Applying to ModNets

Projects interested in applying to ModNets should review our peer review page, where the application for ModNets peer review can be downloaded. The application asks about the project’s mission and plans for the future, as well as its infrastructure. This application serves as an introduction to the project for ModNets’ boards and reviewers. To submit a completed application, or to ask questions about applying to ModNets, please email Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt.

ModNets Metadata

Once a project has passed successfully through peer review, it must begin the process of technical integration (aggregation) into ModNets. In doing so, the site is brought into conversation with numerous other projects vetted and included in the ModNets search index, allowing for more interesting connections to be drawn between them.

Submitting RDF

Resource Description Framework, or RDF, is the metadata format that contributors use to make their resources available for use within ModNets. With RDF, contributors describe each of their resources in general terms that allow those resources to be categorized, searched, and repurposed.

RDF Basics

Modernist Journals Project: Tyro

Modernist Journals Project: Tyro

Using RDF, contributors identify the basic features of their digital objects, such as the title, creator, publisher, date of composition, and genre. A project’s RDF can also list component objects that form a larger whole.

In thinking about the RDF creation process, contributors should first decide on how to define objects in their project. What, in other words, are the units that would be most helpful for browsing, collecting, and repurposing?

For example, a transcription of a novel would have an object for the unit of “the novel.” But the chapters of that novel might be interesting to collect on their own. The contributor would then make RDF objects for each chapter unit as well. Similarly, a poetry anthology might have 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 an anthology in a quite dissimilar way, viewing the bibliographic page as the elementary unit instead of the logical divisions. The question in either case is 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.

For technical specifications and links to sample RDF submissions and XSL transformations (used to turn XML resources into RDF) see our wiki.


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