Virtual Paul’s Cross Project

The Virtual Paul’s Cross Project, from North Carolina State University, is a data visualisation project focusing on John Donne’s sermon for Gunpowder Day November 5, 1622. The centrepiece of the project is their 3D visual model of Paul’s Churchyard which is a fantastic visualisation of what this area might have looked like in the early seventeenth century. St. Paul’s Churchyard was also the site of Mary Frith’s public penance in 1612. The Virtual Paul’s Cross Project have included some great details in their visual model, such as detail and light shading to recreate the appearance of the Churchyard on the morning of November 5, 1622.

In addition to the visual model the Virtual Paul’s Cross Project has created an acoustic model, simulating the experience of early modern preaching. Please take some time to explore the rest of the excellent features of this project at their website.

Mapping Emotions in Victorian London

The “Mapping Emotions in Victorian London” project, led by a team from Stanford Literary Lab, describes itself as “a crowdsourcing project designed to expand possibilities for research in the humanities”. This is a bold claim, and yet it seems possible that this project can live up to the hype. The Stanford team has crowdsourced anonymous annotations to passages from Victorian novels about their emotional representation of London. From these annotations they have created an ’emotional’ map of London, using a combination of modern Google maps and a historical Ordnance Survey Map. The website itself is a little difficult to use initially, but the map itself is very intuitive, and the ability to switch to a particular emotional viewpoint (such as ‘Dreadful London’) is fantastic! This is a great example of the possibilities for the use of digital mapping technology in the humanities.

Folger Digital Texts

The Folger Shakespeare Library have made their editions of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as his poems, available for free as digital texts as part of a project called Folger Digital Texts. Their website describes this decision as one of scholarly integrity, commenting that “because the Folger Digital Texts are edited in accord with twenty-first century knowledge about Shakespeare’s texts, the Folger here provides them to readers, scholars, teachers, actors, directors, and students, free of charge, confident of their quality as texts of the plays and pleased to be able to make this contribution to the study and enjoyment of Shakespeare”. Not only have the Folger made this collection of Shakespeare’s work available online, but they have also made copies of the plays available for download in both pdf. and xml. formats. This is fantastic news for anyone wanting to conduct digital analysis of Shakespeare’s work as they now have free and unlimited access to this reliably edited edition.

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which opened in January 2014, is a reconstruction of a Jacobean indoor theatre in the style of the Blackfriars Playhouse and a really exciting imagining of the space of a Jacobean theatre. As there are no surviving plans for the Blackfriars Playhouse the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse was built using early seventeenth century plans for a new indoor theatre. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is directly linked to Shakespeare’s Globe and will function as a winter performance space for future Globe Theatre productions. The Globe documented the development and building process in an excellent series of videos on Youtube: the full collection of videos can be found here, and the first video is below.

The Atlas of Early Printing

The Atlas of Early Printing is a fantastic digital mapping project created by Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Iowa Libraries. The project uses Google Maps API and adds various layers to visually represent, for example, the spread of printing between 1450 and 1500 using layers and a timeline feature. The map, and particularly the timeline feature, represents the comparatively small cultural role that London played in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in comparison to the other major cities of Europe. The ‘output by location’ layer is particularly good for demonstrating this, as the production of books between 1450 and 1500 by Venice is at least double that of London’s. In addition to the map this project provides useful information about fifteenth century printing and an informative video of a printing press.  The Atlas for Early Printing is a fantastic example of the potential contributions digital mapping can make to early modern studies.

Global Shakespeares

Global Shakespeares‘ is an open-access video and performance archive of hundreds of productions of Shakespeare’s plays. It is collaborative project involving scholars from around the world, and the archive features productions of Shakespeare’s plays from many different countries, and in many different languages. The videos of performances from the Globe Theatre in London are a great way to get a sense of what an early modern theatre space might have looked like. In addition to the video resources there are also scripts of the productions, as well as interviews and critical essays. This is a fantastic free resource for anyone interested in the performance of early modern drama.

“A New Chronology for Shakespeare’s Plays”

An article recently published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities by Douglas Bruster and Genevieve Smith “constructs a new chronology for 42 dramatic texts, and parts of texts, by Shakespeare” by using data analysis to examine the verbal arrangement of Shakespeare’s verse lines. Bruster and Smith make some bold (some would say controversial) decisions about which plays to include as ‘parts of texts’ written by Shakespeare. However, overall their research yields some interesting results. You can read the full article here.

Wikimedia Foundation Announces Open Access Policy

The Wikimedia Foundation announced on Tuesday that they are adopting an open access policy for all research conducted with their support. This means that all of their projects will be publicly available, as well as being reusable on Wikipedia and associated Wikimedia sites. I have been able to avoid paying copyright and usage fees on my image of the Agas Map because it is freely accessible through Wikimedia. You can find more information abiut Wikimedia’s announcement here.