Junior Research Associate opportunity: Digitising SF Fandom History
This is a call for current second year students at Sussex who are interested in applying to be a Junior Research Associate over the coming summer. You can find a description the JRA scheme here. This is a paid scheme, aimed at students who hope to pursue postgraduate research. This could be for you if you have an interest in the history of science fiction fandom and/or digital archiving and preservation. The deadline for the first round is 4pm Wednesday 10 April.
Vector is the magazine of The British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), established 1958 and still publishing today. As the Science Fiction Encyclopaedia slightly snarkily puts it, “Vector has appeared variously as an association newsletter, a typical fanzine, and something like an academic journal.”
The BSFA currently have about two hundred issues of Vector scanned as PDF. It’s likely that the core of the project will be learning to use to learn to use the AtoM system in order to prepare these as a digital collection, ready for deposit into an institutional repository. You will explore what makes these materials valuable and unique, research and implement appropriate metadata practices, build upon existing (patchy) fan-curated record catalogues, including the ISFDB’s catalogue and Mike Cross’s catalogue, and begin to investigate some of the legal complexities of creating an archive.
We’re looking for somebody who wants to work in an independent and exploratory fashion, defining your own objectives, priorities, and research strategies within the project’s overall remit. So you’ll have the opportunity to shape your own research agenda, with the support of your supervisor. For example, you may want to look at reaching out to institutional holdings and fan communities to try to uncover missing issues; and/or explore the data of the collection using text analysis; and/or come up with novel ways of enriching the digital resource. The JRA could also be a great chance to learn more about the Sussex Humanities Lab and grow more involved in its research culture.