Moving into a new phase (June 11, 2021)
We're all hoping to move quickly into a post-pandemic world, but that will require some patience. I hope that at least most of our followers are safe, healthy, and vaccinated--and ready to be flexible as we all create what will be our "new normal." That's not a phrase I particularly love, but it seems appropriate here. I am among those who do not think that we will reset everything back to the way it was before CoVid-19. As I write this, worldometers.info is reporting a cumulative case number of over 175 million, with 3.8 million deaths globally, and the WHO states that over 2.1 billion vaccines have been administered. All of those numbers are staggering. If nothing else, I predict that our tolerance for lengthy scientific trials will have taken a huge hit: I still can't quite believe that the vaccine was developed so quickly, and I am in awe of the pharmacists and doctors (as well as the volunteers) who made that possible.
Meanwhile, we've all adapted in some way or another to life in some kind of isolation. While libraries and archives are now slowly opening, it's been more than a year since most of us could access the resources we need to work as historians. That has, in many cases--like the EJLPP--meant significant developments of digital humanities projects. Over the last year, I've added many hundreds of entries in the print census and hundreds more in the manuscript census. A project like this allows me to research in library catalogues and collections of scanned books, so I can continue it a times when new library or archive visits are impossible. I've had a number of students working on EJLPP-related projects, too, including women printers and the Digital Commons site.
In the next few months, as we return to library visits, I hope that I'll be able to add even more data, but right now, I want to prepare you for some upcoming exciting changes. In the fall, the first student to work with me on an honors thesis will begin exploring data in the EJLPP. We've already met and discussed her project, and I'm excited about what she has plans for. When we get going, I'll reveal more about that. In addition, I will be doing more work on the printers (I added new pages and tabs, and there's not much there, but it's a start). My current student, Kalan Eppley, is working to complete the Digital Commons site: adding more images and making it easier to search. When she's finished there, she's going to pick up the work of earlier students (Nesha Wright and Michael Sullivan) and organize some biographies of the Jesuit authors. I'm working on a publication related to a symposium held in March (it was supposed to be a conference in Riga in October 2020, and I'm so disappointed that I didn't get to go to that wonderful city!), in which I explored collection patterns in Northern and Eastern Europe. And I've been working on some partnerships--you'll learn more about that next month.