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The major ground breaking accomplishment of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (CEWBJ) has been the development of reusable digital infrastructure for future scholarly publication, involving the handling of highly disparate source materials, and producing an end product of saleable quality whilst ensuring academic credibility.
The use of this tool for other such projects would enable a far more rapid delivery, and a lower level of technical knowledge. It will provide a foundation to go forward with such developments, delivering enhanced facilities to handle digital editions, multiple version of content, facsimile contents aligned to text, and different styles of editorial intervention.
Predicated on the prevailing standards relating to the archival representation of text (TEI XML), this will facilitate and indeed encourage working to a best practice standard, for CEWBJ and future similar projects.
In the course of working on CEWBJ the xMod publishing library – previously developed at DDH and the technical basis of the digital edition – has received extensive changes and enhancement and is now a considerably more sophisticated and powerful tool with the potential for very broad application across the broadly conceived Digital Humanities. Such was the significance of these changes, rather than continue to increment a version number, xMod was renamed Kiln in recognition of the substantive nature of the developments that have been made. Key developments have been as follows:
For Jonson, this works in the context of the Django CMS Mezzanine, but this approach can be adapted to work with most current CMS systems. A current project has successfully integrated Kiln with WordPress (for example).
In addition to Kiln, the Jonson project has significantly contributed to two further Open Source tools:
It has been used in Jonson for experimental visualisations during the development process and for the facetted browse functionality.
Following the publication of Kiln, Bacalhau, and Textviewer as documented Open Source tools, all are now being used independently of KCL’s Digital Humanities department.
The Online Edition web application is premised upon a workflow which allows the site to be continuously updated as required: