History of MoEML
Now the city being like a vast sea, full of gusts, fearful-dangerous shelves and rocks, ready at every storm to sink and cast away the weak and unexperienced bark . . . I, like another Columbus or Drake . . . have drawn you this chart or map for your guide as well out of mine own as my many friends experience.
(Henry Peacham, The Art of Living in London )
Note: This page is being updated. 2015-03-09.
MoEML has some claim to call itself a
late first-generation digital humanities project,having launched as an intranet site and pedagogical tool at the University of Windsor in 1999.1 MoEML’s history begins in 1997, however, when I (Jenstad) first
Agasmap. As of January 2015, MoEML is in Version 5.1, after a early history of fits and starts. Since we re-encoded the entire project in TEI in 2005-2006, followed by a quiet internet launch in August 2006, MoEML has had a continuous web presence. Most major project developments since April 2013 are documented on our News page, our Blog, and our Facebook and Twitter streams.
O Unreal City: Version 0.1
Writing Hypertext: Version 1
In 1999, three students in Dr. Colin Atkinson’s
Writing Hypertextcourse (English 208) at the University of Windsor were looking for a project and a supervisor. I offered my 6ft 3in laminated Agas Map. It took two months to scan the map in sections and create the first version of the site.
The Penny Drops: Version 2
My research assistant, Tara Drouillard, then defined the look of the site feature above and created most of the pages. James Campbell and Joanna Hutz continued Ms. Drouillard’s work by adding pages and bringing all the existing pages into stylistic uniformity.
What’s in a Site Name?
By 2002, The Map of Early Modern London had become deeply embedded in my classroom practice. In the first iteration of this project history (written around 2004), I wrote that:
The Agas Map is one of my favourite teaching tools. I use it to demonstrate the geographical relationship between the city and Renaissance theatres, to map out the routes of processions and pageants, and to show how the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men) moved their business operations from the Theatre in the north, to the Globe on the Bankside on the south side of the Thames, to the Blackfriars complex in the heart of the City of London.
Select students in my Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama classes between 2001 and 2003 undertook hypertext research projects in lieu of a standard research essay. In those days—before WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter—students had to learn to write for an online environment. Writing hypertext demanded a different kind of organizational structure than the conventional essay: shorter segments of writing, embedded hyperlinks, headings, lists, shorter sentences, different punctuation choices (semi-colons still don’t render well on screen, grammatically useful though they are), and inter-linked rather than linear arguments. I asked each student to generate the equivalent of 8-10 pages of text divided between pages, and to indicate the links they would like created between their own pages and existing pages of the website. Each project demanded both historical research and literary application. After submission and grading, the student made all necessary corrections before we edited the project together.
Only a few of those HTML projects were re-encoded in XML when we rebuilt the site in 2005-2006. Still visible are a number of wonderful projects that came out of a graduate course on
Pageantry, Play, and Performance in Early Modern Englandin Spring 2000, including a critical introduction to and diplomatic transcription of The Quenes Maiesties Passage by MA Student Jennie Butler. Laura Estill, who went on to join our Editorial Board many years later, wrote a brief history of the Whitefriars Theatre. The work of other University of Windsor students is evident throughout the site, in the form of articles, influence, or early encoding choices: Victoria Abboud, Jennifer Lo, Kimberley Martin, and others.
The Long Hiatus
Going Live: Version 3
TaPOR and HCMC to the Rescue
XML and TEI
Layers Before GoogleMaps
Holmes at the Helm: Version 4
Full Compliance with TEI P5
Keeping our own History with Version Control
New Look, New Features
Funding from SSHRC
Expansion of the Team
From MoL to MoEML
Documenting our Praxis
A New Map for a New World
Old Tools for an Old Map
Open Layers 3.0
The Next Phase of MoEML’s History
MoEML foresees a finite but significant amount of work ahead. Our New Directions sets out the milestones in our immediate future. Over the long term, there are enough toponym-rich texts to keep MoEML editors and encoders busy for many years, should we choose to keep expanding the Library. As funding and time permit, we also respond to developments in our field and use MoEML as a testbed for new technologies and new ways of linking, tagging, visualizing, and conceptualizing early modern texts and data. In his introduction to the Special Cluster entitled
Donein Issue 3.2 of Digital Humanities Quarterly, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum asks
How do we know when we’re done?In 2015, we know that we are not
done.But in anticipation of a far-off day when we do write
donenext to the final milestone, we are future-proofing our project and data according to best practices (some of which we are developing) so that MoEML’s texts and functionalities will continue to be available to scholars, teachers, students, and the general public.
The History of Humanities Computing.A Companion to Digital Humanities. Ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth. Blackwell, 2004. Reprint. Open. Direct link to chapter.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew G.
Done: Finishing Projects in the Digital Humanities.Digital Humanities Quarterly 3.2 (2009). Open.
- Peacham, Henry. The Art of Living in London. 1642. The Complete Gentleman, The Truth of Our Times, and The Art of Living in London. Ed. Virgil B. Heltzel. Ithaca: Cornell UP for the Folger Shakespeare Library, 1962. 243–50.
Last modification: 2016-06-06 15:39:18 -0700 (Mon, 06 Jun 2016) (mholmes)