Visualizing The Roman de la Rose Digital Library

Visualizing The Roman de la Rose Digital Library

I am working on collecting data and creating visualizations of the Roman de la Rose Digital Library, a joint venture from Johns Hopkins and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Below is the abstract I submitted to will be presenting at Kalamazoo 2016, along with a few early screenshots of the work.

The Roman de la Rose Digital Library has contributed enormously to the study of the classic work by providing access to 146 digitized manuscripts, rich hyperlinked exploration, and searching features. While there are several established methods for exploring the digitized corpus of the Roman, whether by browsing manuscript illuminations or using the hyperlinked exploration features, I propose to make the corpus more accessible to scholars and students with interactive visualizations of trends across the corpus. In collaboration with Michigan State University’s Digital Library Programmer, I am using disparate datasets from within the Digital Library to showcase the collection in a number of new ways, including:

  1. mapping the corpus of extant manuscripts and providing filtering features based on codicological information for each digitized surrogate;
  2. network analysis of illustration patterns;
  3. and, creating an interactive visualization of the full dataset.

These methods of displaying the information already assembled in the Digital Library will provide new avenues into the material and (may) expose patterns yet unseen.

Below are a couple of early forays into visualizing the data. At the moment, Google Maps and Palladio have been used. We hope to use d3.js in the longer term to create interactive visualizations. The Google Map can be accessed here. (Click on the images to see them much larger and more legible.)

The collection of digitized manuscripts in the Library, color coded by number of illustrations.


The collection of digitized manuscripts color coded by start date range.


Collection of digitized manuscripts showing the relationship between lines per column in a manuscript and the number of illustrations in a manuscript, along with a timespan visualization.

I look forward to working with the great folks at the Roman de la Rose Digital Library to share and enhance their collections’ use.


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