Reflecting on the Past and the Future of the CESTA Anthology

Past CESTA Research Anthologies on a network web.

Eyup Eren Yurek

On January 30th, 2024, we gathered for a luncheon to celebrate and discuss the future of the CESTA Anthology. We opened the floor to a forum of discussion.

People were interested in the ways an online platform can make projects with interactive websites where people can "play" with the data and visualizations. Also, it has been argued this has a case of accessibility: people who might not be able to acquire a physical CESTA anthology get to learn about CESTA projects. This also allows one to look at connections between different data points in a more scrutinized way. These interactive web pages can allow for one to utilize what data they would like to see. Thus, they can play with the scale of the amount of data they are looking at. This allows for the web page users to see all the different amounts of data collected within various sizes and categories, but at the same time, this allows for the research team to not rely on a data visualization on paper as presentation of their work. Most of the time, DH projects at CESTA utilize visualizations that are multi-layered that require one to interact with them digitally for the other layers to be seen. 

Yet, the appeal and utility of the physical anthology persists. The DH project websites can lose their materials over time due to various updates to the website building software. The software can be updated and the website might crash if it isn't updated accordingly. Also, with the ever-evolving world of DH projects, keeping a project website is challenging. One has to make sure that every data or visualization made is updated, and that it offers an idea of a complete picture for the project: time to time, scholars update their project websites but fail to update their project descriptions or project outcomes that are within other tabs of the website. The physical allows for a static image of the DH project that possibly cannot be interacted with, but it can be reliable: one knows that they can rely on the physical's existence, yet the sustainability of webpages is still a compelling question. 

Scholars and students that were involved and not involved in the 2023 CESTA Anthology shared opinions during our open forum. There has been a discussion of who the anthology's audience is. A visiting scholar at Stanford mentioned that the anthology feels like it is to give a snapshot of a project, but doesn't serve as a fully academic publication. The center of the anthology has been centering the student intern voices in DH projects, as thanks to hours of work by students interns at CESTA, we get to produce sophisticated digital projects. Yet, the undergraduate students present voiced the issue of how the anthology writing process feels peripheral to the work they do at CESTA. DH Fellows have raised the question about posters, and how they are much more representative and presentative of the projects' outcomes and interns' work on the project with their larger space for visualizations and them being physically hung on CESTA's space throughout the year. 

CESTA will continue publishing its annual anthology, and we will give more attention to digital publications and to poster publications. We will have more updates about both of them very soon. 

You can access the 2023 and all of the previous research anthologies published by CESTA here

Event Timeline

Giovanna Ceserani (Associate Professor in Classics, and, by courtesy, History; Faculty Director at CESTA) introduced everyone to the 2023 CESTA Research Anthology. Eyüp Eren Yürek (Programs and Research Coordinator at CESTA) talked about the history of the design of the anthology. Nicole Coleman (Digital Research Architect at Stanford Libraries; Digital Research Fellows Program Director at CESTA) introduced the ways anthology and research outcomes can be published online. Alix Keener (Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Stanford Libraries and CESTA) introduced us to the future of publishing DH work and the challenges of sustainability within digital publications.