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 How can we ensure that our work does not disappear over time or become ‘out of date’ in terms of its usefulness and appeal?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! 🙂