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Event roundup: Open Literature Sprint

- February 17, 2014 in shakespeare, Technical, texts

Towards the end of January the Open Humanities Working Group hosted a one-day sprint to work on its Open Literature platform for sharing and annotating public domain works of literature. The event was hosted at the Centre for Creative Collaboration in King’s Cross, London, and was attended by coders and non-coders alike. The day began with Rufus Pollock giving a brief introduction to the project, its rationale, its history and a plan for the day. Here’s a video of the intro (recorded on a phone camera):   After that, the group divided into two teams: one of developers and the other of text-finders and editors. Throughout the day, the developers (pic below) worked on integrating part of the functionality into WordPress to display the marked up text. As an extension of this, they also began work on the annotation store so that we can show the existing annotations from the Open Shakespeare project. This is still an ongoing project and news will be posted to the Open Humanities group as more is done on it. coders In parallel, the other group (below) was busy finding texts, converting them to the correct format and uploading them to the WordPress site. Project Gutenberg was an invaluable source of public domain literature, although each text took roughly 10 minutes to prepare for the platform. Instructions for preparing texts will be added to the site in due course, alongside a general workflow for how the platform should operate. By the end of the day, the complete works of Shakespeare were uploaded to the database, in addition to texts from a few other authors. The next stage is to write summaries for each of the texts and to ensure that all display correctly in the viewer. Textfinders Overall it was a great way to re-start the Open Literature project and there has been an encouraging resurgence of activity since – so thanks to everyone who attended! For updates on the project you can sign up to the Open Humanities mailing list in the box at the top right of this page.

Twelve Years a Slave (1859)

- January 14, 2014 in collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Internet Archive, Library of Congress, memoir, memoirs, slave plantations, slavery, solomon northup, texts, Texts: 19th, Texts: Memoirs, Texts: Non-fiction, true story, twelve years a slave, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

The memoir by Solomon Northup upon which the recent much acclaimed feature film, Twelve Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen, was based. The narrative tells the harrowing true story of Northup, who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana.

Letters to my sister of our experiences on our first trip to Europe, 1913

- December 29, 2013 in 1913, collections, diary, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Europe, first world war, Internet Archive, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Non-fiction, Underlying Work: PD US, University of Toronto Libraries, world war one, ww1

Letters to my sister of our experiences on our first trip to Europe 1913, by Lilian McCarron; publishing date most likely 1914, publisher unknown. A book of letters written by (the American or perhaps Canadian) Lilian McCarron to her sister detailing a trip she made around Europe in the latter half of 1913. A year later and Europe would be plunged into the beginnings of the First World War which would last 4 years and claim the lives of more than 9 million soldiers and devastate the lands on which it was played out. A certain sense of dramatic irony permeates the diary entries now, in which she describes the “pleasant” and “charming” cities of France and Germany, knowing as we do the horrors that would come in the following years. McCarron spends a large proportion of the trip in Germany, and in particular Berlin, arriving there only a few days after a military airship (a Zeppelin, the kind which would be instrumental in WW1) had crashed killing many experienced German Navy personnel. Her trip also coincided with the Empress’s birthday which saw much of the army on the streets, a sight which gave McCarron the impression that Berlin was […]

Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician (1769)

- December 5, 2013 in collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Internet Archive, mozart, Royal Society, texts, Texts: 18th, Texts: Non-fiction, The Royal Society, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide, young

Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician. In a Letter from the Honourable Daines Barrington, F. R. S. to Mathew Maty, M. D. Sec. R. S.; 1770; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of history’s most famous composers, began showing his talents when he was just 3 years old. By the age of 6 he was touring with his father and elder sister, also a talented musician. It was the young Mozart however who wowed the audiences. After a concert at the court of the Prince-elector Maximilian III of Bavaria in Munich, and at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague, the Mozart family embarked on a 3 and half year concert tour around the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, The Hague, again to Paris, and back home via Zurich, Donaueschingen, and Munich. While in London, an 8 year old Mozart proved a huge sensation. But with his child prodigy status came questions from a skeptical few. Was he really so young? Was he really that talented? One person eager to test the truth of these doubts was Daines Barrington, a lawyer, antiquary, naturalist and Friend of the Royal Society. In a few visits […]

The Chinese Fairy Book (1921)

- November 28, 2013 in California Digital Library, china, chinese fairy tales, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, fairy tales, fairytales, Internet Archive, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Fairytales, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

A book compiling seventy-four traditional Chinese folk takes, making, as the translator notes, "probably the most comprehensive and varied collection of oriental fairy tales ever made available for American readers".

