Editor’s Note: This is an interesting online Peer-Review system which Palgrave is beginning to implement. Although it doesn’t have to do with Southern Africa explicitly, It’s an interesting method to think about as it pertains to digital humanities.
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As you read and comment, please keep in mind that the sample chapters are in-progress drafts in various stages of completion, and that proposals and chapters have not been formally copy-edited.
Editor’s Note: This website crowdsources information about Portuguese influence (colonial or not) throughout the world. Again, for obvious reasons most of the entries deal with Angola, Mozambique and Brazil, but there are a good deal of other sites as well. The points are geo-pinned on a Google Map, and the entries are searchable by location, or type of architecture as well. Below is a reproduction from their “about” page. You can visit the site at (http://www.hpip.org/Default/en/Homepage)
Heritage of Portuguese Influence/ Património de Influência Portuguesa (HPIP) is the natural evolution of the project Portuguese Heritage around the World: architecture and urbanism directed by José Mattoso and undertaken by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2007 to 2012. Its aim was to publish in three volumes, plus another with indices, a compilation of information on the subject in the form of a geographically arranged dictionary. This process is well described in the project’s introductory texts by Emílio Rui Vilar and José Mattoso, as well as in the History section.
It is a natural evolution because the printed work has a physical expression and price only readily available to the general public in libraries, but also, given the subject matter and its geographical scope, because it implies a need for continual updating. Despite the large team of experts gathered for the purpose, it is not possible to ensure coverage of all relevant available and updated knowledge for the entire planet. Two desirable project development axes became evident: more extensive dissemination and the integral gathering of scattered information. Once effectively brought together they could generate a reciprocal snowball effect, for dissemination can stimulate collaboration and vice versa.
An online website is the ideal means for achieving those goals, one presented and functioning as an interactive public portal for the geo-referenced database that concentrates and administers all the information collected. The books’ content comprised the start-up capital, certainly sufficiently attractive and stimulating to elicit contributions from all those around the world who have something to add or correct, by means of either written or graphic (photos, drawings, etc) content.
Together this will enhance self-identification of the community that has inherited these assets resulting from various and mixed influences. Knowledge and its globalisation in a post-colonial environment is the basis for identifying communities with their heritage(s), thus encouraging efforts to safeguard, value, use and integrally develop same.
A compilation with all these characteristics will also certainly be significant for the scientific community, not only by making data available but also due to the cross-referenced and integral way it is provided by means of the geographic-based information system (GIS), easy access, continual updating and the inclusion of new material, etc.
The GIS not only ensures fully effective information management, but also facilitates searches via the more common alphanumeric input (box with magnifying glass symbol in the upper right corner) or by clicking on a GoogleMaps satellite image or a map. Each item listed is indicated by a pin with the HPIP logo. For some major urban centres a superimposed picture shows essential features of the early layout, defence structures and/or the location of the buildings covered. It is also possible to directly search the pre-formatted indices (geographic/toponymic, onomastic, original author, chronological) via the menu CONTENTS>NAVIGATION. Another way to search is directly via the images from the sub-menus in IMAGES: click on the image to access all content pertaining to the respective entry.
CONTENTS>CONTEXTS contains a set of texts that provide a synthesis and historical background regarding four major geographical regions: South America; Asia and Oceania; North Africa, Persian Gulf and Red Sea; and Sub-Saharan Africa. For each of those four regions a longer general text is provided, along with smaller ones which detail aspects associated to HPI in each of the sub-regions in which that information has been arranged.
The COLLABORATE menu can be used to propose a change, indicate an error and correct it, submit an image, propose a new entry or add items to the bibliography. It appears on the main bar and often as a clip elsewhere in the website. No prior registration is necessary; some identification information must be filled in, along with a brief description of what is intended. The respective attached file(s) should be in an editable format (jpg, doc, etc). The proposal will be evaluated in accordance with a pre-established certification process; the person who submitted it will be informed of the result within a maximum of 45 days. If approved, the content will be immediately posted on the website.
The scientific quality of the information is one of the fundamental values underlying this project and is assured by the participation as authors, though essentially as certifiers, of the broad range of experts comprising the Editorial Council. In line with current standards for scientific publications, the verification process is conducted anonymously, i.e. the certifier does not know who submitted the proposal and the latter does not in the end know who evaluated it. This ensures maximum system objectivity and transparency, as well as the quality of the approved contribution.
The print version’s texts are signed by the respective authors, as are the texts for new entries proposed after the HPIP became operational. But after a suggested change is included, the name of the original text’s author will appear in an attached list along with those of new contributors. The original text with duly identified authorship will nevertheless still be available via an adjacent menu.
As an interactive non-profit database maintained on the basis of collaboration from all interested parties, and notwithstanding the certification system, the posted content is the responsibility of the respective authors, whereby they must all be aware that the HPIP is an open database whose content (text and images) is provided in the most intuitive manner and open formats available to any interested party. All one needs to do is enter the website via hpip.org.
For more information, please consult the Terms and Conditions menu in the lower left corner of the page.
The Executive Council composed of scientific and academic experts oversees all the HPIP’s operations. It also includes representatives from the four universities which signed the protocol founding the HPIP with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Lastly, we ask for your understanding regarding any eventual problems that occur in this early stage, regarding how the website functions as well as presentation of its content. Efforts have been made to ensure a smooth transfer of content produced for presentation in book form to another entirely different format, but the results of this process are not always linear or predictable. Fortunately, this kind of support has the huge advantage of allowing continual updating and correction, not only by the team that created it, but essentially through the collaboration of all those who visit and use it.