Collaborative mentoring at UT & UVa: co-developing an updated TEIDisplay for Omeka

In partial answer to Bethany‘s charge in her recent ProfHacker piece “it starts on day one,” I’m very excited to introduce a cross-institutional effort  between the Scholars’ Lab and the School of Information at UT-Austin to mentor two UT graduate students in the iSchool as they work to develop a DH tool for the DH community. The project will have two corresponding parts based on the background and interest of the students. Zane Schwarzlose, whose background includes extensive experience in developing with PhP and JavaScript will work to enhance TEIDisplay, an Omeka plugin originally written by Ethan Gruber at the Scholars’ Lab, that allows users to upload and display searchable TEI texts within the Omeka environment. Carin Yavorcik, an emerging archivist, will create TEI templates as well as user documentation so that the new tool will be useful not only to the many cultural institutions that Omeka serves but also to instructors who are looking for an environment within which they can teach the integral ways in which a TEI text can function as a cross-platform representation of text.

The collaboration makes sense on many levels, but here are two that surface readily:

  1. These are complex technologies that function in a complex social and cultural system. We can meet the development needs because we represent institutions with different institutional missions, different (though like-minded) communities, with different resources.
  2.  Our students, who will seek jobs in which they work collaboratively in different institutional missions, from the perspective of different (though like-minded) communities, with different resources, must be prepared to meet these challenges within a network of a the wider DH community.

If we believe in a basic DH tenet that making is a theoretically framed activity that helps deepen our understanding of our cultural artifacts and our modes of knowledge production, we must instill, as Bethany so aptly articulates, “a can-do, maker’s ethos” in students who will feel “empowered to build and re-build the systems in which they and future students will operate.” To further this cause, we must also instill a second basic DH tenet in our community of scholars, makers, and teachers: we must pool our resources, both technical and academic, and develop our technologies (such as the TEI and Omeka) and mentor our students, together.

Both Carin and Zane will blog regularly in this space as the project develops. Onward ho, ya’ll.

Tanya Clement is an Asst Professor at the School of Information at UT-Austin, with research interests in scholarly information infrastructure issues, particularly digitization, data curation, and scholarly publication in the humanities. She is advising students Zane Schwarzlose and Carin Yavorcik on their project developing a TEI plugin for Omeka with the Scholars' Lab.


  1. I’ll be very interested to follow this, too. I think that there is some untapped potential for Omeka (and other online tools) and TEI – but I don’t know what they are yet!

  2. I’ve been playing with this plugin both for a module I’m attending in Trinity College Dublin and for Marsh’s Library, where I work. I’d love to see a roadmap for its development!

  3. Thanks so much for this post, Tanya! We’re really thrilled to be collaborating with you guys. Welcome on board, Carin and Zane!

  4. That’s great news. This sounds like an excellent initiative at many levels. There will be many eager to use a more expanded version of the current plugin.