DH Project Analysis: Mapping the Republic of Letters

What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

  • The connections were made by referring to letters received and sent by different philosophers
  • Literature publications by different  
  • GPS and images of a world map

What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

  • Over the period of the enlightenment, what was the intellectual social network between different philosophers?
  • How can we visually display these networks?

What tools are being used? Created?

  • They created visual maps to display the network between these individuals
  • The creators of this project used traditional geographic maps, which are familiar, and added another layer of visual representation to display the networks.

What methods are being undertaken?

They used a graph theory model in conjunction with GPS to display the correspondences. In particular, they developed a weighted graph with a central vertex on a person of interest, such as John Locke. They then placed vertices at the locations of each of that person’s correspondences and an edge between those locations and the person. Finally, they magnified that edge based on the number of letters sent through the correspondence it represents.

Alex Black, Heson Oh

Mapping the Republic of Letters

Mapping the Republic of Letters is a visualization project that maps patterns of letter-writing networks of Voltaire, Galileo, Locke, and other intellectuals from those eras. The maps give the user a better sense of the shape and structure of the communication networks of letter-writing. The projects add and visualize complexity to a lost world of letter-writing.

  1. What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The site uses picture files to visualize the content. The data used tracks names, geographic locations, dates, the letters themselves, the number of letters written by a person, and the recipients. There is also chart data that provides the subject of the letter (e.i. military, sciences, clergy, state officials). Additionally, there are various interactive maps and charts for each case study. The maps and charts visualize the network of the letter writing from all over the world and give the data context.

  1. What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

The scholars behind this project created a source of data and visualization that details the communication and scholarship from earlier eras. This site aims to understand what the structure of the networks looked like, how extensive they were, and how they evolved over time.

  1. What tools are being used?  Created?

To support these files and objects, there were many different tools that were used. For the various graphics, photo editing software was used to add description and content to the pictures. Scanners were used to transfer the letters from physical to virtual. They used archives like the BnF Catalogue of letters to collect data. Spreadsheets and databases were used to organize, digitize, and chart the data from the letters. Additionally, they used mapping software tools to visualize the network. Mapping the Republic of Letters used a plethora of visualization tools, they used: Palladio, Idiographic, Knot, Inquiry, Fineo, Corrispondenza, and RPLVIZ.

  1. What methods are being undertaken?

The methods used were data analysis and digitization via scanning and databases. In addition, the method of visualization brought the data to life.

Alex Cadet and Alex Straus

DH Project Analysis

Biblion Project Analysis

  1. What kinds of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?
    1. Documents, images, films, audio, and texts
  2. What’s the project research question? Or, questions?
    1. What makes the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair so notable?
    2. Why did the NYPL feel the need to create this app?
    3. Without this app, what would those who did not attend the fair be missing?
  3. What tools are being used? Created?
    1. People are coding and transferring tangible/ real-life data onto an app
    2. Organizing information, digitizing, research methods, compiling, transcription, archiving
  4. What methods are being undertaken?
    1. Compiling experiences and data from a fair almost 80 years ago
    2. Digitizing real life experiences
    3. Organizing information
    4. Digitally archiving
  • Matty Golding and Jean Beecher

DH Projects Analysis: Salem Witch Trials


What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The project uses primary sources in the forms of documents, historical maps, archival collections, contemporary books, court records, letters, sermons, and a catalog of people and accusations.  


What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

The goal of the project is to deepen the historical narrative surrounding the witch trials, analyze the events, locate execution sites and test the accuracy of hand-drawn maps with the use of modern tools and digital archiving.


What tools are being used?  Created?

The tools used for the project include the use of Geographic information systems (GIS) to expand and analyze historical maps as well as situate events that occurred in Salem during the trials. They used GIS to generate topographical maps and demonstrate the changes in urban geography.


What methods are being undertaken?

Using the GIS, specialists utilized the topography of Gallows Hill as well as current maps and aerial photos to create a viewshed analysis of Boston Street and Gallows Hill. This way, they could test the accuracy of Rebecca Eames’ claim that she could see the executions from where she lived as well as Perley’s hand-drawn maps. Additionally, ground-penetrating radar was used to search for relics or human remains at the proposed burial sites.

Michael Hoffman and Jack Hay

DH Project Analysis

Project Researched: Salem Witch Trials Project

1. What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?
The Salem Witch Trial project used documents and transcriptions including court records, record books, personal letters, sermons and diaries. It also used historical maps, archival collections from public libraries and historical society, some contemporary books, and educational information.

2. What’s the project research question? Or, questions?
What are the main events of the witchcraft trials?
The goals of the project are the gain information about the trials and executions, as well as draw out a timeline map.

