Projects

The purpose of this page is to collect links relating to some of the library, digital, and scholarly projects I have worked on in recent years.

Software Project Management - Digital Humanities

Performant Software Solutions LLC

Since the summer of 2011, I have been working at Performant Software Solutions LLC, first as a production assistant and now as a project manager. I specialize in managing our digital humanities projects, such as Juxta Commons (free online textual collation software), BRANCH (interactive timeline of nineteenth-century British history), TypeWright (software for crowdsourcing the correction of poorly OCR'd eighteenth-century texts), and the ongoing development of the ARC nodes NINES, 18thConnect, and MESA. I have also been involved in some of the company's other projects in the area of eHealth research (such as SHUTi).

Freelance Writing

A History of Student Life at the University of Virginia School of Law

I have been commissioned by the head of the law library at the University of Virginia to write a book about the history of student life at U.Va. Law. For this project, I am working mainly with primary materials drawn from the University archives and historical newspapers. Publication is expected in 2014. The book will be part of a series on the history of the law school, with other volumes currently being authored by U.Va.-trained historians.

Editing Archival Documents for Web and Print

The Diary of William Minor Lile, 1883-1932

William Minor Lile was effectively the dean of the University of Virginia School of Law from 1895 to 1932. During that period, he oversaw dramatic growth and modernization of the Law School. In the World War I era, he resumed keeping a personal diary, as he had done for five years in the 1880s while practicing law in Lynchburg and courting his future wife. Lile's diary is rich in historical detail: he reports his memories of a Civil War childhood on a slaveholding plantation in Alabama; his family's casualties in World War I and the 1919 influenza epidemic; his excitement over his "skyrocketing" bank stocks in the late 1920s and his bewilderment at the stock market crash of 1929; his charitable efforts during the Great Depression; and his love affair with a series of early automobiles. Lile's diary, which runs to approximately 900 pages, was donated by his family to the Law School.

In 2010-2011, I edited a volume of excerpts from Lile's diary for publication by the U.Va. Law Library. There is no online component to the project, but you can see a finding aid for the Lile diaries and associated papers at Virginia Heritage and a brief biography of William Minor Lile on the Law Library website. You can also read a very nice article about the project (including an interview with me and the director of the law library) that was published on the Law School's website.

A Poet's Answer to Equity Pleading

In 1932, a University of Virginia law student named Thomas W. Blake wrote his responses to an exam in Equity Pleading entirely in blank verse; we now have his original exam booklet in our special collections. Given the original document and a set of high-quality scans made by a colleague, I created an online edition of Thomas Blake's poetry by transcribing the text and desiging a web page that would, while fitting seamlessly into the law school's existing website, provide access to the page scans. I am especially satisfied with my solution, which uses a style sheet to "float" thumbnails of the page images in the right margin, anchored to the relevant lines in the transcription. (I've long been bothered by the common practice, in electronic texts, of allowing page image thumbnails or links to intrude mid-paragraph or mid-verse.)

Project Management and EAD

Inventory of the Papers of Judge John W. Bissell, 1983-2005

For the Bissell inventory, I recruited and managed a team of three graduate students to process a huge collection of unpublished judicial opinions. The papers were organized into 2,377 files comprising approximately 27 linear feet; their content touched on a great diversity of topics. For each file, we generated metadata including a list of subject terms drawn from a controlled vocabulary which I, in consultation with law librarians, adapted from the Library of Congress CRS Subject Terms. I encoded all of the metadata into an electronic finding aid using EAD (Encoded Archival Description, an application of XML). It was especially challenging to capture all of our rich metadata in a document that would comply not only with the EAD encoding standard but with the very limited Document Type Definition used by the Virginia Heritage database where all of the Law Library's EAD finding aids reside.

HTML to EAD Conversion

After finishing the Bissell inventory, I worked for a while on converting the law library's HTML finding aids to EAD. I converted the finding aids for the Buck, Cohen, Collins, Dietz, and Farmer papers.

Web Programming

Outdoor Adventure Social Club

I worked for about a year as an assistant web programmer for the Outdoor Adventure Social Club, which runs a PHP site backed by a MySQL database. I handled requests from the club manager for new features, bug fixes, and code updates. My work was entirely on the members-only portions of the site and the club's PHP-based automated email system, so unfortunately there are no pages I can point to and tell you "I made this!"

XML and XSLT

TEI Markup

I have done TEI markup of several literary texts for The Poetess Archive and the (now defunct) E-Text Center. Unfortunately, my contributions are not yet published on the Poetess Archive website, and my old work at the E-Text Center seems to have disappeared into the mists of time!

Traditional Scholarship

"Reforming Character"

A portion of my dissertation was published as Reforming Character: William Law and the English Theophrastan Tradition in the journal Eighteenth-Century Fiction. William Law was an influential religious writer. His moral guidebook, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, was tremendously popular in eighteenth-century England and America. When I read it, I could see why: his style is colorful and engaging, and his arguments are gently persuasive. Working on Law's Serious Call and its eighteenth-century reception was my favorite part of my dissertation research, and I was very pleased to have my results published.