1. Active Group Members
2. Activities & Objectives
3. M&P Prototypes & Publications
5. M&P Activities

Development, 2016+

The Development cluster develops speculative and innovative models and prototypes for online, multimodal knowledge environments in order to challenge, interpret, extend and reflect on contemporary reading, writing, and researching practices. Development designs, produces, and assesses experimental interface environments to extend current modes of knowledge production and mobilization by engaging humanities practices more broadly. This cluster uses academic prototyping, creativity and play, game-based approaches, critical design, and flexible development methodology in order to develop prototypes and platforms for knowledge environments, based on adaptability and shared components, thereby creating alternative models for digital scholarly communication.

Development asks: how can we create and share knowledge—as well as enrich and extend teaching, learning, and research—using creative and critical strategies beyond the standard modes of academic publishing and conferencing? Further, what communicative possibilities emerge from critical attention to the material form and design of an interface and the manipulation of the temporal, contextual, or even performative aspects of the situated understanding it supports? This cluster builds on the previous foundations of the INKE Modelling & Prototyping (M&P) and Interface Design (ID) teams (see below).

Active Group Members

  • Co-leads: Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan), Jon Saklofske (Acadia U), & Stan Ruecker (IIT Institute of Design)
  • Members: Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan), Bill Bowen (U Toronto-Scarborough, Iter), Susan Brown (U Guelph, CWRC), Colette Colligan (SFU), Constance Crompton (UBC-Okanagan, Humanities Data Lab, DHSI), Teresa Dobson (UBC), Michelle Levy (SFU), Aaron Mauro (Penn State Eerie, Behrend College), Brent Nelson (U Saskatchewan), Daniel Powell (King’s College London), Milena Radzikowska (Mount Royal U), Jennifer Roberts-Smith (U Waterloo), Geoffrey Rockwell (U Alberta), Stephen Ross (U Victoria), Stan Ruecker (IIT Institute of Design), Jon Saklofske (Acadia U), Michael Sinatra (U Montreal), Stéfan Sinclair (McGill U), Christian Vandendorpe (U Ottawa).
  • Graduate Research Assistants: Nadine Adelaar, Ian Brunton, Andrea Budac, Alex Christie, Federica Gianelli, Tianyi Li,  Andrew Macdonald, Jade McDougall,Piotr Michura, Ben Neudorf, Zach Palmer, Ernesto Peña, Amy Robinson,
  • Programmers: Ian Brunton and Xiaohan Zhang

Activities & Objectives

  •  improving open analysis of and access to online cultural resources (including academic publications) by improving existing systems to include a standard set of open, accessible, distributed analytical and data-mining tools, for academic, academic-aligned, and public audiences
  • facilitating specialist-to-specialist communications in spaces that integrate meaningful public involvement by adapting / building an information and exchange commons for academics and area specialists that has a public face
  • enriching the value of existing and developing resources by using technologies associated with linked-open data and extant large bibliographic resources for public access and consumption
  • enabling experts and lay-persons to generate insight by increasing access to and search, browsing, and manipulation of information in existing online government, cultural, and academic resources
  • co-developing nuanced, responsive interfaces for large datasets with partners
  • empowering citizens by offering alternative strategies for exploring data, including by refiguring accepted practices of online interaction and employing experimental perceptual filtering techniques to big public data
  • engaging users by developing open social scholarship systems that acknowledge the effects of context—temporal, situational, or positional—on understanding and knowledge consumption and creation

Development Prototypes and Publications

Modelling & Prototyping-developed

Modelling & Prototyping responded to and reflected on secondary scholarship by modelling and building tools. Primarily, this occurred through developing projects and output that hybridized tools with monograph- or article­-based ideas of scholarly reporting. Modelling & Prototyping re-considered the form and content of current options for secondary scholarship distribution, but also—in the spirit of Implementing New Knowledge Environments—explored how those options could be expanded upon and pluralized through imaginative and combinative work that thinks and argues through tool building. In addition, this group’s models and prototypes self-reflexively engaged with the ways that the traditional politics of scholarly discourse are extended, ignored, or challenged by existing digital humanities initiatives, tools, and environments.

