Group for Experimental Methods in Humanistic Research
at Columbia University


  • Marii Nyröp
  • Alex Gil

Minicomp/Wax is a heterogeneous collection of experiments, strategies, and functional components for adapting Jekyll for minimal exhibition sites. It centers on a Jekyll theme (wax_theme) and set of Rake tasks (wax_tasks) that together enable digital humanists to create impactful sites with IIIF viewers, elastic search, and complex metadata with very little technical overhead.

It is a sister project to Minicomp/Ed: Jekyll for Minimal Scholarly Editions.

As a set of practices and priorities, minimal computing has proven well suited to the needs of digital humanities projects and scholars. Specifically, its tenets of Minimal Dependencies, Minimal Maintenance and Minimal Presence help offset DH’s frequent scarcity of resources, and its emphases on Maximum Access, Minimal Consumption and Minimal Obsolescence complement and strengthen the core of critical digital humanities work.

In line with the goals of minimal computing, Minicomp/Wax is a set of experiments, strategies, and functional components for adapting Jekyll (a modular, minimal static site generator) to evolve alongside emergent digital humanities scholarship.

Though the objectives of Wax are ongoing, its success will be tied to the development of key workflows for producing digital exhibitions. These exhibitions, though minimal, will still include many of the components expected of database-powered platforms like WordPress, Scalar, and Omeka. The components themselves will be discrete, lightweight, interoperable, and easy to use, creating an expansive framework of Jekyll tooling that enables scholars to dynamically assemble what they need and drop what they don’t.

Need a site with dynamic search but can’t commit to maintaining a database? Need a simple blog but are worried about vulnerabilities in WordPress? Want to make a custom IIIF image exhibition or a D3js data visualization from student-generated CSVs? Need to host thousands of static pages, but don’t have a budget for server space? These are just a few of the directions currently giving shape to Wax.

wax is a (soon-to-be) gem-packaged Jekyll theme.

wax_tasks is gem-packaged set of Rake tasks.