The (De)collected War of the Worlds uses eight digital tools and platforms to present data related to Wells’s novel. All of these resources, with the exception of Reclaim Hosting, are available free of charge for non-commercial use. Many of them are funded by grants and donations for digital humanities projects and other educational and scholarly endeavors. As none of them requires sophisticated coding knowledge, they are ideal for pedagogy and for scholars just beginning to work with digital humanities tools and methods.
Madeline Gangnes presented a conference paper on her use of each of these tools for The (De)collected War of the Worlds at the 2019 North American Victorian Studies Association Conference and the 2020 Modern Language Association Conference. Her paper and slides are available here.
For examples of how some of these tools have been used in undergraduate projects, visit Madeline’s professional site page on student work.
Google My Maps was used to create this project’s map of major geographical sites in Surrey, England related to The War of the Worlds and H. G. Wells’s life. Anyone with a Google account can create, edit, and share custom maps using Google My Maps in Google Drive.
The HathiTrust Digital Library is an online repository of literature and nonfiction texts in digital facsimile. These facsimiles are drawn together from various archives and institutions of higher learning. The pages of Pearson’s Magazine presented on this site are courtesy of HathiTrust.
Hypothesis is a web-based annotation tool created by The Hypothesis Project. Annotations to web pages are made using a Google Chrome extension, but can be viewed in other browsers if a site uses the Hypothesis plugin (as this project does). Registered Hypothesis users can comment on others’ annotations in addition to creating their own. Hypothesis is used on The (De)collected War of the Worlds to critically annotate each of the transcripts of Pearson’s Magazine that are hosted here. (Don’t forget to export your annotations!)
Juxta Commons (defunct)
Juxta Commons was a text juxtaposition tool created by NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship): an organization that promotes scholarly digital humanities projects on nineteenth-century literature and culture. Users of Juxta Commons were able to upload two or more text files and compare words and formatting. There were several options for visually presenting the resulting data. The (De)collected War of the Worlds used Juxta Commons to present the significant textual differences between the Pearson’s installments of The War of the Worlds and the collected volume. NINES is working to create a newer tool that will perform a similar function.
Reclaim Hosting is the only paid tool used for this project. It offers low-cost web hosting and site domains for educators and scholars. The Reclaim Hosting team rightly point to the fact that digital content hosted on an institution’s website can present problems for students’ and scholars’ ownership and maintenance of their work. The (De)collected War of the Worlds uses the least expensive plan at Reclaim Hosting to enable the use of WordPress plugins and to back up the website. The plan includes the site’s domain name.
Timeline JS is one of several “storytelling tools” created by the Northwestern University Knight Lab. It is used on The (De)collected War of the Worlds to present timeline data related to the early publication of The War of the Worlds in Britain.
UserWay is a free web accessibility widget that can be added as a plugin to WordPress sites and many other kinds of websites. UserWay offers a range of tools to aid in the reading experience for users with varying abilities. The widget appears as a blue circle with a human body icon in the top right corner of the webpage, but users can choose to move it.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) with several free and paid options for creating and hosting blogs and websites. The (De)collected War of the Worlds was designed and is maintained using the free version of WordPress, modified with several simple plugins made available through Reclaim Hosting (see above).