Overview of the Course

Fall Term

Week 1. Meet the Class.

  • Meet each other and the manuscripts

  • Choose a class hashtag

  • Students select folio for their work after learning about handling techniques

  • Homework: Signup Part One

  • Evaluation: Humanities Common Profile

Week 2. Establishing an online presence.

  • Discuss why to have an online presence as an academic

  • Discuss the strengths and weakness of academic twitter/ blogging

  • In class, students will post a picture of their folio to Twitter and compose a pithy tweet(s) to talk about it, sell others on it.

  • Classwork/ Homework: Signup Part Two

Week 3. Choose your own website

  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different kind of online presentations (Wordpress vs. Omeka)

  • Discuss what Dublin Core is and why cataloguing standards are important.

  • Prof will at ARC, charter no. 2 which will be the "model" folio that we will use to demonstrate different features of the tools/ sites we'll be using.

  • Classwork: edit information on Omeka (using known "metadata") and post a picture of your folio to the Humanities Commons blog.

  • Homework: complete a draft of Omeka item description, ask them to finish it.

  • Homework: Half the class will compose a blog post describing their work to date, half the class will write some tweets.

Week 4. What is Github?

  • Discussion of what Github is, how it works and how collaboration is an important part of DH

  • In class, we will sign in to Github, create a repository for storing research materials, write a readme.md file for the repository. Practice using Markdown and the Atom text editor. Students will edit the Markdown file for their folio, add notes and sync with the repository located in the Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts organizational github.

  • Homework: finish any work on the markdown file.

Week 5. Writing supports

  • Discussion: how does medium change the message? Examine different kinds of "books" and writing materials. We should consider how different writing surfaces determine the kind of writing, the longevity of the written word, and its potential problems. Try to extrapolate to modern (i.e. your current) experience - what are the different writing "surfaces" we use, and how does the medium effect longevity, usability etc.

  • Classwork/ Homework: describe the parchment of your folio, as much as possible on Github – incorporate images if helpful. Consult this resource for help describing the parchment of your folio.

  • Classwork/Homework: Start a draft line-by-line transcription of your folio in Github (at least 10 lines complete by next class).

Week 6. Palaeography

  • Discussion about the development of medieval bookhands. How does Carolingian miniscule lead to Gothica textualis? We need to think about why scripts matter?

  • Classwork: practice writing with different kinds of pens

  • Homework: describe script of your folio on your github folio page

  • Homework: List your most commonly used abbreviations from your day-to-day life on the Abbreviations page of our Github wiki.

  • Homework: install MUFI unicode and try it out.

Week 7. Abbreviations/ Punctuation

  • Discussion: How do we (as a society) and you (in particular) use abbreviations/ punctuation/ capitalization to convey meaning? How does meaning change with use of punctuation, emojii or (in the case of medieval writers) marginalia?

  • Classwork: Introduction to Transkribus,

  • in advance of class we need to identify major unicode characters we want to use in making transcriptions

  • Homework: using transkribus to continue transcription

Week 8. Codicology

  • Discussion: What is the codex form and how do we go about describing it.

  • Class exercise: Try to discern codicological details for our two medieval manuscripts. Practice taking measurements, collating quires in class.

  • Homework: Sort out all the information needed to adequately describe your folio. Consider the template for folio description posted on slack.

Week 9. Genre

Discussion: This week we will be trying to understand the genre of the things we are working with. They are for the most part liturgical books, so we will be trying to understand what the liturgy is, what it is for and how to work on it.

Classwork: led by Alexis Luko, we will be introduced to a basic terminology for the liturgy and its components, and she will give a brief demonstration of how to use the Cantus database (cantusindex.org and cantus.uwaterloo.ca - the first is for searching for chant, the latter is for describing manuscripts).

Homework: Search for text from your manuscript on cantusindex.org. Find a corresponding Cantus Index number if successful.

Extra Credit: Download Volpiano font for transcribing music in text editors (such as Word) and using this Cantus guide, transcribe some medieval music. The history of the Cantus Database is described here.

Week 10. Cataloguing and Provenience

Discussion: What is the connection between information, presentation and purpose? What is the purpose of a catalogue and what is the nature of cataloguing in a born-digital time? How do catalogue entries and manuscript descriptions differ?

Reading: Compare the De Ricci census and its Conway/Davis update with the catalogues by Shailor/ Andrist, with ARC handlist.

Classwork: How to use Zotero effectively

Homework: get your Omeka cataloguing on.

Week 11. Work on project

Sign up for a time slot to work with the prof here.

Week 12. Debrief

We'll discuss what you have learned, what you still want to learn about handling, describing and transcribing medieval documents. And what to think about during Winter break.

Winter Term

Week 13. Digitizing Historical Materials

Discussion about what is different between real folios and images of them. In essence, we will debate the theoretical questions raised about the project of digitizing archival material.

Week 14. DH? What are this?

Discussion about how DH has many different paths and how "digitization" can mean many different things. This class is meant to be a brainstorming session for the project the class will develop for the end of term.

Week 15. Scanning/ Photography

We will discuss the practical methodology of scanning manuscripts/ fragile media. What are the best practices? What can you easily DIY?

We will look at how different institutions address this problem, and perhaps visit Carleton digital hub (if it is up and running by now).

Week 16. IIIF/ Mirador

Thanks to the digital librarians at MacOdrum, we already have photographs of our medieval material served to us from an IIIF server and incorporated into our Omeka site. We will explore the idea of IIIF and talk about its design.

Classwork: complete some simple exercises playing with IIIF images. How to find the address of image/manifest of a IIIF image and how to modify it for presentation purposes.

Week 17. Annotations + IIIF.

-discussion: how much public/ crowd sourcing do you want/ what are -why use Annotations -annotate page together; pack info into annotations on IIIF (for fun) Homework: use annotations to tag their image with information

Week 18. Reconstructing deconstructed images (how to make exhibits)

-Discussion: best practices online for exhibits -reading, examples of great online exhibits (examples such as Gulag project)

  • Otto Ege/ fragmentology

  • Lisa Fagin Davis/ Beavais Missal exs. show how omeka can reconstruct lost books/ broken books

Week 19. TEI

Shane Hawkins (College of Humanities) will join us to discuss his ongoing project - a transcription/ digital edition of a fifteenth-century commentary on the Roman poet Catullus.

Classwork/ Homework: Export transcription from Trankribus and convert Omeka folio description/ transcription into TEI format. Afterwards, combine them all into a single digital edition of the HIST4006 Folios.

Week 20. How to ensure longevity/ accessibility

One problem with digital projects is longevity. Are we to imagine these as ephemera – meant to be fleeting instantiations of academic work – or do we treat them as permanent contributions. If the latter, how do we ensure that projects remain not just consultable, but also accessible to a diverse range of readers? We still use printed books from 4 centuries ago. Can we imagine the same will be said of digital editions? How do we make it so?

A Librarian from MacOdrum Library will come talk about how libraries seek to ensure the viability of electronic resources.

Week 21 and 22. Free work/ Meeting with Professor

During class time for these two weeks, students will meet with the professor one-on-one to get help with their final project.

Weeks 23 and 24. Student Presentations.

During class time for these two weeks, students will meet make formal 15 minute presentations of their work to the class.

Week 25.

Final debrief - class display of final digital exhibitions; hopes and dream for the future.