Yellow Nineties Personography

Y90s portraits

I am the team lead on the Yellow Nineties Personography, a biographical database that documents the contributors to four avant-garde periodicals of the fin-de-siecle: The Yellow Book, The Pagan Review, The Savoy, and The Evergreen. The personography is an offshoot of The Yellow Nineties Online, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra and Dennis Denisoff and facilitated through Ryerson’s Centre for Digital Humanities. Drs. Janzen Kooistra and Denisoff masterminded the personography as a means of improving our understanding of the social network that nurtured avant-garde journalism and art in the 1890s. London is this network’s locus, but it extends across the globe.

Between Fall 2013 and Winter 2015, the personography team built the first iteration of our dataset. We researched the 351 persons who contributed art, text, editing, and engraving to our four periodicals, developing approximately 25 categories of biographical data and controlled vocabularies for those categories.

Over Winter and Spring 2015, I developed some initial visualizations and co-presented our personographic findings thus far with project supervisor Dr. Janzen Kooistra. While we initially intended to transform our dataset into TEI xml, in Winter 2017 we realized that our dataset would be more effectively modelled as linked open RDF xml. To that end, recent work on this project has involved close collaboration with Ryerson librarians and other scholars with expertise in linked open data. We are currently developing a domain model for our dataset. In the near future we will develop a user interface for querying the data and visualizing the results as relational networks.

To learn more about how the Yellow Nineties Personography models biographical data and why it matters, see Queering and Querying History.