The American Philosophical Society’s Library & Museum invites scholars in all fields to submit paper proposals for a daylong interdisciplinary symposium that will explore the opportunities and challenges of open data and digital humanities. As institutions have made datasets accessible for re-use, remixing, and redistribution, individuals have been able to produce new useful knowledge beyond restrictions or control. Classrooms and Digital Humanities projects have created powerful visualizations and complex analyses which shed new light on important historic and contemporary issues. Yet the increasing availability of these sources has raised important questions about intellectual property, attribution, labor, and data sovereignty. 

The symposium is inspired by the Open Data Initiative ( of the Center for Digital Scholarship at the American Philosophical Society. This initiative has created freely accessible datasets ( from the APS’s Library & Museum holdings, including the Eastern State Penitentiary Records of Admissions, 1838-1850; Benjamin Franklin’s Ledgers; Records of Indentures and Apprenticeships in the Port of Philadelphia, 1771-1773; Benjamin Franklin’s Accounts; and James Madison’s Montpelier Meteorological Records, 1784-1793, as well as various digital humanities projects derived from this data.

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