back-end database is PostgreSQL. Matthew Lincoln implemented both the back- and front-end.

The overall style was designed by Heidi Wiren Bartlett.

The server is hosted by CMU Libraries, with the generous help of Jonathan Kiritharian and Rashid Sidiqqui.

Data Philosophy

When setting out to do this project, we were faced with two conflicting desires:

  1. We wanted to be able to manage that the same author may publish under different names over time (whether changing names, or using abbreviations or initials differently) and that an author may list one affiliation in 2016, but would have a different one come 2019.
  2. We did not want the project to morph into an exercise in encoding entire scholarly biographies for our authors, tracing down every single job or name change and storing it in a time series.

Ideally, our data would come only from our original source materials: the published abstracts from conference proceedings or event programs. In short, our database needed to treat the individual works to be our core source of truth, with people's names and affiliations merely asserted by these works, rather than innate properties of that person.

To do this, we took a page from the event-based paradigm of the CIDOC-CRM, in which the attributes (like names, or affiliations) of most people or objects are not considered innate, unchangeable things, but instead the results of events or activities that took place at a certain time and place. Because this project is rooted in data from conference proceedings and event programs, we looked to the pattern of "context-specific assertions" that would let us encode that some individual 321 published as Jane Doe from UCLA in an abstract from the ADHO 2017 conference, and then published as Jane C. Doe from University of Maryland in an abstract from the ACH 2019 conference.

Attribute assignment model diagram
The attribute assignment model diagram for the Index of Digital Humanities Conferences.

In this pattern, appellations and affiliations are connected to the authorship information for a given abstract, letting us point from each name for an author back to the source where we found it. (See, for example, the page for Scott B. Weingart.) We don't actually try to encode whether Jane C. Doe actually left UCLA in 2017 and joined UMD in 2019, just that they offered those affiliations and names in those particular public documents. Determining whether "J. Doe" is the same person as "Jane C. Doe" is a judgement call our editors make as they enter and clean data based on the context of the different abstracts and their knowledge of the field.