The digital humanities program “Virtual Paul’s Cross Project” intends to recreate a scene to allow us to experience a Paul’s Cross sermon that happens on Tuesday, November 5th, 1622. In order to present it, the researchers provide not only the physical environment model of the church but also the acoustic model of the churchyard through audio analysis and visualization.
The researchers analyze different aspect of the church site, such as the churchyard, the preacher and his preaching style, the weather, the size of crowd and even the acoustics. The history evidences are collected from paintings and maps, which depict the detail for the social environment, such as the size and the structure of the church and the clues for the movements of Donne. The books, such as The Book of Common Prayer, also provide strong evidence to the order of service. To make the tremendous data easier to understand, the researchers summarize and present them not only with words, but also with visual model, which is a more direct description to the site that can only be found in the history. For example, when the researchers describe the weather of the church, they first provide a bunch of data analyzing the weather of London in 1622. Then, to help readers directly “see” the church, the researchers provide a visual model of the church. The picture shows a more precise description for the church: the gloomy atmosphere, the smoke and the bleakness of the place, each with explanations found in the data part.
The acoustic model plays the same role with the visual model does. Finding any acoustic sources from the contemporary paintings, the researchers collect these elements together and present them into acoustic model, which helps readers not only “see” the historical site, but also “hear” it.
Visualization and audio analysis make the project more acceptable to readers, helping people who are not familiar with such project put themselves into the historical site and experience it with their eyes and ears, instead of simply read it.