download Download the application for peer review (MS Word).

The first step to getting a scholarly site ready for evaluation is for the project leader(s) or editor(s) to fill out and return the application for peer review to $$$$. This document requests information about the site’s structure and technical dependencies, as well as its mission and plans for the future. This information serves as an introduction to the project for the Editorial Board and reviewers, helping them understand its goals and purview.

Once the reviewers have sent in their reports, an Editorial Board head will contact the project with a summary of their findings. It is then that the staff will begin the process of technical integration (aggregation) of that site into NINES. In doing so, the site is brought into conversation with numerous other projects vetted and included in the NINES search index, allowing for more interesting connections to be drawn between them.


Unidentified young man, posed with model of steam driven engine on a table, ca. 1865

Unidentified young man, posed with model of steam engine, 1865

RDF is the metadata format that contributors use to make their resources available for use within NINES. 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. NINES 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 objects in 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.



NINES is an aggregator of digital resources, bringing together disparate projects into a common arena. This means that NINES 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 NINES to bring them all in communication with each other. However, this situation requires that contributors maintain contact with the staff at NINES, and alert us to any major updates or changes in site structure. It is important that NINES 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.