Tag Archives: xml

Text Encoding

This is a republishing of an article I wrote for the Strange Bedfellows project.  The original url is here.

I was recently working with an academic project housed at the University of Toronto called Records of Early English Drama, or REED.  REED has been around for a long time, since 1975, and has previously disseminated its work through print volumes.  It has just begun the process of exploring and expanded its work into the digital realm.  I feel like this is a situation that many long-standing research projects are in right now.  Print has become second class in terms of favorability compared to the digital yet printed volumes are both what hold the project’s existing work and what the project is familiar with doing.  In this case, there is a simultaneous need to “re-publish” past volumes and publish new research in a digital format.

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There is Nothing Either Good or Bad, But Thinking Makes it So

I have recently been working on an extension to shakesbook.org that employs Ajax to retrieve a file of Shakespeare’s plays from the server.  This is similar in theory to the Simile timeline I used before and also akin because of my use of a JSON data format.  I am hoping to apply a JSON data structure to complete works of literature instead of using XML.  Jon Bosak organized Shakespeare’s works into XML as early as 1996, the files here are from 1999, but from what I can tell no one has tried to place the plays into JSON.  I wish to return to this, instead of leaving it settled in XML, for several reasons.  For one, JSON is arguably more easily readable [1] by humans and computers and JSON has familial ties to Java/JavaScript, which is the language I can work in best.   JSON also takes up much less space than XML [2] which means faster communication between the server and the webpage.  These reasons together made me choose to remake Shakespeare’s works, however my acquaintance with both the plays and the data format did not result in a quicker solution; instead I inadvertently arrived at larger questions of meaning in these plays.

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Filed under Addressability, Shakespeare