Archive for the ‘Broadside Ballad Connections’ Category

SHARP 2013 Digital Projects and Tools Showcase

July 29, 2013

In mid-July the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP) met for its twenty-first annual conference, “Geographies of the Book,” in Philadelphia. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania, the conference included a three-hour, stand-alone digital showcase on Saturday, July 20th. Before I turn to the sixteen projects featured in the showcase, a few words about the history of digital sessions at SHARP are in order.

The tradition of showcasing digital projects at SHARP conferences was begun by Dr. Katherine Harris (San Jose University) for the 2008 conference held in Oxford, England. Currently serving as the E-Resources Review Editor for SHARP News, Dr. Harris continued to organize showcases for subsequent conferences. These highly popular sessions ran concurrently with other sessions. Although the 2011 Washington, DC organizers had attempted to find space to hold a stand-alone session that would not compete with other panels, space limitations prevented this desire from becoming a reality. A successful digital project session for the DC conference, however, was organized once again by Kathy Harris. Yet, the 2013 Digital Showcase at Penn marked the first time that the demonstrations of new digital projects and tools at SHARP had a dedicated time slot of its own as well as a setting well-suited to such an exhibition.

With a dedicated three-hour running time, the digital showcase ran from 12:30 to 3:30 pm; it competed for attention with parallel programming only during its final hour. The showcase’s location in Penn’s Houston Hall’s Hall of Flags easily accommodated 16 six-foot tables, each with its own monitor, and afforded the room for numerous attendees to navigate the various stations with ease.

Mitch Fraas (UPenn) demonstrates his project.
Photo credit: Alex Franklin (Univ. of Oxford)

Alan Galey (UToronto) demonstrates his project.
Photo credit: Alex Franklin (Univ. of Oxford)

The following is a list of the sixteen projects:

Eight of the sixteen projects deal directly with the early modern period, and at least two–Mark Algee-Hewitt and Tom Mole’s Bibliograph and Tim Stinson’s ARC and Collex–extend beyond the historical confines of the early modern but possess specific relevance to the period. I have counted Alan Galey’s The Borders of the Book: Visualizing Paratexts and Marginalia in Multiple Copies and Editions among the early modern projects because his work relies on texts from this period. Yet, his work on digital visualizations of differences in paratextual features and different readers’ marginalia found in multiple copies of the same books has larger application, too. All of the projects, no matter what the period, embody approaches and strategies afforded by the digital that can help advance work in book history and related fields. The projects are also at various stages–and you will notice that some have links, and some don’t because they are either in very early stages or simply not ready for widespread release. Bibliograph, for instance, is currently a prototype, with a beta version in the works for testing; the project launch date is aimed for 2014 or 2015.

END: Early Novels Database is a collaborative project involving several Philadelphia academic institutions but still in the midst of digitization and construction. In contrast, the Eighteenth-Century English Grammars Database is, in one sense, “complete, but as Professor Yáñez-Bouza noted, it is also “an open-end project because one can always add more grammars and some of the fields could be completed with more information had we the resources to look into contemporary book reviews and sales catalogues (e.g. the fields Price and Target Audience).”

Several of the projects have made previous appearances in EMOB posts. A post last June mentioned ARC (Advanced Research Consortium), and it is very good to see the progress since then. The Mellon grant that the Early Modern OCR Project (see the entry for Jacob Heil) received was announced in a post last fall. More recently, EMOB devoted a post to the image-matching software developed at the Bodleian that Alex Franklin presented at SHARP. Finally, the Mapping the Republic of Letters project the EMOB discussed in a post several years ago, served as the inspiration for Mitch Fraas’s Expanding the Republic of Letters: India and the Circulation of Ideas in the Late Eighteenth Century.

Explore and comment!

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English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA at UCSB)

February 25, 2013

This is the second of a two-part series on free digital archives featuring English ballads.  It follows Eleanor’s discussion of the JISC-funded Broadside Ballad Initiative at Oxford.

The University of California at Santa Barbara has created a free digital ballad collection called The English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA), which provides access to more than 8,000 seventeenth-century ballads.  The collection includes ballads from the Pepys Collection, the Roxburgh Collection, the Euing Collection, and the Huntington Library.  EBBA is directed by Patricia Fumerton at UCSB.  This project was supported by the N.E.H.

Individual entries provide links to  sheet facsimiles, facsimile transcriptions, and often recordings.  These features facilitate introducing students both to ballads’ visual details–ornaments, woodcuts, columned verse–and to their tunes.

Cataloging is full and includes the following:

EBBA ID: An internal identifier. Each individual ballad in the archive has a unique EBBA ID.

