Major Collaborative Projects
The Carlyle Letters Online, originally launched on 14 September 2007, is the electronic version of Duke-Edinburgh edition of The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, published by Duke University Press since 1970 and recently completed with the publication of volume 50. In addition to featuring the letters published in the print edition, the site also features materials such as the Carlyles' photo albums, and the collection held at Duke's Rubenstein Rare Books Library, and will soon include images of the letters found too late for publication in the print edition, as well as undated letters.
Researcher and Developer: Dr. Bryan Tarpley
Corpora is "a dataset studio for the Digital Humanities." It's billed as such because it allows scholars with little to no programming experience to create a data schema for their digital projects (referred to as a "corpus"). Once that schema is created, data can immediately be created according to that schema via dynamically generated web forms, giving their corpus a backend that can be populated collaboratively. Aside from allowing data to be collected, Corpora also has a "baked-in" API (also dynamically generated) that then allows independent website frontends (or any computational tool) to browse, search, and explore the data in their corpus.
Beyond acting as backend data storage, Corpora is architected in such a way as to allow for plugins to be developed that drastically broaden its capacity. Examples include the ability to OCR documents en-masse with Tesseract or Google Cloud Vision, the ability to perform natural language processing tasks, etc. Plugins also serve as a way to containerize custom content types and code to support specific projects, like the plugins for the Advanced Research Consortium, The New Variorum Shakespeare, The Carlyle Letters Online, and The Maria Edgeworth Letters Project.
Faculty Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Egenolf
The NEH-funded Maria Edgeworth Letters Project is a collaborative, open-access digital edition of letters written by the Anglo-Irish novelist and educational writer Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) and shared by over 30 archives around the world. Letters will be posted in raw text, TEI encoded, and, in most cases, accompanied with a photograph of the manuscript letter pages. The project is led by editors Jessica Richard (Wake Forest University), Hilary Havens (University of Tennessee), Robin Runia (Xavier University of Louisiana), and Susan Egenolf (Texas A&M). We've completed the first stage of our crowd-sourced transcriptions at Maria Edgeworth Letters | Zooniverse.
The New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare (NVS), which began with the publication of Romeo and Juliet in 1871, is now published open-access in digital form, beginning with two editions, The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The digital NVS has been designed with three main goals in mind: 1) to teach students and early career researchers the concepts behind variorum editing through interface design as well as tutorials; 2) to enable searching across and within volumes and variants using Modern English and major Act-Scene-Line numbers; and 3) to be interoperable with, and allow access to, other major Shakespeare digital resources including bibliographies of criticism, digital copies of editions published since Shakespeare’s time, images, and videos (set for third-phase development). Following the practice of state-of-the-art digital humanities projects, we aim to render Shakespeare’s texts and international criticism available world-wide.
Faculty Principal Investigator: Dr. Daniel L. Schwartz
Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal is a digital project for the study of Syriac literature, culture, and history. Today, a number of heritage communities around the world have linguistic, religious or cultural identities with roots in Syriac language and culture. Syriaca.org exists to document and preserve these Syriac cultural heritages. The online tools published by Syriaca.org are intended for use by a wide audience including researchers and students, members of Syriac heritage communities and the interested general public. In order to meet the diverse needs of users, the design of Syriaca.org is inherently collaborative and fluid. The principle objectives are threefold: 1) to compile and organize core data related to the study of Syriac sources; 2) to create digital tools for widely disseminating this data and facilitating further research; 3) to create an online hub (cyberinfrastructure) to assist future research in the field of Syriac studies.
Grant funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will advance these endeavors for expanding the Syriac corpus through a new project, “Linking Texts and Data from the Medieval Middle East: Next-Generation Discovery and Access Tools for Syriac Cultural Heritage”, set to start in the Fall.
Digital Syriac Corpus
Digital Syriac Corpus is a curated digital repository of TEI encoded texts written in classical Syriac. The interface provides effective browse and search functionality. Individual texts may be downloaded to facilitate publishing projects, such as the production of critical editions, and research, such as more advanced corpus linguistic analysis. We invite users to submit corrections and to contribute digital texts.
The Srophé App
The Srophé App is an open source database designed to support digital humanities research in the history of culture. Srophé [pronounced, Srō-Fay] is an eXist-DB application which enables researchers to encode and link historical data, with a focus on texts, persons, geography, events, and material artifacts. The Srophé App was created as the digital publication platform for Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal and thus its original use case was pre-modern cultural heritage data associated with the Syriac language (a dialect of Aramaic).
In July 2021, in collaboration with the University Art Galleries, collectors and authors Bill and Linda Reaves launched the Texas Art Project. The Texas Art Project promotes the history and legacy of art in Texas through a major art donation, series of exhibitions, and pedagogical initiatives that draw on art collections across the state. TAMU was chosen as a collaborator for the Texas Art Project due to its land grant mission. Additionally, the permanent collection of the J. Wayne Stark Galleries focuses on American paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs of the 19th and 20th centuries, with a strong emphasis on Texas art; Texas A&M University Press publishes the Joe and Betty Moore Texas Art Series, and PVFA offers a course on Texas Art History (ARTS 329).
Partnering with CoDHR to leverage the expertise and resources in the DH community was a natural step for the project. As a proof-of-concept for a collaboration, a small, self-contained subset of Texas Art was chosen: the oeuvre of Buck Schiwetz, who was an A&M faculty member and subject of a major Texas Art Project exhibition at the Stark Galleries (September 21 to December 16, 2023) that will travel across Texas until January 2025. Longer-term intentions are to build a broader, public-facing database of Texas art, drawing on works in public and private collections, facilitated by the Corpora database. Future iterations of ARTS 329 would have major projects dedicated to populating the database and documenting the works via archival research.