Miranda (digital asset platform)
Miranda, the Folger's digital asset platform, will be a free, publicly accessible, and intuitively searchable hub for all the Folger's digital holdings, including but not limited to images, bibliographic records, audio and video recordings, datasets, and transcriptions. Once completed, it will be the foundation for the Folger's future digital projects, and will allow users to manage their own collections, save searches, and download material. Work on the platform began with a 2016 grant from the Mellon Foundation, which founded the construction of the prototype. In September 2017, the Mellon Foundation granted the Folger further funds to support a two-year endeavour to fully build out the site. The platform is named "Miranda" after Prospero's daughter in Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
The Miranda platform has three primary parts: a web interface where users can search for and discover content, a repository for any and all Folger digital assets, and a set of API services that will allow users within and without the Folger to develop digital projects using Miranda's collections.
The prototype, released to the public in November 2017, collects approximately 1,800 records, many of which contain digital media. It currently features a sample of a wide variety of digitized material, including books, realia, prints, manuscripts, drawings, video, and sound recordings. Several of these materials were made available to the public for the first time through Miranda, including:
- Bengali adaptations of Cymbeline, Hamlet, and The Merchant of Venice
- a 1487 hand-colored copy of Dante's Divine Comedy
- a c. 1497 copy of Ortus sanitatis, an early encyclopedia of natural history
- early archival Folger Consort recordings
- a 1908 silent film adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, directed by D.W. Griffith
The Folger partnered with Parsons TKO to develop the site. It is built with open source software and a modular architecture, to ensure that its components are accessible to those interested. During development, search engine optimization (SEO) was woven into the interface to improve collection discoverability. The URL structure of the full platform will be both machine- and human-readable to ensure efficient and creative searching. The platform will feature a WordPress plugin that will allow other institutions to easily feature Miranda materials on their WordPress sites. Miranda will adhere to the standards of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), a community of the world's leading research libraries and digital image repositories that works to make digital media more widely available and interoperable. Finally, the platform will make possible a variety of micro-exhibitions that will feature new connections between items in the Folger's collections and those of other institutions. The micro-exhibitions feature will buttress current and ongoing Folger initiatives like Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures.
In conjunction with the 2016 Mellon prototype grant, the Folger and the Bodleian Libraries convened Digitizing the Stage: Rethinking the Early Modern Theatre Archive from July 10-12, 2017. The conference brought together attendees from a variety of genres, disciplines, and time periods to think about the future of early modern archives. The conference was organized by the Center for Digital Scholarship, the Folger, and Professor Tiffany Stern, Royal Holloway, University of London.
In conjunction with the 2017 full build Mellon grant, the Folger will host a workshop, Digital Rough Magic, to consider how the platform will serve as a model for early modern research, education, and exploration.
The Mellon Foundation grants have also supported the development of partnerships with cultural institutions around the world. To date, the Folger has connected with the School for Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University in Kolkata and the Medici Archive Project. Miranda's digital exhibition capabilities will be inaugurated through collaborations with these two institutions. Alongside Jadavpur University, the Folger will curate an exhibition on the rich history of Shakespearean performance on the Indian subcontinent. With the Medici Archive project, the Folger will produce an exhibition on commercial and information exchanges between Italy and England in the seventeenth century.
- Eric Johnson, Director of Digital Access
- Gabrielle Linnell, Digital Projects Manager
- Michael Poston, Data Architect
- Stacey Redick, Digital Strategist
- Meaghan Brown, Digital Production Editor
- Erin Blake, Head of Collection Information Services
- Emily Wahl, Metadata Specialist
- Sarah Hovde, Cataloger
- Sophie Byvik, Digital Projects Associate
- Alan Galey, Associate Professor and Director, Collaborative Specialization in Book History & Print Culture, University of Toronto
- Barry Houlihan, Archivist, NUI-Galway
- Erin McCarthy, Postdoctoral Researcher, Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI-Galway
- Elizabeth Grumbach, Nexus Lab Project Manager, Arizona State University
- Paul Taylor, Head of Collections & Interim Director of Cultural Engagement, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust