Digital technologies have been an indispensable part of research and public history projects since the founding of the Center. We are using digital tools in history research and its visualization. A key project on visualization of historical narratives about the city with the help of a map is an online encyclopedia, "Lviv Interactive". Additionally, we are digitalizing and archiving audiovisual sources related to the history of Lviv and other cities in the region, which have been collected within the project Urban Media Archive.
Our digital projects also act as a space for a search of formats and offer the possibility to run experiments in digital humanities. Specifically, in studying the literary milieus of Lviv, we have used the network graph to map historical networks of ideas, personalities, and places. Using the formats of digital storytelling has grown into a series of virtual walks throughout the city.
We also disseminate and enable accessibility of the outcomes of our digital projects through offline events, such as city walks, exhibitions, and other educational activities. Urban Media Archive runs a series of events under the general title [un]archiving.
A key objective of our projects is the accessibility of materials for local and international audiences. At the same time, in addition to aggregating new data, our task is also to develop ways to make use of data in the Center’s projects, and in partnerships with other researchers and institutions. One such example of data exchange is the experience of working together with the University of Virginia (Waitman W. Beorn), when the information on Lviv ghetto residents was localized with the help of our database of historical names – "Streets of Lviv." Other experiences of generating geoinformation systems for historical sources include social topography mapping of pre-revolutionary Kyiv. Moreover, to enable better access to our data, current plans include making our digital projects “semantic web-” and “linked data-compatible”.
Our many years of experience in creating and maintaining digital projects, and in facing a series of associated challenges, including continuous variability of technologies and lack of a fixed domain for digital humanities, shapes our work to create the framework for long-term sustainable development of our digital projects. In this work, we are guided by standards and principles to manage and describe the data/metadata, such as the FAIR (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability) and Dublin Core.
In our view, digital history is not only about experiments or the development of new things but also about the epistemological reflection of practices related to digital technologies. Their deep link with our professional activity impacts the formation of our knowledge about the past. Therefore, the work on the Center’s digital projects inspires critical reflection on the nature itself of digital humanities. One format of such critical reflection and exchange of experiences is a series of digital history narratives as a part of our conference and seminar activities. In 2019, in partnership with Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Warsaw), we participated in a Digital Cultures conference in Warsaw and co-organized the Digital Cultures in Lviv. It was a great opportunity to discuss the experiences of digital archiving. To understand current processes and challenges of digital history, it is important to engage the Center’s employees in the workshops and conferences on digital history organized by such institutions as the University of Luxembourg, Herder Institut, Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council, OBB Minsk, Karazin University, Shevchenko Museum, a.o.
Digital projects are also part of a series of the Center’s partnerships. Our engagement in the projects Open Heritage and EHRI, among other things, includes work on databases and digital infrastructure. Working on the digitalization of collections of photographs, film, and video materials, we cooperate and exchange experience with the Ukrainian Center for Developing Museum Practices, the Mariupol Local History Museum, Pokrovsk Historical Museum. As part of the global initiative Home Movie Center, Urban Media Archive organizes an International Home Movie Day in Lviv. Since 2020, we have also participated in the working group on Research Data Management у DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities).
The Center’s key partner in developing and supporting digital projects is a SiteGist company.