Modelling & Prototyping worked predominantly with the following partners: Orlando/CWRC/Text Mining and Visualization for Digital Literary History (Susan Brown), Modernist Versions Project (Stephen Ross), Iter (Bill Bowen); and consulted with University of Alberta Libraries/University of Alberta Press.

New Picture (4)






Select Publications:

  • Brown, Susan, with Stan Ruecker, Jeffery Antoniuk, Sharon Farnel, Matt Gooding, Stéfan Sinclair, Matt Patey, and Sandra Gabriele. “Reading Orlando with the Mandala Browser: A Case Study in Algorithmic Criticism via Experimental Visualization.” Digital Studies/Le Champ Numérique 2.1 (2010).
  • Galey, Alan, Jon Bath, Rebecca Niles, Richard Cunningham, and the INKE team. “Imagining the Architectures of the Book: Textual Scholarship and the Digital Book Arts.” Textual Cultures. 7.2 (2012): 20-42.
  • Nelson, Brent, Jon Bath, Robert Imes and the INKE team. “Small Books, Small Screens: From the Phylactery to the Cellphone.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada. 51.1 (2013).
  • Nelson, Brent, Jon Bath, and the INKE Research Group. “Old Ways for Linking Texts in the Digital Reading Environment: The Case of the Thompson Chain Reference Bible.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. 6.2 (2012).
  • Saklofske, Jon. “NewRadial: Re-visualizing the Blake Archive.” Poetess Archive Journal 2.1 (2010).
  • Saklofske, Jon, and the INKE team. “Fluid Layering: Reimagining Digital Literary Archives through Dynamic, User-generated Content.” Scholarly Research Communication. 3.4 (2012).
  • Siemens, Ray, with Meagan Timney, Cara Leitch, Corina Koolen, and Alex Garnett, and with the ETCL, INKE, and PKP Research Groups. “Toward Modeling the Social Edition: An Approach to Understanding the Electronic Scholarly Edition in the Context of New and Emerging Social Media.” Literary and Linguistic Computing. 27.4 (2012): 445-61.

Presented at the annual Digital Humanities conference (DH2013). Lincoln, Nebraska. 16-19 July 2013.

  • Saklofske, Jon, Jake Bruce, and the INKE M&P team. “The INKE NewRadial Prototype: Evolving the Space and Nature of Digital Scholarly Editions.” Poster Presentation.
  • Saklofske, Jon, and the INKE M&P team. “Centre and Circumference: Modeling and Prototyping Digital Knowledge Environments as Social Sandboxes.” Long Paper Presentation.
  • Sayers, Jentery, Susan Schreibman, Matthew Huculak, Dean Irvine, Stephen Ross, and the INKE M&P / MVP Team. “Versioning Modernist Texts: A Survey of Existing Tools for Collation and Visualization.” Short Paper presentation.
  • Simpson, John, Susan Brown, Lisa Goddard, and the INKE M&P team.“A Humanist Perspective on Building Ontologies in Theory and Practice.” Long Paper presentation.
  • Simpson, John, Geoffrey Rockwell, Stéfan Sinclair, Kirsten Uszkalo, Susan Brown, Amy Dyrbye, Ryan Chartier, and the INKE M&P team. “Analysis of Text Mining Tools for Digital Humanists.” Poster Presentation.

Presented at the annual Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN) conference (at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2013). Victoria, BC. 3-5 June 2013.

  • Horacki, Michael, Jon Bath and the INKE M&P team.“Prosopography and the Limits of Big Data.” Paper Presentation.
  • Saklofske, Jon, and the INKE M&P team. “Terra Incognita: Modelling digital scholarly editing as a form of hyperreal cartography.” Paper Presentation.
  • Sayers, Jentery, Stephen Ross, Adèle Barclay, Alex Christie, and the INKE M&P / MVP Team. “A Linked Open Data Approach to the Study of Global Modernism.” Paper Presentation.
  • Simpson, John, Geoffrey Rockwell, Stefán Sinclair, Amy Dyrbye, Ryan Chartier, Milena Radikowska, and Rebekah Wilson. “Just What Do They Do? On the Use of Text Analysis in the Humanities.”
  • Simpson, John, Jentery Sayers, Susan Brown, Harvey Quamen, Adele Barclay, Alex Christie and the INKE M&P team. “The Key to All Ontologies?: The Long Now of Linked Data.” Paper Presentation.
  • Vavra, William, Jon Bath and the INKE M&P team. “The Engaged Reader Project: Reader-Edited Digital Texts.” Paper Presentation.


