The Beginning of the End

Happy Saturday everyone! I thought I would title this blog post “The Beginning of the End” since we are already two weeks into the semester, meaning that there is only 10 weeks left…

As we enter second semester in full swing, I have had time to reflect on our first semester and look ahead to what our final semester will bring us. Being able to lead the first seminar alongside Nick was a great way to kick off the semester for myself. I was able to start the semester by thinking deeply and broadly about this topic. It was great for all of us as a group to dive into the idea of what is digital history and considering all the implications, positives and have a deep conversation was useful. There are many layers and underpinnings when it comes to understanding digital history that I think we would need more than a blog post to truly develop these thoughts. One way that I think we can summarize our thoughts would be to truly use our final project as a way to synthesize our thoughts and materialize all of our ideas and notions of what we believe digital history to be. I think an important thought to consider, and something that we have brought up, is what legacy do we want to leave behind? Hopefully our project lasts beyond this semester and that we are able to provide light on the manuscripts that Carleton has and raise some awareness about the importance and pertinence of manuscript studies within post-secondary education.

In Veronica’s most recent blog post, she brought up the excellent point about pushing our own limits and seeing where this project can take us. In the first semester, I think we really doubted ourselves and our abilities (I mean I know I did especially when it can to deciphering what my text was saying!). With this semester however, I feel like we really have “sunk our feet in” sort of say and have the fundamentals to be extremely successful. Each of us brings something unique to the table and if we play to our strengths, this project will turn out better than what we expect.

Now, this blog post has turned into a motivational speech therefore I want to turn back to consider the practicalities of the final project. I have taken on the role of Project Manager which means that I will have to “have my hands” in everything. I think this role will be important to create a brand, form consistency and ensure that we remain true to ourselves while creating this project. What will this project be you may ask (for anyone reading this outside of our course), well follow our Instagram, medieval_book for updates and more information! We have recently reached over 100 followers without even posting content yet. I am excited to see where we leave our digital footprint this semester.

Looking Forward to the Future

Two weeks into the second half of this course and it’s occurring to me that there is much to explore around the subject of ‘Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts’. While the previous semester provided some crucial information about medieval manuscripts, going forward our class will consider how to present digitally what we have learned to a wider audience. The following post contains some of my initial thoughts as we enter this new phase of the course.

In my research into what a ‘digital humanities project’ could encompass I came across a few different examples that presented history (a subject I have devoted a decent amount of time and energy towards) in a manner that would appeal to my friends and family who do not necessarily share my passion for the discipline. Additionally, I saw examples of projects that could assist scholars with their research. Perhaps one day a scholar will be able to use the information around medieval manuscripts that my classmates and I have collected.

When it comes to essays, exams and other assignments I have completed in university I will admit that these rarely cross my mind after I receive a mark. That being said, the Omeka entry (as well as our class’ upcoming project) will hopefully be pieces of work that I will think about years from now. The idea of long-lived assignments ties into one of the key aspects (longevity) my classmates and I will have to consider as we develop our digital humanities project. How can we ensure that our work does not disappear over time or become ‘out of date’ in terms of its usefulness and appeal? I do not have the answers to those question just yet but perhaps I will by the end of the term.

When the class brainstormed what we could do for our final project the possibilities seemed endless! Our ideas ranged from various websites to games and apps that we could use on our phones. Of course we recognized that while these ideas sounded great on paper we had to be realistic when it came to our skill level and the time that we have to complete this project. In a way our brainstorming session demonstrated the beauty of digital humanities projects. There were so many routes we could have pursued that I cannot wait to see what future undergraduate students create when they are tasked with their own projects of this nature. There may have been a little bit of a challenge staying focused at first but that was just because we each had our own ideas concerning how to approach this project. Though there are some plans to finalize, each step in the process gets us closer to the final result!

As anyone who tries something different for the first time knows, the experience includes a fair share of challenges that need to be overcome. Last term I did not think it would be possible to transcribe Medieval Latin but, take a look at my Omeka entry and you will see that I managed to do it. I cannot wait to see my classmates and I will create as we craft our own digital humanities project that will (hopefully) survive long after our days at Carleton.

Week 13 – Going Digital

Round 2! How was everyone’s time off?

