Early Modernists have done impressive work in the digital humanities as of late. This exciting shift in methodology allows greater opportunity to complete original research as well introduce new pedagogical techniques into our classrooms. In the end, I view digital projects as tools; tools used for collaboration, teaching, and further research. This blog post will introduce a couple of recent early modern digital projects. But first, the old faithfuls…
Early English Books Online (EEBO), the go-to online database of early printed (and now) digitized texts, has been a necessary tool for me as a scholar; I’ve had access to it throughout my academic career and I cannot imagine researching without it. The Text Creation Partnership (TCP) transcribes these scanned texts and creates fully-searchable text files that improve readability and accessibility.
My search for Hamlet using EEBO.
Another source I’ve used quite frequently is Open Source Shakespeare. This online concordance, created by Eric M. Johnson (as part of his M.A. thesis!) allows users to search for particular words throughout all of Shakespeare’s texts. I’ve used it when researching artistic terminology; the site allowed me to search for passages that included Renaissance synonyms for painted portraits. Incidentally, Mr. Johnson is now the Director of Digital Access at the Folger Shakespeare Library and he will be leading a workshop on “Using Data in Shakespeare Studies” at the Shakespeare Association of America conference this April (I’ll be there!).
And now on to some more recent discoveries…
The Map of Early Modern London (MoEML) taps into the popular DH interest of visualizing geographic space. The current version of the map was launched in 2013 by a group of scholars at the University of Victoria. The interactive map is sourced from the 1561 ‘Agas Map’. The website is user-friendly and the creators of the map certainly encourage scholars to make use of this tool, which of course could be used for a variety of research needs. Jenelle Jenstad and Kim McLean-Fiander will be presenting on the pedagogical possibilities for research-based learning at the SAA conference this April (I plan to attend this workshop as well as I am eager to learn more about this topic).
The Folger Luminary Shakespeare Apps
The Folger Shakespeare Library has produced several interactive digital editions of Shakespeare’s plays. These editions can be downloaded by students via iTunes and used in place of paperback editions. Full audio performances accompany each edition and the interactive texts allow readers to take notes and collect passages. Expert commentary from scholars and actors allows for deeper engagement. While I’ve admired these editions from afar, I look forward to using a digital edition this summer, perhaps A Midsummer Night’s Dream, depending on my teaching assignment.
The English Broadside Ballad Achieve from the University of California, Santa Barbara allows users to research and explore early modern broadside ballads—essentially cheap street literature that can easily be set to music and enjoyed aurally. I’ve personally used this resource when I taught a class on the representation of visual art within literature. I taught the anonymous drama, Arden of Faversham and used the ballad I found on EBBA to discuss the two representations of Alice with my students. I appreciate the album and ballad sheet facsimiles (with the ability to zoom in) especially because my students and I discussed dramatic vs. visual representation. The recording added a new dimension to our discussion of different media. I highly recommend this site for teaching early modern literature; I think ballads can add interest to a variety of early modern topics.
I look forward to contributing to this exciting field of research; stayed tuned for my November post when I’ll introduce my specific interest in early modern digital scholarship.
Early English Books Online: http://www.proquest.com/products-services/eebo.html
Open Source Shakespeare: http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/
Shakespeare Association of America: http://www.shakespeareassociation.org/
The Map of Early Modern London: http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/
Folger Luminary Shakespeare Apps: http://www.folger.edu/Content/About-Us/Publications/Folger-Luminary-Shakespeare-Apps/
Broadside Ballads: http://ebba.english.ucsb.edu/