Introducing the First Digital Gazetteer of Early Modern London!
We are very excited to announce the launch of the MoEML Gazetteer of Early Modern London, conceived by Project Director, Janelle Jenstad, and Programmer, Martin Holmes. To the best of our knowledge, until now there has been no authority list for placenames in early modern London. So, after years of researching and tagging London toponyms (i.e., placenames) from a wide range of texts, including John Stow’s Survey of London, early modern drama, poetry, prose, and the lord mayor’s shows, we have accumulated a vast amount of data, and have repurposed it to share it with others in the form of an easy-to-use gazetteer. With links directly to MoEML’s Encyclopedia, our digital gazetteer is also effectively a descriptive gazetteer.
The MoEML gazetteer will be helpful in any number of ways to researchers, editors, scholars of onomastics (the study of the origin of proper names), and projects working with geographical data. Most importantly, it provides both a single authority name and single XML:id for a particular placename, and aggregates all of that placename’s variants, including both variant spellings and alternate names. Further details about the gazetteer and how to use it are available here.
If, for example, you come across a placename called
Gin the alphabetical index at the top of the MoEML gazetteer and search (using CTRL + F) on the page for your particular spelling. You will find an entry for your spelling variant that offers you the following six components of information: 1) The Toponym Variant (i.e., the spelling variant for which you are searching); 2) the Authority Name (i.e., the modern-spelling standardized name); 3) the MoEML XML:id (i.e., a unique XML:id assigned to that place by MoEML); 4) the Agas Map coordinates (i.e., where that place is located on the Agas map); 5) All Variants (i.e., all alternate names and variant spellings for that place aggregated from across the entire MoEML project); and 6) the Location Category (i.e., whether the place is a street, site, church, hall, playhouse, tavern, etc.). You will discover, for instance, that the authority name for MoEML XML:id is
If, during your own research, you encounter a variant for an early modern London placename that we have not yet included in the gazetteer, email us, and we’ll add it. The more name variants the gazetteer includes — whether variant spellings or alternate names — the more useful it will be as a scholarly tool.
We hope that researchers and other projects will consider adopting MoEML’s authority names and authority XML:ids, as this will allow for greater interoperabilitiy across projects. At present, the Internet Shakespeare Editions (ISE) tags London toponyms in Shakespeare’s plays using MoEML’s XML:ids. This allows MoEML to harvest or point to mention of any placename in an ISE text. (To see how this works, click on Cheapside here and scroll to the very bottom of the article to see where this placename is mentioned in the ISE. If you click on the ISE quotation mentioning Cheapside, you will leave the MoEML website and be taken to that quotation in the ISE project’s website. This is a fine example of digital project interoperability!)
Eventually, we plan to include latitude and longitude coordinates (in addition to Agas Map coordinates) for as many entries in the MoEML gazetteer as possible. Thus, another possible use for the gazetteer would be for other projects to embed it as a geocoding tool on their websites. If you have a large data set and/or want to use our gazetteer for data mining toponyms, contact Project Director, Janelle Jenstad.
Placenames have long been of interest to scholars of language, history, and onomastics, as they reflect the transformation of a space (an area) into a place (an area that has become meaningful as a result of human activity or observation). The MoEML gazetteer will allow researchers to encounter the spaces and places of early modern London in new, different, and useful ways. We hope you benefit from using it!
Last modification: 2016-06-06 16:41:17 -0700 (Mon, 06 Jun 2016) (jtakeda)