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· Listserve, alerting subscribers to new research and developments (i.e., like the listserve for
emblem studies now run by David Graham at the Memorial University of Newfoundland)
· Announcements about conferences, sessions at conferences, new publications, reviews,
CFPs, i.e., an electronic newsletter
· Information about the Society for Emblem Studies
· List of scholars/research interests, such as for the Sixteenth Century Journal's directory
SEMS, Scholars of Early Modern Europe
· Links to pertinent professional organizations, such as the Renaissance Society of America
· The digitized collection of a particular institution or a digitized book
Such an emblem site's usefulness is apparent, and is already present to varying degrees on
some of our existing emblem websites. In some exemplary cases, enriched texts are presented
on these sites.
D e e p Po r t a l s
A more sophisticated level of emblem portal, a so-called "deep portal," enables an entirely dif-
ferent level of research and access to sources, and is the type I first mentioned in Glasgow in 2001
and which emblem colleagues discussed in La Coruņa.
A deep emblem portal will accomplish the following:
· Integrate access to a number of emblem digitization projects hosted on servers world-wide
· Provide search capabilities across remote corpora of data
· Allow the user to integrate the results of that search
· Customize both the search and the search results
· Permit the user to manipulate data, for example, to save hit lists and search histories, down-
load images for research purposes
Searching across databases is a defining feature of the deep emblem portal.
D e f i n i t i o n o f a n E m b l e m Po r t a l
Relying on Mary Jackson's article "The Advent of Portals" published in the Library Journal,
17
I would like to define an emblem portal as a site which allows keyword searching across databas-
es and supports controlled vocabulary and thesauri.The deep emblem portal must provide more
than sophisticated search capabilities and also allow users to capture and manipulate data for
research purposes.
18
Ideally, it will enhance the users' ability to consult with other emblem schol-
ars and support the exchange of scholarly research.
Th e E m b l e m Po r t a l : P ra c t i c a l I s s u e s
While an emblem portal presenting all of our data could be hosted and maintained by a sin-
gle institution, there are numerous practical obstacles to this approach, primarily that of funding
and proprietary issues of the websites. All of the emblem projects represented here - American,
Canadian, Scottish, German, Spanish, and Dutch
19
- have struggled for years to garner the sub-
stantial funding necessary to such ambitious research projects.
20
While much lip service is paid to
the idea of computing and the humanities, our projects have consistently met with a profound
lack of understanding by funding agencies, sometimes including our own universities and other
funding organizations.While we are developing best practices and international standards for text
17
Mary Jackson,"The Advent of
Portals," Library Journal (2002).
See http: //libraryjournal.reviews
news.com.
18
See the paper by Peter Boot in
the present volume of DigiCULT.
19
Links to these emblem websites
are provided at: http://images.
library.uiuc.edu/projects/emblems/
others.html.
20
Peter Daly's assertion that "[i]n
itself the digitizing of the pages of
emblem books is neither a great
mystery, nor a hugely expensive
undertaking...", woefully underrates
the labor involved in creating an
authoritative emblem website with
even the most minimal functionality.
While he makes the important dif-
ference between "Digitization as
Preservation" and "Digitization as
Enrichment," his basic assumptions
show a profound lack of understand-
ing of his subject. See note 14, Daly,
8-11.While it is true that scanning a
few pages from a book and mount-
ing them on the Web is not particu-
larly difficult, he does not address
even the most minimal issues crucial
to an authoritative website, such as
managing the emblems presented on
the site and presenting them to users.
He does not address metadata,
searchability, thesauri, open standards,
interoperability, site maintenance, and
migration of data, to name but a few
of the issues critical to such databases
and Web projects.
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