History of MoEML

Now the city being like a vast sea, full of gusts, fearful-dangerous shelves and rocks, ready at every storm to sink and cast away the weak and unexperienced bark Gap in transcription. Reason: Editorial omission for reasons of length or relevance. Use only in quotations in born-digital documents.[…] I, like another Columbus or Drake Gap in transcription. Reason: Editorial omission for reasons of length or relevance. Use only in quotations in born-digital documents.[…] have drawn you this chart or map for your guide as well out of mine own as my many friends experience. (Henry Peacham, The Art of Living in London [1642])
Note: This page is being updated. 2015-03-09.


MoEML has some claim to call itself a late first-generation digital humanities project, having launched as an intranet site and pedagogical tool at the University of Windsor in 1999.1 MoEML’s history begins in 1997, however, when I (Jenstad) first remediated the Agas map. As of January 2015, MoEML is in Version 5.1, after a early history of fits and starts. Since we re-encoded the entire project in TEI in 2005-2006, followed by a quiet internet launch in August 2006, MoEML has had a continuous web presence. Most major project developments since April 2013 are documented in our Project Plans, our Progress Charts, our Release Notes, the News pages, our Blog, and our Facebook and Twitter streams.
1997 v0.1 Print surrogate
1999 v1 HTML
2001 V2 HTML (frames)
2006 v3 XML and TEI P4
2011 v4 TEI P5
2013 v5 + Historical GIS
2015 v5.1 + Open Layers 3.0

O Unreal City: Version 0.1

Writing Hypertext: Version 1

In 1999, three students in Dr. Colin Atkinson’s Writing Hypertext course (English 208) at the University of Windsor were looking for a project and a supervisor. I offered my 6ft 3in laminated Agas Map. It took two months to scan the map in sections and create the first version of the site.

The Penny Drops: Version 2

MoEML v.2 home page, 2001
MoEML v.2 home page, 2001
My research assistant, Tara Drouillard, then defined the look of the site feature above and created most of the pages. James Campbell and Joanna Hutz continued Ms. Drouillard’s work by adding pages and bringing all the existing pages into stylistic uniformity.

What’s in a Site Name?

Site Navigation

Pedagogical Tool

By 2002, The Map of Early Modern London had become deeply embedded in my classroom practice. In the first iteration of this project history (written around 2004), I wrote that:
The Agas Map is one of my favourite teaching tools. I use it to demonstrate the geographical relationship between the city and Renaissance theatres, to map out the routes of processions and pageants, and to show how the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men) moved their business operations from the Theatre in the north, to the Globe on the Bankside on the south side of the Thames, to the Blackfriars complex in the heart of the City of London.
Select students in my Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama classes between 2001 and 2003 undertook hypertext research projects in lieu of a standard research essay. In those days—before WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter—students had to learn to write for an online environment. Writing hypertext demanded a different kind of organizational structure than the conventional essay: shorter segments of writing, embedded hyperlinks, headings, lists, shorter sentences, different punctuation choices (semi-colons still don’t render well on screen, grammatically useful though they are), and inter-linked rather than linear arguments. I asked each student to generate the equivalent of 8-10 pages of text divided between pages, and to indicate the links they would like created between their own pages and existing pages of the website. Each project demanded both historical research and literary application. After submission and grading, the student made all necessary corrections before we edited the project together.
Only a few of those HTML projects were re-encoded in XML when we rebuilt the site in 2005-2006. Still visible are a number of wonderful projects that came out of a graduate course on Pageantry, Play, and Performance in Early Modern England in Spring 2000, including a critical introduction to and diplomatic transcription of The Quenes Maiesties Passage by MA Student Jennie Butler. Laura Estill, who went on to join our Editorial Board many years later, wrote a brief history of the Whitefriars Theatre. The work of other University of Windsor students is evident throughout the site, in the form of articles, influence, or early encoding choices: Victoria Abboud, Jennifer Lo, Kimberley Martin, and others.

The Long Hiatus

Going Live: Version 3

TaPOR and HCMC to the Rescue


Layers Before GoogleMaps

Holmes at the Helm: Version 4

Full Compliance with TEI P5

Keeping our own History with Version Control

New Look, New Features

Funding from SSHRC

Expansion of the Team

From MoL to MoEML

Site Redesign

Documenting our Praxis

GIS Capabilities

Pedagogical Partnerships

A New Map for a New World

Old Tools for an Old Map

Open Layers 3.0

The Next Phase of MoEML’s History

MoEML foresees a finite but significant amount of work ahead. Our New Directions sets out the milestones in our immediate future. Over the long term, there are enough toponym-rich texts to keep MoEML editors and encoders busy for many years, should we choose to keep expanding the Library. As funding and time permit, we also respond to developments in our field and use MoEML as a testbed for new technologies and new ways of linking, tagging, visualizing, and conceptualizing early modern texts and data. In his introduction to the Special Cluster entitled Done in Issue 3.2 of Digital Humanities Quarterly, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum asks How do we know when we’re done? In 2015, we know that we are not done. But in anticipation of a far-off day when we do write done next to the final milestone, we are future-proofing our project and data according to best practices (some of which we are developing) so that MoEML’s texts and functionalities will continue to be available to scholars, teachers, students, and the general public.


  1. See Susan Hockey’s The History of Humanities Computing for an overview of the field to 2004. (JJ)


  • Citation

    Hockey, Susan. The History of Humanities Computing. A Companion to Digital Humanities. Ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth. Blackwell, 2004. Remediated by XTF. [Direct link to chapter.]

    This item is cited in the following documents:

  • Citation

    Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. Done: Finishing Projects in the Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities Quarterly 3.2 (2009).

    This item is cited in the following documents:

  • Citation

    Peacham, Henry. The Art of Living in London. 1642. The Complete Gentleman, The Truth of Our Times, and The Art of Living in London. Ed. Virgil B. Heltzel. Ithaca: Cornell UP for the Folger Shakespeare Library, 1962. 243–50.

    This item is cited in the following documents:

Cite this page

MLA citation

Jenstad, Janelle. History of MoEML. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 26 Jun. 2020, mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm.

Chicago citation

Jenstad, Janelle. History of MoEML. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 26, 2020. https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm.

APA citation

Jenstad, J. 2020. History of MoEML. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm.

RIS file (for RefMan, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Jenstad, Janelle
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - History of MoEML
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2020
DA  - 2020/06/26
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/xml/standalone/history.xml
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Jenstad, Janelle
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 History of MoEML
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2020
FD 2020/06/26
RD 2020/06/26
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English
LK https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm

TEI citation

<bibl type="mla"><author><name ref="#JENS1"><surname>Jenstad</surname>, <forename>Janelle</forename></name></author>. <title level="a">History of <title level="m">MoEML</title></title>. <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>, edited by <editor><name ref="#JENS1"><forename>Janelle</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></name></editor>, <publisher>U of Victoria</publisher>, <date when="2020-06-26">26 Jun. 2020</date>, <ref target="https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm">mapoflondon.uvic.ca/history.htm</ref>.</bibl>