From Omeka to EMAN
EMAN is a tool for digital publishing with a view to disseminating and analysing manuscripts and modern archival material. To avoid heavy development procedures and random maintaining, we have chosen not to develop an ad-hoc and ex-nihilo tool. Instead, we have opted for the open software Omeka, a favourite amongst Humanities researchers and scholars as a tool to enhance the value of corpuses and scientific archives. It answers to the imperative needs of data conservation and interoperability. On our Omeka-based platfom EMAN, editorial devices and navigation interface have been improved by a number of specific developments meant to adapt to the documentary and the scientific handling of manuscripts and modern archival material: with this project, we are actually building a model for digital publishing.
This model is disseminated to all the projects of the platform. Each project can adapt it to best suit the specific needs of its corpus or serve the targeted outcome of its studies. The model combines a theme and a specific EMAN plug-in, which collects all the alterations and additions that have operated from the core of the Omeka software, without any change to the latter. Hence, any new development implemented in the form of plug-ins is shared amongst the Omeka community via a GitHub page. Seven plug-ins have been shared so far, and a few more are announced: transcription, data visualition and multilingualism plug-ins.
The Editorial Model of the EMAN Platform
The editorial model consists in a structuring of the data in collections and subcollections, with Dublin Core descriptions and custom metadata, tools for virtual exhibitions and transcription in EDP format, as well as tools for importing and exporting batches or complete corpuses in CSV or XML format. Improvements can be developed, depending on the priorities defined by the steering committee. The model is put to the test at workshops and study days. All emendations and operations are saved on a collaborative storage device, and an online research logbook disseminates information about any editorial and scientific activities produced from the platform.
EMAN : a Collective Publishing Platform
To date (March 2019), our platform gathers 29 diverse projects, ranging from the digital edition of Thresor de la Renaissance, newspaper and magazine archives, the course notes of the ENS [Ecole Normale Supérieure], the genetic sources of the opera or of comic books, to the genetic edition of a tale by Paul Valéry, the autobiography of Vittorio Alfieri, the letters of Gaspard Monge, the correspondence of Emile Zola and the genetic edition of nineteenth century French-Chinese dictionaries, to name but a few.
The projected editions range from “microeditions” (not necessarily genetic) of very limited corpuses to the edition of important batches of varied documents, with or without their transcription. It covers an extended period of time, from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century; numerous languages are represented in the scanned and edited documents; the media used are also of different types, ranging from handwritten manuscripts to video recordings.
EMAN : a Platform in Progress
The EMAN platform is directed by a steering committee composed of representatives of each project, who de facto take part in the construction of the platform. Our on-going projects include: a/ a new version of our transcription tool for sharing with the scientific community and for the making of TEI compatible documents; b/ a visualisation tool to display as graphs the relationships between the documents; c/ a tool for the multilingual edition of corpuses written in several languages