Project Information

Elsa's Doodle on the "Kroo" Poem Manuscript

About Us

This respository was created in fall 2004 by a team of graduate students enrolled in a seminar called "Creating Digital Repositories" at the College of Information Studies (CLIS) at the University of Maryland; the instructor for this course was Dr. Susan Schreibman, then Assistant Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, and currently Assistant Dean of Digital Collections and Research at the Univeristy of Maryland Libraries. "Creating Digital Repositories" introduced students to the theory and practice of creating digital repositories within a library context, and included all phases of digitizing and mounting an online collection. Seven students took part in creating the Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven digital library. Each student encoded a poem, including all variants, in TEI/XML. The group members, both individually and collectively, planned the project, designed the HTML web page, encoded the poems using TEI's Parallel Segmentation encoding, developed the bibliographic metadata for each poem, created documentation for the Web site, provided editing for that documentation, and ensured the digital library's functionality. The students are (in alphabetical order): Jennifer Agresta, Cindy Boeke, Paula Larich, Danielle O'Brien, Scott Prouty, Kenichiro Shimada, and Dan Wendling.

The goal of this repository is to make available poems from the Series III: Manuscripts, Drafts, Notes, and Drawings, 1919 – 1927 and undated (1.75 lin. ft.) section of the University of Maryland Libraries' Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven Special Collection. This series contains manuscripts of literary works by the Baroness and includes hundreds of poems as well as many pages of drafts and notes. Each poem often contains several rewrites under the same title, often with vastly differing texts and numerous handmade corrections. This digital repository currently contains multiple versions of seven digitized poems – cumulatively, 34 poetic documents – as well as corresponding scans of the originals of these documents.

These seven poems were originally analyzed and transcribed by students in Prof. William Sherman's graduate-level English seminar "Literary Research and Critical Contexts" in fall 2003. Secondary material in the repository includes their notes and analyses of the texts, as well as their inventory of the issues they encountered while transcribing the poems. Prof. Sherman deliberately assigned the students poems from the original collection that were "preserved in multiple versions or [that] deployed unusual materials and/or layouts." Therefore, the underlying selection criteria for the seven poems in this digital library are their unique layout and / or large number of versions.

Also included are the students' reflective essays, which come in one large document or in several partial documents and have been converted to HTML. Links to these are provided in each poems' bibliographic information, as well as on the "Poems" browse page. Poems were encoded using TEI; text was parsed using jEdit and displayed via DCR's Versioning Machine software.

It is believed that scholars of a variety of disciplines – including art history, literature, women's studies, American / cultural studies, film, and studio art – are likely to find the repository of interest. Enthusiasm for this collection may also come from those examining the Dada movement.

As it stands now, users may browse the list of seven poems and chose which one(s) to view; the corpus is not currently searchable. If digitization of the corpus were to continue, however, and if the body of work contained within it were to grow, it would be advisable for a site enhancement to include search functionality.