Search This Site

Jennifer Stertzer - Digital Humanities and Documentary Editing

Center for Digital Editing | The Washington Papers
Supervising Faculty Member: 
Jennifer Stertzer
Research Focus: 

I am currently working on the George Washington Financial Papers Project (GWFPP). The GWFPP exists at the intersection of two challenges documentary editors currently face: managing complicated editorial work and navigating the world of digital publication. The project focuses on a particularly difficult and dynamic dataset financial documents. Work has advanced on three interconnected fronts: 1) developing document templates for both traditional financial documents, such as account books and ledgers, and for more esoteric texts, including receipts, journals, and memoranda; 2) developing taxonomies and data visualizations; and 3) constructing an open-source platform for content management, editing, and publication. In the course of tackling these challenges, the project has not only developed an open-access digital edition of GW's, but also laid the groundwork for a Drupal for Editors prototype. This Drupal-based, open-source, editorial/publication platform will provide editors with a stable, flexible, and powerful platform to build engaging digital editions of financial documents. Since Washington's three ledger books of accounts have been edited in this system, work during the 2018-2019 academic year will focus on editing Washington's presidential household accounts from his time in New York and Philadelphia. Additionally, there are digital humanities (DH)-related possibilities for this content, such as creating maps and timelines.

Position Description: 

The student will be involved in all aspects of the digital editing and digital humanities work, from assisting with project conceptualization to user interface planning and development. Student will assist with the editorial process - cataloging, transcribing, annotating, and indexing - while learning editorial methodologies and best practices. Annotation and indexing will require some research work, which I will help direct. Student will also have the opportunity to learn about Drupal, both as a backend content management system and frontend publication platform, and provide input on how both can be improved. I will also work with students to develop DH projects based on the edition’s content, such as interactive timelines and maps. During the course of the year, the student will be responsible for preparing George Washington’s Presidential Household Account Book, 1793-1797 (utilizing the above mentioned processes), for inclusion in the GWFPP.

Required Skills: 

We will provide training in digital documentary editing and research. The project website ( has several articles that the student should read before beginning work on the project.

What will you learn: 

1. Ability to think critically about historical documents.
2. Understand the process of digital documentary editing, from cataloging to publication.
3. Acquire DH skills, both project conceptualization and implementation using online tools.

Digital Humanities and Documentary Editing