John Payne Collier (1789-1883)* was a 19th Century English literary scholar, Shakespeare expert and publisher. He was quite respected in his day. But over time, it came to light Collier forged some of the data he used to justify some literary “discoveries.” He is still respected, but he’s a controversial fellow within the domain of Shakespeare Studies.
The Folger Shakespeare Library has a large collection of writings by and letters to & from John Payne Collier in its collection. The library has gradually been creating online finding aids, coded in EAD metadata standards, for subsets of Collier related items in its holdings. Presently, I have been writing a new finding aid, one that will eventually be found in its finding aid database, for letters written from the early 1830s toward his death 50 + years later. This finding aid creation is accomplished via Archivists Toolkit, a fantastically useful piece of software that works as an interface between content keyed into the finding aid (such as Scope and Content and other archival description data) and the XML file that is processed through style sheets to produce the way the finding aid is structured for the open web – the way it looks. The value of this process is that each finding aid does not need to be coded from scratch in XML. It can, however, be edited later in Oxygen XML Editor to change content or to link items such as objects found in Folger’s Luna Insight Digital Image database.
The upshot is that my time interning on this project will result in publication of this latest collection finding aid – an action which will provide even better access to and promotion for Folger’s superb collections.
* This link for Library of Congress’ Authority Records connects the portal because each search is only available in discrete search-sessions.