University of Wisconsin–Madison

Digital Mappa (DM)

DM is a digital environment for the study and annotation of images and texts. It is a suite of tools, enabling scholars to gather and organize the evidence necessary to support arguments based in digitized resources. DM enables users to mark moments of interest in manuscripts, print materials, photographs, etc. and provide commentary on these resources and the relationships among them.

DM at its most basic is a tool for linking media. A user may create links between any combination of resources. The most common is a link from a textual annotation to the image, text, or instance it describes. In many projects, a single annotation will reference (e.g., for comparison) instances from several images. DM is designed to enable scholars to easily create these and other types of relationships among resources and needs no advanced technical proficiency other than the ability to type, select text, and draw bounding lines on an image.

DM 1.0 received funding from a NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant  and a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Medieval Studies. DM 2.0, the second phase of development funded by a UW 2020 grant, will provide more robust image and collection organization, textual and graphic editing, annotation, search and user features. DM also receives on-going support from the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.


You can check out DM’s demo projects at the Virtual Mappa Project – a cohort of famous and not so famous early English medieval maps of the world, containing basic annotations for every geographic inscription on the maps. You can also explore the Belltokens Project and An Anglo-Saxon Priest Exam & Song Analogue, both projects from the same manuscript. 

Upcoming projects include:

  • Tams-Witmark Collection: A collection of promptbooks, part scores, stage manager guides, and libretti from American Musical Theater.
  • George Moses Horton Project: An edition of the newly-discovered manuscript essay by the nineteenth-century enslaved African American poet George Moses Horton. DM will allow this essay to be linked to other texts that appear in the same manuscript.