Modelling and Prototyping

1. Group Members
2. Partners
3. Prototypes and Publications
4. Activities

At the inception of INKE, 4 foundational research areas were established to examine and explore electronic textuality: Information Management (IM), Interface Design (ID), Textual Studies (TS), and User Experience (UX). These areas were later joined by Modelling & Prototyping (M&P).

Modelling & Prototyping’s mandate was to extend beyond the features of print-based communicative models through testing and prototyping research projects in digital environments.

INKE’S Modelling & Prototyping group responded to and reflected on secondary scholarship by modelling and building tools. Primarily, this occured through developing projects and output that hybridize tools with monograph- or article­based ideas of scholarly reporting. Modelling & Prototyping reflected on 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 can 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.

Select Research Questions:

  1. Can monographs and journals continue to exist as separate entities in networked, digital space? If so, how must they evolve beyond their relatively static, closed-access, non-narrative traditions?
  2. How well can long-form arguments be carried by digital forms?
  3. What potential relationships can be explored between procedurality/process, argument, pattern and narrativity in digitally-situated secondary scholarship practices?
  4. What are the implications and impact of real-time data streams in relation to traditionally static knowledge objects (i.e. monographs and journals)?
  5. Are journals and monographs examples of social media?  If so, what elements of these traditional modes of scholarly communication can be amplified and extended in the digital frame?  If not, how can these be adapted to harness and benefit from the power of linked communities and data?
  6. How can the idea of mapping or cartography be applied to the processes relating to traditional (print) and emerging (digital) models of secondary scholarship and argumentation?
  7.  In emergent games, player agency is paramount and the gamespace—though loosely framed by particular rules and systems— becomes a possibility space (rather than a space within which players activate limited, pre-rendered destinies crafted by game designers). Can this idea be used to conceptualize arenas of secondary scholarship (and to encourage particular models and prototypes)?

Group Members

  • Leads: Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan) and Jon Saklofske (Acadia U)
  • Researchers: Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan), Jon Saklofske (Acadia U), Jentery Sayers (U Victoria), Susan Brown (U Guelph U), Bill Bowen (U Toronto), Constance Crompton (UBC), Stephen Ross (U Victoria)
  • Collaborative researchers involved on a consultative basis: Matthew Hiebert (Past: Harvey Quamen, Stan Ruecker, Stéfan Sinclair, Brent Nelson, Ray Siemens, Lisa Goddard, and Scott Schofield)
  • Graduate Research Assistants: Amy Robinson, Nadine Adelaar, Nina Belojevic, Ian Brunton, Alex Christie, Adam Foster, Federica Gianelli, Jade McDougall, Marc Muschler, and Ben Neudorf (Past: Jake Bruce, Mandy Elliott, Michael Horacki, Lisa Goddard, Stephen MacNeil, Daniel Powell, and Sonja Sapach)
  • Post-doctoral Fellows: John Simpson (U Alberta)
  • Programmers: Ian Brunton and Xiaohan Zhang


  • Primary partners: Orlando/CWRC/Text Mining and Visualization for Digital Literary History (Susan Brown), Modernist Versions Project (Stephen Ross), Iter (Bill Bowen)
  • Partners to be consulted: University of Alberta Libraries/University of Alberta Press

Prototypes and Publications

Select Publications:

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.

Activities 2009 – 2014

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 will continue 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.