Execution Ballads of Pre-Modern Europe

Academic

Dr Una McIlvenna
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Intern

Ms Julianne Bell
Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Project

This project has developed a database on execution ballads (cheaply printed songs about crime and punishment dating from c. 1550-1900) that includes hundreds, if not thousands of items. These are partly in textual form (transcriptions of lyrics, notes on historical context, dates of publishing, etc), partly pictorial (images of the pamphlets and broadsides, images of historical figures who feature in the ballads, etc), and some audio recordings. Until recently, this has been stored in a MySQL database on Heurist software.

Internship Outcome

This project has developed an Omeka database of execution ballads (cheaply printed songs about crime and punishment) from pre-modern Europe dating from c. 1550-1900. A wide range of data formats are included in the site, such as images of the pamphlets and broadsides, transcriptions of lyrics, audio recordings, related artworks, tune information, and associated metadata. The project entailed planning and structuring the Omeka database, customising Omeka elements and metadata, batch importing data, adding images and audio files, creating relations and polishing the site’s appearance. The Omeka platform provides an easy to use curation and presentation tool, making accessible a rich and growing corpus of collected data and research by Dr Una McIlvenna.