This page lists the abstracts for our DHOxSS Poster Reception on Tuesday 9 July 2013.

1. Airchinnigh, Meadhbh Nic an,

The Foundations of Irish Culture project

There are several hundred manuscripts of Irish origin written in Latin dating from the period AD 600 - AD 850. Only a very small fraction of these have ever been examined in any detail, and hardly any have ever been adequately catalogued apart from those that appear in E. A. Lowe’s Codices Latini Antiquiores. To truly understand the nature of Irish learning and culture in this period it is essential to establish a database of manuscript books written or compiled by the Irish. These manuscripts are currently housed in libraries in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and Switzerland. The Foundations of Irish Culture project has been developed as postdoctoral research under Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Department of History, National University of Ireland, Galway. The key aim of this project is to give medieval historians access to a digitized catalogue of Irish manuscripts in Latin before the 9th century and to highlight the Old Irish glosses in manuscripts on the Continent. The catalogue will include a comprehensive list of contents, full technical descriptions and images from the manuscripts. The project will involve compiling a catalogue and designing a website in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Observatory in Dublin, Ireland.


2. Ansaldo, Marina

Ireland Illustrated

Ireland Illustrated is new online resource currently being developed at the Moore Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Observatory, Dublin and the National Library of Ireland. The website showcases illustrations of Ireland that appeared as part of travel accounts, both manuscript and printed, and that were created before 1850. The project provides an annotated collection of images from such accounts, with extensive metadata about these illustrations, the works they belong to, and the artists and authors that were involved in their creation. Each catalogue entry also includes a transcription of the passages from the travel journal that relate to the image reproduced.

The subjects depicted by the images that appear in Ireland Illustrated range from popular picturesque landscapes and archaeological sites, to sketches created in the course of angling excursions, illustrations of antiquities excavated from bogs, representations of famine scalps, and scenes of everyday life, to name but a few examples. Thus, the project provides a multifaceted and complex representation of Ireland as seen through the eyes of travellers, both through their images and texts, generating in the process new online content that provides valuable data to scholarly research, as well as information of interest to a more general public. An interactive map, using GIS elements to display the contents of the catalogue by geographical location, provides an alternative point of entry into the contents of the site.


3. Baker, Laura

Early Access Founding Fathers Online Project

I am Assistant Editor for the Early Access Founding Fathers Online Project, which is a $2.5 million grant-funded project through the U.S. National Archives. My poster session will highlight the work we are doing to proofread and digitize over 60,000 unpublished letters of five key figures in the early American republic, namely George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison. The poster session will detail the steps we are taking to consolidate data from five distinct editorial papers projects into one key-word searchable and globally accessible U.S. National Archives website.

We are currently half-way through our three-year grant, and my presentation will discuss the lessons we’ve learned about making decades-old data archives ready for digital publication. Our process includes not only training a remote workforce to proofread five different sets of transcriptions in five different project styles, but we are also standardizing and consolidating metadata that is sometimes fifty years old. Creating controlled language for the thousands of names and repository locations, and their various representations, in these five projects is at least half of the work we do. I will share our insights as well as pitfalls regarding data collection, metadata storage, and Word- and XML-conversion. Likely, the Archives website will be newly-launched by the poster session date, and so audience-members will be able to see the first phase of this project live.

The Early Access Project grant was awarded to Documents Compass, a Charlottesville, Virginia company directed by Susan Holbrook Perdue, and assisted by William Kurtz and myself.


4. Gondring, Oliver

A Virtual Map Laboratory for the Perthes Collection:

Visualizing and Exploring the Network of Assets

The Perthes Collection Gotha is the legacy of a world-famous publishing House named Justus Perthes geographisch-kartographische Anstalt which internationally dominated the fields of geography and scientific cartography during the 19th century with their journal Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen as one of the most influential publications among the expert audience. The future digitization of the maps and archivables contained in the collection (which has just begun) will open up new ways of exploration and formerly impractical or even invisible research venues. Combining the powers of crowdsourcing, geospatial referencing georectification) and semantic web technologies (semantic annotation), the Virtual Map Laboratory (VML) will provide tools to take the scientific valorisation of the material to a significantly higher level. The VML will benefit from the most exceptional feature of the collection: the numerous and multifaceted entanglements between its individual assets. A published Perthes atlas map, for example, is pragmatically linked inside the collection to the explorers’ field notes and itinerary that served as a source of geodetic information as well as to the letters exchanged between the cartographer and the traveler, the cartographer’s working diary, other maps and texts that he consulted during the design process, sketches revealing different stages of the map design, a commentary summarizing the making of the map and sometimes even the copper plates used for printing. The VML will enable researchers to access, visualise and analyse the yet only scarcely explored fascinating material in a powerful manner to unfold the

scientific potential of the collection. The poster presents the structure and features of the VML in detail.

