Presentations: Manuscript Viewer

As we wrap up the development of the core data transformation engine, we are starting to think about the presentation layer. How can we specify our presentations so that we don’t have to modify them when the JavaScript library APIs, HTML standards, etc., change?

One of the things we’ve worked on is a manuscript viewer that shows an image of a page alongside a transcription. This is a common need in textual digital humanities.

I’m thinking something along the lines of the following based on the work we’ve done for the Donne project (using Radiant to build up an XML description that can be transformed via XSLT):

This is based on the following skeleton that we’re using now:

Using the XML description frees us to use a different implementation without having to revisit the project as long as we are using the same semantics. We’ll be looking to a few more projects to figure out some patterns before we start making design decisions, but this is a good indication of how we’re planning on approaching the presentation layer of DH projects.

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James is a software developer and self-published author. He received his B.S. in Math and Physics and his M.A. in English from Texas A&M University. After spending almost two decades in academia, he now works in the Washington, DC, start up world.