Monday, January 9, 2017
MAKE _YOUR_ EDITION: MODELS AND METHODS FOR DIGITAL TEXTUAL SCHOLARSHIP
Call for applications: Summer 2017 NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities
DEADLINES: Applications are due Tuesday, February 28, 2017. Applicants
will be notified of acceptance by March 15, 2017.
INSTITUTE DATES: July 10-29, 2017
The University of Pittsburgh is pleased to invite applications to an NEH
Advanced Institute in the Digital Humanities for summer 2017 entitled
_Make YOUR edition: models and methods of digital textual scholarship_.
The target audience for this workshop is digital textual scholars who
are already comfortable editing their texts (in TEI XML or comparable
alternatives); the goal of the Institute is to assist them in moving
beyond textual editing to imagining, creating, and publishing
research-driven, theoretically and methodologically innovative digital
Digital humanists already have access to workshops and tutorials to help
them learn to transcribe, edit, and tag a text in preparation for
publishing a digital edition. These training resources play a vital role
in empowering editors to formalize and instantiate their interpretations
as markup, so as to make them available for subsequent analysis.
Nonetheless, sophisticated markup expertise alone is not enough to make
an edition, and learning nothing more than tagging may leave scholars
staring at their angle brackets and wondering what to do next. For some
a solution like TEI Tapas provides an adequate next step, but for those
who wish to ask new types of questions of their documents, and to
produce new types of editions that enable new types of research, an
understanding of how to turn a set of tagged texts into a customized
edition that meets individualized research goals is crucial. Digital
humanists cannot build editions that break new methodological ground
solely on the basis of solutions prepared largely by others, and the
focus of this Institute is on the creation of digital editions motivated
by project-specific research questions and implemented from a
perspective driven first by theory of edition, second by editorial
methodology, and necessarily but less importantly by specific toolkits.
In this respect we foreground not learning a particular programming
language or technology or framework, but learning to think and act
digitally about the process of creating a digital edition. Because tools
and technologies come and go, the Institute emphasizes learning to
translate original digital thinking about editions into implementations
of those editions, rather than on “tooling up” in the context of
currently popular frameworks. In this respect, the Institute recognizes
thinking digitally in ways driven by project-specific research goals as
the most important feature of _sustainable Digital Humanities training
The Institute will introduce textual and manuscript scholars to a
powerful and broad-reaching skill set of digital methods and
technologies, grounded in a context that prioritizes a research-driven
theory of edition. The course moves in a three-week succession from
novice to experienced level, and from base textual data to full digital
publication of scholarly editions. The Institute assumes that
participants will have meaningful prior experience in digital editing
(in TEI XML or a comparable framework), but it makes no other
assumptions about prior knowledge or skills.
- An optional first-week _boot camp_ establishes basic infrastructure
skills (operating comfortably at the command line, handling files,
navigating file systems, sharing resources and code responsibly,
running Python programs from the command line, etc.).
- The second week allows participants to practice and advance their
basic skills when they start combining digital textual scholarship
theory (e.g., McGann 2004, Andrews 2012, Siemens 2012, Robinson
2013, Haentjens et al. 2015) with standard (e.g., XML, Python,
Jupyter Notebooks) and advanced digital technologies (e.g.,
StemmaWeb, CollateX, Neo4j, Tinkerpop, eXist-db).
- By the end of the third week, participants will be able to
conceptualize from theory a perspective on digital textual
scholarship and digital scholarly editions. They will also know how
to go about planning and implementing such an edition by engaging
programmatically and algorithmically with digital data, handling it
computationally, and querying, analyzing, and transforming it into
visualizations that transcend the digital translation of a text as a
The Institute will meet at the main (Oakland) campus of the University
of Pittsburgh from Monday, July 10, 2017 through Friday, July 28, 2017
and will draw on an international faculty of distinguished scholars,
practitioners, and teachers of digital philology from several
collaborating institutions. On Saturday, July 29, 2017 there will be an
optional pedagogical review of the Institute, designed to assist
participants in organizing and conducting their own workshops at their
- Tara Andrews (Institute of History, University of Vienna)
- David J. Birnbaum (Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures,
University of Pittsburgh)
- Hugh Cayless (Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing [DC3], Duke
- Ronald Haentjens Dekker (Huygens Institute, Royal Netherlands
Academy of Arts and Sciences)
- Na-Rae Han (Department of Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh)
- Mike Kestemont (Department of Literature, University of Antwerp)
- Leif-Jöran Olsson (Department of Swedish Language, University of
The instructors will be assisted by Gabrielle (Gabi) Keane (Senior
Undergraduate Institute Assistant, University of Pittsburgh).
