This map is part of a research project initiated and supervised by Tom Cheesman at Swansea University in collaboration with Kevin Flanagan and Studio NAND. Over the course of nearly two years, Tom has collected over 50 translations and adaptations of Othello into German driven by the idea to analyse and compare them in order to find traces and patterns that reveal cultural, historical and social fluctuations. We were pleased to collaborate with the team of researchers at Swansea University since 2011 in order to explore digital tools for literary research. Based on this exploration and with funding by the AHRC we were able to finally create a first prototype called Version Variation Visualisation in which we helped building a set of visualisation tools for an exemplary corpus of 37 German translations of Othello (Act 1, Scene 3) in collaboration with Kevin Flannagan and Sebastian Sadowski.
Based on Tom’s expertise and data collected in the project so far we have created this map to propose and illustrate alternative navigational aids and presentations for literary history. The map also shows exemplary historical boundaries of German States for any selected version between 1820 — 1914 as provided by the HGIS Germany project under supervision of Dr. Andreas Kunz at the Institute of European History Mainz, Germany. We consider this map a preliminary study. It is nowhere near complete: neither in terms of design, nor in terms of contents, which naturally can extend indefinitely. We have created the map in order to evaluate interactions with time and location based data and to experiment further with the design opportunities enabled by recent web technologies.
The underlying data for the map was collected by Tom Cheesman with geolocations added by us later in the process. These were manually refined to avoid
collisions of graphical elements on the map at different zoom levels. In parallel we have evaluated ways to work with interactive graphics on a map layer in the browser and ended up using the fabulous MapBox & d3. We have also cleaned and prepared the HGIS data for use in Tilemill. However, much more data exists out there and we are looking for collaborators that are willing to contribute data to the project.