Skip to content
Melville Electronic Library - a critical archive

MEL Tool Kit

To build MEL’s scholarly editions and the critical archive that contains them, we have created and are developing a suite of open-source tools designed for textual editing (TextLab), content and metadata management (MELCat), contextual annotation and publication (Juxta Editions), mapping (Itinerary), and assembling images and texts (Melville ReMix). TextLab, MELCat, and Juxta Editions are independent entities, but in MEL they are an integrated editorial network. Click to view a work flow chart of this integration.


MEL’s tool for transcribing and collating manuscript and print texts in revision also generates for each work a base version, diplomatic transcription, and revision sequence & narration annotations.  TextLab output is uploaded to Juxta Editions, via GitHub.


This content management system enables editors to enter images, texts, and metadata related to Artworks, Persons, Places, Events, Texts, and (eventually) Maps.  Digitized images of manuscript leaves and print pages are also processed here for uploading to TextLab.  In addition, annotations in Juxta Editions include links to MELCat entries.

Juxta Editions

MEL’s version of this Performant Software platform for creating scholarly editions uses Annotation Studio technology for adding textual and contextual notes to an uploaded base version.  The Juxta Editions / AS annotation feature also permits links to MELCat entries.

Annotation Studio

Developed at HyperStudio (MIT’s Comparative Media Studies digital lab) as a stage of development leading to Melville ReMix, this tool enables readers to upload text, highlight passages, and compose annotations, individually and in groups, for scholarly and pedagogical projects.

Itinerary - DRC Itinerary Site Videos

A mapping / timeline / annotation tool, developed by Hofstra’s Digital Research Center. With the tool, the editor can upload historical maps, geo-rectify and layer them over a corresponding satellite map, draw route lines and polygons, show a sequence of events over time, and annotate points and lines. MEL uses Itinerary to augment its projected edition of Melville’s journals and to realize the Travel group’s “Geographical Imagination” projects, such as “Melville in Rome,” “Melville in London,” and “Melville in New York.”

On the Drawing Board

In the “idea stage” are other archival and editing tools:

Melville ReMix

A workspace enabling MEL users to assemble images and texts and to create exhibits, presentations, classroom projects, and publications.

Finding Aid & Transcription

Combining existing technologies, this tool would bring archival librarians and other scholars together in one environment. Librarians would add metadata to single items (such as letters in a folder) in digitized collections. Content specialists would transcribe each item. For a project like MEL’s Melville Family Correspondence edition, users would be able to search the resulting finding aid of a collection of letters, view images of letters, read diplomatic transcriptions, and (with permissions) upload base version transcriptions to Juxta Editions for further editing, or to Melville ReMix for analysis.

Translation Tool

A critical thinking tool for comparing translated versions of selected MEL passages. Non-English versions are “back translated” into an English text that is then collated against Melville’s original. Editors can then compose revision narrative annotations to analyze changes in interpretation inherent in the translation. Multiple versions of Melville’s original English in a single non-English language can also be collated, analyzed, and annotated.