Hello! I’m an RA at Ryerson University’s Centre for Digital Humanities. Most of my work revolves around The Yellow Nineties Online, an open-access catalogue of the avante-garde magazine The Yellow Book (and other contemporary publications). These periodicals provide a unique look into the lives of an influential group of artists and writers that assembled in London near the end of the century. Most of my work involves coding documents to ensure the online catalogue is easily searchable and remains true to the source material. This means that my interactions with The Yellow Book are normally scattered across a range of devices, interfaces, and file formats (mostly xml, html, and pdf). Working with these complex, multi-layered documents, one can’t help but develop a renewed sensitivity to the movements of remediation that are so essential to digital publishing. Even as DH researchers it’s all too easy to lose track of just how much of our time is spent translating and transplanting – remediation is the water we swim in! But these processes are front and center at The Yellow Nineties Online, where it’s all about living up to the innovative publishing spirit of the 1890s. Once a handsome hardcover to be taken in hand, The Yellow Book I work with today is a nebulous collection of data sets that dart from server to server and billow in the cloud.
At the close of Henry James’ “The Death of the Lion,” which opens the first volume of The Yellow Book, the protagonist is entreated to publish an unfinished manuscript, to “Print it as it stands—beautifully.”
How better to articulate the challenge—at once so daunting and so exhilarating—that faces contemporary digital publishers?