3. What tools are being used?  Created?
Arc GIS, a mapping program, was used in digitization of maps. Scanners were used to create electronic copies of documents and transcriptions. Online court records were also used as well as written texts such as books, letters, and diaries.

4. What methods are being undertaken?
Digitized the maps using timelines for visualization. Information inventory was taken and manuscripts were analyzed in order to piece together the timeline.

Chenchen Zhao and Ursula Castiblanco

Quijote Interactivo website-Miller and Fu

  1. What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The Quijote Interactivo website presents the original edition of Miguel de Cervantes’ cult 1605-1615 novel, Don Quixote. It is a text transcript of the original book that is now presented in a more readable/accessible form. There are also different editions of the book in order to show a timeline of how the novel changed since its original publish date. There are extra files such as photos and maps to offer background information about 17th century Spain. There is also music in the background that represents Spain at that specific time period to foster a more authentic reading experience.

2. What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

Beyond simply creating an online version of Don Quixote, this website explores the historical context and culture of the novel. Overarching research questions include: How can we bring this classic piece of literature into the 21st century and bring it to the masses? And also how can we make it captivating using both visual and auditory methods? Can we explain the historical significance of the novel by supplementing it with various interactive tools?

  1. What tools are being used?  Created?

A high quality scanner is used to make the original book available digitally. The book is presented more as a gallery to flip through at various points rather than an actual book to read through from cover to cover.  The clear and instructional interface of the website utilized both visual and auditory stimulation. The information is organized in a way that is easy to navigate, even if one has no prior knowledge of the book or the time period in which it was written.

  1. What methods are being undertaken?

There are various methods that are being undertaken: the gallery format, the added music, the videos on background of the era, and the maps showing the location of the different chapters. All of these aspects contribute to the connecting of the past to the present and giving an interactive space to a piece of classic literature. These methods attempt to fill the space that the loss of a tactile method leaves.
Georgia Miller, Jill Fu

Salem Witch Trial Project

What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The Salem Witch Trial database displayed and combined different kinds of file types and data. They have scanned pictures of documents from court records, personal letters, diaries and sermons. They display visual images of maps in which the accusations and  trials took place. They also include documents with lists of names and biographies of people involved and mentioned in court records. Lastly, they have paintings and other visual data preserved from the time period.

What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

Beyond simply organizing and compiling the data in one place, the way they chose to organize represents what information they labelled as important. Through the maps and documentation of the court trials, they perhaps sought to study the spread and influence of the accusations and trials, therefore leading to conclusions of why they were so prominent at this time. Other questions they could be looking to solve are: What is the relevance of the Salem Witch Trials and why is it important to analyze this data? Additionally, what about the historical context of the time in history made witch accusations legitimate, or argued to be at that time?

What tools are being used?  Created?

Most of the tools used were simply ways of getting different types of files and data in the same place. This includes searching through archives and selecting relevant information and scanning/digitizing it. They used a dichotomy of organization to put file types in logistical places on the website. They must have used some sort of scanning tool, or somebody working, to catalogue names and patterns in court documents. Lastly, they compiled similar data and gave items and documents tags in order for them to be easily searchable.

What methods are being undertaken?

In order for the project to be successful, the founders probably had to apply for grant money and funding in order to ensure they could access documents and use the necessary tools. This portion of the method also includes contacting and agreeing to terms with participating archives to allow access to the relevant information. Beyond gaining access, systematic research methods like searching through documents, scanning reports and photos, and organizing data was used in creating a thorough database of information.

Lucy Marr and Electra Washburn

Quijote Interactivo analysis

Group Members: Seamus Galvin, Dehao(Dan) Tu

Date: 1/27/2017

  1. What kind of files, data, objects are being used in the project in question?

The Quijote Interactivo website uses a variety of file types including: images, text, sounds, mappings, and video. The main part of the the website’s make up is high resolution image files of Don Quixote’s original edition. The original text from the book were transcribed into digital text files which enable the readers to overlay them on top the original text. There’s also background music intended to enhance reading experience, and in keeping with that spirit there is a page turning audio file played when flipping the page. Readers can find a video of a musical relates to the book on the sidebar. Finally, there are multiple files which utilize a multimedia platform, assumably Adobe Flash Player, to display a map relates to Don Quixote’s journey, and a timeline shows the years when different editions of Don Quixote were published.


  1. What’s the project research question? Or, questions?

The Quixote projects research questions are two-fold. How best can we display the original Don Quixote and give the user a feel for the text in the digital era? How can we enhance the experience?  


  1. What tools are being used?  Created?

Many tools are being used by National Library of Spain in collaboration with Telefonica, a telecommunication company in Span, in order to present this project digitally. The first of which being high end scanners to produce highly pixilated images of the text. They also used HTML and other user-interactive markup programming languages to present it online for the general population as well as scholars. The multimedia platform such as Adobe Flash Player was embedded in the website to enhance the reading experience with interactive animation.