Tags: Digital Collections, Digital Humanities, Historical GIS, Usability, Virtual Research Environment, Visualisation, Web Development

Project Context: The Virtual Map Laboratory is part of the research project „Globalization and Local Knowledge – Researching the Collection of the Justus Perthes Publishing House“, running from September 2012 until August 2015 at Erfurt University and funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Thuringia, Germany.

Project leaders:

  • Prof. Martin Mulsow (Director of the Gotha Research Center for Social and Cultural Studies)
  • Dr. Kathrin Paasch (Head of the Gotha Research Library)
  • Prof. Susanne Rau (Chair History and Cultures of Spaces in Modern Age, Erfurt University)
  • Dr. Petra Weigel (Speaker of the Gotha Research Library for the Perthes Collection Gotha)

Further Information:

5. Goodwin, Emma

Crowdsourcing the crusades: Transcribing and mapping place-names in The Song of the First Crusade.

The proof-of-concept transcription and mapping project I am proposing will generate and publish maps of the place names in an Old French text, and also collectively transcribe part of this text which is in a manuscript in the Bodleian Library. An edition of the first third of the text is to be published in late summer, and this will be used to locate and create geo-spatial data from the manuscript which will be shown visually on Google maps. I will document how I create the maps and use KML files which will be made available openly under a creative commons licence. The second part of the project will transcribe a number of pages using crowdsourcing methods. The published blog will feature cross-references between the transcription and the maps. The maps will show geographical points, countries and regions, both in individual pages and in a merged map of all the mappings, which could then be filtered by place name. The blog and a related Twitter account will contain posts about progress and the process of undertaking this project. The blog will help to establish interdisciplinary collaboration for scholars, students and other interested parties, particularly in areas where the exact locations of places are most difficult to determine with certainty. It will also continue the work of transcribing a text which has not been studied by many scholars. The results of this pilot project will be published in an article for Digital Medievalist in January 2014.


6. Matzen, Ian

The London Stage 1800-1900

The London Stage 1800-1900 is a database research project incorporating XML-encoded data, based on the Text Encoding Initiative. It will address fundamental questions in the study of nineteenth-century theatrical practice, focusing on five key themes: nationalism and cosmopolitanism in English opera; adaptation and authorship in words and music; the institutional and economic history of theatre; the roles of women on and off stage; and performance issues, including the study of dance. Responding to a substantial body of empirical data from ‘major’ and ‘minor’ venues, the project will seek to understand how theatres functioned as creative and economic institutions within the rapidly expanding and industrialising urban environment of London. This ‘big picture’ analysis of city-wide networks and medium- to long-term changes constitutes a re-framing of nineteenth-century theatre history in terms of contexts and competition rather than stylistic thresholds and turning points.

At the heart of the project is a comprehensive calendar of performances throughout London for the nineteenth century, designed to generate reports to facilitate the team’s individual research areas. Adaptation and translation, for example, can be studied by analysing the number and type of continental dramas imported to specific theatres; and a century’s worth of ticket prices sorted according to repertoire and venue will enhance greatly the understanding of theatre economics. In the long term, the calendar will be housed as part of the London Stage 1800-1900 database in the Bodleian Library's Oxford Digital Library, and made available freely and permanently, to allow scholars and others with interests in the field to exploit the material for other research projects.


7. Morgan, Paige

TEI or MySQL: Deciding How to Encode Data in a Digital Humanities Project

Visible Prices (VP) is an in-development collection of prices for goods, services, and experiences from literary & historical sources, currently focusing on eighteenth & nineteenth-century England, with the potential to cover larger chronological and geographical ranges. For example, in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jane’s salary as governess is £30 per annum. VP allows users to discover what £30 meant in purchasing power, or how the salary that Bronte chose compared with those being offered in nonfictional sources. VP permits researchers to understand how the evolving use of information shaped economic and cultural development; and captures individual prices against a panoramic backdrop. Because it focuses on price, VP needs to include short fragments of texts, and bibliographic and geographic information about the texts’ origins. Users need to be able to create queries for a monetary amount, or a good, service, or experience; and ideally, to start their query with any aspect of the data (i.e. region, specific author, etc.). For this poster session, I will focus on a question of platform choice: whether to encode the prices using an XML format such as TEI, or using a relational database, i.e., MySQL. My point is not to argue in favor of TEI or MySQL -- instead, I hope to provide a clear picture of the strengths and limitations of each in the concrete context of my project that will be useful to me as I continue developing it, and useful to attendees at DHOXSS as they make decisions regarding their own projects.


