Building a Linked Open Data Platform for the study and exploration of the historical slave trade.

In recent years, a growing number of archives, databases, and collections that organize and make sense of records of enslavement have become freely and readily accessible for scholarly and public consumption. This proliferation of projects and databases presents a number of challenges: 

  • Disambiguating and merging individuals across multiple datasets is nearly impossible given their current, siloed nature;
  • Searching, browsing, and quantitative analysis across projects is extremely difficult;
  • It is often difficult to find projects and databases;
  • There are no best practices for digital data creation;
  • Many projects and datasets are in danger of going offline and disappearing.

In response to these challenges, Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University, in partnership with the MSU Department of History and scholars at multiple institutions, has begun work on Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade, a constellation of software and services built to address these challenges. Enslaved’s primary focus is people—individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in slave trading. 

Project Update: Partnership with Wright State

In March 2018, Matrix began collaborating on the ontology for the Enslaved project with knowledge engineers based at the Data Semantics Lab at Wright State University (DeSe Lab) in Dayton, Ohio. After an intense period of preparation, Matrix hosted members...

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Enslaved Conference coming March 8-9, 2019!

In March 2019, Michigan State will host an international conference, "Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade." For more information, see our Call for Papers below! UPDATE: The deadline for papers has been extended to October 15. Enslaved: Peoples of the...

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Project Update: March Meeting with the Project Partners

On March 11-12, 2018, Matrix convened a meeting at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, with Enslaved project partners. These 11 experts in the field of the historic slave trade are members of an Enslaved advisory group providing guidance...

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Enslaved would not be possible without the support and input of many partner scholars, projects, and institutions. Find out more about our partners by selecting below.