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Todd Thompson (Associate Professor of English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and Jessica Showalter (Information Resources and Services Support Specialist, Penn State Libraries) announce the publication of their small-scale digital edition, “Satire in Circulation: James Russell Lowell’s ‘LETTER FROM A VOLUNTEER IN SALTILLO,’” in Volume 36 of Scholarly Editing. The open access digital edition has an introductory essay as well as an interactive variorum of eight versions of Lowell’s satirical dialect poem, which was written in 1847 to protest the US-Mexico War.


To build the edition, Todd and Jessica participated in a series of TEI workshops led by Dawn Childress (Kalin Librarian for Technological Innovation in the Humanities, Penn State) in spring 2014. Then they used the open source collation tool Juxta Commons to create the raw TEI file for the edition. Finally, they added prefatory material, metadata tags, and annotations. The American Antiquarian Society supported the project with high resolution scans and a remote fellowship that provided access to their databases of digitized newspapers.

Working with Scholarly Editing removed several of the barriers to entry for digital editing. The journal editors developed the user interface for the edition, collaborated with the editors throughout the peer review process, and provided sustainable hosting. Scholarly Editing published not only the essay and the interactive edition but also the XML file; the XML files of previously published editions were a helpful model for Todd and Jessica as they developed their own.


Todd and Jessica will presented their edition at the Digital Antiquarian conference held last month at the American Antiquarian Society, May 29-30, 2015. They continue to work towards an expansion of their initial work into a larger in-context, online edition featuring newspaper and periodical versions of all nine of Lowell’s Biglow poems, which were originally published between 1846-1848 and reprinted widely for the next seventy years.