8. Padilla, Thomas

Comparing Textually Embedded Data with Derived Claims: A Network Analysis Approach

It is difficult to evaluate the relationship between social data and derived theoretical claims when relationships are embedded in the sentences and paragraphs typical of a humanities and social sciences monograph. Yet a text is essentially a relational database; the challenge is converting it into one to test its veracity. Using semantic relationship extraction, this project pulls social data from a text and establishes relationships between people, resources, and knowledge concepts. The data is then subjected to various network analysis metrics and latent dirichlet allocation (LDA) to evaluate the extent to which the social data supports larger theoretical claims that a scholar is deriving from that data. With these methods it is possible to evaluate consistency of textually embedded data representation. This analysis is performed for each chapter of James Scott’s Weapon’s of The Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. For each chapter a theoretical claim is identified that represents the primary argument of the chapter. The theoretical claim is simplified and presented as a baseline to compare the results of network analysis and LDA measures to. A simplified theoretical claim held to represent one chapter is: “Elites control all of the resources in the village. The poor subvert total control through anonymous sabotage and refusal to fully comply with social expectations regarding the relationship between elite and poor.” A high degree centrality measure for elites in this chapter makes sense as they supervised the subordinate class, and would likely come into contact with the subordinate class frequently. The betweeness centrality measures indicate that a majority of the highest measures belong to the subordinate class, which supports to some extent the derived theoretical claim. The peasant class would need to actively broker information in a comprehensive way, between each other, and between themselves and the elite to effectively sabotage and or buck social expectations of subordinates vs. elites. Rounding out the analysis, this project utilizes tf-idf measures and LDA. This process is performed across the entire text. Combined these methods measure alignment between social data present in the text and its relationship with higher level theoretical claims. This project evidences a method with widespread potential across the humanities and social sciences.

9. Rubin-Detlev, Kelsey

Digital Correspondence of Catherine the Great project

This project, sponsored by the John Fell Fund, will produce a 100-letter pilot version of a fully searchable online database of the correspondence of Empress Catherine II of Russia (r. 1762-96). Throughout her reign, she made skilful use of the letter, the primary knowledge-transfer medium of the Age of Enlightenment, to shape her nation’s and her own role in the political, cultural, and social arenas of Europe. Collecting in searchable digital form a corpus of letters that has never been brought together in a single edition or even fully published will allow scholars to discover unexpected links between the letters and to analyse more thoroughly their literary and historical significance. The text of the letters will be encoded and marked up in TEI XML to ensure sustainability and usability. This mark-up will also allow letters and subsections of letters to be classified according to a limited number of themes, and to be openly licensed and downloadable for further use by other researchers. The project investigators will produce a new apparatus of editorial notes and hyperlinks providing information on people, places, events, and objects mentioned in the correspondence. Data tables will allow easy browsing of letters, and the database will permit users to search for keywords across subsets of letters, selected by theme, date, or correspondent.


10. Siefring, Judith

SECT: Sustaining the EEBO-TCP Corpus in Transition

The JISC-funded project SECT: Sustaining the EEBO-TCP Corpus in Transition ( is a collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). The project was conceived as a user-led investigation into the impact and sustainability of the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP), which creates fully-searchable encoded editions of early printed books, made available through the publisher ProQuest at As part of this work, SECT conducted an Impact Study on EEBO-TCP, using the Oxford Internet Institute’s TIDSR toolkit for evaluating the impact of digital scholarly resources (available at This poster will illustrate some of the results of this study, focusing in particular on a survey of EEBO-TCP users. The study illustrated particular themes that have emerged in the course of the project, including the importance of comprehensiveness and accuracy, usability and accessibility, digital citation, encoding and metadata, user education, publicity and engagement, and strategic decision-making. This work will contribute to future planning for the EEBO-TCP project. This poster will highlight the importance of qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impact of scholarly resources. Digital projects may rarely have the time or money for such “thinking time”, but stepping back and looking carefully at the needs of users and whether these needs are adequately met is extremely valuable for long-term planning for digital resources, and offers a significant contribution towards their future sustainability.