  • Sapach, Sonja, Jon Saklofske and the INKE M&P Team. “Gaming the Scholarly Edition: Opening the Private Sphere of Academic Scholarly Editing to Public Apprenticeship via Digital Game Paradigms.” Media in Transition 8. MIT. May 3-5, 2013. Paper Presentation
  • Schofield, Scott, and the INKE Research Group. “ArchBook: A Case for Inherited Innovation.” CABSC/ACEHL2013: University of Victoria. June 4-5, 2013. Paper Presentation.
  • Saklofske, Jon, Jentery Sayers, Alex Christie, Nina Belojevic, and the INKE M&P Team. “Gaming the Edition: Play, Collaboration, and Shared Tacit Knowledge in the Editorial Process.” HASTAC 2013. York University. April 25-28, 2013. Paper Presentation.
  • Sayers, Jentery, Susan Brown, John Simpson, Adèle Barclay, and the INKE M&P Team. “The Key to All Ontologies?: The Long Now of Linked Data.” HASTAC 2013. York University. April 25-28, 2013. Paper Presentation.
  • Schofield, Scott, and the INKE team. “The Uses of a Digital Interleaf.” New Technologies Sessions at the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) Annual Conference. San Diego, California. 6-9 April, 2013. Paper Presentation.

Interface Design-developed

Interface Design methods ranged from user-centred design, where readers were consulted at different stages in the process (but information gleaned from their responses was handled by the designers and programmers before the readers were consulted again), to participatory design, during which the research participants became active collaborators in the evolution of the design, and were among those present in the room while design decisions and programming choices were made. Interface Design developed and tested a series of interface sketches and small prototypes that ultimately converge into a larger working environment, and provide access to test-bed data as well.

  • Workflow for Journal Editors
  • Workflow for Document Production (Orlando data)
  • Glass Cast

Select Publications:

  • Sondheim, Daniel, Geoffrey Rockwell, Mihaela Ilovan, Milena Radzikowska, and Stan Ruecker, and the INKE Research Group. “Interfacing the Collection.” Scholarly and Research Communication 3.1(2012): n.pag.
  • Nelson, Brent, Stan Ruecker, Milena Radzikowska, Stéfan Sinclair, Susan Brown, Mark Bieber, and the INKE Research Group. “A Short History and Demonstration of the Dynamic Table of Contexts.” Paper presented at INKE: Research Foundations for Understanding Books and Reading in a Digital Age: Text and Beyond. November 18, 2011. Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan.
  • Galey, Alan, Stan Ruecker, and the INKE Research Group. “How a Prototype Argues.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 25.3(2010): n.pag.

Modelling & Prototyping Activities 2011 – 2015

Members of the Modelling and Prototyping group were recruited during the summer of 2011 and were given the opportunity to develop the group’s mandate and relationship to the other INKE teams’ research trajectories during the Kyoto Birds of a Feather Conference.

Following that conference, Jon Bath, Jon Saklofske Susan Brown and Jentery Sayers developed a partial year 3 plan which was meant to facilitate the integration of M&P into INKE’s work on the scholarly edition. We began to work towards modelling dynamic editing environments which could be used to engage with and beneficially shape the continuing migration of editorial instruction, production and peer-review into digital environments. Our project plans were motivated by four research questions:

  1. How do we model and enable context, such as prosopography and placeography, within the electronic scholarly edition?
  2. How do we engage knowledge-building communities within the space of the electronic edition, and capture process, dialogue, and connections in and around such editions?
  3. How much can we play with the definition of the “scholarly edition” in the digital environment before that term no longer defines the kinds of work that takes place within that virtual space?
  4. How can the dynamic digital edition enable users to become specialized contributing editors through work on the edition, adjudicated by the software and by an existing editorial community?