This website, from our perspective, is a tool that’s been created to act as a template. This template can be used in presenting other texts digitally in a way fits the aesthetic needs of the general population as well as critical evaluation of the scholars.


  1. What methods are being undertaken?

One of the methods is visualization and data design for achieving the ubiquitous scholarship. The other methods include but are not limited by an animated archive of the original Don Quixote and coding, programing, and software engineering.


Salem Witch Trial Site Analysis

Charles Feinberg

Brett Mele

January 31, 2017

Research Question:

What occurred during the Salem Witch hunt and trial? Who were the key players (accusers, those accused, those who defended the accused, etc.) in the unfolding of the events? What were the social elements of the time, 1690’s, and place, Salem, MA, that prompted such a unique, fantastical display of radical fear-based sexism?

Methods being undertaken:

There are several sections of the site including self-promoting sections and sections pertaining to where additional information on the Salem Witch trials can be found, however, there are four primary sections pertaining to the historical documentation of the events.

  1. Primary sources: (e.g. court transcriptions, first person documentations via diary entries, sermons from Salem Church, etc) directly pertaining to the trials and actions unfolding within Salem, MA during this volatile period from February 1692 to May 1693. Subsections based on type of documentation (e.g. Sermon, diary entries, personal letters court records).
  2. Maps: Scanned maps from 17th/18th century portraying colonial New England, specifically the Salem and surrounding/encompassing regions in which the events unfolded, and multimedia mapping pinpointing regions where specific events occurred. Additionally, GIS tracking technology was used by site proprietors to scan terrain for bodies pertaining to the events further supplementing research.
  3. Archival source work: Historical, public documentation pertaining court records (supreme and county) and trial proceedings that have been claimed and held by both public (e.g. Boston Public Library) or private (e.g. Essex Society) organization. Documents in this section are divided into subsections based on documentation ownership       
  4. Contemporary works: Three scanned versions of notorious, widely-distributed literature that would directly pertain to the events occurring in Salem as a medium for post-hoc contextualization. Literature includes John Hale’s “A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft” (1697), George Lincoln Burr’s “Narratives of Witchcraft Cases” (1914), and Increase Mather’s “Cases of Conscious Concerning Evil Spirits…” (1693).

File Types/Documents:

The file types on this web page are primarily scanned versions of all primary and secondary source work including maps from the time period. Additionally, the site proprietors have developed a multimedia/interactive maps that allow the viewer to interact with the events on a temporal scale (e.g. pop-up locations of accusers and accused as a function of time).  However, outside of the maps and the proprietor written summaries of different artifacts, the vast majority of the documents are scanned literature based documents. Photography was not an invented medium during the late 17th century, thus there are no visual representations of the events with the exception of several paintings; the majority of which have been rightly excluded from the site as they were not generated while the events were occurring (most were painted during the 19th century) and thus are not historically accurate representations of what occurred. By including the artwork, the historical accuracy of the site would be diminished and artifacts undermined.  


Tools being used/created:

High definition scanners were used for vast majority of the written documents and many of the maps as well adapting these documents into digital versions of their physical forms. Furthermore, GIS mapping technology was used to produce a map depicting the specific layout and infrastructure of Salem and the surrounding areas involved in the events. The product of the GIS mapping is a map that is not only a visual representation of the town’s layout, but furthermore, incorporates social dynamics as a product of house sizes and home’s proximity to and from others individuals. This map can be viewed as a new tool that aides in understanding the personalities of the accusers and accused by how wealthy they were (e.g. size of house) and/or how influential they may have been in town dynamics (e.g. proximity to others/town center).

Outside of GIS maps, the site itself can be considered a new tool in Salem Witch trial analysis. Having the vast majority of the data from the events along with contemporary literature pertaining to the events promotes a unique ability to analyze mass amounts of information efficiently. This prompts new philosophies and an accessible understanding about the events of the Salem Witch trials and the social climate that provoked the events.

The London Lives Project

The files being used in the London Lives Project include fully digitized manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives. The project research question: What happened in London from 1690 to 1800? The project is interested in creating a record of crime, poverty, and social policy in London during that period. Another purpose of the project is to link together records of individuals and groups of individuals who lived in London from 1690 to 1800.

The tools being used by the project managers include scanners to place the documents in a digital medium. The internet is also used to display the information obtained by the project. Also, fans of the London Lives project can use the internet to contribute to biographies, keep track of activity, and view corrections on pages to which they have contributed. The methods being used in this project include key-word searching for certain events and policies in old London as well as further filtering through specific years. The database also allows users to search by document type.

By Ian Nish and Jacob Circelli

Link to project