Talk: The Rootmass of the Woodblock

The talk below was given as part of the Early Modern Center's Brownbag Series on November 4, 2011, by Associate Director Carl Stahmer and Project Manager Megan Palmer Browne.

"The Rootmass of the Woodblock: Towards a Rhizomatic Image Cataloguing System"

Palmer Browne's powerpoint presentation from this talk is available here.




The English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA) has long been working to catalogue its many fascinating woodcut illustrations. Traditional cataloguing methods, though useful today and, indeed, necessary in traditional paper-based scholarship, are beginning to seem insufficient to the needs and capabilities of our web-based archive. This talk presents our ongoing development of more rhizomatic cataloguing standards (that is, multiple and root-based rather than hierarchical). It also discusses a project on which we are hoping to embark: developing visual-recognition software to digitally match images and parts of images which will be linked to rich, rhizomatic cataloguing data, giving end users an experience that is both rigorous in a scholarly sense and satisfying in a technological one.