Project Plan

STAGE 1: Research, Planning, Prototypes*

*Stage one complete except for ongoing items noted in blue.

Initial Planning and Research

Archival Research

Talks and Outreach (ongoing)

  • Invited plenary roundtable presentation, “Seriality” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Conference, May 2018
  • Invited talk: “Digital Dickens Notes: Form and Formation,” Duquesne University Series on Digital Humanities in the 21st Century, March 2017.
  • Invited talk: “Pattern and Process: Charles Dickens’s Working Notes and Serial Form,” University of Pittsburgh Department of English, December 2016
  • Invited talk: Skype visit to Dr. Rachel Buurma’s Victorian Research Seminar at Swarthmore College: lecture and discussion of Charles Dickens’s working notes and the Digital Dickens Notes Project, March 2016.
  • Conference presentation: “Dickens’s Serial Formation,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Conference, Georgia Institute of Technology, April 2015.
  • Invited talk: “The Digital Dickens Notes Project,” Digital Humanities Sandbox Chat Series, Duke University, March 2015.
  • Conference presentation: “Pattern and Process: Seriality in Dickens’s Working Notes and the Digital Dickens Notes Project,” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, Western University, Canada, November 2014.

Our Mutual Friend Prototypes

  • Purchase Images for the Our Mutual Friend working note manuscripts from the Pierpont Morgan Library for inclusion in prototypes. With thanks to the Duquesne University’s NEH Endowment.
  • In talks with National Art Library about pricing and rights for notes to Bleak House and Little Dorrit for stage 2 and the remainder of the notes for stage 3 using Wimmer Family Foundation Funds granted by Duquesne University (In progress.)
  • Create Prototypes using Our Mutual Friend notes and open-source software for publication on

1. The Versioning Machine
2. Juxta Editions
3. Visual Prototype: FooGallery ZOOM
4. Hypothesis (in progress)

Research Software Options

Discussions with Performant Software Solutions, the creators of TextLab and Juxta Editions, about possible software development options. Research comparable projects, platforms, and critical approaches. Examples include:


  • Juxta Editions: professional editing suite for creating digital scholarly editions (currently in use in the Our Mutual Friend prototype, created by Performant Software Solutions)
  • TextLab: digital tool “for transcribing and collating manuscript and print texts of works in revision. It enables editors to mark-up revision sites directly on images of texts and associate those sites with TEI-encoded transcriptions of revisions” (created by Performant Software Solutions)
  • Edition Visualization Technology (EVT): Open-source tool for creating “web-based diplomatic and/or interpretive editions starting from XML TEI-encoded documents.
  • Hypothesis integration: Annotation tool to allow integration of editorial notes by the DDNP editor(s) as well as potential pedagogical resources to allow for group/class annotation of a set of the working notes.

Inspirational Projects:

  • The Shelley-Godwin Archive – in the process of digitizing manuscripts of the Shelleys, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Clear, attractive, user-friendly interface for displaying manuscript and transcription side-by-side. Functions for displaying multiple handwritings on one ms. page could be adapted for indicating Dickens’s questions and answers.
  • Digital Vercelli Book – Created using EVT. Good example of image-text display that highlights the area of the ms. that corresponds to each line of transcription
  • The Melville Electronic Library – Uses TextLab to display fluid text editions of Melville’s texts so that users can track revisions and access annotations of revision sequences.
  • Fluid Text Typee – Electronic edition that offers “digital images, a transcription of each manuscript page, corresponding print texts, and a dynamic reading text, which allows readers to inspect the revision sequences and narratives of more than 1000 revision sites.”

Manuscript transcriptions

Transcribe Our Mutual Friend working notes for inclusion in Juxta Editions prototype and publication on In progress.

Reach out to potential collaborators (ongoing)

  • Via conferences (NAVSA, INCS) and outreach.
  • Dr. Adam Grener (University of Wellington, NZ) interested in collaboration on future editions and co-authored scholarly article
  • In conversation with the Dickens Project about providing opportunities for graduate student involvement


STAGE 2: Critical Apparatus, Introductions, and Editorial Annotations (2018-19)

Purchase Images for Little Dorrit and Hard Times; Manuscript Transcriptions

Each set of working note manuscripts for Dickens’s last three completed novels (Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, Hard Times) will be displayed alongside type transcriptions of the notes. These transcriptions are already in progess based on the archival work I did in 2016. I will complete these and display manuscripts and transcriptions side-by-side using JuxtaEditions software.

Critical Introduction to Project

Introduction will make a case for the methodological and theoretical approaches to the working notes as interactive documents that offer insight into the nature of serial form. This scholarly introduction will also explain the relationship between notes and novel text, arguing that reading both together demonstrates form-in-process. 

Resources and Short Essays

Designed for scholars, students, and the interested public, this area of the site will provide historical context about serial publication, serial reading practices, and Dickens’s authorship. It will also provide bibliographic resources (online and in print) for further study. Pages to include:

  • Serial Publication: History and Context
  • Dickens: Author and Editor
  • From Notes to Proofs to Reprints: The Evolution of a Dickens Novel
  • Victorians Reading Serially
  • Resources (bibliography)

Note Analyses/Introductions and Manuscript Descriptions (Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, Hard Times)

Each set of working note manuscripts will be introduced by critical analyses summarizing the insights provided by the working notes into the nature of the corresponding novel and reading both side-by-side as interactive forms. These will be accompanied by comprehensive manuscript descriptions and histories of provenance.

Editorial Annotations (Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, Hard Times) using

In the first stage of the project, editorial annotations to these three novels will be displayed using software to display editorial annotations for each note in the transcriptions in a right-hand column as clickable highlights. These annotations will draw attention to Dickens’s creative process, how he used the notes, and connections between notes and novel. I will also map annotations to passages in the novel (using the text from Project Gutenberg) for future software implementation. I hope to encourage other scholars to join the project as editors of future working note sets.

Pedagogical Tools

Designed to inspire students and teachers, this area of the site will offer suggestions for using the DDNP and Dickens’s notes in the classroom. It will include:

  • Inspiration for class: Lesson Plans and Activities
  • Annotate!: Adapt the software already in use on the site so that instructors can create group or individual projects for students to annotate their own set of working notes

Outreach, Collaboration, and Peer Review

Continue outreach efforts to involve other scholars in editorial, text encoding, and software development initiatives.

  • Establish advisory board
  • Establish preliminary editorial board
  • Work with the Dickens Project to create opportunities for graduate students
  • Work with to begin peer review process for the DDNP, with the hope of submitting for Peer Review at the end of stage 2.
  • Continue talks with Performant Software Solutions about custom interactive software, explore alternative of collaborating with institutions in the Research Triangle (working via the Triangle Digital Humanities Network) for software development, and apply for a NEH Digital Advancement Grant.

Scholarly Articles and Paired Book Project

Project director, Anna Gibson, will write two companion articles for publication in major refereed journals in Victorian studies and begin a book project (Serial Form from Dickens to Netflix) related to the DDNP work.

Submit for Peer Review via


STAGE 3: Expansion and Software Development

  • Grant Applications: e.g. NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant
  • Software development (to be determined by stage 2 outreach and collaboration). Phase in from later novels backwards, beginning with Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, and Hard Times.
  • TEI Schema and Tagging: Create plan for TEI schema to implement when tagging notes and connecting to novel text
  • Purchase images for remaining manuscripts
  • Expand critical introductions and editorial annotations to remaining novels
  • Collaboration with other scholars (faculty, graduate students) in the field on editions of remaining notes
  • Expand pedagogical resources with collaboration from other scholars