A project of this scope cannot be accomplished without the help of many people. First and foremost, I want to thank the initial 150 BRANCH contributors, who believed in the concept before there was any there there. The top people in the field of nineteenth-century studies have come together for this project, sharing their knowledge with the world. Their willingness to contribute such superb scholarship and to put the material through such careful revision and copy-editing is a testament to their dedication and generosity.
Each essay published in BRANCH has been read by at least two experts on the topic/event being discussed, and I thank those peer reviewers heartily for their careful attention to the articles and for their suggestions for revision. The articles are much better for their involvement. Each essay has also undergone copy-editing by a team of graduate students and recent PhDs from a variety of universities from across the world. The original lead copy-editors were Kenneth Crowell and Laura Eidam, two graduate students in Purdue’s English department who undertook a large chunk of the early work. Laura Eidam, in addition, created the google maps visualization of BRANCH contributors and created the database that we are using to keep track of everything. (Past copy-editors include Megha Anwer, Allan Hunter, Stephanie Schatz and Adam Watkins.)
BRANCH will soon be subsumed into a yet larger publishing and pedagogy platform being built for NAVSA dubbed The COVE: The Central Online Victorian Educator. The new initiative has two administrative directors, Kenneth Crowell (North America) and Dominique Gracia (United Kingdom), who also oversee BRANCH copy-editing. They are aided by a team of graduate students and recent PhDs, including Leslie Allin, Stephanie Boland, Laura Eidam, Amy Elliot, Richard Graham, James Green, Alexis MacNeil, Katherine Magyarody, Jonathan Memel and Anne Schmalstig. I cannot say enough about how lucky I have been to have such a brilliant group of nineteenth-century scholars as a part of this project.
The project has also been greatly aided by seven undergraduate students. During Fall 2011, the database was maintained by Hazel Mehta, who completed the work as part of Purdue’s Margo Katherine Wilke Undergraduate Research Internship Program. During Spring 2012, the database was maintained by Kourtney Freiburger and Michael Lockman, who completed the work as part of the Dammon Dean’s Scholar grant program in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts Honors Program. During the 2012-13 academic year, the database work was completed by Kelsey Campbell and Hannah Reed as part of the Margo Katherine Wilke Undergraduate Research Internship Program, followed by Diana Gingerich and Ryan Buss during the 2013-14 academic year, Dustin Meyer during the 2014-15 school year, Lukas Plank and Megan Ferguson during the 2015/16 school year, and Megan Ferguson again during the 2016/17 school year. These students have also helped me to think about the site from the perspective of undergraduate students, aiding me with site design in the early stages.
This sort of Web work is expensive but I have been fortunate to have the support of a number of funding sources. The expense of BRANCH’s creation, design and upkeep have been covered by a Center for Undergraduate Instructional Excellence grant to me at Purdue, funds from the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue, support from Purdue’s English Department, an Entrepreneurship Leadership Academy fellowship at Purdue’s Discovery Park, and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant to RaVoN, which was awarded to Michael Eberle-Sinatra at l’Université de Montréal. I’d like especially to thank Dean Irwin Weiser and Nancy Peterson, the Head of English, for their vision in supporting this sort of online scholarship, and to Michael for his support of the idea behind BRANCH from the very first.
Finally, I’d like to thank the team of programmers at Performant Software Solutions, the company that undertook the coding work: Nick Laiacona (the owner and coordinator), Kristin Jensen (BRANCH project coordinator), Jessica Drew (graphic designer), Paul Rosen (programmer), Dave Goldstein (programmer) and Stuart Templeton (programmer). It has been a real pleasure working with a software company that understands the needs of humanities scholars. (Performant is also the software company behind nines.org) And, of course, MIT Libraries and MIT CSAIL have my gratitude for making SIMILE, the software behind the timeline, open source and, thus, available for other projects. My thanks, in particular, to David Karger and MacKenzie Smith, the principle investigators behind SIMILE, and to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding that work.