This paper aims to take seriously the import accorded to the interface within the digital humanities. It will probe some of the possibilities and limits of the computer interface as a reading and research tool by unpacking theoretical and practical aspects of interface design.
The authors wanted to see if they could design a tool that would meet three interrelated goals: the first was to develop a digital tool that would enable scholarship rather than mere publishing. Next, they wanted to build an interface that would acknowledge the situatedness of reading and meaning-making practices.
The research-oriented design approach to interface design has shown us how valuable it is to combine research and practice when thinking through issues in the digital humanities. Engaging in such a design project provides the unique opportunity to bring together theoretical concepts relating interface design with robust tools like XML mark-up and Drupal modules.
There is literature on the subject of transformation of print documents to electronic text (Hayles, 2003) and the representation of text within a computer (Sperberg-McQueen, 1991); this project attempts to build a prototype of what these theories might look like.
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