TEI Boilerplate 1.0

I am pleased to announce the release of TEI Boilerplate 1.0, a lightweight solution for publishing styled TEI P5 content directly in modern web browsers.

The typical method for publishing TEI on the web involves an often complex XSLT transformation from TEI to HTML, which results in the loss of much of the semanticy richness of the original TEI document. TEI Boilerplate uses a relatively simple XSLT transformation to embed the entire TEI document inside an HTML5 shell, relying on CSS and JavaScript to format and process the TEI content. We hope that this lightweight approach will provide a simple solution for publishing TEI content on the web, and it may be particularly useful in teaching contexts and in systems like Omeka. We further hope that this approach will foster innovation in the delivery and analysis of TEI content by exposing that content directly to the capabilities of modern web technologies: HTML5, CSS 3, JavaScript and the many popular JavaScript frameworks, such as JQuery and EXT JS.

For more details, a demo file, download links, etc., please visit http://teiboilerplate.org/.

TEI Boilerplate is open source and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

TEI Boilerplate Team:

  • John Walsh, Indiana University
  • Grant Simpson, Indiana University
  • Saeed Moaddeli, Indiana University
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New Edition of The Algernon Charles Swinburne Project

Swinburne home

I am pleased to announce a new edition of the online Swinburne Project <http://www.swinburneproject.org/>, with a new design, architecture, and most importantly, a great deal of new content. This new edition includes over 440 documents (poems, essays, reviews, visualizations, etc.).

Some highlights of the new edition include:

  • The complete contents of the six-volume collected Poems (London: Chatto and Windus, 1904), with facsimile page images.
  • Swinburne’s one finished novel, Love’s Cross-Currents (London: Chatto and Windus, 1905), with facsimile page images.
  • A contemporary review from the John Bull magazine of Swinburne’s The Queen-Mother and Rosamond, his first published volume. The review is noteworthy in that it seems to have escaped the attention of earlier Swinburne scholarship. For example, the unsigned John Bull review is not mentioned in Clyde K. Hyder’s Algernon Swinburne: The Critical Heritage (1970) or Kirk H. Beetz’s Algernon Charles Swinburne: A Bibliography of Secondary Works, 1861-1980 (1982).
  • A brief Introduction to Swinburne’s life and work.
  • An updated Chronology implemented as an interactive timeline and in a more conventional tabular view.
  • A significantly expanded version of Terry Meyers’ “Supplementary Material” to his Uncollected Letters of Algernon Charles Swinburne, 3 vols. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2005). The revised material includes a number of previously unpublished letters and an illustrated essay on the controversy surrounding Swinburne’s funeral.
  • “Swinburne’s Study,” a new area of the project that features a collection of digital encounters with the edited and encoded text corpus of the Swinburne Project: visualizations, image and text analysis tools, and creative works.
  • Expanded “Project Information” documentation.
  • Downloads of XML and XSLT code from the Project.
  • A new site design and information architecture.

Please send any comments or suggestions to me at jawalsh@indiana.edu.

Supported Browsers
The Swinburne Project uses current Web standards and technologies and requires a recent browser. Internet Explorer 8 or later and recent versions of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome are all supported.


“Group of Stars”: A Lenten Hymn — The Poster

This is the poster version, print it out and stick it on your wall. What is is it? Check out this post.

Group of Stars Poster

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Homer and Laertes; Shakespeare and Milton

Landor’s note attached to the title of his “Homer and Laertes” in The Hellenics of Walter Savage Landor, Comprising Heroic Idyls, &c. (1859):

  • Poets are not bound to chronology. About Homer and Laertes as little is known as about Polyphemos and Calypso. To the glory of God, let us believe that He created a Homer one and indivisible: we know he created a Shakespeare. After this he rested from his labour a hundred years: then he called to Him the nearest of the Angels, made a model, breathed his own spirit into it, and called it Milton.


Page image from California Digital Library / Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/hellenicsofwalte00landrich.

