An Interactive, Online Archive of Early Middle English: The Case of Laud 108
As Professor Dorothy Kim states in the project synopsis, MS Laud 108 remains inaccessible to the public because it is a restricted manuscript within Oxford's Bodleian Library. As one of the oldest English manuscripts, it largely contributes to our understanding of how English became an important literary language during the Middle Ages. Hence, because it is unavailable to scholars and because the manuscript plays such a large role in English literary history, our project sought to make MS Laud 108 accessible to all. As a critical editing project, the main goal was to begin creating a digital edition of Laud 108 with translations, textual notes, and links to digital images of the manuscript itself. Professor Kim and I were part of a greater collaboration that included members from multiple universities on the West Coast (UCLA, Berkeley, California State University and Northridge).
Over the course of the eight weeks, we focused upon many things, including general research of the manuscript itself and learning how to digitally edit and tag the manuscript by using TEI/XML encoding. One of the most important things that I did this summer was to attend the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. At this conference, I took a class on basic TEI/XML encoding and learned about the burgeoning discipline of digital humanities and their hopes to further integrate technology into scholarly enterprises.
When I returned from the conference, I began working with the computer program Oxygen that acts as a template for xml encoding. I was able to create a placeography and a personography for King Horn and Havelok the Dane, which are both thorough lists in xml format that detail every person and place within the two romances. These lists will basically act as a glossary, consisting of many tags that link relevant people and places from the list back to their usages within MS Laud 108. These lists will therefore allow students and scholars to quickly pinpoint each time a specific word or location is mentioned within the manuscript. In addition, I spent many of my days compiling an extensive bibliography on MS Laud 108, with particular focus upon the South English Legendary.
As an undergraduate student, being granted permission to view restricted manuscripts in the British Library was an amazing opportunity. Not only was I able to continue researching for the MS Laud 108 project, but I was also able to conduct some of my own research for my senior thesis. Thanks to Professor Kim and the Ford project, I now have hands-on research experience in one of the most celebrated manuscript libraries in the world. I was also introduced to the process of grant writing so that I now have a better understanding of the work that it takes to create and execute a large collaborative project. The opportunities and the guidance that Professor Kim has offered have been invaluable and helpful, not only in my own studies, but throughout the application process for graduate school. As a continuation of the work that we did this summer, I am also currently proofreading the digital version of the Ormulum, a twelfth century work of Biblical exegesis that Dorothy and her collaborators hope to eventually place online.