Thursday, 20 August 2015

Oxford Digital Humanities Summer School

Lou Burnard What is the Text Encoding Initiative cover image
I had a really excellent time at the Oxford Digital Humanities Summer School, July 20 - 24.  It was a huge event, with 163 delegates and 83 speakers enjoying 8 week-long parallel workshops on topics such as Crowdsourcing for Academic, Library and Museum Environments, Digital Musicology, and Linked Data for the Humanities.  Professor Jane Winters from the University of London’s Institute of Historical Research gave the opening keynote lecture on “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Digital,” and Professor James Loxley from the University of Edinburgh gave the closing talk on “Uneasy Dreams: the Becoming of Digital Scholarship.”

I followed the workshop on Leveraging the Text Encoding Initiative, and was pleased that much of the teaching on this was given by the inspirational Lou Burnard, one of the founding editors of the TEI.  I was even more pleased that we were all given a free copy of his recent book, What is the Text Encoding Initiative?  How to add intelligent markup to digital resources (Open Edition Press, 2014), and available at: – a perfect summary of everything we were taught.  Many  PowerPoints and many practical exercises later, I now know a lot more than I used to about how to encode a digital text, and even more excitingly, how I might eventually display a marked-up text via an XML database such as existdb, and even run XQuery searches on it, should I feel the need!

It was a busy, stimulating week, with lots of interesting conversations with fellow TEI enthusiasts, a splendid closing dinner at Exeter College, and even some time left over to browse the Oxford bookshops!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Finzi Music Collection

Richard Mudge.  FIN M1012.M75M8
I’m pleased to report that our project to digitise the eighteenth-century music scores within our Finzi Music Collection is now complete. 140 items by composers such as William Boyce, William Felton, John Humphries, Richard Mudge, John Stanley and Charles Wesley were transcribed and arranged, usually in Gerald Finzi’s hand, in the early twentieth century and preserved in his collection. Digital copies of the scores can now be easily reached from the Special Collections website, where a new Digital Collections page has been opened. This has been a collaborative project involving both myself and Special Collections staff, who helped hugely at the scanning and web-page creation stages, and it’s satisfying to have played a small part in opening up our rather hidden music collections to a wider public.