Independent Crusaders Mapping Project, 1st. Edition

Nicholas Paul PhD, Fordham University
James Doherty PhD, Independent Scholar
Laura Morreale PhD, Fordham University


The Independent Crusaders Mapping Project provides a database, map, documents and pedagogical tools to inform audiences about expeditions undertaken by western European knights to the Holy Land and more specifically Jerusalem in the years between the papally sanctioned Crusades.

The form of the project being archived here is the first iteration of the Independent Crusaders Mapping Project. It is the result of a number of decisions made in the course of the project's development. The project was always intended to include three parts, TEI encoded charters, a map visualizing data found in those charters, and a spreadsheet or database that structured the data found in the charters. As the project developed different strategies were adopted to achieve these aims based constraints arising from lack of knowledge of coding, conforming to parameters of the chosen publishing platform, and time. Omeka was chosen as the publishing platform on the basis that it would provide a format for dealing with charters as individual objects in a collection, however, this ended up posing serious challenges as the platform was not well suited to handling the kind of textual TEI that characterized the charters. In addition the neatline mapping application associated with Omeka was scrapped in favor of Carto for its ease of use, however, new strategies had to be developed to ensure the Carto map would display through the omeka site. The final component, the structured data, never reached full functionality, the spreadsheets that were created as a result of the initial planning stages were to textual to be truly "structured," however, a more structured but less informative spreadsheets were created as part of the mapping component. Thus the current iteration of the project achieved the basic aim of displaying charters and a map that could inform the potential audience about "independent crusaders," but lacked the depth and data linkage that the development team hoped to achieve.