The following is one of four profiles of researchers who have engaged in open scholarship at Duke. Please join us on October 5 for Open Scholarship in the Humanities — an in-person panel discussion with these current and former graduate students, who will explore their approaches to engaging in open humanistic scholarship. You can learn more about this ScholarWorks Center event in this blog post, and you can register at https://duke.libcal.com/event/11159787. The event qualifies for 200-level RCR credit. We hope to see you there!
Meet Ann Chapman Price
Ann Chapman Price is a historian of Christian spirituality, with a focus on medieval and early modern European theology and society. She is interested in the development of Christian mysticism throughout the tradition, the theology of medieval women’s religious texts, and the intersections of Christian spirituality with issues of race, sex, and gender. Ann’s research in the digital humanities primarily focuses on the study of texts and their representation and scholarly editing in the digital realm.
About Ann’s Digital Editing Work
Ann writes, “I was first inspired to learn the art of scholarly digital editing when I encountered the Exploring Medieval Mary Magdalene Project. In this project, eleven manuscript witnesses to the medieval Mary Magdalene conversion legend (including Latin and Vernacular manuscripts) were collected into a single digital corpus, transcribed, and made digitally available for comparison and research. I was impressed by the visualization tools that allow users to interact productively with the manuscripts and their transcriptions. While I was motivated by the Exploring Mary Magdalene Project to learn how to create similar scholarly digital editions, I was also encouraged in my efforts by Fragmentarium, a Laboratory for Medieval Manuscript Fragments. This database, which enables the digital collection and study of thousands of dispersed manuscript fragments, suggested to me the value of creating scholarly digital editions even of discrete fragments since these can be collected or connected digitally for analysis and exploration.
“I created a scholarly digital edition of a Latin manuscript fragment in the holdings at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University. This fragment is a single leaf from a twelfth-century liturgical document (a breviary, which gives directions for the celebration of the various services on specific hours of specific days). The edition was enabled by the support of Duke University’s Program in Information Science and Studies, and images of Latin MS 005 have been made available for this project by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
“My aims were two-fold. First, I wanted this digital edition to be a resource for the study of Latin paleography. Thus, my edition is a contribution to the publicly available materials for examining medieval Latin abbreviations, letter forms, and conventions for marking out sections of the text. This could be helpful for students beginning to learn Latin paleography. In creating a digital edition that could be examined in connection to others, I also imagined that my work could contribute to larger studies of paleography, such as variations across geographical regions or shifts between scripts over time. Secondly, I provided copious references for the liturgical elements of this breviary fragment, such as chants in the Cantus index, scriptural allusions, and comparable breviary fragments, with the hope that this digital edition could aid scholars of medieval liturgy in developing more robust understandings of liturgical culture and ritual.”
On the Invisible Work of Digital Scholarship
“One of the most important concepts that I needed to understand early on was the distinction in digital editing between, on one hand, the final product that is considered the ‘visualization’ of the edition and, on the other hand, the data that makes up the edition itself. In other words, we could think of the ‘edition’ as simply the XML document that holds the transcription and annotations (i.e., ‘tags’ or ‘markup’). This is distinct from the media that make the edition available to users, whether in the form of a website or PDF document. A separate language, XSLT, is needed to take an XML document and process it into a format that is ideal for presentation and use. Not knowing XSLT, I chose to create a visualization of my edition by using an open-source software called EVT (Edition Visualization Technology), which has been developed by numerous scholars under the coordination of Roberto Rosselli Del Turco. I also relied on other tools developed by digital humanists, such as the Image Markup Tool from the University of Victoria.
“For this reason, what might be unexpected for users of my scholarly digital edition is simply the collaborative nature of the work that goes into such an edition. In addition to learning the ‘nuts and bolts’ of using an XML editor, aligning with TEI’s standards, and using Unicode characters to represent medieval Latin, a significant amount of the work that I invested in this edition was focused on researching other scholarly editions and related projects. Secondary research into the work of scholars engaged in similar pursuits yielded numerous helpful suggestions from tools to processes to practical solutions. I would say that this kind of research is a ‘must’ for those embarking on scholarly digital editing.”
To explore Ann’s work, we invite you to visit the resources below.
- The Breviary Fragment Digital Edition showcases Ann’s editorial work, and you can read more about the project here.
- Ann’s Github page, where you can view the XML underlying her digital edition: https://github.com/achapmanprice/achapmanprice
The links below provide some context for Ann’s scholarship, including software, projects, and scholarly databases mentioned above.
- Exploring Medieval Mary Magdalene: https://maria-magdalena.ub.uni-freiburg.de/
- Fragmentarium: https://fragmentarium.ms/
- EVT (Edition Visualization Technology), the open-source software that Ann used for her digital edition: http://evt.labcd.unipi.it/, with additional information at https://visualizationtechnology.wordpress.com/
- Image Markup Tool: https://hcmc.uvic.ca/~mholmes/image_markup/
- Cantus Index: https://cantusindex.org/
- TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) Guidelines: https://tei-c.org/guidelines/
Come meet Ann and learn about her work at the ScholarWorks Center’s Open Scholarship in the Humanities panel discussion on October 5 (12:00-1:00 PM, Bostock Library 127; lunch is provided). Please take a moment to register and learn more about the event. We’ll see you there!