The Values of French

The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages. ERC Advanced Grant (no. 670726) at King's College London

Digitally Reborn

Simon Gaunt on recent updates to the TVOF website and plans for the future.


British Library, Royal D 20 I, f. 304r (fragment). Forging new arms (Rome II). Reproduced with the permission of the British Library Board.

We thought we should mark 31 January with a brief (and no doubt penultimate) blog post to update you on our progress, since this is when funding for The Values of French runs out formally!

Our technical team has been super busy on our website in recent months, with numerous fundamental but invisible updates designed to ensure enhanced functionality (particularly with the larger volumes of data having editions of both versions of the Histoire ancienne live entails), and also sustainability. This quite radical overhaul is now complete, and the new version of the website is live: it’s the same url so there is no need to change how you access the site.

You will be able to see some improvements if you are used to working with the site:

  • The edited texts are now complete except for the Rome 2 section in Royal 20 D 1.
  • All the edited material has been lemmatised, so the search function returns a greater number of results.
  • You now have access to images for Royal 20 D 1 as well as for BnF fr. 20125; access to images should now be much more stable.
  • There is a new navigation tool in the text viewer, so you can move more easily to the next section or paragraph.
  • The Search page has a range of new functionalities such as multiple options under a facet, the ability to see more results on a single page, an interactive summary of the selected filters, and more precise treatment of diacritics and phrases in the query. If you are doing linguistic searches on the Histoire ancienne, we encourage you to play around with the new options: you should also find results are returned much more quickly.
  • You can highlight a word in the interpretive edition and, by clicking on the looking glass icon, navigate to the Search page and see all the results for the same form from all the edited sections.

Much of this has been achieved by partly rewriting the software code of the search page to improve efficiency and better cope with the growing number of keywords lemmatised by the research team. Our site now uses another search engine (ElasticSearch instead of Solr). Thanks so much Geoffroy Noël for your expertise and patience, and Ginestra Ferraro for finetuning the design features.

Our site will be maintained by King’s Digital Lab for 10 years (up to the end of 2030). This is a significant improvement on the 5 years that is the norm with projects such as ours, though we remain concerned with the continued lack of strategic planning on the part of funding bodies and universities when it comes to the legacy of digital projects such as ours.

We have also updated TVOF’s Figshare page where you will find records for the Edition, Lemmatisation and Alignment, as well as links to the GitHub repository containing the most recent versions of the software. All this material is available in open access. Please note that in the Lemmatisation and Aligment sections you can find XML files used for our website, and for the Edition section, in addition to the XML files we have provided PDF files of the edition that give access to the edited texts in a readable format (see Data Storage).

Meanwhile Hannah is putting the finishing touches to the interpretive edition of the Rome 2 section of Royal 20 D 1 and we hope to get it live (and lemmatised) by early April. At that stage we will update you one final time, also with news of the project team and of our publications.


British Library, Royal D 20 I, f. 189v (fragment). Ulysses building a castle (Prose 5). Reproduced with the permission of the British Library Board.


British Library, Royal D 20 I, f. 202v. Building of Lavinium (Eneas). Reproduced with the permission of the British Library Board.