When I’m not out there touting pedagogy in Digital Humanities, I’m donning a different hat — the one where I build something and then encourage others to show n’tell what they’ve built. In the past, I’ve hosted a bevvy of cool scholars and their toys — most recently at SHARP 2008 in Oxford

SHARP 2008

This year, two other opportunities came up to show n’tell: one at the MLA 2011 on 19th-Century literary annuals and my work with a digital archive, and the second for another SHARP digital poster session to take place in DC this July.

Here’s the description & our line-up:

Panel Title: Digital Projects Poster Session

The “digital” has become “cool,” according to Alan Liu, and scholars have begun to embrace digital scholarship as a viable marriage between the Sciences and Humanities.  Indeed, in the last five years, major funding agencies have begun sponsoring fellowships in Digital Humanities as well as supporting digital projects that convert physical materials into searchable electronic documents (EEBO) or multi-media archives (Rossetti Archive).  Experiments in mapping and text analysis have exploded the scholarly potential for this medium and interdisciplinary research. This year’s conference theme, “The Book in Art & Science,” is a good opportunity to highlight SHARP’s commitment to digital projects as well as expose conference participants to the exciting and varied projects that are being produced.

This poster session of digital projects will not be governed by speakers or highlight only three projects. Instead, I propose a session in which conference attendees can actually experience several projects. Conference attendees will circulate through the room at their leisure, speak with the representative, use the laptop to wander through the project or listen to the representative provide an overview. Each project description below specifies the necessary equipment, however, each project will require a separate table or area for its display. Because most presenters will showcase their projects on computers/laptops, a series of outlets or surge protectors are necessary. If possible, Internet access will be required by all participants. A computer lab of some sort would be ideal for this session.

It’s my hope that this session will become a permanent session in SHARP conferences.  With more than 20 new digital projects, centers or tools initiated every year and a large backlog of worthy projects, we have much to showcase and embrace in the coming years. As the editor of E-Resources Reviews for the SHARP Newsletter, I personally have seen an overwhelming need to expose SHARPists to the digitization of the field.

TITLE: At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901 >http://www.victorianresearch.org/atcl>
At the Circulating Library (ATCL) is an online bibliography of Victorian fiction which contains entries for individual authors, titles, publishers, and periodicals.  Users can: find biographical information and the titles written by a Victorian author; see a list of the novels published in any year; investigate the titles published by a particular publisher; trace the serialization history of many novels; and search for names, pseudonyms, and titles.  The aim of the project is to provide bio-bibliographical information about Victorian novel production and quantitative statistics about Victorian publishing.

As of December 2010, the database has entries for 7341 titles, 2497 authors, and 225 publishers.   In addition, the database has serialization information for 1363 novels from 110 periodicals.

The beta version of the website appeared in summer 2007 with a test database of approximately 1700 titles.  In 2008, the database began including serialization information.  As of September 2009, the database accounts for all of the three-volume novels published during the Victorian period.  As of November 2010, the database has entries for all the two- and four-volume novels of the Victorian period.  Future plans include adding more serialization information, genre groupings, reprint information, and one-volume novels.

Troy J. Bassett is an assistant professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.  He is the author of articles about W. Somerset Maugham, Victorian bestseller lists, Unwin’s Pseudonym Library, George Moore, and the three-volume novel.

TITLE: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center launched its activities with one basic question: “What would a digital research center look like at a masters comprehensive university like SIUE?” Digital research took its current shape at major research institutions, like the University of Virginia, where graduate students have been paramount for project success. However, the digital humanities and social sciences have struggled to involve undergraduates, which, according to Jerome McGann’s talk at this summer’s Material Cultures Conference in Edinburgh, is the only way to ensure the future funding and sustainability of digital scholarship in the academy. Furthermore, as digital scholarship moves from a primarily experimental endeavor to the forefront of faculty research at all institutions, finding ways to make digital tools and methodologies accessible beyond the research university will become a priority.

The IRIS Center began two years ago as a faculty-led initiative because so many of the project’s participants had digital projects vital for our research sitting in shoeboxes in our offices or housed on a random hard drive while we waited for the university’s ITS to grant us server space. We quickly realized that SIUE, an institution with one of the top senior assignment programs in the country, was in a unique position to experiment with lab-based digital education for undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences. This talk will address the challenges and successes of the center’s infancy. Although the IRIS Center is still in its development stages, the center’s members have been designing a program of study for undergraduates while also trying to negotiate a place for digital research at the masters comprehensive level in hopes of addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by digital scholars as the field expands beyond the research institution.

Jessica DeSpain is a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her research interests include nineteenth-century reprinting, textual studies, and the digital humanities. DeSpain is the co-founder of SIUE’s Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center, which offers faculty and students a collaborative, technical meeting space to explore their digital research interests. DeSpain is also the editor of The Wide, Wide World Digital Edition, a site that puts all 100 editions of Susan Warner’s nineteenth-century American novel, The Wide, Wide World into conversation with one another.