We addressed these questions by starting development of an HTML5-based prototype of NewRadial, a web and server- based browsing/annotation tool that would serve as a site for proof of concept argumentation regarding the nature of digital editions (and the incorporation of user-generated content that interacts with the original edition content). The prototype’s front end has been completed, and the server backend is currently being established and tested (as per the adjacent figures).

NewRadial early Java prototype

NewRadial client-side architecture

NewRadial server-side architecture

During year 3, MP researchers delivered three conference papers, two at the Social Sciences and Humanities Congress in Waterloo, Ontario (May 2012) One paper was for CASBC and described the preliminary work being done with our partner, CWRC, toward modelling textual relationships and prototyping a reading environment that leverages RDF. The other paper was for SDH-SEMI and argued that game paradigms lend integrity to social edition processes by providing environment models that could effectively move neophyte editors through the process of increasing their editorial expertise while contributing to actual edition work (see the adjacent figure).

Layered design for “gamed” edition

The third paper was delivered in June 2012 at the Beyond Accessibility conference at the University of Victoria, and not only summarized the ways that early MP initiatives would be extended into year 4’s continued focus on the scholarly edition, but also offered two distinct models for preserving print-based affordances and overcoming constraints in the establishment of dynamic digital editions. The latter two papers will be expanded into article-length papers and submitted for publication before the end of August.

In year 4, M&P continued to approach the digital scholarly edition as a dynamic and social process to extend and implement the versioning, prosopographical and game-related affordances in the prototypes that we began investigating in year three. The NewRadial prototype continued to serve as a site for proof of concept argumentation and was adapted to leverage and output RDF format data and will be tested for compatibility with various databases, including NINES RDF and the ArchBook image repository. Further, the “gaming the edition” work was extended to incorporate the ID team’s Magic Circle and workflow interfaces. We also partnered with CWRC and the University of Alberta Press to investigate the question of how to represent context in the scholarly edition by modeling the interaction between the typically span-oriented semantic markup associated with best practices for digital editions and the traditionally punctive indexing of print-oriented scholarly collections.

In year 5, we continued to focus on the secondary scholarship of monograph and journals and developing new prototypes for the organization and function of secondary scholarship in print and digital forms.

Over the remaining years of the INKE project, the primary responsibility of the MP team will be to design and implement proof-of-concept projects that bring together the theoretical work of the TS team and the interface designs developed by the ID team. MP will further develop the combined ideas of the other two groups by simulating unique models, ideas, arguments, philosophies, and practices in virtual environments.

Interface Design Activities 2008 – 2015

Year 1 goals for the ID team involved experimenting with interdisciplinary citation. We undertook the design of an interface (the Paper Drill) to assist scholars with a common research activity previously identified by the User Experience (UX) team: chaining through citations. In addition, we worked with our partner Synergies on a prototype parser for extracting regularized citation data from PDFs, with the Information Management (IM) team on the design of an application programming interface (API) for exchanging citation information, with UX on the study of how readers and writers interact with different citation styles, and with the Textual Studies (TS) team on an examination of the changes in citation practice between print and digital media. We also produced a paper with TS on the evaluation of interfaces as a form of intellectual argument. We certainly “hit the ground running” after the previous years spent planning and preparing. For the new team members, that meant they quickly became acclimatized to working collaboratively within this new administrative structure; for the members of the other teams, and for our institutional partners, they had the opportunity to see some of their ideas instantiated in ways that could be subjected to testing and analysis. For the larger community, we had a high profile at the major digital humanities conferences, and contributed to a wide range of conversations both nationally and internationally on the future of reading.

