News at the Boston College Libraries

Featured Digital Project: Missionary Linguistics in Colonial Africa

April 14, 2016

Missionary Linguistics in colonial Africa is a student project led by Doyle Calhoun (Departments of Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures, and Romance Languages and Literatures majoring in Linguistics and French). Calhoun was interested in analyzing a set of 24, mid-19th to early-20th century, dictionary/grammars compiled by French Catholic missionaries working in North and Central Africa that are held in the Nicholas M. Williams Ethnological Collection of the John J. Burns Library at Boston College. He completed this work as an extension of his Senior Honors Thesis. A descriptive article about this project is available in the recent issue of the Boston College Library Newsletter. This project was possible due to the collaboration and support provided by library staff and required the application and implementation of a number of different digital humanities methods and technical solutions, including the creation of a database with descriptive metadata, text encoding, geospatial visualization, and web design.