January 17, 2022

Digital Humanities: A Look at the TAPAS Project (TEI Archiving, Pub­lishing, and Access Services)

From News@Northeastern:

Researchers are increas­ingly seeing the value of dig­i­tizing old man­u­scripts, texts, and other doc­u­ments. By poring through these dig­i­tally archived records using advanced visu­al­iza­tion and data mining tech­niques, scholars can create new teaching tools and develop research projects that reveal fas­ci­nating insights into cul­ture, his­tory, sci­ence, health trends, you name it.

A founding tool of such work is the Text Encoding Ini­tia­tive, which estab­lishes lan­guage and guide­lines for dig­i­tizing and curating schol­arly data. Yet while text encoding allows for pub­lishing, pre­serving, and sharing this infor­ma­tion, many poten­tial users—including scholars, archivists, librar­ians, teachers, and students—lack access to and under­standing of TEI resources.

That’s why a team of dig­ital human­i­ties experts at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, Wheaton Col­lege, Brown Uni­ver­sity, and other insti­tu­tions is devel­oping a project known as TAPAS. The project—which stands for TEI Archiving, Pub­lishing, and Access Service—will pro­vide low-​​cost pub­lishing and storage ser­vices for users at all levels and fields to create, curate, and share high-​​quality data using open-​​source tools. Funded by the National Endow­ment for the Human­i­ties and the Insti­tute of Museum and Library Ser­vices since 2008, the project is sched­uled to launch in fall 2014.


TAPAS began as a multi-​​university ini­tia­tive and is now fully housed at and run by North­eastern. The first phase of the project dates back to 2009, when col­lab­o­ra­tors began plan­ning and laying the ground­work for how the ser­vice would be struc­tured and imple­mented. In the fol­lowing years, the team col­lected dig­ital projects to begin testing the site and devel­oped a first working ver­sion of the ser­vice. Now in Phase III, the team is fur­ther refining TAPAS and working to ensure its long-​​term sus­tain­ability after its launch this fall.

Direct to TAPAS Website

See Also: New TAPAS NEH Award (May 27, 2014)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.