Week Two: Extending the Early Modern Textual Corpus and Organizing Major Digital Projects

Day 6: Monday, 15 July 2013

Hands-On Introduction to TEI and Digital Tools for Transcribing Manuscripts

Morning (9:30 to 11:30): Alan Galey (University of Toronto), Julia Flanders (Northeastern University) and Heather Wolfe (the Folger Curator of Manuscripts) will introduce the theory and practical issues concerning editing in the digital realm. Dr. Wolfe provides an introduction to the semi-diplomatic transcription of manuscripts, including the current standards governing transcription and the potential challenges of encoding them. Professor Flanders discusses key questions that confront the scholarly community when editing manuscripts, especially the ways different communities of users (documentary editors, literary scholars, genetic editors, curators, etc.) conceptualize the modeling and representation of manuscript materials differently. Examples of early modern manuscripts will be introduced through a transcription exercise using http://paleography.folger.edu, followed by a discussion of diplomatic transcription as a form of data modeling. Readings will include the TEI Manuscripts Special Interest Group’s draft version of “An Encoding Model for Genetic Editions,” and Dino Buzzetti and Jerome McGann’s “Electronic Textual Editing: Critical Editing in a Digital Horizon.”

Lunch Break (11:30 to 1:00)

Afternoon (1:00 to 3:00): Introduction to XML and TEI encoding through group exercise (using custom TEI schema and template that will be provided, as well as the oXygen XML editor [www.oxygenxml.com], which participants should bring installed on their own computers). Professors Flanders and Galey introduce the participants to some of the underlying principles of the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines. They will trace the ways text encoding has developed in recent years. The focus will be on eXtensible Markup Language (XML), but the lesson will be that encoding is not simply the application of a technical skill or technology to a problem, but rather is an intellectual exercise that must address the constraints of digital representation. Participants will gain a sense of how various technologies work in concert, as well as an idea of what level of expertise would be required to undertake certain types of digital editing projects and where they might obtain those skills.

Post-Tea (3:30 to 4:30): Discussion of readings in relation to broader questions raised by the day’s activities, particularly in relation to Willard McCarty’s “Introduction” from Humanities Computing and Johanna Drucker’s “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display.” Participants will be asked to situate new concepts in relation to discussions from previous week.

Homework assignment: Find a manuscript in Dromio and transcribe it.

Day 7: Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Digital Editing, Modeling, Visualization, and Speculative Computing

Morning (9:30 to 11:30): Students work in sub-groups in hands-on experimentation with TEI and Dromio. Through group discussion of transcription decisions, participants approach questions of digital representation including appropriate levels of precision and granularity, the interpretive processes involved in representing details of both text and layout, and the question of how digital representations might serve future analysis.

Lunch Break (11:30 to 1:00)

Afternoon (1:00 to 3:00): Professors Flanders and Galey lead a discussion of how manuscript data is used in various digital projects and publications, considering questions of data modeling and interface design. Examples will be drawn from various manuscript-oriented digital editing projects, as well as the Versioning Machine, Juxta, and Galey’s Visualizing Variation project: [www.visualizingvariation.ca].

Post-Tea (3:30 to 4:30): Further discussion of projects mentioned in previous session, as well as framing questions arising from readings and from previous day’s activities.

Assignment: Participants locate a Folger manuscript that raises specific challenges for electronic editing.

Day 8: Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Digital Project Design, Research Question Formation, and Matters of Scale

Morning (8:45 to 11:30):Flanders, Wolfe, and Galey lead discussion of challenges and questions arising from team projects. Topics will include tagging decisions for large-scale projects, particularly those that would generalize across manuscripts, as well as the formation of research questions in relation to digital tools and materials. Wolfe will lead the group in experimenting with EMO, and the resulting discussion will focus on how we can move from the specificity of individual projects and their representation of manuscript materials to the more general case required by a large-scale research environment. How can we form intelligent research questions that take advantage of a digital research environment, and how might such questions help us design intelligent tools to address them?

Lunch Break (11:30 to 1:00)

Afternoon (1:00 to 3:00): We have set aside time in this session for more discussion or additional topics as needed.

Post-Tea (3:30 to 4:30): In this final session, we will look ahead to the next portion of the institute and ask participants to consider how the topics we have been covering might inform their approach to the upcoming practical and theoretical work.

Day 9: Thursday, 18 July 2013

Organizing Digital Projects

Morning (9:30 to 11:30): Katherine Rowe (Bryn Mawr College), Gabriel Egan (De Montfort University), and Eric Johnson (Folger Director of Digital Access) will provide overviews of the most interesting projects with which they are familiar. They will focus on the practical and theoretical issues these projects raise. They will also suggest networks that offer assistance and training in specific tools and applications, including Commons, [1], and centerNet

Working Lunch (11:30 to 1:00): Michael Poston and Rebecca Niles of the Folger Digital Texts team discuss the challenges they have faced in creating a highly articulate indexing system that gives unique identifiers to every word, space, and piece of punctuation. This provides users of the Folger Digital Texts (which are based on the Folger Shakespeare Library Editions) the means to navigate the texts with pinpoint precision, and researchers can build their own digital projects on top of the Folger Digital Texts infrastructure. Afternoon (1:00 to 3:00): Martin Mueller (Northwestern University) and Michael Witmore (Folger Shakespeare Library) will join Jonathan Hope to present very different projects. Professor Mueller will discuss the “Shakespeare His Contemporaries” experiment (and possibly introduce WordHoard and MorphAdorner), Dr. Witmore will present the “Folger Digital Folio of Renaissance Drama for the 21st Century” (F21), and Professor Hope will focus on TransVis.

Post-Tea (3:30 to 4:30): Participants reconvene to ask questions of the presenters in light of their own projects and concerns.

Day 10: Friday, 19 July 2013

Morning (9:30 to 11:30): Participants break into their sub-groups to discuss specific ideas of applications of text encoding, digital editions, and the importance of networking and resource sharing in the collaborative DH world.

Lunch Break (11:30 to 1:00)

Afternoon (1:00 to 3:00): The sub-groups report on their discussions.

Post-Tea (3:30 to 4:30): Summary discussion on collaborative avenues and networks available to participants and the issues and challenges that they have noted.