Title: A diplomatic transcription of the ballad title as it appears on the ballad sheet. The title consists of all ballad text before the first lines of the ballad, including verse headers but excluding text recorded elsewhere under other catalogue headings (such as the license or author, date, publisher and printer imprints).

Date Published: The year—or, in most cases, range of years—during which EBBA believes the ballad to have been published. See Dates.

Author: The recognized author of the ballad in cases where an indication of authorship has been printed on the ballad or, in the case of Pepys ballads, when Weinstein has identified an author from external sources (e.g., Wing, Rollins).

Standard Tune: The standardized name for the melody (according to Claude M. Simpson or other reliable sources). Clicking the standard tune name will return all ballads with the same melody, including alternate tune titles.

Imprint: A diplomatic transcription of the printing, publishing, and/or location information as it appears on the ballad sheet.

License: A diplomatic transcription of the licensing or permission information as printed on the ballad.

Collection: The name of the collection to which the ballad belongs. In cases where the ballad is not part of a named collection, the name of the holding library plus “miscellaneous” will appear. For example, Huntington Library ballads that are not part of a collection are grouped as “HEH Miscellaneous.”

Sheet/Page: For ballads that are collected as independent sheets, the citation page displays the word “Sheet” and lists the sheet number given to it by its holding institution (usually part of its shelfmark). For ballads bound in a book, the citation page displays the word “Page” and lists the page number within the bound volume.

Location: The name of the holding institution.

Shelfmark: The shelfmark assigned by the holding institution.

ESTC ID: The Citation Number for the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). Use this number to find the full ESTC citation for any given ballad at http://estc.bl.uk/.

Keyword Categories: The keywords from EBBA’s standardized keyword list that relate to the ballad’s theme and content.

Notes: Clarify potential areas of confusion for users, such as ballads that have print on both sides of a sheet.

MARC Record: A link to our MARC-XML records

Additional Information: Information specific to each part of the ballad.

Title: Separate titles for multi-part ballads.

Tune Imprint: Tune title(s) as printed.

First Lines: A diplomatic transcription of the first two lines of the ballad text proper, below any heading information included in the title or elsewhere under other catalogue headings.

Refrain: Repeated lines at the end of or within ballad stanzas.

Condition: Description of ballad sheet damage and the current state of the sheet. (This information is from Weinstein and is currently for the Pepys collection only.)

Ornament: A list of decorations made of cast metal that appear on the ballad. Frequently used to fill empty spaces in the forme and/or to delimit parts of the ballad text, these ornaments include vertical rules, horizontal rules, and cast fleurons. (This information is from Weinstein and is currently for the Pepys collection only.)

Ballad scholars working with EEBO or ECCO will be familiar with the difficulty of finding ballads, making English Broadside Ballad Archive and Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads necessary.

Together with new printed resources, such as Patricia Fumerton and Anita Guerrini’s Ballads and Broadsides in Britain, 1500-1800 (Ashgate 2010) and Angela McShane’s Political Broadside Ballads of Seventeenth-Century England: A Critical Bibliography (Pickering & Chatto 2011), these digital resources provide a robust and growing archive  for the systematic study of a format whose transiency may have discouraged such studies in the past.

Digital Tools: Image Matching within Printed Materials

January 27, 2013

Book historians, bibliographers, and early modern scholars working on word and image relationships are no doubt excited by new digital tools that allow one to search and match images. The Oxford University’s JISC-funded Integrated Broadside Ballad Archives project has developed such software, and the capabilities of the resulting tool demonstrate the promise of image-matching software. (Developing the image-matching software tool represents only part of the project. As its title implies, the project’s main goal is “to integrate existing resources for the study of the English folk song and printed ballad tradition.” To that end, the project serves to supply a central resource hub for the Bodleian Libraries Ballad collections, University of California Santa Barbara’s online English Broadside Ballad Archive” (EEBA), and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library’s Roud Broadside and Folk Tune Indexes.)

In a recent video, Oxford faculty Giles Bergel (English) Andrew Zisserman (Computer Science), and Relja Arandjelovic (Engineering Science) from the Broadside Ballad Connections offer a fascinating account and demonstration of the new image matching software and how it allows us to track images across early forms of printed literature. Not only is the software enabling and advancing existing scholarship, but, as Bergel notes near the video’s close, this software is generating new research questions such as “When do images became new images?”

This diagram offers a quick view of how this software operates and focuses on the following image:

From Image-Matching Explained http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/wp-uploads/2012/06/Image-Matching_3.pdf

From Image-Matching Explained

One can also experience firsthand how this tool works by trying the demo.

We would be very interested in hearing about experiences using the image-matching functions of the Broadside Ballad Connections well as about other projects using image-matching software or similar tools that enable us to explore visual texts.

(Anna has plans to post on EBBA in the near future.)