June 11, 2009
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Little Match Girls

Meagan Timney is writing a dissertation "Of Factory Girls and Serving Maids: The Literary Labours of Victorian Working-Class Women in Victorian Britain," at Dalhousie, where she oversees the Working Class Women Poets archive. She recently sent some interesting notes about her work with Tinderbox for planning the archive.

Here’s the treemap view that she sketched for the archive.

Go ahead and click the image; so you can see the full-size window.

There’s nothing very fancy going on here — just a straightforward sketch of the structure of a scholarly site. But it occurs to me that this kind of visualization can be terrifically useful for thinking about all sorts of aspects of site development and planning. And, while you know how things work, this diagram might work well for explaining the site (and not just the front page!) to managers (and funders) who don’t spend much of their time reading this sort of Web site.

Same things with the Common Words view. It’s not a sophisticated analytical tool, but it’s right at your fingertips — and it’s easy to compare the word cloud for a single note or section to the word frequencies of the entire document.

Little Match Girls

Describing the site, Timney writes that "Materials to be mounted on the site include an annotated index of working-class women authors and their works, an extensive critical introduction, a database of more than 600 full-text poems written by working-class women in the nineteenth century (including Fanny Forrester, Marie Joussaye Fotheringham, Mary Hutton, Millicent Langton, Lucy Larcom, and Ruth Wills), a full bibliography of scholarship, reviews, and textual materials that will provide both historical and literary contexts (e.g. reviews from editors in nineteenth-century periodicals, brief biographies of authors, such as Ben Brierley’s biography of Fanny Forrester in Ben Brierley’s Journal), and serve as a portal to contemporary critical contexts. This fully-searchable database will include headnotes and annotations for each poet. Other materials will include a Wiki, which will document the design and editorial practices of the site, to augment the construction of a prototype model for other sites, and a web forum, which will allow for critical discussions of the texts themselves, humanities computing and the digital representation of non- canonical texts, as well as open discussions of hypertext editions and their function as systems of “information engineering” (Flanders)."

Little Match Girls

Have an interesting Tinderbox project? I'd like to hear about it. So would lots of people who read this blog. You might find helpers, advisors, collaborators, and fans. Email me.