The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson

- November 5, 2013 in amherst, Amherst College, collections, Curator's Choice, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, emily dickinson, manuscripts, poetry, texts, Texts: 19th, Texts: Poetry, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Mike Kelly, curator at the Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College, explores highlights from their Emily Dickinson collection, a huge variety of manuscript forms - from concert programmes to chocolate wrappers - which give us a fascinating insight into how the poet worked.

Phenomena of Materialisation (1923)

- October 31, 2013 in Boston Public Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, eva carrière, hoax, Internet Archive, occult, seance, spiritualism, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Miscellaneous, Texts: Non-fiction, Texts: Science, Underlying Work: PD US

Phenomena of Materialisation, a contribution to the investigation of mediumistic teleplastics, by Baron von Schrenck Notzing, translated by E. E. Fournier d’Albe; 1923; K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, E. P. Dutton in London, New York. English translation of Phenomena of Materialisation, a book by German physician and psychic researcher Baron von Schrenck-Notzing which focuses on a series of séances witnessed between the years 1909 and 1913 involving the French medium Eva Carrière, or Eva C. Born Marthe Béraud, Carrière changed her name in 1909 to begin her career afresh after a series of seances she held in 1905 were exposed as a fraud. Her psychic performances as Eva C gained the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, who believed she was genuine, and also Harry Houdini, who was not so convinced. Another researcher who became interested in her case was Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. A series of tests he devised between the years 1909 and 1913 convinced him that Eva C was the real deal and in 1913 he published his Phenomena of Materialisation detailing the sessions and the reasons for his belief. It has been noted that these sessions with Schrenck-Notzing verged on the […]

Jap Herron: A Novel written from the Ouija Board (1917)

- October 29, 2013 in California Digital Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, emily grant hutchings, Internet Archive, jap herron, mark twain, occult, ouija board, seance, spiritualism, texts, Texts: 20th, Texts: Fiction, Underlying Work: PD US

Jap Herron, the novel written, supposedly, by a deceased Mark Twain from beyond the grave, dictated via the medium of a Ouija board.

An Account of a Chinese Cabinet (1753)

- October 23, 2013 in british museum, cabinet of curiosties, china, chinese cabinet, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, hans sloane, Internet Archive, Royal Society, texts, Texts: 18th, Texts: Non-fiction, The Royal Society, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

“A Further Account of What Was Contain’d in the Chinese Cabinet”, by Hans Sloane, M. D. from Philosophical Transactions, January 1753; London. An account by Sir Hans Sloane detailing the contents of a Chinese cabinet (which includes a “Sea Horse Tooth”) procured by a Mr Buckley during travels in China. A physician by trade Sloane was also an avid collector of natural curiosities and upon his death, bequeathed the entirety of his collection to the nation and, together with George II’s royal library, it was opened to the public as the British Museum in 1759. A note at the end of this account, which appears in the January 1753 accounts of the Royal Society (the same month that Sloane would pass away), praises the collecting of Mr Buckley: It were to be wished other travellers into Foreign parts would make such enquiries (as Mr Buckly [sic] who sent these to the Royal Society has done) into the Instruments and Materials made use of in the places where they come, that are any manner of way for the Benefit or innocent delight of Mankind, that we may content our selves with our own Inventions, where we go beyond them, and imitate […]

Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1785)

- October 15, 2013 in collections, dictionary, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, english, Internet Archive, language, samuel johnson, texts, Texts: 18th, Texts: Non-fiction, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide, University of Toronto Libraries

Volume 1 of the 6th edition of Samuel Johnson’s epic achievement A Dictionary of the English Language, published a year after his death in 1785.