Applications are invited for the full three-week Institute or, in the
case of those who are already comfortable with the types of first-week
topics described above, for just the second and third weeks. Applicants
should already be proficient with digital textual editing in TEI XML or
similar technologies, and should be seeking guidance and training in how
to move their texts into innovative digital editions that will enable
them to explore project-specific research questions. Evidence of
meaningful prior hands-on digital textual editing experience is
required, but prior experience in programming for textual exploration
and publication is not. Applicants who do not have prior experience with
the Python programming language must agree to complete a recommended
free online introductory Python course before the beginning of the
Institute, for which the Institute will maintain its own support and
discussion board. For budgetary reasons, preference will be given to
applications from within North America.
Participants accepted to the Institute will receive a travel allowance,
complimentary accommodation in single-occupancy dormitory rooms, and a
complimentary meal plan in the University Dining Services in lieu of per
diem. Access to the University libraries, computer labs, and networked
digital resources will also be provided. Participants must bring their
own laptops (Windows 7–10, Mac OS, or Ubuntu/Debian Linux). We welcome
scholars at all career levels from advanced graduate students through
senior faculty. Applications to the Institute should include the
- A one- to two-page statement about how participation in the
Institute will enhance the scholarly and professional goals of the
applicant. This statement should describe the digital edition
project that the applicant plans to pursue or undertake, with
special attention to the research questions motivating the creation
of that edition. Preference will be shown to applications that
articulate a clear understanding of the textual research potential
of digital scholarly editions.
- A one-page description of the applicant’s experience with textual
editing. Prior experience in programming for text processing is
neither required nor expected, but those who have such experience
should describe it here.
- Brief CV (maximum of two pages), concentrating on textual editing
and Digital Humanities experience.
- Indicate whether you are applying for the full three weeks or only
for the second and third, and in the latter case please describe
your background in the areas related to those described above as
part of the “boot camp” week.
- Indicate whether you wish to participate in the optional one-day
pedagogical review of the course on Saturday, July 29.
- Participants are required to participate full-time in the Institute
for the two or three weeks that they are in residence, and must
confirm that they will not undertake other significant commitments
during the Institute period.
All application materials should be submitted by email as a single PDF
file to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is Tuesday,
February 28, 2017, and applicants will be notified by March 15, 2017.
Questions may be directed to email@example.com.
David J. Birnbaum, Institute Director
Professor and Chair, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Faculty Fellow, University Honors College
1. McGann, Jerome, 2004. “Marking texts of many dimensions.” In Susan
Schreibman, Raymond Siemens, and John Unsworth, eds. _A companion to
Digital Humanities_. Oxford: Blackwell.
2. Andrews, Tara L., 2012. “The third way: philology and critical
edition in the digital age.” _Variants_ 10, pp. 61–76.
3. Siemens, Raymond et al., 2012. “Toward modeling the social edition:
An approach to understanding the electronic scholarly edition in the
context of new and emerging social media.” _Literary and linguistic
computing_, 27(4), pp. 445–61.
4. Robinson, Peter, 2012. “Towards a theory of digital editions.”
_Variants_ 10, pp.105–31.
5. Haentjens Dekker, Ronald, Dirk van Hulle, Gregor Middell, Vincent
Neyt, Joris van Zundert, 2015. “Computer-supported collation of
modern manuscripts: CollateX and the Beckett Digital Manuscript
Project”, _Digital scholarship in the humanities_, 30(3), pp.