Year 2 goals had the ID team pursuing experiments with corpora. For this topic area, we built on what we have called “showcase browsing,” applying rich-prospect approaches. In this context, we worked on the design and prototyping of several projects: the next phase of the Paper Drill, Texttiles, Structured Surfaces, and Bubblelines. In addition, we began work on an interactive alternative to the Paper Drill. We called this prototype “The Article Squid.” In support of these prototypes, we carried out an environmental scan of existing corpora browsing technology and tools, which supported some theoretical treatments of the corpus, and in particular the interface to the corpus, as a scholarly concept. In collaboration with UX, we carried out and reported a comparative study in year 2 of two different prototype implementations of the Bubblelines design. We were not able to integrate in year 2 with IM, but we did continue our involvement with Synergies, and in particular with the Open Journal Systems, as we ran a series of experiments on parsing their PDFs for citation data.

Year 3 goals involved the ID researchers in studying the scholarly edition, which we construed through consultations with TS as a primary document augmented with apparatus to facilitate study. Our year 3 prototypes included the following:

  • the Dynamic Table of Contexts (at the start of the book)
  • dialR for Repetition (in the middle of the book)
  • Embedded text analysis (in the middle of the book)
  • Citation visualization (at the end of the book)

In year 3, we also:

  • produced an experimental rich-prospect showcase browser for the images we have captured throughout the first three years of environmental scans;
  • developed a structured surface for workflow management in the construction of digital publications;
  • carried out an environmental scan & literature review of digital scholarly editions.

In addition, Year 3 was the year when ID absorbed some of the functions and personnel of UX. Our user studies for year 3 focused on the revised Bubblelines visualization tool, the dynamic table of contexts, and the structured surface for workflow management. These systems are finding widespread currency and seem to be generating excitement in the larger community. In particular, following an extensive national consultation process involving half a dozen dedicated workshops with a wide range of humanities scholars, theCanadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) is planning to implement production-quality systems based on all three of these experimental prototypes. In addition, and somewhat serendipitously, the design research community has begun to seriously strengthen their interest and engagement with the digital humanities, in large part through contact with the prototype work being carried out on INKE.

By the end of year 3, we have employed, worked collaboratively with, mentored, designed, planned, implemented, tested, co-presented, and co-authored with a total of 18 graduate students.

We have produced 7 environmental scans and literature reviews, which have led to the design and prototyping of the following 6 experimental systems:

  • The Paper Drill for citation reports based on chaining from a seed article
  • Texttiles for rich-prospect collection browsing
  • Bubblelines for visualization of comparative search results
  • dialR for repetition: an interactive n-gram visualization tool
  • The Dynamic Table of Contexts for rich prospect browsing of monographs using semantic XML
  • Structured surfaces for workflow management (journal editing and digital resource creation)

We have been designing but have not yet prototyped the following 3 experimental systems:

  • Citelens for citation visualization at the end of a monograph
  • The multitouch variorum interface
  • A digital e-reading environment combining multiple text analysis tools

In year 4, we continued our work on the digital scholarly edition, where we made significant progress on a number of experimental prototypes that apply not only to the digital scholarly edition, but also to the digital edition in general–its creation, analysis, and use. In addition, we began planning some experiments with the use of hardware platforms that are alternatives to the mouse, keyboard, and monitor standard platform. For example, we are acquiring a multi-point touch table with which we will experiment with structured surfaces. As case studies, we began using the MLA new variorum edition of A Comedy of Errors as well as some XML-encoded text from Brent Nelson’s John Donne variorium (TS). The extension into a second year on the digital scholarly edition provided us with the opportunity to focus more directly on the “scholarly” aspect of the digital edition, beginning with the use of content related to variora, and extending to thinking in conjunction with M&P on the affordances of the social edition. It also gave us the chance to take further steps toward integration of some of our research trajectories into aggregate systems. Specifically, we combined the e-reader embedded analytics with the reading environment for the dynamic TOC, and the structured surface environment and citelens with the variorum touchscreen.

In year 5, we turned our attention to the topic of secondary literature: the monograph and journals. Working in collaboration with the M&P team and selected industry partners (e.g. U of A Press, CWRC), we leveraged the environments that we aggregated in year 4 by increasing their affordances for use with this new kind of material. Our first testbed was an online collection of conference proceedings.

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