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Digital Projects

The Walter J. Ong, S.J., Center for Digital Humanities collaborates with Saint Louis University faculty and students, scholars at other universities, and local community groups, to develop digital humanities projects.

If you have a humanities project you would like to bring into the digital environment or a project that might benefit from a digital humanities approach, please contact us.

The Center has already built and continues to build pedagogical tools for paleography in several languages and is developing coursework and resources at SLU to train the next generation of humanities scholars.

Broken Books

Broken Books is a web-based application that allows for the digital reconstruction of dismembered books that, at some time in their history, were taken apart, "broken" into pieces and dispersed. Broken Books enables a project administrator to collect, organize, and order digital images and related metadata to virtually reconstruct the original codex. It also permits users to make crowd-sourced contributions of images, information, and descriptive metadata, to a project.

The test-case manuscript for the Broken Books project was the Llangattock Breviary, a lavishly decorated illuminated manuscript made in the fifteenth century. Deriving its nickname from a later owner, John Allan Rolls, the 1st Baron Llangattock, the Breviary was sold at Christie's, London in 1958. After the sale, this manuscript was broken apart and many of the separated leaves were sold on the American market by Goodspeeds, a book dealer from Boston. Saint Louis University owns seven leaves from this manuscript.

Working with collaborative partners, including many members of Digital Scriptorium, digital images of this book's leaves have been collected from institutions and private collections all over the world, including Harvard, U.C. Berkeley, the American Academy in Rome, University of South Carolina, Michigan State, The University of Washington in Seattle, Dartmouth, the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, the Louvre Museum, the Royal Library in Copenhagen and the Museo Schifanoia in Ferrara.


DigiSig is a digital resource for the study of sigillography, particularly medieval seals from the British Isles. Hundreds of thousands of seals survive from medieval Europe, and they provide unique and important information. A seal is "a mark of authority or ownership, pressed in relief upon a plastic material by the impact of a matrix or die-engraved intaglio." Men and women from all levels of society used seals to validate documents, but also to make statements about their family connections, social aspirations and personal values. Seals incorporate both text and images so they are powerful tools of communication and expression. In a period starved of evidence concerning the individual, seals offer insight into identity, and expose regional and local cultural variations.

Developed by the associate director of the Ong Center, John McEwan, DigiSig aims to foster sigillographic research by linking and matching sigillographic datasets and making that information available. DigiSig brings together a number of major datasets, produced by the archives, museums and the higher education sectors, that are publicly accessible and used extensively by the public and academic researchers. These datasets have been reconfigured, enhanced and integrated, so that they can be searched in concert, and photographs added, where available. The system enables users to access sigillographic information in traditional ways, but in a novel format.


RERUM provides digital humanities software solutions for increased interoperability and
access. RERUM tools and services are designed to ensure free and open sharing of data. The RERUM space already provides a free and open annotation store to support the open democratisation of the IIIF standard as a working platform for scholarship and research.

Other tools include Manifest creator, Transcription reader, Manifest editor and a variety of IIIF community-developed tools. RERUM is being built to be a creative suite of research tools to allow any scholar or researcher to assemble, manipulate and publish through the IIIF material making their work more discoverable and useable by other scholars all while building on the attribution and citation model inherent in the standard to allow users to know who the work originated from and contribute to it.

The latest addition had been the LDN Toolbox which facilitates better discovery, an open feedback loop, and the constant enhancement of scholarly resources.


T-PEN is an online transcription environment for use with digitized images of texts in many forms, from personal letters to charters to manuscripts. T-PEN has recently enabled "Right Left" text and supports XML encoding as well as a number of dedicated transcription tools and resources. It uses the IIIF standard to create line-by-line transcriptions of texts with the freedom to upload and transcribe their images.T-PEN is currently on version 2.8 and 3.0 is under development. This project was made possible by generous funding from the NEH and the Mellon Foundation.


Tradamus is a web-based application made to assist scholars in the creation and publication of scholarly digital editions. It builds upon the successful transcription tool, T-PEN, and provides tools for use in the five main editing methods used in the scholarly editing of pre-modern texts. It permits scholars to create transcriptions on the fly, import existing transcriptions of manuscripts, collate those witnesses, create an apparatus criticus or other apparatus, attach annotations or commentary (and even translations) to the edition, and assist in the proofreading of the final product.

The publishing component supports static e-editions for both e-readers and web pages, enable dynamic web-based editions and serialization of the edition, and assist in peer review of print publications.