The MoEML Gazetteer of Early Modern London

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What is a Gazetteer?

A gazetteer is a geographical index or dictionary (OED gazetteer, n.3.). The Alexandria Digital Library project defines the minimum components of a gazetteer entry as (1) a geographic name, (2) a geographic location represented by coordinates, and (3) a type designation. The British Historic Towns Atlas project defines a gazetteer as a list of names (of buildings, streets, etc.) complete with some form of information about each place. In its simplest form, it is a listing of map names with a map reference - for example, a town’s latitude and longitude or its map grid-reference as listed at the end of a reference atlas (What is a Gazetteer?). The MoEML Gazetteer of Early Modern London is a descriptive gazetteer in that each place is linked to an Encyclopedia page with a thick description of place.

Why do we Need a Gazetteer of Early Modern London?

Until now, there has been no digital gazetteer and authority list for placenames in early modern London. Our gazetteer offers a standard for placenames ca. 1550-1650.1 Such a standard enables interoperability across digital projects that include early modern London placenames. Shakeosphere and DEEP have already used our gazetteer to identify toponyms in their data and link to MoEML. We hope that other scholars, editors, and researchers will adopt these authority names in secondary criticism, in modernized editions of early texts, and in datasets that include a geographic component.
The gazetteer also allows us to aggregate many variant names that have been given to a place. We define place as a space that has been made meaningful by human activity or observation. The existence of a toponym is one sign that space has become place. Furthermore, toponyms often preserve a memory of why a place is significant. Thus, toponyms are intrinsically interesting to scholars of language, history, and onomastics (the study of the origin of proper names).

What is the MoEML Gazetteer?

The MoEML Gazetteer has six components, organized into sortable columns:
  1. Variant Toponym: Each variant toponym (i.e., name for a place) — whether a variant spelling or an alternate name — has its own row in the alphabetical table. The variants come from our born-digital encyclopedia entries, our library of diplomatic transcriptions, our concordance of dramatic extracts, and our diplomatic transcription of John Stow’s 1598 A Survey of London (currently in draft, viewable upon request). As our library and database grow, the number of variants will also increase. If the toponym you wish to identify is not in our gazetteer, please contact us. (See search tips below.)
  2. Authority Name: An authority name is the generally recognized or standard name we use for a place. The authority name is historically specific. Our practice is to identify the name most commonly in use around 1598-1603 (the dates of the first and second editions of Stow’s Survey) and to render it in modernized spelling.2 Click on the authority name to go directly to the Placeography entry.
  3. @xml:id: Each place has a single @xml:id. All alternate names and variant spellings for a single place are tagged with the same @xml:id, which allows us to aggregate and correlate all of those variants consistently, uniquely, and unambiguously. The @xml:id is project specific and points to a space. The authority placename for that space may change over time, but our @xml:id will not. However, if other projects adopt our @xml:ids, or embed them in their encoding, interoperability between projects becomes easier.3 The @xml:id is also part of the unique URL of each location file in the Placeography. Click on the @xml:id to go directly to the Placeography entry.
  4. Agas Map Reference: Clicking on Agas map will automatically take you to the place on the map. If the Agas map column is empty, we have not yet added geo-coordinates for that place. It is worth checking back from time to time, as updating geo-coordinates is one of our ongoing tasks. If you know the location of a place that has not had geo-coordinates added to it, please let us know. You can do this easily by drawing on the map yourself and emailing us a bookmarked version of your drawing; just follow the instructions here: Add MoEML Locations to the Agas Map.
  5. Other Variant Names and Spellings: The variants are dynamically aggregated from every item that has been tagged with a single @xml:id. The variants come from our born-digital encyclopedia entries, our library of diplomatic transcriptions, our concordance of dramatic extracts, and our diplomatic transcription of John Stow’s 1598 A Survey of London (currently in draft, viewable upon request). As our library and database grow, the number of variants will also increase.
  6. Location Type: This column lists the category to which the location belongs in the Placeography, such as church, street, site, or ward.

