2021 – The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Medieval Studies: A Global Digital Medievalist Symposium

The era of COVID-19 has been transformational for medieval digital humanities. Medievalists have come to learn the limits and possibilities of online scholarship, whether in the virtual classroom or in the transfer of knowledge among specialists. Although direct access to material sources and the easy face-to-face exchanges with colleagues are deeply missed, we have come to understand that digitally-inflected scholarship can be more economical, more global, and –in limited ways– more equitable for many medievalists. And because we have come to this inflection point, members of the Digital Medievalist Board are launching a conference series that marks this turn and aims to build upon what we have learned. Our theme, The Past, Present and Future of Medieval Digital Studies is both retrospective and prospective in scope, bringing digital medievalist practitioners into conversation with each other as we step into a new scholarly environment where digital methods take on a new importance.

Our new global awareness has inspired us to plan three conference dates, each of which is aligned with a geographic space and accommodates scholars from three time zones grouped as The Americas, Asia & Oceania, and Europe & Africa: Europe & Africa will take place on Monday, June 21. See individual panel dates for timing. The Americas conversation took place on Monday, 24 May and the Asia & Ociania conference on Thursday, 11 June 2021 (see below).

Africa & Europe: Diving Into Sources – Monday, June 21, 2021

Session 1
Digital Medieval Studies in Transition
Panel discussion with Tara Andrews (University of Vienna), Mike Kestemont (University of Antwerp), and Georg Vogeler (University of Graz).07:15-08:1512:15-13:1509:15-10:15
Session 2
Linked Open Data in Medieval Studies
Panel discussion with Luise Borek (Technical University of Darmstadt), Toby Burrows (University of Oxford), and Katharina Zeppezauer-Wachauer (University of Salzburg).08:45-09:4513:45-14:4510:45-11:45
Session 3
Manuscript Studies and Material Cultures
Panel discussion with Pietro Liuzzo (University of Hamburg), Paul Love (Al Akhawayn University of Ifrane), Solomon Gebreyes (University of Hamburg), and Sean Winslow (University of Graz).10:15-11:1515:15-16:1512:15-01:15
Closing Remarks11:15-11:3016:15-16:3001:15-01:30
Preliminary Program of the Africa & Europe Part

For medievalists worldwide, digital media has fundamentally changed the way how we access our sources and work with them: digital editing, digital imaging, databases, text mining and visualisation are but some keywords that have gained relevance over the last decades and have influenced and inspired new research directions in the field. Other methodologies, such as Linked Open Data and Machine Learning, are emerging as key approaches for current and future research, driven by the huge amount of digital research data that is being produced by hundreds of medieval research projects every year.  

This conference is dedicated to reflecting on the past, present and future of medieval studies and its transformation thanks to these methodologies. When we think about the future, we should also be conscious of areas in medieval studies that have been underexplored and underappreciated by the field at large. Using a visionary perspective, the first panel will discuss developments in how medieval source data are represented, analysed and interpreted. The second panel focuses on Linked Open Data and its application to medieval studies. The final panel brings together scholars working with textual and material data from various manuscript traditions and cultures to discuss how DH methodologies impact on their research.

Organized by Roman Bleier, Hannah Busch, Els De Paermentier, Tessa Gengnagel, and Daniela Schulz.

Co-sponsored by the Centre for Information Modelling at the University of Graz

Sign-up for the event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwoc-GsqTgvGtHXIueedv15UwSIlAgnTvxO

Image detail from: Herzog August Bibliothek, 15 Astron. 2° (1s) rechts (http://diglib.hab.de?grafik=15-astron-2f-00023, CC BY-SA)

Past Parts:

Americas: Images and Imaging – Monday May 24, 2021

Online (via Youtube-Channel of the Medieval Academy of America): www.medievalacademy.org/page/DigitalMedievalStudies.

