Completed projects

This page catalogs projects that we completed developing and are now maintaining. Projects which we're still developing can be found on the current projects page. If you'd like more information about any of them, please use the contact information on the relevant site, or contact us. We use a blog to document project work. For more on the blog and to see postings on our projects, go to the blogs page.

If you'd like to talk to us about ideas you have for a project, please contact us. For more information on the procedure for getting us involved in your potential project, see the propose a project page.

The projects are organized by category. Click on each category to see a summary and link for each project in that category.

Application programs

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.

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.


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.


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.

Research projects

Diary of Robert Graves

Graves' diary (1935-39) manuscript 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.

Scraps project

The Scraps project has produced a web-based system to mark up and display multi-level digitized artifacts, such as scrapbooks, albums, etc. The Image Markup Tool is used to mark up the digitized images. The Scraps administration program uses the IMT files and other user-supplied data to create a hierarchical structure that is displayed by the Scraps viewer. Users can drill down through the layers of the hierarchy to view embedded objects.
The site includes a demo page and a bit of info and links for demo sites.
You can also take a look at the Scraps development blog.

Early TimesColonist transcripts database

The goal of this project is to take a collection of transcripts of new 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.
You can read the Early TimesColonist transcripts development blog.

Lansdowne lectures video markup

This project 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.

Shifting use of Katakana

This research 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.

Nxaʔamxcín (Moses) dictionary

This 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:

  1. 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.
  2. To serve as a searchable tool for learners, teachers, speakers, and linguists to encourage more active knowledge of the language.
  3. 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.
  4. To serve as a base to which additional language material, including audio and visual material, may be added easily.

Instructional projects

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.

FrancoToile videos database

The purpose of the the Francotoile 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.

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.

Wheelock Latin exercises

This Wheelock site is designed to accompany a standard Latin textbook. It consists of hundreds of web page exercises created with Hot Potatoes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Beginning Indonesian

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

Editing, publishing and utility projects

Administer ACH/ALLC conference

The ACH/ALLC 2005 conference site is one of the more sophisticated we have created. It includes a system for administering the acceptance and review of abstracts submitted for a conference and a system for presenting information about those abstracts in a variety of ways (in the conference schedule, sorted by author, keyword, title etc.) and includes various output options (web page, pdf, xml, plain text). In addition, the collection of abstracts can be treated as a corpus allowing for a range of Humanities Computing queries to be applied (for example searching for patterns in referencing amongst the abstracts). We are using open source xml-based technologies throughout.

Class scheduler (Agenda)

This project 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.