TITLE: Virtual Printing Press <http://www.virtualprintingpress.com>
The purpose of the Virtual Printing Press project is simple: to create an online model of an early modern printing press. As those who have taught the history of printing will know, nothing is quite as effective as being able to show students an actual press, particularly if they can see the press in operation. However, it’s not always possible to arrange such a visit; even when it is, there’s no way of ‘revisiting’ the press during a lecture or a seminar in order to explain a specific aspect of the printing process. The Virtual Printing Press seeks to solve such problems by enabling tutors and students to visit, and to interact with, an accurate and dynamic online model of an early printing press.

The project has recently completed its pilot stage. An online model—a replica of the Franklin press at the Smithsonian—has been constructed within the ‘virtual world’ of Second Life. Students and tutors have already begun to visit, and are providing detailed feedback. We are currently seeking institutional partners to develop the press further by adding more interactivity, detail, and contextual information; we will also plan to model type, typecases, chases, galleys, composing sticks, and all the other ancillary equipment to be found in an early modern printshop. Our long-term ambition is to collaborate with an engineering faculty to model the press’s materials and movements in as realistic a fashion as is possible, so that advanced users will be able to use the press as a research tool.

Given the wealth of presses held by the Graphic Arts Collection of the National Museum of American History, the SHARP 2011 conference in Washington DC provides an excellent venue to demonstrate the opportunities that web 2.0 can provide for introducing students to the technologies of past.

Ian Gadd is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Bath Spa University (UK). He is a volume editor for the History of Oxford University Press, a General Editor for the Cambridge Works of Jonathan Swift, and Vice-President of SHARP.

TITLE: Lord Byron and His Times
I propose doing a poster on my current project, Lord Byron and his Times, a collection of xml-TEI documents linked to a database collecting information about who was who in the literary and social worlds in which Byron traveled.  We are currently into year three of what is expected to be a twenty-year enterprise.  To date, we have digitized some two dozen volumes and two hundred poems and articles, and assembled the beginnings of a database containing more than 7000 names.  At this stage, work is concentrated on digitizing biographies and memoirs of persons associated with Byron; as the project develops, work will shift more to the pamphlet wars involving Byron’s work: critical debates over the Elgin Marbles, Byron’s marriage, the Pope Controversy, the Satanic Poets fracas, and the philhellenes and Greek Revolution.

I would like to use the poster session to have some conversations about what information should be recorded in the prosopography, how best to encode it in TEI format, and how, eventually, it can be translated into RDF format for sharing on the Web and integration with other prosopographies and collections of digital documents. The project in its present form is online here:  http://lordbyron.org/

David Radcliffe is a professor of English and director for the Center for Applied Technologies at Virginia Tech. I’ve worked on a variety of digital projects, among the English Poetry 1579-1830, a reception-history database, and have done technical work on the Gravell Watermark Database, and the forthcoming Index of Middle English Verse.  I am currently at work on a project entitled Lord Byron and his Times, which I propose to present as a poster.

forthcoming description

TITLE: The Poetess Archive Database
The Poetess Archive Database (http://unixgen.muohio.edu/~poetess/) constitutes a resource for studying the literary history of popular British and American poetry. Much of it composed during what can be called the “bull market” of poetry’s popularity, late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century popular poetry was often written in what came to be designated an “effeminate” style, whether written by men or women. Writings in the poetess tradition were disseminated in myriad collections: miscellanies, beauties, literary annuals, gift books. They achieved a place of prominence in virtually every middle-class household. The Poetess Archive Database now contains a bibliography of over 4,000 entries for works by and about writers working in and against the “poetess tradition,” the extraordinarily popular, but much criticized, flowery poetry written in Britain and America between 1750 and 1900.

The Poetess Archive Database is a bibliography that you can organize in any way you wish, searching by author, by collection, and by criticism, and then limit by using the constraints found with each search. All literary annuals and collections of poetry in the database display, minimally, their tables of contents as well as engravings, transcriptions, page images, book boards and slip cases. Shortly, you will be able to search this site by typing in an author and know all the works that he or she published in annuals and collections produced between 1750 and 1900. The database presents poems, such as Anne Yearsley’s The Slave Trade or Felicia Hemans’s The Sculptured Children. It presents criticism from the era such as John Wilson’s Monologue on the Annuals, as well as criticism written by our contemporaries, sometimes even providing small, edited portions, such as Paula Bennett’s “Women’s Poetry in American Victorian Periodicals 1860-1900,” or full texts, as in Rene Anderson’s essay about Susannah Hawkins. General Editor Laura Mandell and Section Editors Virginia Jackson, Eliza Richards and Katherine D. Harris are working on adding full-text of works as well as implementing new visualization tools.

Katherine D. Harris, an assistant professor of English at San Jose State University, teaches courses in Romantic-Era and Nineteenth-Century British literature, women’s authorship, the literary annual, textuality and hypertextuality. Many of these issues are addressed in journal articles and chapters in edited collections, including Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America and The Poetess Archive Journal.  She edits an online resource for the study of literary annuals, The Forget Me Not: A Hypertextual Archive (http://www.orgs.muohio.edu/anthologies/FMN/Index.htm ) which will also become part of a comprehensive literary history of British annuals. Dr. Harris’ most current work involves the short story, the Gothic tradition and the literary annual – with an edited collection of Gothic short stories from the annuals is forthcoming in 2011 with Zittaw Press. Most recently, Harris edits an E-Resources Reviews section in the SHARP Newsletter.