Being a team again (a 1000-piece-puzzle)

Not only summer has replaced winter within 24 hours, but we are operational again, we as a team. The last position (contract for a student as a studentische Hilfskraft) that was vacant since Maike changed universities is now filled with Sophia Zeil. Which makes us – still – a bunch of girls, but with an amazing encoding task force. Sabine and Julia are taking care of the Boeckh project. Sophia is helping Sabine and Anna out with the Chamisso corpus as well. Besides being our drama encoding specialist, Johanna is getting better every day at commenting Tieck’s letters and will transcribe and encode those that are still missing together with me. Even Selma is beginning – as I write this – to encode her Helmina von Chézy text. Corpus! Corpus! If I were not held up by my daily business and the 2 volumes I have to finish until July, I would be encoding much more actively myself as well. But an end to those 2 books (at least to one of them) is in sight.

Of course, I was worried that the group would turn from a genuinely literary project with a slight historical touch to a sheer editorial enterprise, albeit a digital one. During the first two years of the project, we have been developing the different focuses and embracing with them new scholarly domains, history of science and gender literary studies mainly. We discovered new methodological tools and concepts. I learned and learned and as I came to the point that I could add a new piece to the puzzle, the puzzle itself had turned from a 100-piece to a 200-piece one, and so forth. Now I have this huge 1000 piece-puzzle in front of me: in some spots, a shape is recognizable. In others, it is more a big whole.

The conferences we are organizing are here to fill some of these gaps or to precise some elements that are in key positions.

– The first conference will take place in November 2013 and deals with letters as a medium for generation discourses around 1800.

– The second conference – partly more of a workshop, really – will take place in May 2014 and deal with digital editions of letters. I will write more about it soon as I intend to wrap up the call for proposal and send most of the invitations by the end of this week. The title so far: “Digitale Briefeditionen und ihre interpretatorische Leistung. Ontologien, Textgenetik und Visualisierungsstrategien”. A poem in itself, isn’t it?

– But before all of those, and on a completely different register, I am preparing the workshop on DH competence centers in Germany (taking place on June 28th) together with the whole DH-Berlin gang. We are meeting on Friday to define the precise questions we want to address. You can also expect a follow-up on that…

Somehow, now that we are a team again, I only see the fun in all the things I will be able to learn from those conferences/workshops. I almost forget all the organizing pain, thinking only of the puzzle corners that will get filled.


Anne Baillot

I studied German Studies and Philosophy in Paris where I got my PhD in 2002. I then moved to Berlin, where I have been living & doing research ever since. My areas of specialty include German literature, Digital Humanities, textual scholarship and intellectual history. I am currently working at the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin as an expert in digital technologies for the humanities.

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