A Sampling of Projects in Digital Scholarship

Mapping the Republic of Letters

What did the networks of correspondence stretching across countries and continents that facilitated the dissemination and criticism of ideas, news, and people and objects look like? Were they as extensive as we are led to believe? How did they evolve over time?

Mapping the Republic of Letters, in collaboration with international partners, seeks to answer these and other questions through the development of sophisticated, interactive visualization tools. It also aims to create a repository for metadata on early-modern scholarship, and guidelines for future data capture.

The Comédie-Française Registers Project

From 1680 until 1791, only one theater troupe in Paris was allowed to perform the plays of Molière, Corneille, Racine, Voltaire, Beaumarchais, and every other French-language playwright. This troupe, the Comédie-Française, played the works of these authors over 34,000 times in this period.

Remarkably, the troupe kept detailed records of their box office receipts for every single one of those performances. These daily receipt registers, as well as the data they contain, are now available online via the Comédie-Française Registers Project.

The Women Writers Project

The Women Writers Project is a long-term research project devoted to early modern women’s writing and electronic text encoding. Our goal is to bring texts by pre-Victorian women writers out of the archive and make them accessible to a wide audience of teachers, students, scholars, and the general reader. We support research on women’s writing, text encoding, and the role of electronic texts in teaching and scholarship.

It includes full transcriptions of texts published between 1526 and 1850, focusing on materials that are rare or inaccessible. The range of genres and topics covered makes it a truly remarkable resource for teaching and research, providing an unparalleled view of women’s literate culture in the early modern period.

How to Compare One Million Images

The project uses the challenge of working with a set of one million manga pages to motivate the need for a computational approach for the exploration of collections of such size, and to explain our particular method that combines digital image analysis and a novel visualization technique.

To do this, a mechanism that would precisely compare sets of images of any size – from a few dozens to millions is needed. The project harbingers a methodology that combines automatic digital image analysis and media visualization to address these requirements.

Nines: Nineteenth Century Research Online

NINES is an abbreviation for Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship. It links the material archive of the nineteenth century with the digital research environment of the twenty-first.

NINES aims to gather the best scholarly resources and make them fully searchable. In turn, it also provides an online collecting and authoring space for researchers.

Totality for Kids

[Adobe Flash Required] An annotation from McKenzie Wark’s comic book, Totality for Kids sums up the grand aspirations of the project:

History as a discipline dissolves the event back into the archive, turning history (event) into history (text), consigning it to the past. The legend is a way of making the summation of past events present to future ones.

The interactive project was created to make the ideas behind the Situationist International not only legible, but meaningful in a culture poised for submersion in the cynicism of neoliberal corporatism. Totality for Kids forays into the pre-history of the SI, beginning in post-war Paris and continuing through the apotheosis of political radicalism marked by the general strike of May ’68. With corresponding music, illustration, and effective text, the project brings the viewer close to the zeitgeist.

The Roaring Twenties

[Adobe Flash Required] Sound is a crucial aspect of the urban experience, constantly shaping – even as it is shaped by – the social and physical dimensions of city life. For historians as well as foreign travelers, noise thus provides a valuable key to understanding civilizations different from our own. The best work in aural history is as much about listening as it is about sound, recovering the meaning of sound as well as the sound itself. To recover that meaning we need to strive to enter the mindsets of the people who perceived those sounds, to undertake a historicized mode of listening that tunes modern ears to the pitch of the past. 

The Roaring ‘Twenties website is dedicated to that challenge, attempting to recreate for its listeners not just the sound of the past but also its sonic culture.  It offers a sonic time machine; an interactive multimedia environment whereby site visitors can not just hear, but mindfully listen to, the noises of New York City in the late 1920s, a place and time defined by its din.

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