Project Name: Futures Past Archive
Grantees: Patrick Smyth and Hannah Aizenman
Disciplines: English and Computer Science
Funding Cycle: 2015-2016
Project Status: Cycle Complete
As technology has become a more central part of daily life, science fiction has emerged from the fringes of literary consciousness to become a staple of mainstream culture. However, while interest in the field of science fiction studies has grown rapidly over the past decade, researchers still lack many of the resources available to literary critics in more traditional areas of study. While scholars of Shakespeare, Blake, or Whitman benefit from comprehensive online bibliographies and short title catalogs, scholars in science fiction studies must depend on informal professional networks or ad hoc searches through commercial websites to compile a comprehensive list of works matching their specific research interest. The Futures Past Archive, a project proposed for a 2015-2016 Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant, seeks to remedy this situation by creating a tagged and indexed database of science fiction works. This database, designed for researchers, teachers, and students of science fiction, will provide additional difficult-to-find information such as the cultural background of the author and the technologies depicted in the work, allowing for granular searches such as “space diaspora novels by African American authors” or “dystopian fiction concerned with pregnancy and childbirth.” This tagged database will take the form of a freely available data set that will serve as the basis for an accessible site built using a lightweight web framework.