Where is TAPAS now?

TAPAS has completed its initial planning phase (Phase 1, see Roadmap below for the big picture), and has received a two-year National Leadership Grant from the IMLS to fund the implementation phase of the project. The project has also received an eighteen-month Digital Humanities Startup Grant from the NEH. Under these two grants, we are now developing the basic TAPAS repository architecture and user interface. Work on this phase of the project began in December 2011, and will continue through early 2014.

We are actively seeking participation from potential users of this service (scholars, archivists, students, technologists, all manner of TEI aficionados!) for user testing and source data. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our pool of pilot projects.


The TAPAS planning and development process consists of four phases, the first of which was completed at the end of 2010. We are currently in Phase 2.

Phase 1: Planning

This planning phase was generously funded by the IMLS

Between 2009 – 2010, the TAPAS planning team met five times to assess needs and plan the TAPAS service (see History, below), and began to explore architecture and user interface designs.

The major results of Phase 1 were:

  • A description of the service
  • A high-level technical specification, which includes a plan for developing digital archive (using Fedora) based at Brown University
  • A governance structure for this shared service
  • A set of stylesheets and schemas that will help define how the service could function with different types of TEI documents
  • a "Test API" that uses an eXist database to emulate some behaviors of the planned TAPAS API and to support rapid prototyping of the user interface
  • A selection of screen mockups for testing and implementation planning going into Phase 2

Phase 2: Implementation

The implementation phase of the project has been generously funded by the IMLS and the NEH

Having completed the high-level service planning in Phase 1, Phase 2 focuses on both implementation and organizational planning.

The major results of Phase 2 will be:

  • A collection of projects that will form a pool of test and use cases and build awareness
  • Implement an outreach campaign
  • A more detailed and specific technical specification
  • A model for sustainability
  • A working initial version of the TAPAS service; repository, user interface, API, framework for third-party applications
  • Feedback from pilot participants and testers about their experiences with the initial version of the service

Phase 3: Launch and Testing

The launch of TAPAS will make the service available to the public in a basic working form. Following the launch, the basic operations of the service will be supported by project income from membership fees. For the implementation of major new features we will seek additional funding.

The major results of Phase 3 will be:

  • Further refinement of the service based on feedback
  • Non-pilot participants can now contribute content
  • An organizational structure and active governance
  • A project in “sustain mode”

Phase 4: Further development

Following the formal launch of the service, we will seek second-phase implementation funding to develop further features based on the results of the public launch.


The TAPAS project grew out of a TEI workshop held at Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2008, in which a variety of scholars expressed frustration in their inability to present or share their encoded texts. Recognizing a common need, technologists and librarians at Wheaton College, Dickinson College, and Mount Holyoke College applied for and received a year-long grant from the IMLS to plan a TEI preservation, publication, and transformation service.

Over the course of the planning grant, the group met on five separate occasions in four locations:

  1. November 2009 at Wheaton College
    The initial meeting of the grant applicants covered basic questions of scope and need, and established a process by which the group would be expanded to eight institutions
  2. March 2010 at Mount Holyoke College
    The first meeting of the expanded group
  3. June 2010 at Dickinson College
    The group considered and approved an offer from Brown University to partner with TAPAS by providing a long-term digital storage solution
  4. September 2010 at Wheaton College
    Further discussion of the architectural implications of the TAPAS-Brown partnership. TAPAS is named.
  5. November 2010 at Brown University
    A "working session" in which the group planned their outreach strategy and began to develop the user experience for the service

See also a presentation that Scott Hamlin gave February 1, 2010, to the NERCOMP Special Interest Group on Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities From a Liberal Arts Perspective (PDF).