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“Images of God and Friends of God”: The Holy Icon as Document

A have a new article, “Images of God and Friends of God”: The Holy Icon as Document in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). And to the best of my knowledge, this will be the first article in that esteemed journal to feature full-color images of Christian icons. It’s not in print yet, but available (to subscribers and subscribing institutions) in the “Early View” area. Abstract below:

Information studies, from origins in the field of documentation, has long been concerned with the question, What is a document? The purpose of this study is to examine Christian icons—typically tempera paintings on wooden panels—as information objects, as documents: documents that obtain meaning through tradition and standardization, documents around which a sophisticated scaffolding of classification and categorization has developed, documents that highlight their own materiality. Theological arguments that associate the icon with the Incarnation are juxtaposed with theories on the materiality of the document and “information as thing.” Icons are examined as visual and multimedia documents: all icons are graphic; many also incorporate textual information. Icons emerge as a complex information resource: a resource—with origins in the earliest years of Christianity—that developed over centuries with accompanying systems of standardization and classification, a resource at the center of theological and political differences that shook empires, a primarily visual resource within a theological framework that affords the visual equal status with the textual, a resource with enduring relevance to hundreds of millions of Christians, a resource that continues to evolve as ancient and modern icons take on new material forms made possible through digital technologies.

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New Sinkholes

New Sinkholes music from our forthcoming album, La Cubana.

Unearthed (Walsh):

My Time (Walsh):

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“Group of Stars”: A Lenten Hymn

Sunday of the Prodigal Son.
My son hath betrayed his trust.
The gentle probing of his beloved.
The gun, Nick. Stop it, girl. Truly, he is a King.
And thus my intent. Sunday of the Last Judgment.
This electronic wonder. Why did you send him to me?
* **** ***** ******, *** ** ***, **** ***** ** **, * ******.
The magicks in my fingers. Hmmm… That gives me an idea!
You must come back! You must! Cheesefare.
The one girl I can’t forget.
I hear the rustle of linen.
Not the most flattering of metaphors.
Nothing mechanical can survive a blow
which shatters its delicate
electronic circuits.
Representational fabric.
You have given a match to a child
who lives in a tinderbox.
Triumph of the icons. Arise! Arise against tyranny!
Next: Disaster! Do you read?
Grab your hardware, guys.
But men often forget that all
progress has a price. I must go higher.
To the heights! To the heights!
This unit is now totally automated.
When you needed me most. For my eyes have seen it.
I am but a humble servant of my people.
Here, Betty. This is pretty.
Yet, after all, who pays any attention to …
a butler? Let your circuits carry the word.
Well, it all started with reading books.
… But what of it? You took me and made me your tool.
I didn’t fail you. The elitists are now
entering the destruct zone.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
He’d have to be … with you for his mother.
My gadgetry performed as expected.
I believe I’ve started a rhubarb.
What a bummer. Like something out of one of those
3-D movies from a few years back.
You’re not doomed to an early death
by the crazy elastic powers that made a freak
out of hollywood’s hottest glamour girl!
Mother Mary of Egypt. A final, penetrating scrutiny.
But where’s the corpses? Ain’t no corpses!
An’ nobody’s missin’!
My enchanted uru hammer begins to tingle.
The vacu-lift! It’s the fastest way up.
No… I’ve absolutely nothing to worry about.
This one is for no reason in particular.
Entry into Jerusalem. Tired … so — so tired!
Holy Smoke! This isn’t just an old piece of paper.
I must quickly turn into my ectoplasmic self.
No matter how unbearable the burden may be…
Say the word!
I say thee nay, emperor of evil!

An exercise

Starting with the first Sunday of this recent Lenten season, every day I posted an image to the Instagram image sharing service and simultaneously sent out a Tweet with the link to the image and caption (if any) I chose for the image.

The images are, to me at least, variously whimsical, obtuse, humorous, sacred, profane, and disturbing. Monday thru Saturday I posted comic book images (usually a single panel; occasionally a crop that includes more than one panel or parts of more than one panel). On Sundays, instead of a comic book panel, I would post an icon of the saint (St. Gregory Palamas, St. John Climacus, Saint Mary of Egypt) or event (Triumph of Orthodoxy, Veneration of the Cross, Entry of Christ into Jerusalem) commemorated on that given Sunday. Sometimes I included a caption for the icons; other Sundays I let the icon speak for itself. The comic book panels always included a caption. I would use the comic panel’s text or, more often, an extract from that text as the caption for the image. The shift to icons on Sunday reminded me that this project was a Lenten discipline. And of course the icons and the comic book panels provide interesting juxtapositions. The sacredness of the icon is not cheapened by the association with the comic; rather, I think the comic panel is embiggened, and the potential iconic significance and sophistication of the comic is suggested by the juxtaposition.


