Sacred Centers in India and Beyond Boundaries: Religion: Region, Language and the State

As an undergraduate CLASS fellow with Hamilton College’s Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi), I have had the opportunity to collaborate on the creation of two digital archives: Sacred Centers in India (SCI) and Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State. Beginning in 2014, I joined Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Abhishek Amar on his ongoing DHi project, Sacred Centers in India. SCI aims to construct an accessible digital archive documenting sacred Hindu and Buddhist sites and artifacts in the cities of Gaya and Bodhgayā. My role has been to organize, synthesize, and evaluate Amar’s field observations and datum into comprehensive formats, in preparation for the publication. Using Excel I developed the archive’s metadata, which informs programmers of the relationships between data sets. It concisely delineates how each file relates to the next and precisely what information it contains. This past summer Professor Amar connected me with his advisor Dr. Michael Willis, ERC Project Leader and Principal Investigator of Beyond Boundaries. Dr. Willis aims to make contributions toward understanding the evolution of the Mahābodhi temple in Bodhgayā. I was assigned parts of the archive of the archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham now held at the British Museum in the Department of Asia. The archive consists of drawings and photographs of the site made by Cunningham and his assistants in the 19th century. My job was to record information about the objects, write, and launch this material in the Museum’s online collection database using Merlin and Odin, software designed especially for BM catalogs.

Lauren Scutt

Hamilton College