How to Use the MoEML Gazetteer

Research Questions

The Gazetteer enables the following research questions:
  • To what place does a particular toponym refer? If you find a toponym in a manuscript or printed text, search for the toponym alphabetically in the first column. (See search tips below.)
  • What placename should I use in my book, encyclopedia entry, or critical article? In order to create consistency across printed texts and interoperability across digital projects, we recommend you use our authority name for London placenames from the early modern period.
  • Where is a place? Click on the Agas Map column to view the place on the map. Click on the Authority Name or the MoEML id to go directly to the description in our Placeography.
  • Does MoEML have further information about this place? Click on the Authority Name or the MoEML id to go directly to the description in our Placeography. Some locations have GIS coordinates and an embedded GoogleMap.

Search Tips

  • If you are searching for a toponym that begins with W in your source text, look under V as well as W.
  • If you are searching for a toponym that begins with U in your source text, look under U and V.
  • If you are searching for a toponym that begins with V in your source text, look under V and U.
  • If you are searching for a toponym that begins with I in your source text, look under I and J.
  • If you are searching for a toponym that begins with J in your source text, look under J and I.

FAQs

  • How should I regularize a placename spelling in my edition? If you are producing a modern-spelling edition, we recommend that you regularize the placename according to your own editorial guidelines. (Note that the texts in MoEML’s library are diplomatic transcriptions. So far, we have not produced modern-spelling editions, which means that modernized spellings for the non-authority variant forms will not appear in our gazetteer. Only the authority name is modernized in our gazetteer.)
  • How did you determine the authority name and standard spelling? In some cases, the placename has remained consistent for centuries (e.g., Cheapside). In other cases, we have turned to Ekwall or other secondary sources. In special cases, we explain our rationale for the authority name in the Placeography entry.

Contribute to the MoEML Gazetteer

The more name variants — whether a variant spelling or an alternate name — the gazetteer includes, the more useful it will become as a tool for researchers. Thus, if you come across a variant for a London placename that we have not yet included in our list of variants, please contact us, and we’ll add it to the gazetteer.

Adopt MoEML’s Authority Names in Your Project

As mentioned above, we are the first project to produce a gazetteer for early modern London. By creating a standard for placenames, we allow for greater interoperability across digital projects that include a geographic component on early modern London. We recommend that you adopt our authority names in your project, whether it is a piece of secondary criticism, an edition of an early text, or a digital project. Email us, if you have any questions about how to do this.
We are interested in working with other projects to embed our gazetteer as a geocoding tool. Please contact Project Director, Janelle Jenstad, if you have a large data set and/or want to use our gazetteer for data mining toponyms.

Notes

  1. For an analogue scholarly gazetteer of placenames ca. 1520, see the Gazetteer to c. 1270 and c. 1520 Maps (Carlin and Belcher), an extraordinary compendium of research first published in Vol. III of The British Atlas of Historic Towns series, The City of London from Prehistoric Times to c. 1520, and now helpfully available online in three .pdf files. (JJ)
  2. The authority name that appears in the gazetteer is drawn from the <title> element in our Placeography XML files. We use the authority name as the titles for the entries in the Placeography. (JJ)
  3. The Internet Shakespeare Editions tags London toponyms using our @xml:ids with the ISE <ilink> element, the attribute @component with the value geo, and a target that embeds our @xml:id. For example, the ISE’s ilink type="geo" href="mol:CHEA2" allows us to harvest or point to the mention of Cheapside in an ISE text. (JJ)

References

Last modification: 2016-06-07 05:38:23 -0700 (Tue, 07 Jun 2016) (mholmes)
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MLA citation:

Jenstad, Janelle, and Kim McLean-Fiander. “The MoEML Gazetteer of Early Modern London.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 18 August 2017. <http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/gazetteer_about.htm>.

Chicago citation:

Jenstad, Janelle, and Kim McLean-Fiander. n.d. “The MoEML Gazetteer of Early Modern London.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed August 18, 2017. http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/gazetteer_about.htm.

APA citation:

Jenstad J., & K. McLean-Fiander. (n.d.). The MoEML Gazetteer of Early Modern London. In J. Jenstad (Ed.), The Map of Early Modern London. Retrieved August 18, 2017, from http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/gazetteer_about.htm

TEI citation:

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