Digital Methodology

A Fête at Bermondsey, c. 1570 (oil on panel), Gheeraerts, Marcus, the Elder (c. 1520-90) / Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, UK / Bridgeman Images


REED Online records and editorial materials have been marked up using the TEI encoding scheme. The raw files can be downloaded from REED's Collections repository on GitHub.


The web application EATS (the entity authority tool set) has been used to 'tag' records with terms of interest to REED users. Each tag can be used to filter search results. Each tag also has its own page, accessed by clicking on a highlighted tag in the records or editorial materials.

As with REED print indexes, only terms and concepts deemed significant to users have been tagged. This is why not all occupations, for instance, have been tagged.

At this time, the tagging is not comprehensive. It is, instead, being used as a pointer to get users to the relevant document. A record may include the word 'piper' more than once but usually the first instance alone has been tagged; thus, a reader should never assume a tagged word is the only instance of that word or concept in the record. The first-instance rule, however, is not absolute. Additional tags may be used to clarify pronouns or other unclear references.

Along with record transcriptions, record headings are always tagged as are endnotes (first instance). The document descriptions and Introduction are lightly tagged, with more comprehensive tagging of the Introduction planned for the future. For now, the web browser's search should help find terms of interest in the Introduction. Translations are not tagged.

Because some tags appear in endnotes, document descriptions, marginalia, or footnotes, they will not be visible without first opening the accordions underneath the record transcription. This is a good place to check if a tag is not immediately apparent within the record transcription itself.

As the database grows, terms within the filters will multiply, so the current set does not represent a model for the entire REED corpus, only the uploaded collections.

Tag Terminology

Due to the difficulty of classifying musical terms like 'piping,' 'pipe music,' etc, as either entertainers or entertainments, we have classed all such terms as entertainers. Therefore, the tag 'pipers' encompasses all kinds of piping activity, allowing the researcher to search more efficiently. Similarly, records that mention 'music' have been tagged with 'musicians,' and records that mention 'dancing' have been tagged with 'dancers.'

To tag entertainer terms that can mean more than one thing, especially those in Latin, we have relied on the wording of the record rather than editorial judgments. Thus, 'histrio, histrionis' and 'mimus, mimi' are tagged as 'entertainers, unspecified.' For more on Latin performance terms and their meanings, see REED's Anglo-Latin Wordbook.

Under the Collectives, Occupation filter, the 'parish clergy' tag includes vicars, rectors, ministers, curates, and parsons; 'cathedral clergy' includes deans and canons; and 'monastic orders' includes abbots, priors, monks, friars, abbesses, and nuns.

The Record Types filter allows users to refine results by the type of source document. As more collections are added to the database, more varieties will appear within each category. The Central Government and Royal category will eventually include records from the courts of law such as the Assizes, Chancery, Common Pleas, Exchequer, King's/Queen's Bench, and Star Chamber. The Local Government category will include borough records (such as city accounts, court records, minutes, and orders) and county records (such as quarter and petty sessions). The Church category will include diocesan administration (such as ecclesiastical visitations), records of the ecclesiastical courts, and parish accounts. The Family category will include accounts, correspondence, diaries and commonplace books, wills, and inventories.

How Filters Work

By default, all records in the database are displayed on the Search the Records page. Filters along the left side of the page can be used to refine the results. See Search Tips for basic instructions on filters and searching.

After a term is selected within the filters, the table of results will reload, showing only records tagged with that term. The filters will also reload. Selecting 'Corpus Christi Day' from the Calendar Days, Liturgical filter will find records tagged with the term 'Corpus Christi Day.' Under the Calendar Days, Liturgical filter, other days may still be listed because they appear in records tagged with 'Corpus Christi Day.' Similarly, selecting 'female' under the People, Gender filter will find records containing female named individuals, but the list of named individuals under the People, Named filter will include male and unknown names, as well as female names, because they appear in records with a female individual.

In most instances, selecting a term from the filters will find records tagged with that term. In the case of four filters, however, the search results will also include records with associated tags: (1) Location (2) Collectives, Occupation, (3) Entertainers, Type, and (4) Drama, Type.

1) Searching for a location will find not only records tagged with that location, but also any records tagged with places within that location. A search for the county of 'Staffordshire' will also find any settlements or features contained within Staffordshire, even if Staffordshire itself is not tagged in those records.

2) Searching for 'mayors' under Collectives, Occupation will find not only records with the word 'mayor/s,' but also records with named mayors. A search on any occupation works like this.

3) Searching for 'players' under Entertainers, Type will find records with generic players, named players, or patronized troupes of players, such as the 15th earl of Derby's players. To refine the results and find only patronized troupes who are players, select 'patronized' under Entertainers, Status. A search on any entertainer type works like this.

4) Searching for 'plays' under Drama, Type will find records with generic plays or titled plays such as 'Hamlet.' To refine the results and find only titled plays, select 'titled' under Drama, Status. A search on any drama type works like this.

Unusual Characters and Screen Display

Some records include characters that are not currently part of Unicode, for example, the punctus elevatus. In order for these to display properly, users must install one of three fonts that are provided for free via MUFI at http://folk.uib.no/hnooh/mufi/fonts/. The fonts we recommend are Cardo, Junicode, or Palemonas MUFI.


Each record in the REED database has been tagged with locational information to the extent that this is possible. Locations are hierarchically arranged by Country, County, and Settlement. Records are tagged with all locations mentioned or hierarchically implied as explained above under 'How Filters Work.' They might also be tagged with significant local Features when explicitly named, such as identified and locatable buildings (for instance, churches or manor houses). When no such explicit location is mentioned, the record will be mapped to a generic location within the settlement.

The maps for REED Online are designed to show a specific location and all its related records, that is, records that have been tagged with that location. Therefore, a search by location for the Settlement 'Stafford' will bring up all the records tagged with that location. However, the search results do not include a map of that location. To see it on a map, one must select an individual record, and then click on the location 'Stafford' in the header for that record. Clicking on Stafford brings up the Stafford page; click on the 'Map' tab to see the map showing the location of Stafford and all related records. (Clicking on 'Staffordshire' in the header would bring up the county page and its map tab.)

The 'Map' tab presents an interactive map which shows the selected location highlighted in yellow, and all related records as circular symbols or clusters of symbols in red. In the bottom right corner of the map, there is a 'Legend' icon – click on this for a detailed legend of map symbols. In the top right corner, there is a 'Layers' icon – click on this for controls to switch the base map from the map showing EREED coverage by county (the default) to a shaded relief map, or to a modern street map (Openstreetmap.org as delivered by Mapbox.com). Here you will also find checkboxes to control several EREED reference layers, for place symbols, place labels, and pre-1642 roads. In the top left corner of the map, there is a 'Zoom' control, and in the bottom left corner a 'Scale bar.'

For more information about the information and data sources used for the map, please refer to the REED Patrons and Performances website pages 'About the maps' and 'Sources of evidence'. Much of the same data and methods have been used for the REED Online maps.

These maps have been developed and designed by Byron Moldofsky and Mariange Beaudry of the GIS and Cartography Office, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto.

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