The web-enabled database "The Sights and Sounds of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (Movement of the Landless Workers of Brazil)" projects, through more than 500 resources across several media, the expressions of over twenty million dispossessed people who formalized this major Social Movement in 1984. This bilingual database (in Portuguese "As Imagens e as Vozes da Despossessão: A Luta pela Terra e a Cultura Emergente do MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem-Terra do Brasil)" can be accessed at "www.landless-voices.org" .The international and interdisciplinary project that gave rise to it featured the first-hand collection of the "sem-terra´s" own voices and images to validate their self-expression and to fill major gaps in existing research material. This paper initially contextualizes the Social Movement and the Project. It then describes the database’s tripartite presentation (the "sem-terra’s" own expressions; the voices of those who speak "with" and of those who write "about" them). A discussion of the Project’s bridging of the Humanities and Information Technology runs through the paper. Focal points in the interdisciplinary dialogue between the research director and academic editor (Dr. Else R. P. Vieira) and the designer and producer of the web-enabled database (Dr. John Walsh) include: the advantages of multimedia and of the hypertext to convey the specificity of the "sem-terra´s" cultural expressions across several media; the software developed to translate complex concepts of culture into technological tools; the development of multiple routes to the resources to enhance research and learning tools and to prompt reflection. The achievements of the Project’s collaborative work are discussed with particular reference to scholarship, transferability, public reach and, crucially, its contribution to the culture it protagonizes.
|Keywords:||Database, MST Culture, Data Collection, Categorization, Plurality of Expressions, Media Specificity, Interactivity, Multiple Routes, Research Tools|
Queen Mary, University of London, UK
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