Digital Thoreau

The core of Digital Thoreau will be a TEI-encoded text of Walden enriched by scholarly annotations, links, images, and social tools that enable users to create conversations around the text.

The annotations from Walden: An Annotated Edition, edited by Thoreau biographer Walter Harding, together with digital assets from the the Thoreau Society’s Harding Collection (curated by the Thoreau Institute Library at The Walden Woods Project) provide a base layer of context on which future layers will be built.

Digital Thoreau’s Walden will differ from every available print version by incorporating all seven draft stages of the work, which was begun during Thoreau’s two-year experiment in deliberative living at Walden Pond (1845-7) but not published until 1854. Based on Ronald E. Clapper’s pioneering scholarship on the manuscript variants - The Development of Walden: A Genetic Text - Digital Thoreau’s critical apparatus of Walden will permit users to compare manuscript versions side by side and track Thoreau’s changes across versions. In addition, it will enable users to compare the transcribed manuscript versions to digital images of the manuscript leaves themselves. The social tools in Digital Thoreau will make it possible for readers to improve the transcriptions’ accuracy.


Kinds of collaborators
Undergraduate students
IT staff
Contact person
Help needed

Tools used

oXygen XML editor

A cross-platform XML editor that may be used to create and validate XML documents and associated schema. It fully supports XSL (both XSLT and FO), DTD, Schema (Relax RNG and W3C), Database, XQuery and CSS. OXygen XML Editor works with all XML-based technologies, including XML databases, XProc pipelines, and web services and comes with ready-to-use DITA, DocBook, TEI, and XHTML support. Frequently updated and supported, and with a very large set of features, this software tool has proved popular with digital humanists.

oXygen XML editor on DiRT

Versioning Machine

The Versioning Machine displays multiple versions of text encoded according to TEI Guidelines and allows for comparisons of annotation and introductory materials. This is a text editor and allows editors "to immediately see the consequences of their editorial decisions." This tool does not appear to have been updated since 2011.

Versioning Machine on DiRT is a WordPress plug-in that allows paragraph-level commenting in the margins of a text. Use as a collaboration tool for blog-style comment threads off individual paragraphs. Host your project on or download it for use with your own WordPress installation. on DiRT