Acharacteristic of the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH), King’s College London, is its significant involvement with a large number of research
projects that are producing digital products. At the
present there are more than 30 in which our involvement
is substantial, and for many of these projects our
involvement stretches over a number of years.
During this time two related challenges have emerged.
First, several of the projects naturally tend to group
together – a user of one is likely to be interested in another
as well. We have, at present, three significant groupings of this kind – a set of potentially interrelated projects about Anglo-Saxon England, a set of projects from the Classical period, and a set of Art History projects drawn from religious materials. Although the projects are done separately by different discipline specialists, there is some interest in sorting out ways that users can usefully
switch from one to the other. The second challenge
relates to the mix of technologies that each project uses.
Some of these projects structure their materials in ways afforded by the relational model while others are using XML (primarily, of course, TEI). Eventually, perhaps,
the tools available for XML will provide facilities
comparable to the database engines available for the
relational model, and at that point the XML model might
well replace the relational one (see Bradley 2005 for some discussion about looking at XML in a relational sense), but at present this is not the case and we are
finding that both our relationally-oriented projects and our XML-oriented ones have need of both relational and XML technology to varying degrees. There are several
different ways in which the two technologies can be
interrelated, and at CCH we are currently working out a set of best practices for this issue ourselves.
In this session we have three papers that touch on several of these issues:
(a) The paper presented by Paul Spence describes two pieces of technology (xMod and rdb2java) that we have developed to support the presentation of XML and relational materials on the WWW. The very different natures of XML and the relational model
are reflected in the very different nature of these two technologies, and several key aspects of these
differences are described here.
(b) The second paper, presented by John Bradley,
describes several projects from the Anglo-Saxon
group of projects, and the discussion will focus
on several concrete examples of the two issues
(c) The third paper, presented by Paul Vetch, describes some of the ways that these independent projects can be presented in, as much as possible, a consistent and unified manner over the WWW.
Bradley, J. (2005). Documents and Data: Modelling
Materials for Humanities Research in XML and
Relational Databases. In Deegan M. (ed) Literary and
Linguistic Computing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Vol 20 No 1. pp 133-151.
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The effort to establish ADHO began in Tuebingen, at the ALLC/ACH conference in 2002: a Steering Committee was appointed at the ALLC/ACH meeting in 2004, in Gothenburg, Sweden. At the 2005 meeting in Victoria, the executive committees of the ACH and ALLC approved the governance and conference protocols and nominated their first representatives to the ‘official’ ADHO Steering Committee and various ADHO standing committees. The 2006 conference was the first Digital Humanities conference.
Conference website: http://www.allc-ach2006.colloques.paris-sorbonne.fr/