NEH Start-Up Grant White Papers (Part V)

May 10, 2010

This is Part V of a series of posts highlighting recent white papers from completed Start Up Grants (Parts III, III, and IV also available).
All ODH programs (and some programs in other NEH divisions and offices) require the grantee to submit a "white paper" at the conclusion of the grant.  In ODH, we publish these white papers in our Funded Project Query Form.  In the white paper, the grantee provides a summary of the grant activities, what they learned, recommended best practices, and even what they might have done differently.  By making these white papers freely available, members of the public -- including other prospective applicants -- can learn from what has already been done and build upon it.
Below are summaries of three recent white papers added to our library.  Click on the title to access the download page if you'd like to read the full white paper.
The eCommentary Machine Project

University of Texas, Austin
Project Director:  Samuel Baker
Abstract: The eCommentary Machine web application ("eComma") enables groups of students, scholars, or general readers to build collaborative commentaries on a text and to search, display, and share those commentaries online.

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants: Thai Digital Monastery Project

University of California, Riverside
Project Director: Justin McDaniel

Abstract: The Thai Digital Monastery Project seeks to begin creating a digital interactive virtual library for enthusiasts, students, and scholars interested in exploring a selection of the over 30,000 monasteries in Thailand. Working closely with the Thai royal family, monastic ecclesia, and Mahamakut University the PI, Justin McDaniel and his collaborators will explore the application of new open-source technologies to create an integrated digital research environment in which participants can walk through three dimensional and 360 degree immersive spaces.  In order to build this digital environment that will serve a wide range of learning communities, a one year in depth feasibility initiative is needed which will test technology in the field, recruit a talented long-term staff, and design a electronic platform for a planned multi-year project.

Interface Development for Static Multimedia Documents

Duke University
Project Director: Matthew Cohen

Abstract: We propose to create a set of software technologies and encoding practices that will allow for the encoding, displaying, and searching of static documents that mix print, manuscript, and visual images--documents such as printed texts or images bearing handwritten annotations.  The technologies we plan to build include standards for encoding coordinates in XML transcriptions so that search engines can visually display results of user searches for manuscript words and phrases; software for linking XML editing programs to an image display to allow encoders to relate bitmap images to XML text; and model stylesheets capable of displaying transcriptions of annotated documents together with digital images of those documents.  The goal will be to create a software suite that is simple enough to be used by transcribers with little familiarity with information encoding and portable enough to work in multiple computing environments for widely different kinds of archival projects.