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.
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.
David R. Brake, "Are We All Online Content Creators Now? Web 2.0 and Digital Divides," Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 19, Issue 3, 1 April 2014, Pages 591– 609, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12042
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.
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.
Darnton, Robert. ‘“What Is the History of Books?” Revisited’. Modern Intellectual History 4, no. 3 (November 2007): 495–508.
There are lots of videos online about paper and parchment making. Check out this one about Japanese paper making. The British Library's Medieval England and France, 700-1200 online exhibition has a number of high quality videos about the making of quills, ink, pigments, vellum and more.
Generally for a good introduction to manuscripts, read the themed articles of the Medieval England and France exhibit on "making manuscripts".
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.
Your starting point should be a blog post by Yvonne Seale (follow her on Twitter) entitled, "A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Palaeography of Medieval Manuscripts". It lists loads of good resources, including Enigma, self-described as intended for "Unpuzzling difficult Latin readings in medieval manuscripts" (i.e. gives you most likely potential readings from the letters you can read).
IMS, chp. 2-3, p. 18-48, chp. 10, 135-178.
Erik Kwakkel, "Biting, Kissing and the Treatment of Feet: The Transitional Script of the Long Twelfth Century," in Turning over a New Leaf __(Open Access book).
Adriano Capelli's now quite old text on Abbreviations 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 version for a browser on a computer 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).
Sandra Hindman and Ariane Bergeron-Foote, Binding and the Archeology of the Medieval and Renaissance Book (available on slack).
Medieval & Early Modern Manuscripts Bookbinding Terms, Materials, Methods, And Models (available on slack).
To get a sense of how the printed page needs multiple orientations on a single side before being cut into folios, check out this blog post from the Firestone Library at Princeton. Recto side can be printed out, as can verso. Put the two together and you have a signature/ quire.
And try to understand the codicological description of Saint Cuthbert's Gospel (shelfmarkL "Add MS 89000"; i.e. the 89000 manuscript added to the general collection after its initial catalogue was created. It became part of the British Library collection only in 2012):
Suarez, Michael F. ‘Book History from Descriptive Bibliographies’. In The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book, edited by Leslie Howsam, 199–218. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCO9781139152242.015.
IMS, chps 8 and 9; pp. 117-134.
Jeffrey Pomerantz, "Introduction," Metadata (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015): p. 1-18 (on slack)
Shailor - Introduction and Principles of Cataloguing Medieval Manuscripts (on slack)
A Handlist of Manuscripts in the Schoenberg Collection (UPenn)
The Schoenberg Database can be consulted online here.
Take a quick look at Ottawa in Conway and Fagin-Davis, Directory of Collections in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings (on slack);
The Conway and Fagin-Davis work is a supplement to the DeRicci census – an excellent description of whose process of development is described in Nigel Ramsay's article "Towards a Universal Catalogue of Early Manuscripts: Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada." In Manuscript Studies 1.1.
Digitized Manuscript Project (with well developed prose description)
First issue of the Fragmentarium journal. Read one article to see how scholars use fragments as part of a larger historical question.
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/ teleconference with Tuija Ainonen, of the British Library.
13. The Theory of the Digital
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. Our first question should be, what makes a digital project, digital? When we turn a manuscript into 1's and 0's, what do we do to it? What do we gain, or lose?
Jon Bath, Alyssa Arbuckle, Constance Crompton, Alex Christie, Ray Siemens, and the INKE Research Group, "Futures of the Book," in Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, 336-344 (on slack)
David McKitterick, Old Books, New Technologies The Representation, Conservation and Transformation of Books since 1700, chp. 1, "The past in pixels", p. 1-26 (on slack).
Patrick Sahle, “What is a Scholarly Digital Edition?” in Digital Scholarly Editing: Theories and Practices - Open Book Publishers,” accessed December 30, 2018, https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0095 (on slack)
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. Our goal in class is to come up with a set of criteria of what makes for good DH project, related of course, to medieval manuscript studies...
but spend most of your time and focus on completing the Capture Your Collection: Small Museum Tutorial. Keep in mind that images of all the folios have been photographed, and are already available through a IIIF server online. The exercises are useful tools for your to reflect on the process outlined, but not necessary to complete for our purpose.
For more narrative/visual depictions of the digitization process, please see the following:
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.
Short article on digitization at UPenn (video not available in Canada! ARGHHH!)
(Optional) The debate about image standards continues. Here is one detailed study evaluating using RAW image files as an archival standard. Michael Bennett and Barry Wheeler, "Raw as Archival Still Image Format: A Consideration"
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.
What is IIIF and who uses it?
Watch this video introduction by Ben Albritton (Stanford) about IIIF and medieval manuscripts.
Check out their github (also here) and see participating institutional members of the IIIF Community (i.e. what libraries and museums use IIIF)
For an introduction to IIIF, see their training manual. Read this introductory section. Reads parts 2.2-2.4, so that you understand the difference between an Image API and a Presentation API. This is a 5-day training session - feel free to make your way through the, at times, very detailed exercises, but know we will only be asking you to interact with images, not figure out how to present and serve them...
Sarah Ann Long, “Review: International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF); Gallica; e-Codices: Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 71, no. 2 (August 1, 2018): 561–72, https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2018.71.2.561.
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.
Web Annotation Architecture. This schematic should help you understand how web annotations work. Progress through the steps by clicking on the blue arrow in the top right corner.
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?
Why Create an Exhibit? Understanding what you learn by working together:
Barbara Rockenbach, "Archives, Undergraduates, and Inquiry-Based Learning: Case Studies from Yale University Library" American Archivist.
Elizabeth Belanger, "Public History and Liberal Learning: Making the Case for the Undergraduate Practicum Experience," The Public Historian, Vol. 34 No. 4, Fall 2012; (pp. 30-51).
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.
In class and for homework, you can begin your first TEI edition by following this DLL training session.
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…