Booktraces: 1880 prize


While searching in the stacks, I came across a small, dark green, hard-backed book with gold leafing on the pages and the front and back covers. It was titled “William Cullen Bryant; A Biographical Sketch, With Selections From His Poems and Other Writings.” The first thing i noticed was this inside cover because of the blue sticker attached to it. The sticker includes a decorative font and appears to be a gift tag for a christmas gift from the principal, to a student (Master Edward J. Brooks) at St. John’s Middle Class School in Tottenham, for “Excellence In Arithmetic.” This book was the first prize award. What really struck me was the fact that this was made out is 1880! The calligraphy it is written in is amazing and beautiful. The book itself was published in Gaslow in March of 1880, and given as a gift in December 1880. The author is A.J. Symington. Aside from the prize tag, there is no personal writing or other marginalia in the book. The book is falling apart and the pages are brown and pulpy. It is so amazing and interesting that we can see time paralleled, and personal relations through history. I looked up Tottenham: an area in the London Borough of Haringey, in north London, England, about 8 miles northeast of Charing Cross. How did this book, belonging to a man named Edward Brooks in England end up in the New School Library which would later become SUNY New Paltz’s Library system? It’s amazing trying to think of the many ways this could have happened, but also how fortunate for us here at this school to have such a worldly, historic collection amongst us for use. I was so amazed that i was able to check out some of these beautiful old books that are pretty much historical documents themselves.


Qualities of a Good DH Project

Five qualities of a good DH project are:

1. The project must be legible and clear.

2. It should be aesthetically pleasing.

3. It must be engaging and/or interactive.

4. It has credited sources (citations) for unoriginal data.

5. It is well-organized.

A good DH project will feature all of these aspects.  It must be clear, visually stimulating, engaging, and well-organized in order to hold the attention of the reader and simultaneously teach them something.  The more information you can get from a project, the more interesting and useful it will be in answering questions of the modern world.  With today’s technology, we are able to ask and answer questions that previously could not be answered.  Digital tools help organize information in a new and fun way to help visual learners and those seeking a different method of teaching to read, write, and view life differently.  Most of the websites we have used this semester were able to take a huge amount of information and form it into something compact and easier to understand and interpret.  With word clouds we can get the general sense of main themes in stories and speeches.  With Google Ngrams we can start to decipher the relevance and importance of words in a vast amount of past literature.  With Booktraces we can permanently document the marginalia of old books that will eventually fall apart and be destroyed.  With GIS we can plot points of historical significance much faster and more efficiently than ever.  There are endless possibilities to the amount of information we can absorb in a short time by using digital tools.  Therefore, it is important that students and others studying digital humanities create projects that others can use to view the world differently.

Scotland Yard in Sherlock Holmes Stories

Scotland Yard has been known as the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London since 1829 (Scotland Yard).

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The area is mentioned in several Sherlock Holmes stories in relation to crimes and other characters — in particular, Inspector Lestrade.  Holmes corresponds with Lestrade in multiple stories.  Lestrade is another admirer and observer of Sherlock Holmes, and is the legal action behind Holmes’ detective work, like in “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” (Doyle).  Lestrade calls upon Holmes to help him with an investigation, Sherlock assists, and the criminal is put behind bars.

Due to the prominence of Inspector Lestrade, and also Sherlock’s line of work, Scotland Yard is mentioned fairly often in the stories.  In real life, Scotland Yard is illustrated on the Charles Booth Online Archive as a poor area in a primarily poor district of the city (Booth).  Interestingly, if Lestrade had been working on the Police Force in the year 1874, he would have been one of 275 inspectors, and thousands of other men on the force (Scotland Yard) throughout the districts that year.  Scotland Yard also included departments not associated with the Police Force like the Prisoners’ Property Office and the office for cab and omnibus licences.  While Sherlock did not work for the Police Force of Scotland Yard, the station did appear in several of Sherlock’s investigations.

Works Cited

“Booth Poverty Map (Charles Booth Online Archive).” Booth Poverty Map (Charles Booth Online Archive). N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <,179819,1,large,0>.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box.” The Project Gutenberg. David Brannan, 23 Oct. 2008. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <>.

“London – OS Town Plan 1893-6.” London – OS Town Plan 1893-6. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2014. <>.

Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police’, Old and New London: Volume 3 (1878), pp. 329-337. URL: Yard. 9 Nov. 2014.

DHM Projects

Five qualities

•Important/ Meaningful data
•Clear presentation of data
•Insightful Analysis of data
•Aesthetically pleasing presentation of data (so as not to distract.)
•Easy navigation of data for user.

I think that what makes a good DH project over all is really just attention to detail. Not only attention to your data, but to the audience you are giving your data to. I feel that DH lets Scholars ask new questions, because it lets us see data from a new point of view. These tools are new ways of seeing information, and so it allows us to analyze them in a new way.

~Austin Carpentieri