Publishing from the Archive - Rapid Prototyping

HPG is working on a round of rapid prototyping of its Hybrid Player (HP) technology, exploring the technology stack to create a networked publication. The prototype round concludes later in April and involves working with three art history archives.

The concept of the networked publication or book in the context of publishing from archives, at least for HPG, means keeping the media used in a publication, sourced from an archive, connected to the archive sources and available in real-time. The goals of such a networked publication is to give art history scholars easier access to sources and to provide as much information on the artifacts and objects as possible.

The rapid prototyping round is being carried out with professors and students of Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The prototype takes place over a semesters’ digital humanities teaching and looks to make online publication that explore the art historians’ use of archives. The archives being explored are the Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings of St. Cecilia in the collection of Mark Weil, and works from the Stewart and Hamon collections held by the Meadows Museum.

HPG’s method of prototyping is to build a working technology sample publication and the test out the free and open source software technology required to achieve the goals of making a networked publication. In this case this has mean addressing museum collections metadata open standards of VRACore and MODS, media storage, image annotation and deep zooming, as well as models of Web-App publishing.

For metadata we have worked with the Tamboti software from Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA). With the image features we are exploring a number of different platforms and frameworks. Firstly we are working closely with BitGuild and using the HyperImage software. Alongside HyperImage we are comparing the frameworks IIIF and OpenLayers. For media storage we are using GitHub for convenience and as a way of providing interoperability between our different archive media providers.

We bring the above technology stack together in our own HP software framework. HP is what we term a Web-App, combining software functionality you might find in an App, but based on the Open Web and browser technology. HP is meant as a flexible web publishing tool, that allows a wide variety of technologies to be combined. Our focus in this prototype is image annotation and zooming functionality. Earlier versions on HP can be found on GitHub. HP is still in pre-release, although the code is open. We categorise HP as pre-release as it is prototyping framework so liable to drastic changes so not suited to distribution for production purposes.

As we arrive at a finished state an example HP will be posted on GitHub as well as findings and results on the testing of metadata integration and image technology explorations.


Image: St Cecilia holding a small organ, looking up towards a clearing in the clouds in which five angels with musical instruments appear; at her feet is a music book, a flute and a harp; she is accompanied by St Paul, St John, St Magdalen (Madelaine) and St Augustine Engraving
1868,0822.34AN43275001.

British Museum. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint.