Projects

Much of our work is conceiving, planning and implementing research and teaching projects with humanities faculty members. We welcome inquiries at any time (see contact us or our staff page for contact details).

If you have an idea for a research or teaching project that might include writing software (e.g. database, website, audio/video, program) or creating/preparing data, see our material on how to get HCMC to participate in your proposed project.

We help with all kinds of projects, and are open to your ideas. Here is a sampling of the types of projects we build:

Anthology-building platforms like LEMDO
Application programs like Quandary
Biographical sites like Mapping Keats's Progress
Databases like Shifting Use of Katakana
Dictionaries like Nxaʔamxcín (Moses) Dictionary
Digitized diaries like Diary of Robert Graves
Digital archives like Colonial Despatches
Host sites for student projects like Victoria's Victoria
Image repositories like MyNDIR 
Instructional resources like Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History
Language learning sites like Latin Driller Killer
Literary collections like Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry (DVPP)
Map sites like DevilFish, MoEML and Myths on Maps
Memorialization projects like Servitengasse
Narrative sites like Landscapes of Injustice and Genocide Education
Tools like Image Markup Tool
Utility projects like Online Voting Software

New:

Braided Narratives 
DevilFish
Everyday Racism
Genocide Education
Medieval Anglo Jewish Women (MAJW) 
Past Wrongs, Future Choices
Servitengasse

Current: 

Braided Narratives 
BreezeMap 
BC Historical Text Books 
Canadian Great War Project 
Capital Trials at the Old Bailey Courthouse 
Class Scheduler (Agenda)
 
Colonial Despatches 
DevilFish 
Diary of Robert Graves 
Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry
Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 
Everyday Racism 
Exile: The Expulsion of Japanese Canadians in 1946 
Genocide Education 
Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History 
HCMC Journal 
Linked Early Modern Drama Online (LEMDO) 
Literary Map of Early Modern London (MoEML) 
Mapping Keats's Progress 
Medieval Anglo Jewish Women (MAJW) 
Mediterranean Connectivity in the Roman West 
Nxaʔamxcín (Moses) Dictionary
MyNDIR 
Past Wrongs, Future Choices 
Servitengasse 
Vancouver Island Historical Censuses 

Legacy:

17th C. French Marriages 
Early TimesColonist Transcipts Database 
Early Modern Research Collective Site 
Endings 
FrancoToile Videos Database 
Franklin Expedition Mysteries 
Landscapes of Injustice 
Language sites: 

Lansdowne Lectures Video Markup 
Myths on Maps 
Publish Scandinavian Canadian Journal 

Tools and Application Programs: 

Shifting use of Katakana 
Victoria's Victoria 

 

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Project descriptions

17 C. French Marriages

Le mariage sous L'Ancien Régime Faut-il se marier? La question de Panurge s’avère incontournable en Occident, surtout à partir de la contre-réforme. Des débuts de la Concile de Trente en 1545 jusqu’à la fin du règne de Louis XIV, la tentative de renouveler le mariage se heurte en France à l’intervention croissante de la monarchie dans cette institution dominée auparavent par l’Église. La rencontre entre ces deux autorités fut tumultueuse mais propice au foisonnement des documents qui font l’objet de ce site : « l’imaginaire nuptial » se compose de divers genres textuels, chacun ayant son caractère propre, mais tous traitant des peurs, des désirs et des fantasmes de plus en plus visibles dans la société d’Ancien Régime grâce aux débats soulevés par la nouvelle problématique de l’union conjugale. L’accent pour le moment est sur les textes et images misogames qui font partie d’un renouveau de la Querelle des femmes pendant les 25 premières années du XVIIe siècle.

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Braided Narratives

The Braided Narratives project seeks to develop a data structure/model for the structure of multiple- and braided-narrative works and visual representations of those complex narrative structures and of narrator-present time vs story-as-narrated-present time. The features and representations will help instructors and students think more critically about the included works and about other works with similarly complex narration

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BreezeMap

BreezeMap is a project to create a simple user interface for interactive map editing based on OpenLayers 3. The project is hosted on GitHub.

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BC Historical Text Books

The BC Historical Text Books project aims to provide interpretative tools to contextualize public school text books from British Columbia between 1871 and 1921. Drawing upon intersectional critical theories and (de)colonizing methodologies, our research examines how these textbook narratives often obscure the realities of settler colonial violence and dispossession of Indigenous land. Unsettling History will develop interpretative tools including robust text analysis infrastructure so researchers can investigate these unique historical sources in efficient and novel ways currently not available. No website yet.

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Canadian Great War Project

The objective of the Canadian Great War Project is to repatriate, integrate and technically update the records of all 600,000+ Canadians who served in the Great War and related materials such as unit and formation war diaries and letters. A priority is ensuring long-term viability of the database at minimal ongoing cost.

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Capital Trials at the Old Bailey Courthouse

The Old Bailey project combines references to published accounts with court records and editorial categories (types of crimes, respites and outcomes, and groupings of each of those types) to investigate the relationship between judicial autonomy and statutory requirements in the application of the law over centuries. Search queries return both a text-based result report (with full details on each trial) and a graphical representation of the results (to emphasize patterns in the set of trials returned.) The site has been available to the public since early 2017.

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Colonial Despatches

The Colonial Despatches digital archive contains the original correspondence between the British Colonial Office and the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

This project aims to digitize and publish online a complete archive of the correspondence covering the period from 1846 leading to the founding of Vancouver Island in 1849, the founding of British Columbia in 1858, the annexation of Vancouver Island by British Columbia in 1866, and up to the incorporation of B.C. into the Canadian Federation in 1871. The 1858 documents (over 600) are already online, and work is continuing on the other years.

All the material on Colonial Despatches site originates in the work of Dr. James Hendrickson and his team of collaborators at the University of Victoria, which resulted in the publication of 28 print volumes of correspondence several years ago.

Those original transcriptions have been converted into TEI P5 XML, and presented in the form of highly interactive and searchable website. The site was given a formal launch on November 3, 2008, at the Maritime Museum in downtown Victoria, and has since attracted coverage in the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, the Saanich News, the Victoria Times Colonist, and A-Channel TV News.

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DevilFish

This project is a partner website to a monograph. The website’s objective is to show the movements and populations of grey whales simultaneous with human activity of various kinds (hunting, scientific research, tourism, industrial growth) between the 1840s and 2020s. The site features an animated map and timeline and allows the user to focus on specific times or on specific kinds of activity.

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Diary of Robert Graves

The Diary of Robert Graves (1935-39) project includes 1546 pages including 117 enclosures: letters, clippings, photographs, post cards, notes, games, etc.

The Graves' Diary project's objective is to produce the first scholarly edition in print and electronic form of this unpublished diary. One of the issues in this project was successfully representing abstracts, enclosures and other peculiar features of the composition of the original documents.

The HCMC created the database and search interface using XML-based technologies. The raw XML data is available on the search engine site. The site allows you to search by date range or text string. Technologies used include XQuery, eXist, Cocoon, Tomcat.

We are currently working on a longer-lasting version of this site as part of the Endings project.

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Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry

Victorian readers consumed poetry largely through ephemera. The Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry project's objective is to uncover, collate, and analyze a large body of English periodical poetry from the 19th century. The project begun in 2018 will create a research database and aims to show literary change over time (e.g. rhyme innovations, types of authorship, genre trends, changes to publication practices) using digital analysis tools and presented as graphs, network maps, and other visualizations.

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Early Modern Research Collective Site

For the Early Modern Research Collective site, we co-authored the design plan and implemented the structure in the Cascade content management system. We also assisted EMRC faculty with migration of content from the previous site and assists with maintenance of this site.

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Early TimesColonist Transcipts Database

The goal of the Early TimesColonist Transcipts Database project is to take a collection of transcripts of news stories from early editions of the Times Colonist and other Victoria newspapers which are currently in text files containing special codes for various bits of information, normalize the records, put them into an SQL database and then write a querying front-end to allow students, researchers and the general public to have access to this information on the history of colonial Vancouver Island.

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Encyclopedia Britannica 1911

The objective of Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 project is to provide a cultural and literary snapshot of how the 11th edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica represented perhaps the most important grouping of British poets—those writing in the so-called Romantic period (including, for example, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Walter Scott). The proposed site will have a page for each poet, on which the EB11 entry for that poet will appear. The valuable, unique, and added feature is that each of the approximate 40 or so entries (one web page per poet) collected from EB11 will be introduced and evaluated by a leading scholar of today.

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Endings

The Endings project will develop techniques for creating versions of dynamic sites that are more likely to survive long term by being dependent on more stable technological infrastructures than the dynamic sites are.

We will apply those techniques to four test cases, and intend to produce guides and utilities for others to use. We are particularly interested in how to support search and report capabilities in sites that are essentially static.

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Everyday Racism

The Everyday Racism project will collect and process historical data on Vancouver Island’s everyday racism against ethnic Chinese, including early immigrants from China and their Canadian-born descendants, in 1858-1947, and provide the collected data for students at UVic for their active and interactive learning in anti-racism research.

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Exile: The Expulsion of Japanese Canadians in 1946

The Exile: The Expulsion of Japanese Canadians in 1946 project is a story of race, rights, war, migration, and injustice. It tells a history that will be of interest to political and social historians, legal scholars, political scientists, and others across the humanities and social sciences. It is also a history with powerful resonance today. It speaks to the violation of human and civil rights at a time of perceived insecurity, measures taken in the name of national defense that made no one safer, the enduring harms of mass displacement and the loss of home, and the resilience of people confronting injustice.

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FrancoToile Videos Database

The purpose of the the FrancoToile Videos Database project is to allow students to select from a collection of short video clips with transcripts, so that they can gain a sense of the diversity of francophone people worldwide.

Catherine Caws of the UVic department of French is the academic researcher. The code is based on work done for the Lansdowne Lecture video markup project and is being extended to address the needs of this project.

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Franklin Expedition Mysteries

The Franklin Mysteries site is the thirteenth in the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian Mystery series. It explores the disappearance of the two ships (and modern discovery of one of them), as well as Inuit and British cultural values and the role of scientific exploration in the 19th century.

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Genocide Education

Genocide Education project is a seven-year project formally titled: “Visual Storytelling and Graphic Art in Genocide and Human Rights Education”. It introduces a new way of gathering and commemorating the experiences of mass atrocity survivors that emphasizes survivors’ well-being, agency and co-operation. Partners in the project are from Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Syria and Indigenous peoples in Canada. The project will create graphic narratives co-authored by survivors and author/artists, a documentary film, a travelling museum exhibition(s) and educational materials for instructors and for informal learning.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project is focused on providing high-quality materials to high schools and universities for the teaching of historical methods and Canadian History. This project is a series of twelve websites based on mysteries in Canadian History.

HCMC staff were actively involved in designing and supervising production of the first site, and in consulting on the infrastructure needed to create the remaining sites. For the remaining sites, the HCMC has been acting as technical consultants and providing workspace and stations.

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HCMC Journal

Since 2007 we have kept a publicly accessible blog for recording our working notes and documentation of projects. This year (2022) we transitioned to a new journal system which does not depend on a back-end database, and over the next few months we will migrate all posts which remain relevant from the old system to the new one before decomissioning the old system.

The use of the journal is voluntary, but it has become our primary means of project documentation, complementing the technical comments in the code. It has proven useful in helping us document: how we spend our time, why we make the decisions we do, and how we address specific tricky problems. We can then query the blog as needed to: keep up with each other day-to-day, better fill in for each other when necessary, or when faced with a problem to see if something similar has been faced by a colleague before, and if so, what was attempted and with what outcomes.

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Language sites

Indonesian

This Indonesian site is a self-contained introductory course consisting largely of web exercises created with Hot Potatoes, and includes audio clips.

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Italian 100 exercises and practice tests

The Italian 100 practice site contains a collection of web-based exercises created with Hot Potatoes and a practice exam implemented as a set of Hot Potatoes exercises.

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Italian 250 exercises and practice tests

The Italian 250 practice site contains a practice exam consisting of web page exercises created with Hot Potatoes. Though the actual exam is not delivered online, the practice exam gives the students an idea of what to expect, and helps them review material.

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Latin driller killer

As the name suggests, the Latin Driller Killer site is intended to drill Latin vocabulary. It is largely a collection of web page exercises created with the Hot Potatoes program in 2001, and accepts answers with or without length markers.

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Nxaʔamxcín (Moses) Dictionary

The Nxaʔamxcín (Moses) Dictionary project is a very small sample of an early beta-version of a database of Nxaʔamxcín (known in English as Moses, or Moses-Columbia Salish). Its purposes are:

  • To pull together all the materials on Nxaʔamxcín compiled by two of the linguists who have worked most closely with native speakers of the language in order to make these materials available and easily accessible to the Nxaʔamxcín community, rather than to leave them stored on file cards and in notebooks.
  • To serve as a searchable tool for learners, teachers, speakers, and linguists to encourage more active knowledge of the language.
  • To serve as an important source of material for the future compilation of a comprehensive dictionary of Nxaʔamxcín, an important goal of the Nxaʔamxcín Language Preservation Program.
  • To serve as a base to which additional language material, including audio and visual material, may be added easily.

