Digital Manuscript Studies – Curriculum Development 2

Beowulf – Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 132r. – Image Courtesy of British Library Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog

Hello Readers,

Here we are in week two of my curriculum development journey, initiated last week in this post. I thought that I would format this post as a form of report in order to point to some readings I looked at last week, and to discuss the emerging structure of module one for my embryonic digital manuscripts seminar. First, a rough outline of the unit in four modules:

The World of Digital Manuscript Studies (working title)

By the end of the unit, students should be able to:

  1. Critically engage with the problems, possibilities, and methodologies of manuscript studies in an age of digital content.
  2. Analyse different resources for manuscript studies (resources, tools for researchers, tools for students), the manner in which they are presented and the manner in which they can be used and manipulated.
  3. Critique the strengths and weaknesses of diverse digital manuscripts and resources.
  4. Use resources and tools to conduct original research individually and in a group, and identify the need for new approaches based on this research.

Week 1: Introduction

Administrative details and some basic introductory digital humanities readings.

Module 1:    Approaching the Digital Manuscript

Weeks 2-4

In this module, the student will learn how to place the digitisation and use of pre-modern manuscripts in a wider scholarly context, understand the potential and possible limitations of the manuscript as digital object. The student will also become familiar with some of the tools available to the student of manuscript studies to aid in their training and research, and the uses to which digitised manuscripts are being put.

Module 2:   Evaluating the Digital Manuscript

Weeks 5-7

In this module, the student will learn to critically evaluate the projects and resources collating digital manuscripts for curatorial and research purposes. They will also begin to explore the reasoning behind the creation of diverse digital resources, the process by which they are funded, collated, managed as a project and presented in a sustainable fashion upon completion (the life cycle of a digital manuscript project).

Module 3:   Researching the Digital Manuscript

Weeks 8-10

In this module, students will begin to use what they have learned in weeks 2-7 to perform small scale but original scholarly research individually, discuss their findings with the class week by week in a computer laboratory environment, and continue to critique manuscript resources as a group in a blended learning format. Students will form groups and begin selecting a topic for their research project, due at the end of week 12.

Assessment: Group Research Project

Weeks 11-12

This module is time for the students to meet in their groups and collectively to share ideas about and troubleshoot their group projects with the tutor and each other. The goal of this project will be to explore a manuscript or collection of manuscripts while working as a team, and to produce a small but focused piece of research while reflexively studying their own practice.

Weeks 2 and 3

Week 2: Why Digital?

Useful Readings:

Anna Chen. “In One’s Own Hand: Seeing Manuscripts in a Digital Age,” Digital Humanities Quarterly 6, no. 2 (2012). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/6/2/000138/000138.html.

Melanie Gau, Miklas Heinz, Martin Lettner, and Robert Sablatnig. “Image Acquisition & Processing Routines for Damaged Manuscripts.” Digital Medievalist no. 6 (2010). http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/journal/6/gau/.

Bruce Holsinger, ‘What Has Been Lost In Timbuktu? A Report from the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project’, Burnable Books <http://burnablebooks.com/what-has-been-lost-in-timbuktu/> [accessed 6 March 2013].

Sarah Werner, ‘Where Material Book Culture Meets Digital Humanities’, Journal of Digital Humanities 1, no. 3 (2012). http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-3/where-material-book-culture-meets-digital-humanities-by-sarah-werner/.

Week 3: Using the Digital Manuscript

Useful Readings:

Florence Cloppet and others, ‘New Tools for Exploring, Analysing and Categorising Medieval Scripts’, Digital Medievalist no. 7 (2011). http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/journal/7/cloppet/.

Martin Foys and Shannon Bradshaw, ‘Developing Digital Mappaemundi: An Agile Mode for Annotating Medieval Maps’, Digital Medievalist no. 7, 2011 http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/journal/7/foys/.

John Unsworth, ‘Medievalists as Early Adopters of Information Technology’, Digital Medievalist no. 7, (2011). http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/journal/7/unsworth/.

(these are really medieval heavy, so I want to go more Early Modern)

So that is what I have so far. Thanks for reading!

Best Wishes to you All,
James

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