As part of our Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant, the Endings Project will be making available a toolset for Digital Humanities (DH) projects to use and implement. A website that conforms to Endings principles will be considered “Endings Compliant.”
Our team is hard at work developing documentation, software, and models of longevity for DH projects. We are using websites developed at the Humanities Computing and Media Centre (HCMC) at the University of Victoria as models for Endings compliance.
The Endings Project has reached a significant point in its work: It has developed a set of rigorous principles for digital longevity and has also applied them with complete success to a substantial number of projects. A foundational principle of Endings is that static HTML sites outlast database-driven websites since the latter contain so many dependencies. One of the biggest challenges our technical support team faced was creating effective search tools when a database-driven website is converted to a static site. Martin Holmes and Joey Takeda were able to develop search pages that “are better, faster, more configurable and more elegant than what the old databases used to afford developers.” The team has already taken down two XML database applications and shut down an entire Tomcat instance.
“staticSearch Tool” Implementation
Using the Endings staticSearch tool, developed by Martin Holmes and Joey Takeda, The Endings Project has successfully implemented a “dynamic-to-static-site generator” for XML-based websites. As part of the “Endings Toolkit,” the staticSearch Tool supports wildcard searches as well as booleans and allows for a variety of search filters.
- The Map of Early Modern London, edition 6.4.
- The Colonial Despatches, edition 2.1.
- Mapping Keats’s Progress, edition 3.0.
- MyNDIR preview here
Multiple-Editions of Websites
Endings has successfully demonstrated that multiple editions of a website can live side-by-side (just like books on a shelf). This allows long-term projects to publish substantial changes to their websites and produce “newer editions.” Users can collate versions of websites in order to see the changes made. Although this functionality might seem beholden to an older logic of “print” production, much of the long-tertm content-creation labour on DH projects is lost when a website is updated without recognition of that labour. By producing “editions” of website, Endings-compliant sites can capture and honour that labour. Moreover, libraries can accept an edition of these websites and serve them without any database requirements.
Examples of Multiple Editions
Early modern English and French pre-processing. Wildcard support in the search engine is a useful tool when searching digital editions of texts from the early modern period, because you can work around spelling variation and obsolete inflectional endings, but it would be even better if we could pre-process the EM forms into modern forms before stemming/indexing. Our programmers will be developing ways to make searches on our sites even better.
Digital Victorian Poetry Project. This site is scheduled to be released in the fall. It’s entirely static and uses the staticSearch engine. You can see the development version here: https://dvpp.uvic.ca