View posts about Moses in the HCMC Journal site.

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Shifting use of Katakana

The Shifting use of Katakana project involves creating a computerized database of katakana words in Japanese in order to assess the changing role of the katakana script in modern Japanese written materials.

The ultimate aim is to chart a basic shift in direction in Japanese orthographic practices in respect to how words are written.

A schema has been developed and Oxygen is being used for the XML mark up. An eXist database generates statistics about the data, and presents it through a website.

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Spanish 100 exercises and practice tests

The Spanish 100 practice site consists of a number of practice tests, each implemented as a set of web page exercises created with Hot Potatoes. It also contains a large number of review exercises, also in the form of Hot Potatoes exercises.

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Lansdowne Lectures Video Markup

The Lansdowne Lectures Video Markup allows an author to add transcript and event timelines to a digital video. The transcript is searchable and each instance of the search word found by a query is presented to the user in the context of the sentence containing it. The user can then click on the instance of the search word to go to the appropriate location in the video.

A user may also search across the transcripts of all the lectures in the database. The system allows the author or user to create bookmarks which are saved on the server and can be retrieved later by other users. Our prototype data is taken from two lectures in the Lansdowne Lecture series at the University of Victoria.

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Landscapes of Injustice

The Landscapes of Injustice project seeks to combine information from various sources (community records, land titles, directories, personal testimonials, government records, maps etc.) to give a multi-faceted account of the dispossession of Japanese-Canadian owned property owned by the government's Custodian of Enemy Property office in the 1940's. The project will produce research resources, narrative and instructional websites and a travelling museum installation drawing on all the material gathered by the project.

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LEMDO

Linked Early Modern Drama Online (LEMDO) is a TEI encoding, editing, and anthology-building platform for Early Modern Drama.

Conceived by PI Janelle Jenstad (Department of English, University of Victoria) and co-created with Martin Holmes (Programmer, Humanities Computing and Media Centre) and Joseph Takeda (MoEML and LEMDO Programmer).

It will host individual editions, editorial projects, and custom anthologies of early modern plays.

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Map of Early Modern London

The Map of Early Modern London (MoEML) is a hyperlinked atlas of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century London based on the "Agas" woodcut map of the 1560s.

Over 200 sites and streets are linked to pages that provide a full historical and archaeological survey, quotations from John Stow's Survey of London, and a bibliography of literary references. Over 200 additional sites and streets are identified. For example, you can click on a street and find all the literary references in our database to that street.

This site began as a pedagogical tool in 1999. It is in the process of becoming a scholarly tool with fully refereed articles. Technologies used include PHP, eXist, XQuery.

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Mapping Keats's Progress

Dr. Kim Blank's project Mapping Keats's Progress "traces and examines Keats’s rapid poetic development, while also offering a full but distilled literary biography of the poet."

The site follows Keats's life through all its key locations, with detailed chronologies and biographical articles, and also includes a complete digital collection of Keats's poetry.

The project was originally developed outside HCMC, but was adopted and re-written beginning in 2018.

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Medieval Anglo Jewish Women

The Medieval Anglo Jewish Women (MAJW) project seeks to show the activities of Jewish women individually and as an aggregate in business and legal activities in England between 1100 and 1300 as documented in British national records. It is structured to make the women the primary people and to describe family members in relation to the women.

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Mediterranean Connectivity in the Roman West

The archaeological record provides evidence of this interaction between Romans (colonizers) and the native people (colonized) by showing what they produced and consumed. The macroscopic study of material culture has tended to oversimplify the number of participants and productions partaking in these transactions and therefore our understanding of commercial circuits and trade networks. The Mediterranean Connectivity in the Roman West project will elucidate the role of trade and supply in Rome’s Western territories by employing techniques associated with archaeometry to study Black Gloss pottery and lead objects.

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MyNDIR

My Norse Digital Image Repository (MyNDIR) is an ongoing project for which development began in September 2006. MyNDIR went online on June 6th, 2013 with a database of 101 illustrations of Old Norse mythology, as well as scenes of Old Norse paganism and the Conversion period, from manuscripts and early print sources.