11. Söring, Sibylle

Creating, Publishing and Archiving Digital Editions Within A Virtual Research Environment And Its Repository

This poster will show how Virtual Research Environments (VREs) enable and support the creation, publication, and long-term archiving of digital editions, which, as of today, represent one of the core application areas within the Digital Humanities. Answering an increasing demand for digital and collective research features in the humanities, the joint project TextGrid1, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has, since its start in 2006, established the infrastructure for a respective VRE. In continuous exchange with the scientific community, TextGrid has developed a variety of tools and services available for free download. Together with the TextGrid Repository, it offers humanist researchers in the humanities sustainable editing, storing and publishing of their data in a thoroughly tested and safe environment. Building on the XML-based database system eXist, the markup language XML and the data format TEI are supported. They reflect international standards for the text-technological analysis of humanistic contents, especially of digital editions.

The poster will display how a complete scholarly workflow can be mapped via a VRE like TextGrid – from collecting and generating of primary data through enriching it with metadata and XML, and finally publishing it in a portal and/or a repository, following sustainable standards and thus allowing for citation, long-term accessibilty, further interlinking and scholarly re-use.

The visualisation of the generic technical workflow will be complemented by a specific use case, the project „Johann Friedrich Blumenbach – Online“2, based at the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen (Göttingen Academy of Sciences).




12. Van Keer, Ellen

Let's talk! towards automated integration of the collection and library catalogs of the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels.

As a result of recent digitization efforts, the RMAH has a solid digital infrastructure today. The objects in its collections are catalogued in MuseumPlus, made available online on Carmentis, and harvested by services such as Europeana. The documents in the museum’s libraries are catalogued in Aleph, published through its OPAC and harvested by services such as Unicat. In the current framework both systems and datasets exist completely independently. However, they fundamentally overlap, not only on the general conceptual (thematic) level but all the way the individual object level. Moreover, documenting the collections is a core aspect of the scientific work done by the researchers of the museum, but this information is not maintained in a central system today. Hence, the museum wishes to move towards a more integrated infrastructure and develop a user-interface that links its objects with bibliographic references as well as with full-text documents. This will obviously improve the quality and usability of this information for research. As the underlying systems are compliant with international standards of interoperability, the question is not the technical feasibility of data-integration as such, but the degree of data-unity most effectively achieved. A range of scenario’s are being investigated: the creation of hard links between related records in separate management systems; the use of a shared thesaurus for linking related content; connecting datasets by mapping metadata and aggregation by a service provider; the implementation of linked open data and semantic technology; or any combination of them.

Poster: vankeer.pdf

13. Willcox, Pip

The marriage of true minds: the public, research, and the Bodleian’s First Folio

In 2011 Emma Smith gave a lecture at the Bodleian Library about a First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays (Arch. G c.7). This book arrived at the Bodleian in 1623, left (probably) in the 1660s, and was bought back through public subscription in 1906. Emma mentioned that, due to its fragile state, she had not been allowed to examine it. In the conversation that followed, we agreed that a project to conserve, digitize, and publish the First Folio would be useful to her and the wider academic community, and of interest to many people beyond academia: to theatre practitioners, schoolteachers, the general public...

Having gained the Bodleian’s approval, Sprint for Shakespeare, a second public campaign to fund this copy of the First Folio, was born.

This poster tracks the work of the project, from Rare Books, through Conservation, the Imaging Studio, to website development at BDLSS. It highlights the website designed to engage the public ( ), including a blog with many guest posts. It describes engagement with schoolteachers to make the online resource more useful for teaching, and work at IT Services that will be underway to develop a friendly interface that marries the digital images to a TEI-encoded full text.

The poster’s themes are of particular relevance to DHOXSS 2013, instancing a project where the digital supports otherwise impossible academic research, and engagement and knowledge exchange with the public at every stage of the project.


14. Xesternou, Maria

Symbols and myths project.

The project intends to search and designate symbols used as objects or myths in world literature of variant periods of time and their survey in modern cultures. For example, terms such as “Atlantis” or “top” have covered a long route in cultural products as terms in texts, as symbols in posterior literature, even as names of consultable projects in modern cultures. In the poster will be exposed the initial idea of three steps’ research:

  1. Textual research of terms, objects and myth symbols in various texts and sound -visual sources. As variables can be applied different languages, cultures, geographical areas and time periods.
  2. Description of term –object: their qualities, their use as objects, their metaphoric meaning.
  3. Pedagogical use of data: a structured open source internet application, respecting recent predominant ICT teaching principles, that conducts teachers, students or pupils to create courses and present small research projects based on a diachronic symbol or myth.