1. Meet the Class

No readings. Come prepared to meet your classmates, talk about yourself, and look at some medieval manuscripts.

2. Establishing an Online Presence: Blogs and Twitter

This class is devoted to considering how and why you might want to develop an online presence as an individual, but also as heritage institution. We’ll dip out toes into the online world by signing up for an hcommons.org profile, preparing to write blog posts and beginning to Tweet.

3. What Kind of Website Does Your Project Need?

In recent years, there have arisen so many platforms for hosting DH projects that it is difficult to know which to choose. We will be looking at how WordPress and Omeka function –the two main platforms we will be using this term- and how they differ (for better or worse) from their alternatives. Since our work largely focusses on being descriptive/ analytical, it is handcrafted, and our data is neither structured nor large, our work is not conducive to working with other platforms.

Examples of Blogs to peruse:

Examples of Omeka Sites to peruse:

4. Keeping Track of Your Project with GitHub

At the core of many DH projects is the belief that data wants to be free. But, most DH project require lots of labour and usually many people collaborating together (and using expertise/ tools developed in previous projects). Github is a platform built to allow collaboration on projects, but its ethos is grounded on the idea that users share their work and their experience. In this work, transparency about collaborative work (and the problems which arise) is key to moving forward. In this class we will talk about the issues of engaging in larger scale DH projects (i.e. more than one or two people) and will ask students to work some more with Github.

And try to make sense of what these githubs are doing:

5. Writing Supports

This week marks a transition in the class away from our brief introduction to some digital tools, towards a more in-depth understanding of medieval manuscripts and how they are put together. “Writing Supports” is the term used to describe the material on which text is written. Our discussion, therefore, is to understand what people write on (paper, parchment, stone, wax, banana leaves etc.) and how that affects how texts are constructed.

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6. Paleography: How to differentiate historical fonts, type, hands, and scripts

Paleography is the study of “old” ways of writing. Scripts go in and out of fashion, and thus how something is written allows us to date it with some certainty and often identify its origin. In this class, we will briefly explore the history of medieval Western European writing to get you thinking about distinctive features that help identify scripts of the folios we have in our collection.

7. Reading Abbreviations

Reading medieval manuscripts is difficult for modern readers due to a complex use of abbreviations and codes (much like you use).

  • IMS, chp. 6, p. 82-93.

  • Adriano Capelli's now quite old text remains the reference work of record. Luckily it has been semi-translated, updated and made more accessible.

  • Read the intro to Capelli laying out a theory of medieval abbreviation, translated into English here.

  • Use Capelli on a smart phone here (unfortunately the interface is only in French or German at this point). The searchable desktop version is here. A digitized copy of the print version can be read on Archive.org.

  • On the Ad fontes website, attempt to transcribe this document written in Gothica textualis. Unlike your folio, if you click the "show transcription" box at the bottom of the page, whenever you hover the cursor over the word you are deciphering, it will show you the answer (I suggest this as a first stage to lessen the initial frustration of decipering and unpacking medieval writing).

8. Codicology: Describing manuscript features

9. Genre: Liturgical Manuscripts

For reference:

10. Cataloguing & Provenience

  • Jeffrey Pomerantz, "Introduction," ​Metadata (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015): p. 1-18.

11. Working it Out

No readings. During class time, students can meet with the professor one-on-one to get help with their final project.

12. Putting it Together

No readings. Debriefing the term; and maybe heading to LAC’s Preservation Lab.

13. Theory of the Digital Archive

What is the difference between a manuscript and a digital version of it? This class welcomes students back and begins our focus on digitization in earnest.

14. The Promise or the Possibilities of the Digital Humanities

Scanning or photographing manuscripts is one thing, but manuscripts can be represented or reproduced digitally in a myriad of ways. This class is intended as a brainstorming session for potential exhibitions people might want to develop and to explore the idea of the digital humanities as a gateway into diverse intellectual and creative interactions with texts.

15. Capturing Medieval Manuscripts

How to capture medieval manuscripts? This class asks students to consider how people go about imaging, reproducing and creating facsimiles (both physical and digital) of medieval manuscripts.

  • Read about the National Library of Scotland's ongoing digitization effort. Their team has put together this description of all the tasks they must complete in this process: pdf or web.

16. Using IIIF and Mirador

On Omeka, we’ve already been using IIIF Images. This class we will look at how we can use IIIF to present images, but also how IIIF and its linked software allows scholars to productively study/ interact with medieval manuscripts.

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17. Online Annotations

The development of annotations offered by Hypothes.is and Mirador allows an intellectual engagement/ process not usually visible, but very helpful in the creation of knowledge. Too many annotations or unhelpful annotations, however, have the potential to negatively impact a project. We will explore the questions of how to encourage productive collaboration and how much access you want to make to the general public for your online material.

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18. Online Exhibitions

What are the best practices for creating online exhibitions of archival/ medieval material? How does the digital environment offer new ways of exhibiting material? What are the strengths and weaknesses of online exhibits?

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19. Encoding Medieval Texts

In this class we will be looking at the guidelines for encoding medieval manuscripts developed by the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). Shawn Hawkins (College of the Humanities) will be coming to talk to us about his ongoing collaboration to develop a digital edition of a fifteenth-century commentary on the Roman poet Catullus.

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20. Accessibility and Durability for DH Projects

In this class, we will consider how to foreground accessibility in developing online exhibitions. Also we will be considering the issue of dead sites – what happens to your site after you stop maintaining it and how to ensure the information you have work so hard on does not disappear into the ether…

  • Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop, "TRAVERSALS: A Method of Preservation for Born-Digital Texts," in Routledge Companion to Media Studies and the Digital Humanities, 351-361.

21. One-on-one work with the professor I

No readings. During class time for these two weeks, students will meet with the professor one-on-one to get help with their final project.

22. One-on-one work with the professor II

No readings. During class time for these two weeks, students will meet with the professor one-on-one to get help with their final project.

23. Student Presentations I

No readings. During class time for these two weeks, students will meet make formal 20 minute presentations of their work to the class.

24. Student Presentations II

No readings. During class time for these two weeks, students will meet make formal 20 minute presentations of their work to the class.

25. Final Class

No readings. Debriefing the term.