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Myths on Maps

The Myths on Maps project focuses on deploying an interactive map of Europe with overlays for Greek and Roman myths, history, people and events.

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Tools and application programs

Class Scheduler (Agenda)

Class Scheduler assisted with the administrative task of assigning instructors to time slots for teaching classes. It allowed the instructor to make a request to the departmental administrator, who then juggled all the requests to create the best possible schedule. It used an SQL database on the server and a browser-based interface (php) for the users to make and edit requests and generate output suitable for the central booking office at the university.

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Hot Potatoes

Hot Potatoes is an application program which allows authors to create standard exercises (multiple choice, fill in blanks, matching, cloze, crossword, flashcards).

The program takes the data entered by the author and combines that with template files to create sophisticated xhtml pages. Over 500,000 users have downloaded the software since its first public release in 1998.

For more details, examples and download, go to the Hot Potatoes site.

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Image Markup Tool

Many tools exist for marking up text in XML. However, for a number of our projects, we need to be able to mark up images, describing and annotating them, and storing the resulting data in TEI XML files. For this, relatively few tools exist, and those that do are either rather too complicated for novices not expert at markup or use a proprietary file format.

Our aim is to produce a tool which creates conformant TEI P5 XML files, but which has a simple enough interface that it can be used by people with little or no experience in editing XML code.

Our Image Markup Tool is freeware and open-source. You can also see the IMT development blog.

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On-line Voting Software

On-line Voting Software allows departments to conduct an online vote or poll. For example, to elect 2 representatives from a list of 10 candidates, or to vote for or against one or more proposed actions or nominees. The application is intended for small-scale administrative votes within the faculty.

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Quandary

Quandary is an application program originally written to allow students in an ethics course to create decision trees to make more explicit inconsistencies in their logic.

The author fills in blanks in the program and their data is combined with an html template to create a web page. The user makes a series of decisions, where each decision point presented depends on responses to previous decision points.

Full details on Quandary can be found at the Quandary site.

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Transformer

Transformer loads Unicode text files and performs sequences of transformation operations search-and-replace, or scripting functions) on them. It provides you with an interface to create and test these sequences of transformation operations before running them in batch mode on a set of files.

We wrote Transformer to assist in the rescue of textual data from obsolete file formats such as DOS word-processor files, but it has since proved useful in a wide variety of contexts.

The program is freeware and open-source. You can download it from the Transformer site. You can also take a look at the Transformer development blog.

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Past Wrongs, Future Choices

Past Wrongs, Future Choices is a seven-year project that documents the racialized uprooting, internment, dispossession, and deportation of civilians of Japanese descent (Nikkei) in allied countries throughout the Americas and the Pacific working with partners in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the United States. It will create three academic monographs, four museum exhibitions, an online research archive, teacher resources and a four-part documentary series.

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Publish Scandinavian Canadian Journal

The Scandanavian Canadian Journal project enables the production and online distribution of the Journal Scandinavian-Canadian Studies / Études Scandinaves au Canada.

Our aim is to provide Web-based access to the contents of the print journal in a range of different formats, including pdf, html, xml (tei p5), and plain text (utf-8). The data for each edition is entered as XML and from that we can produce the range of outputs needed for the printer of the hard-copy journal and on the website for those using the internet.

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Servitengasse

The Servitengasse project memorializes the Jewish occupants of a street in 1930s and 1940s Vienna and was created in close collaboration with a community group. It features a page for each person listing family relations, providing some personal details, and describing their movements in text and on a map. The data for this site will be updated annually until 2046 as new records become public in compliance with the Austrian privacy laws.

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Vancouver Island Historical Censuses

The VIHistory project consists of a collection of statistical databases (in postGres) and an interface which allows searching within each and across the entire collection.

The main technical issues in this project are:
-providing a normalized abstraction for the structure of data across various datasets (censuses, business directories, tax records etc.) while maintaining the original structure in each resource
-providing a user interface which supports the wide range of audiences (academic scholars through members of the public asking geneological questions)
-accommodating new datasets containing new fields in the future

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Victoria's Victoria

The goal of the Victoria's Victoria site is to host student microhistory projects created as part of a history course. HCMC provided templates for students to use, and designed the overall hosting site and infrastructure to allow for indefinite additions of new projects.

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