Sam Carter, a Ph.D. candidate in Cornell's Romance Studies Program, was selected as a fellow in Olin Library's Summer Graduate Fellowship for Digital Humanities in 2015. As part of that fellowship, Carter developed a website presented in Scalar which illustrates digital analysis methods and presents research on the impact of the phonograph on literary culture in the Spanish-speaking world.
Project title: Historia literaria del registro de sonido
Using Scalar to display a variety of visual and textual objects associated with the introduction of sound reproduction technologies in both Spain and Latin America, my project aims to contribute to the fields of sound studies and Hispanic literature by making available materials that record some of the interactions between the textual and the sonic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Participating in the Summer Graduate Fellowship in Digital Humanities in 2015 not only gave me the resources and knowledge to find these materials—some of which will now appear in my dissertation—but also provided numerous opportunities to experiment with a number of platforms to determine which one would ultimately be best suited to displaying this work. On the one hand, presenting the texts and images in an easy-to-navigate environment proved to be an important consideration; on the other, the ability to arrange and analyze groups of these objects was equally significant in assessing how such digital methods would positively contribute to scholarly inquiry. Attempting to balance the demands of both argument and visual appeal forced me to reflect on the nature of the questions I wanted to ask, and discussions with librarians and other fellows were an ideal forum in which to consider what digital exploration of the talking machine’s initial reception might tell us about media both past and present.