I am the Principal Investigator and Project Director for the London Stage Database, a website that recovers and revitalizes the London Stage Information Bank, a 1970s-era humanities computing project. That team created a database of the performance records in The London Stage, 1660-1800 (Southern Illinois University Press, 1960-1968), an 8,000-page, eleven-book reference work that includes information about performances of plays, prologues and epilogues, afterpieces, pantomimes, instrumental music, singing, and dancing in London’s public theaters in the long eighteenth century. Regrettably, the Information Bank — which was created with the support of about $200,000 (the equivalent of roughly $750,000 today) in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Billy Rose Foundation, and others — fell into technological obsolescence after only a few years, and it has long been thought irretrievably lost.

In recent years, my team recovered much of the Information Bank‘s damaged data and code. An essay about the early history and startup phase of the project appears in Digital Humanities Quarterly (Fall 2017). With support from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities and other funders, we were to develop a more robust data model, transform the data into preservation formats, and create a web-based interface to allow users to search the database or download the full dataset for exploratory statistical research. Our final white paper provides further details about the project aims and development process.

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