The first step to getting a scholarly site ready for evaluation is for the project leader(s) or editor(s) to fill out an return the application for peer review to the Director of 18thConnect, Dr. Emily Friedman. This document requests information about your project’s structure and technical dependencies, as well as its mission and plans for the future. If you have any trouble answering the questions on the form, please contact us for further clarification and discussion. The information that you submit in this document serves as an introduction to the project for the Editorial Board and reviewers, helping them to understand its goals and purview.

Once the reviewers have sent in their reports, the Director will contact the project leader(s) with a summary of their findings. If accepted, the Director will include in her letter information relevant to promotion and tenure committees. It is then that the staff will begin the process of technical integration (aggregation) of that site into 18thConnect. Once aggregated in 18thConnect, the project is made more findable online as well as being brought into conversation with numerous other projects vetted and included in the 18thConnect search index, allowing for more interesting connections to be drawn between them.


RDF is the metadata format that contributors use to make their resources available for use within 18thConnect. With RDF, contributors describe each of their resources in general terms that allow those resources to be categorized and searched through COLLEX.

On this page, contributors can find basic information about RDF files. For technical specifications and links to sample RDF submissions and sample XSL transformations (used to turn XML resources into RDF) see our wiki.


Resource Description Framework, or RDF, is the descriptive data which NINES uses in COLLEX; through the metadata contained by the RDF, COLLEX makes peer reviewed resources findable, interconnected, and ready for repurposing.

RDF is an XML metadata model used for describing resources as part of the Semantic Web. 18thConnect contributors identify the basic features of their digital objects, such as the title, creator, publisher, date of composition, genre, even a list of the component objects that make a greater whole. The NINES metadata scheme leverages some preexisting schemes, such as Dublin Core and Library of Congress Relator Terms.

Those interested in the nuts and bolts of RDF can find general information on Wikipedia. Details on the generalized RDF specification can be found through the World Wide Web Consortium.

In thinking about the RDF creation process, contributors should first decide on how to define objectsin their resources. The RDF metadata scheme is predicated on the description of objects, but what comprises an object is left to the discretion of the contributor. Contributors would be best to think of defining their objects as the units that contributors wish to make browseable, collectible, and available for repurposing.

For example, a transcription of a novel would have an object for the unit of “the novel.” But a contributor could also decide that the chapters which constitute that novel might also be interesting to collect on their own; the contributor would then make RDF objects for each chapter unit as well. One could easily imagine a poetry anthology receiving a similar distillation of its many layers: one RDF object for the anthology as a whole; one object for each author; one object for each poem; one object for each figure; even objects for the scholarly commentary or introductions. Another contributor could treat a similar anthology in a totally dissimilar way, viewing the bibliographic page as the elementary unit instead of the logical divisions. While contributors are free to create whatever granularity or type of objectification they would like, their reason should be guided by a sensible judgment of what other scholars will find useful for collection and annotation. A large book rendered as a monolithic object won’t help to reveal the rich resources of its individual chapters, essays, poems, or pictures. Likewise, a poetry anthology atomized into single lines of verse would have little use for collection and prove a nightmare for browsing.


18thConnect is an aggregator of digital resources, bringing together disparate projects into a common arena. This means that 18thConnect does not host the material for any given site, but rather indexes metadata (RDF) contributed by those sites. There are many varieties of structured data, from XML databases to texts encoded according to standards of Text Encoding Initiave (TEI), and RDF allows 18thConnect to bring them all in communication with each other. However, this situation requires that contributors maintain contact with the staff at 18thConnect, and alert us to any major updates or changes in site structure. It is important that 18thConnect be able to present an up-to-date version of each project, and assure internal stability so that users may collect, annotate and work with digital objects to the fullest extent possible in Collex.