Moderated by James Harr
Debra Cashion: Creating Manuscript Metadata
Jessica Savage: Images and Iconography
11:00 – 12:0016:00 – 17:0001:00 – 02:00
Moderated by Nathan Daniels
Tracy Chapman Hamilton: Using images for art historical research and teaching
Benjamin Albritton: Image Delivery using IIIF
12:30 – 13:3017:30 – 18:3002:30 – 03:30
Moderated by Aylin Malcolm
William Endres: Advances in VR
Gustavo Riva: Digital Images and Textual Edition

Conference Wrap-up Discussion
Moderated by Laura Morreale
14:00 – 15:3019:00 – 20:3004:00 – 05:30
Program of the Americas Part

For medievalists working in the Americas, increased access to high-quality images of manuscripts and other medieval resources has changed the way we work, whether we consider ourselves digital humanities scholars or not. The ready availability of these resources has opened new ways of thinking about practices that are fundamental to our field, such as textual editing, image description and analysis, or manuscript collation, for example. Yet the instantaneous access we now have to facsimiles of the materials that were previously so difficult or arduous to view masks the enormous amount of expertise needed to bring these images so effortlessly to our desktops. Librarians, curators, cataloguers and information technologists bring their skills and knowledge to the task of image delivery in ways that remain invisible to most subject-area specialists, but have become critical to the way most medievalists now work.

The goal of this conference is to reflect on how access to images — whether limited or open — has shaped how medievalists in the Americas have worked in the past and the present, as well as how they may do so in the future. Topics may include the following: a discussion of how resource professionals take material objects in a collection and create properly catalogued digital objects; IIIF, scanning, metadata, 3D-imaging, and 3D-printing; the relationship between image and material object and the implications for textual scholarship or pedagogy.

Organized by Nathan Daniels, Lisa Fagin Davis, James Harr III, Aylin Malcolm, and Laura Morreale.
Co-sponsored by the Medieval Academy of America

Asia & Oceania: Digital Transformations – June 11, 2021

Languages, Texts, Environments: Digital Transformations in our Past, Present and Future

The Asia and Oceania panel offers a fresh perspective for digital medievalists, since the Middle Ages and the scheme of historical periodisation that applies to Europe has little relevance to the historical timelines which unfolded in Asia and the region of Oceania. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, the nations of Asia and the islands of Oceania have divergent histories and encompass an incredibly diverse mix of cultures. This panel seeks to offer a small taste of activities undertaken in the sphere of scholarship broadly termed digital humanities, and to introduce new topics and questions to our Digital Medievalist audience.

Session 1
Archiving Indigenous Australia
22:30 – 23:3004:30 – 05:3012:30 – 13:30
Session Chair: Mike Jones (Australian National University)

Nick Thieberger (University of Melbourne)
Text and image, using medieval technologies for access to Australian Indigenous language records

Sue O’Connor (Australian National University), Ursula Frederick (University of Canberra) and William Andrews (Austral Archaeology)
Archives in Bark: Digital approaches to recording Australia’s inscribed boab trees

Frances Morphy and Bree Blakeman (Australian National University)
Placenames and personal names in Yolngu Society and Country through time
Session 2
Engaging in Chinese literature
24:00 – 01:0006:00 – 07:0014:00 – 15:00
Session Chair: Michael Schimmelpfennig (Australian National University)

Christian Wittern (Kyoto University, Japan)
Towards a collaborative research platform for the study of premodern Chinese culture

Donald Sturgeon (Durham University, UK)
Crowdsourcing historical text and data with the Chinese Text Project

Paul Vierthaler (The College of William & Mary, Virginia)
Keeping track of time: extracting temporal references from late Imperial Chinese literature

Session 3
Reading Indic and Japanese scripts
01:30 – 02:3007:30 – 08:3015:30 – 16:30
Session Chair: Rose Faunce (Australian National University)

Ian McCrabb (University of Sydney)
Digital publishing of Indic manuscripts and inscriptions using the READ Workbench corpus development, research and publishing framework

Luca Milasi (Sapienza University, Rome) and Naohiro Ota (National Institute for the Humanities, Tachikawa, Japan)
The survey of the Marega Collection at the Vatican Library and the construction of a digital open access database
Session 4
Virtual reconstructions
03:00 – 04:0009:00 – 10:0017:00 – 18:00
Session chair: Katrina Grant (Australian National University)

Francesco Borghesi (University of Sydney)
Virtually recreating a Renaissance library: the case of Pico della Mirandola

Thomas Chandler and Mike Yeates (Monash University)
Modelling a Medieval Metropolis: A Virtual Map of Angkor, circa 1300

Raichel Le Goff (University of Newcastle)
Showcasing the Renaissance: the virtual ‘camerini’ of Isabelle d’Este
Discussion and wrap up04:00 –
10:00 – 10:3018:00 – 18:30
Program of the Asia & Oceania Part

Organized by Rose Faunce and Daniela Schulz.
With the assistance of the School of Culture, History and Languages, The Australian National University.

Register for the event: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-past-present-and-future-of-digital-medieval-studies-tickets-152470472287