About the Robert Graves Diary project

This project is a collaboration between the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre and the UVic Libraries. The original diary manuscripts, which consist of 1546 pages including 117 enclosures (letters, clippings, photographs post cards, notes, games etc.), are held in the UVic Libraries Special Collections. Detailed information about the diary itself, its history and provenance, is available on the Special Collections project page.
The digital edition you see here was one of the earliest TEI XML-based digital editions undertaken by the UVic HCMC, in the early 2000s. It has undergone many revisions, but we have attempted throughout the process to maintain the original look-and-feel of the digital edition, since we feel that the interface itself is an artifact of significance in the short history of digital humanities and online scholarly publication. This is a brief outline of the major stages in the project. (See also this conference presentation from 2005.)
  • The original transcription was made by Beryl Graves from photocopies some time prior to 1983. This was annotated by Karl Goldschmidt, Graves's secretary. In the 1990s, William Graves provided further annotations and information on places, people, titles and other related information.
  • The manuscript contents were photographed in 2002 by Chris Petter of Special Collections.
  • The text was encoded in XML using a TEI P4 DTD by Linda Roberts. Chris Petter, and Jessica Posgate. Elizabeth Grove-White provided editorial expertise. Martin Holmes wrote a simple online database to manage linked references.
  • Monthly abstracts were written by Jillian Shoichet.
  • between 2003 and 2005, Spencer Rose created an interactive web application based on an early version of the eXist XML Database engine.
  • Between 2005 and 2010, Martin Holmes maintained and updated the web application, adding some functionality relating to enclosures.
  • In 2010-2011, Michael Joyce ported the original Web application to a new platform based on more modern versions of the Cocoon and eXist software packages.
  • In 2015, Martin Holmes converted the TEI P4 XML to P5, along with the data from the original reference database.
  • In 2016-2018, Martin Holmes and Joey Takeda, as part of the Endings Project, rewrote the entire project to create a portable, static web application suitable for long-term archiving. This version also runs in eXist in order to provide search functionality, but other than that it has no back-end dependencies. In fact the project has four distinct search engines, an odd situation arising out of our research into how best to provide search functionality to a digital edition project over the long term:
    • A simple JavaScript-based standalone search engine which requires no back-end server support at all. This is simple and crude, but quite effective. If the application is running on eXist, this search engine can be found at search.html; if there is no back-end eXist, it is found on the home page.
    • The main eXist-based search engine. This reproduces the original functionality from the original web application, although it has some minor improvements. If the application is running in eXist, this is found on the home page; if not running in eXist, it can be found at existIndex.html, although of course it will not work.
    • A Google Custom Search page, found at gSearch.html. This will continue to work as long as Google APIs remain stable and the relevant Google account is maintained. This of course hosts advertising in the results.
    • A search engine based on the UVic Library's Solr installation, located at sSearch.html. This is experimental and currently in development, but should ultimately provide a rich faceted search capability which is not dependent on the eXist web application.

Hands Referenced