Over the last few weeks I have put together a very early prototype of a Dickens notes page alongside the text of an installment. I have yet to upload the result (although screenshots are below). But while I work on fixing a few bugs, here is the XML file! Together with its associated XSLT file, this produces an interface that highlights the connections between the working notes and the installment text for the second installment of Our Mutual Friend. Hover-over critical notes explain the relationship between the working notes and the text, and each of Dickens’s notes can be highlighted to show the corresponding content in the installment text. To create this I adapted the XML and XSLT files from the Versioning Machine. The Versioning Machine is designed as a tool for comparing multiple versions of the same text to highlight similarities and differences or changes over time. I adapted it to highlight connections between texts. (Many thanks to Tanya Clement, Associate Editor of the Versioning Machine, who introduced me to it at DHSI.)
This is very clearly an early, early prototype for the project, which will need its own interface tailored to the needs of the project. My point was merely to use an existing open-source tool to display a prototype and to get me started encoding the text. I still need to do quite a bit of work to encode the notes and the installment according to the TEI guidelines, but this is a start!
This is what it looks like (click to see file):
Watch this space for a working upload of the versioning machine page to try out yourself, but for now here are some screenshots:
Although this works for now as a prototype, it has some drawbacks. The most obvious is the space allocated to the installment text, which is far too narrow and requires too much scrolling. We need a feature that allows users to easily navigate to the elements of the installment that correspond to the working notes, which would either require the addition of more panels or a “next” and “previous” feature that jumps between portions of the text. Another problem involves the space allocated to the manuscript, which is currently too small and makes the manuscript secondary to the transcription. Finally, I would prefer an interface that features the interpretive component more prominently (beyond the critical notes). But this is the point of a prototype: to test out and evaluate the idea!
You can also read this post at dickensnotes.com: