Digital scholarship depends on structured data, and XML (the Extensible Markup Language) is a form of structured data that is now very important in digital scholarship and especially in digital humanities. XML publishing tools give us the ability to exploit the power of this data, creating publications and digital projects that let us explore the complexities of texts and create detailed visualizations. For the digital humanities, the most commonly used XML language is the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines (TEI), and DSG gives special emphasis to the TEI in supporting XML publishing.
DSG is currently developing support for XML publishing tools suitable for creating simple publications with small collections of data. These include:
- eXist: an XML database that offers fairly powerful indexing and searching with XQuery
- XTF (the Extensible Text Framework): another XML database that provides somewhat more features “out of the box”
- TEI Boilerplate: a simple toolset for publishing TEI data, which provides customizable CSS stylesheets so that users can control the basic appearance of the data
Although these tools are not yet part of DSG’s regular project infrastructure, we can provide installations and some basic guidance for users who are comfortable experimenting on their own. Over time, DSG will be incorporating XML publishing tools into our standard infrastructure that is available to all DSG projects.
In addition to these specific products, there are also more general-purpose technologies such as XSLT that can be used to manipulate XML data, convert it into other forms, and extract information from it for use in visualization tools and other usage contexts. DSG offers workshops on these technologies and can also provide assistance if you have XML data and are interested in learning to work with it.
DSG has expertise in more complex XML publishing systems, and for larger-scale projects with more complex requirements, we are happy to discuss specific possibilities and how they might be funded.