Alyssa Russell and Kathryn Tomasek (Wheaton College)
In summer 2015, Russell and Tomasek collaborated on two projects that use the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Tomasek’s longstanding project featuring account books offered the initial focus for the research, and the method employed to introduce Russell to the TEI Guidelines offered her an unexpected opportunity to develop her interpretation of Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893). This poster/demo shows the interactive digital edition that Russell developed with Tomasek’s assistance.
Since Russell began the research period with no knowledge of the TEI, Tomasek began with her standard introduction to transcription and markup: immersion in the Guidelines. Russell asked early on whether she might use TEI in a project focused on Maggie. Frustrated by the difficulty of persuading her friends to read the book, she sought another way to demonstrate the text’s richness.
Russell’s primary goal has been to encode her transcription of Maggie in a way that will support multiple close readings of the text. Using the TEI’s @ana attribute, Russell tagged the text thoroughly, marking themes, patterns, characters, and dialogue. Once Russell completed the tagging, she and Tomasek worked together to develop an XSLT stylesheet that allows visual identification of the various analyses.
Viewers of the digital edition of Maggie can highlight multiple tagged elements of the text at once. The viewer can, for instance, highlight all dialogue spoken by one character and mentioning another. Or the viewer can select all descriptions of a character, and narrow them to descriptions including violent language. Such multi-layered and systematic analysis proves extremely useful in detecting patterns and performing close reading of the text.