Most of the images were created on an iPad. I used the following apps:

  • ComicZeal, an app that reads .cbr .cbz file formats, tar and zip formats for packaging image scans of comics.
  • Instagram, photo/image-sharing and social networking app with retro filters for styling images.
  • Photogene, image-editing app, used mostly for cropping panels out of larger screen shots.
  • Brushes, image-editing, painting app, used for additional image edits.

I have hundreds of comics on the iPad, more on my laptop computer. Many of these come from DVDs Marvel comics had licensed, including complete runs of Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, The Hulk, etc. I would browse through the comics, looking for panels/images that would work compositionally in the square format of the Instagram image. If something looked visually compatible and interesting, I’d look more closely at the image and text to see if they had some particular interest, evocation, or resonance outside of the context of the original book. When I found a suitable image for the day, I’d take a screen shot on the ipad, open the image in one or both of the image-editing apps to crop and clean the image, and then post the image to Instagram, using Instagram to also share the image and caption on Twitter. I followed a similar process in selecting icons, but instead of browsing through digitized comics, I searched Google images and browsed various Orthodox Christian web sites.

I worked on this project simultaneously with the writing of an essay on “The Christian Icon as Information Object,” which I presented recently at the Information and Religion conference at Kent State University’s Center for the Study of Information and Religion. The playful and creative nature of this Instagram/Twitter exercise was a useful complement to and distraction from the more academic focus of the conference paper.

What does it all mean?

I agree with Steve Ramsay that digital humanities involves building. As Steve said in his remarks at MLA 2011:

[D]igital Humanities is about building things. [. . .] If you are not making anything, you are not . . . a digital humanist.

And I believe further that since digital humanists are builders, then many digital humanists are artists, poets, makers. As I wrote my academic paper, which barely touches on anything “digital,” I also wanted to be engaged in a related creative work, hence the Lenten exercise.

The exercise allowed me to engage with images and small bits of text, which one finds in both holy icons and comics. Instagram, the service/app I used to share the images, comes with a variety of retro filters that may be applied to the images. The filters are important. They remind me that I’m not just capturing or communicating an unfiltered crop from a digital comic. I am a filter, my selection is a filter. I want to provoke associations and evocations like the association and evocations that led me to choose a particular image. The filters personalize the comic and the icon. The image presented on Instagram is not an objective view of the image. It is my memory of the crop of the icon or comic book page. The Instagram filters are mostly retro nostalgia filters attempting to replicate the look of images produced vintage film cameras. Having grown up in the era of cheap film cameras, my memories are full of images that look like those produced by these filters. By applying the Instagram filter to each of these images, I am reinforcing the personalized response to the image and situating these images alongside others in the deep recesses of memory. For the reader/viewer without direct access to my memory, the filter still provides the sheen of an unknown memory upon the surface of the image.

Sometimes I sought panels that resonated with something going on in my life personally (the birth of our son Jude), some event from the news (e.g., the “Arab Spring” or the Tsunami in Japan), some issue I might have been thinking about, perhaps related to digital humanities, or March Madness. Often the choice was more arbitrary and random. But no matter how deliberate the choice, there was always a huge role of chance in what I browsed and what I found.

The result

The project exists as an unannounced process, with an unexplained image going out every day over Twitter. That process is represented in this blog post as a visual/textual/aural impressionistic quilt/collage/journal, a festering pool of reference and indexical relationships to the sacred, the absurd, the personal, the profound, and the banal. The icons are indexes to people, places, stories, and specific texts, biblical passages, and so on. The comic panels are index points to larger narratives in larger bibliographic entities. And each image and caption (icon or comic book panel) is an index to a journal-like packet of memory from a few days in a life.

The images and captions are presented above as a slideshow; the captions have been assembled and reformatted to resemble a poem in quatrains; and an audio file is included with a reading of the “poem” by my trusty iPad, using the [Speak it!] text-to-speech app, with music I composed and created in Garageband on my laptop and iPad.

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Digital Silent Spring

Since March 11th, 2011:


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Homemade Maps

The Hand Drawn Map Association

The Hand Drawn Map Association (HDMA) is an ongoing archive of user submitted maps and other interesting diagrams created by hand.

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For January Seventeenth…

Michael Ayrton’s “The Temptation of Saint Anthony.”

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