 

As we look towards the winter term and our final projects, I found this week’s subject of particular value to our goal of digitizing our respective manuscripts. While we have the advantage of working with these beautiful artifacts, to touch, admire & analyze them, are the two-dimensional reproductions that we will finally produce sufficient representations of the original? Not in the sense of our qualifications for this type of work, but rather, regarding what is lost with the process of digitization?

In thinking of the standard e-book, or computer screen, there is no way (yet) to: feel the pages, to smell the paper, to comparatively weigh individual works… to quote the McKitterick reading, readers/observers “generally require some prior knowledge of the physical form of the original object” (pg.1) in order to make accurate assessments.

After reading “Futures of the Book” & “The past in pixels”, I was both concerned and enthralled for the future of print-form, but mostly excited for the prospect of a hybrid form of digitized artifacts or literature. I love the idea of projects like the Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript, which try to eliminate participatory barriers. I shudder at the idea that a single person’s rash commentary could decide any future consideration of a literary work, such as with one made for the Edinburgh Review (McKitterick, pg.9).

 

Questions to keep in mind:

 

-Besides financial concerns, what are some reasons academic institutions consider digitizing and/or using digital versions of books, specifically? What are some advantages of these ‘digital editions’? Disadvantages?

-Why do you think there is still a lack of a trade standard for e-publications? What are the possible ramifications for the distribution of literary material? -Vs. the accessibility of a paper book?

-Taking into account our readings, what does “there is no such thing as a duplicate” mean to you?

Week 13: Back from the Break

Happy Saturday everyone! 

For this week’s class please come prepared with 3-5 points on how the holiday break should be longer, we will then compile a 15 page essay and submit it to the dean – JUST KIDDING. The breaks are just not quite long enough.

As for the readings, these ones are SUPER interesting. The Patrick Sahle one was interesting but if we are being honest, I found myself getting lost in his ideas, so I recommend starting with that one. I had a hard time narrowing down the questions to come prepared to have a grand discussion.  Best of luck!

Questions to Consider

Before doing the readings, did you have some preconceived notions about what digitizing history meant to the several mediums that exist? To explain this question…were you aware that digitizing manuscripts means that you no longer are using the physical print copy? Are there are tools in your daily life that have been replaced by digital versions (i.e for me, I no longer use a paper map but rather just google maps on my phone)

Jon Bath and others, bring up McKitterick’s point of “each new technology does not replace the previous one. Rather it augments it and offers alternatives” Do agree with this idea?

Do you believe that once an object becomes digitized that it loses its value? (Would seeing the Mona Lisa online evoke the same feelings as going to see it in person?) Furthermore, Once a text is digitized, does it still remain the same? If we were to keep the text the exact same but lose all the physical aspects would it be the same object?

After completing all the readings, what do you think digital history means? (Including Digital scholarly editing, digitizing history and etc)

Enjoy the rest of your break, and see you on Monday! 🙂

Find Other People’s Work

When researching my manuscript, trying to narrow down where and when it is from makes me feel like a detective. Finding out where to start is always the hard part when starting anything. Where I started was looking at the type of script my manuscript was prominently written in, and seeing if there were any other markers in my manuscript to give me any clues.

My script pointed my in the direction of Northern Gothic which is around 14th century. Then I noticed my rubrication (writing and accents in red) was what I thought was French. Turns out I was on the right track! Then I turned to Google.

I looked up “14th Century French Manuscript” and what popped up shows a similar font to mine which was encouraging. During this time I was slowly transcribing my manuscript and searching phrases of it into Google getting very little results which was discouraging. A lot of the phrases in my manuscript are very common, but not common together in the searches I was producing.

Finally I figured it out with some help. With this mystery finally solved, I started looking up “Spirit of the Hours Manuscript” and the name Otto Ege kept popping up. I then found out about book-breaking and manuscripts thought to have been broken up and sold. I then found https://manuscriptroadtrip.wordpress.com/category/otto-f-ege/

These site is on a journey to discover fragmented manuscripts and looking at the manuscripts they have found, they look really similar to mine. The text and illuminated letters look almost identical, but the decoration and floral design looks completely different. This gave me hope I was on the right track and helped me find others on an interesting journey to unfold the mysteries of medieval manuscripts.