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.  The Americas conversation will take place on Monday, 24 May 2021, Asia & Oceania on Friday, June 11, and Europe & Africa on Monday, June 21. See individual panel dates for timing. 

Americas: Images and Imaging – Monday May 24, 2021

TitleEDTBSTUTC +10
Past
Moderated by James Harr
Debra Cashion: Creating Manuscript Metadata
Jessica Savage: Images and Iconography
11:00 – 12:0004:00 – 05:0001:00 – 02:00
Present
Moderated by Nathan Daniels
Tracy Chapman Hamilton: Using images for art historical research and teaching
Benjamin Albritton: Image Delivery using IIIF
12:30 – 01:3005:30 – 06:3002:30 – 03:30
Future
Moderated by Aylin Malcolm
William Endres: Advances in VR
Gustavo Riva: Digital Images and Textual Edition

Conference Wrap-up Discussion
Moderated by Laura Morreale
02:00 – 03:3007:00 – 08:3004:00 – 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

Sign-up for the Americas Event: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_t3mJh3a8ShOlkgpngSRQfw

Asia & Oceania: Digital Transformations – June 11, 2021

TitleEDTCESTAESTJST
Archiving Indigenous Australia22:30 – 23:4504:30 – 05:4512:30 – 13:4511:30 – 12:45
Engaging Chinese literature24:00 – 01:0006:00 – 07:0014:00 – 15:0013:00 – 14:00
Reading Indian and Japanese scripts01:30 – 02:3007:30 – 08:3015:30 – 16:3014:30 – 15:30
Virtual reconstructions & Discussion03:00 – 04:3009:00 – 10:3017:00 – 18:3016:00 – 17:30
Program of the Asia & Oceania Part

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.

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

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

TitleEDT (AM)BSTAEST (PM)
Welcome/Introduction07:00-07:1512:00-12:1509:00-09:15
Digital Medieval Studies in Transition07:15-08:1512:15-13:1509:15-10:15
Linked Open Data in Medieval Studies08:45-09:4513:45-14:4510:45-11:45
Manuscript Studies and Material Cultures10:15-11:1515:15-16:1512:15-01:15
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://forms.gle/R9s4Me8CyeVxuvCS6

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