Skip to main content

A new research tool for Melville lovers: Melville’s Marginalia Online

Steven Olsen-Smith

Melville’s Marginalia Online, a project directed by Steven Olsen-Smith, a professor in the Department of English, offers an array of data visualization tools for scholars, researchers, and readers.

Melville’s Marginalia Online is a virtual archive and electronic edition of the handwritten notes and markings in books read by American author Herman Melville. Melville’s Marginalia Online also tracks and documents the discovery of volumes from Melville’s library, which was dispersed after his death in 1891. Scholars and students of literature will be able to gain insights about influences on Melville including the works of Homer, Shakespeare, and Melville’s friend and fellow writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Herman Melville

The site will allow researchers to generate dynamic word clouds, high-frequency term tables, and other visual aids.

The site’s new functionality was achieved in part through an integrated adoption of Voyant Tools, a digital humanities data analysis resource. Grants from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Boise State, and private donations supported the project.