As the fall semester winds down and we approach the winter break, we are looking ahead to what the spring semester holds in store for Civil War Washington. For the first time since being awarded our NEH Collaborative Research Grant in 2010, we will be making significant new content available on our project website, following on hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes work. We are excited to make this new content available to the public, and users will also benefit from increased functionality of our site.
In the near future, we will launch an expanded and improved Map section. Featuring nearly twenty layers of mapped features and two historical base maps, the revamped project GIS will allow users to select layers, study changes over time, and locate addresses. In addition, the interface enables users to draw on the maps, measure distances, and print customized maps.
The Data section of Civil War Washington will soon look remarkably different as well. Users will have direct access to the newly designed project relational database, with more than 3,000 records of people and nearly 400 places, in addition to hundreds of records for events, organizations, and documents (see below for sample image). The database also documents relationships across the full range of categories, so that an object of one type can be linked to an object of any other type.
The first half of 2012 should also see hundreds of new texts added to the site, including encoded transcriptions of the petitions for compensated emancipation. We are also taking a different approach to presenting cases from the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, and we will begin presenting the cases in their new format soon. Each case will be presented individually, with easy access to other cases that treat the same kinds of diseases and wounds. Along with an HTML view of each case and petition rendered in the browser, we will make available the TEI-encoded XML for individual documents. In addition, users will be able to download corpus files that include the XML of all cases and all petitions. Indeed, throughout the site, users will have access to our presentation of the material and to the files from which our website is generated, including a complete dump of all data from our relational database and project GIS files made available as both shapefiles and KML.
Look for other changes and additions to the site in 2012 as well. If you have comments or suggestions for Civil War Washington, please send them to us.