SDR Deposit of the Week: Slave Markets of Rio de Janeiro

Professor Zephyr Frank and his fellow researchers have created a fascinating (and easy to use!) visualization of the slave market in Rio de Janeiro. This web-based visualization was published as part of an article in the Journal of Latin American Geography, but the data itself was not made available.

Researchers at Stanford's Spatial History Project are undertaking collaborative, cutting-edge research that employs the power of visualization technologies to expand our knowledge of history in a spatial way. Their investigations span a wide swath of subjects, from San Francisco's tidal margins, to transcontinental railroad construction in North America, to an exploration of prostitution and arrests in Philadelphia in the early 1900's. 

Zephyr Frank's research fits right into this smorgasbord of history's richness.

He and his colleagues have created a precise digitized map of Rio de Janeiro from 1866 for the Terrain of History project. The map is overlaid with information from over 300,000 historic records from 1840-1890 that allow us to see interconnections, movements, and changes over time. They have created over a dozen visualizations - some of them with extremely cool animations - that provide insight into property values, the 1850 yellow fever epidemic, tenement housing, and slave markets, among other topics.

In order to better preserve the data behind these remarkable visualizations, Zephyr Frank and others at the Spatial History Project have turned to the Stanford Digital Repository.

Now the data that drives the visualization of slave markets in Rio de Janeiro is safe and sound and available for all to see at its new PURL (persistent URL) in the Stanford Digital Repository.

We hope this is the beginning of a long series of data preservation projects that support the ongoing research and insights from the Stanford Spatial History Project.