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Above: Bee

Digital Beehive

The Digital Beehive is a web interface that serves as both a digital representation and host of digital tools for researching and working with Pastorius’s manuscript and its system of cross-referencing. This Early Modern form of pen-and-paper hyperlinking lends itself naturally to a web interface and becomes exceptionally more navigable and discoverable in digital form. In order to create such an interface, the Digital Beehive project employs a small team to both develop and utilize various protocols for creating data and metadata for each of these honey-combed entries, both replicating their physical presence in the actual manuscript as well as creating a dynamic interface that allows users to follow and aggregate Pastorius’s own system of cross-references. The Digital Beehive thus lies at the nexus of manuscript studies and digital humanities. Not quite an aggregated database nor a digital edition, this project pushes our understanding of the digital humanities in new directions, as our datasets ultimately serve to replicate, reveal, and share a hyperlinked data system developed by a single author in the Early Modern period in manuscript form. The project is continually guided by a central question: How do digital formats faithfully replicate pre-digital data systems?

The Digital Beehive currently features two different representational models of the Beehive. Under the site menu “Beehive Volumes,” the project provides a comprehensive account of the book. Users may either browse the three volumes of the book page by page using the Page Browse feature, or they may view whole sections of the Beehive using the Section Browse feature. Under the site menu “Browse Entries”, the project provides an alternative mode of representing the book. This section, which is still under construction, separates the sections of the Beehive into discrete entries. These entries can then be viewed individually. Additionally, any cross-references provided by Pastorius are realized as hyperlinks. This allows the user to isolate chains of reference in the book and navigate automatically from one entry to another. Each entry also provides a link to the corresponding page in the Page Browse feature. Currently, linked entries are available for the Alphabetical Section, the Octavo Index, and part of the Numerical Section. For a more comprehensive account of the manuscript, please visit the project’s About page.

In lieu of formal documentation, the Digital Beehive Team periodically records members’ reflections on the project, the process of digitizing the Beehive, and the manuscript itself. These pieces can be read here.

Much like Pastorius’s own “Bee-Hive,” the Digital Beehive is a work in progress and will continue to grow and expand.