Another next step

As term has reached its end, I would like to provide for some orientation in the mind map that seems to have drawn itself over the past months to guide me ahead.

First, to the good news: Sabine Seifert is now working at the Fontane Archive in Potsdam and Melanie Siemund at the Academy of Sciences in Vienna, both in exciting projects with no less exciting perspectives. I really hope to host guest posts by them on this blog when time has come (project presentation, conference report and the like). This will be one step towards enlarging the Berlin focus.

Apart from that, I will be travelling a lot this fall and winter and am very much looking forward to the contacts and exchanges of ideas in Germany, France, Austria and the UK. It always does good to one’s research to be shaken a bit by perspectives from the outside. The reasons for me travelling  are: editions (and, yes, digital editions, a lot), textual scholarship, the concept of “the intellectual”, my favorite authors, DH in general. All very good reasons to leave my home desk, really. Continue reading “Another next step”

Archivalien im Zeitalter ihrer technischen Reproduzierbarkeit

Ein Tagungsbericht von Johanna Preusse

Das Netzwerk KOOP Litera Deutschland veranstaltet jedes Jahr eine Tagung, die verschiedenen Institutionen, die mit Autographen und Nachlässen arbeiten, einen Austausch ermöglicht. Angesprochen sind also in erster Linie Archive und Bibliotheken, aber ebenso alle anderen Institutionen, Projekte und Personen, für die das Themengebiet Relevanz hat. Die Tagung zum Thema „Archivische Erschließung und wissenschaftliche Edition“ fand im Mai 2015 im Weimarer Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv statt, Continue reading “Archivalien im Zeitalter ihrer technischen Reproduzierbarkeit”

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Seldom (maybe never) has it felt such a relief to open hypotheses.org as it is tonight. Weeks of forced blogging abstinence, rushing ahead without looking left and right, with the edition seemingly stuck in its rachitic state. But victory, victory at last! We are moving on! What a relief –

I have been obsessed by the single aim to get more text online for months and trying to move mountains to reach that goal – with little success at first. It seems that the fruits of those efforts will finally be harvestable in the days ahead:

– the transcriptions of all letters from Tieck to Raumer already online have been reviewed by Henrike Both; Johanna is now feeding them in the XML files, adding missing xml:ids and enriching the comments (the following letters awaiting her then – she is so good at reading and commenting Tieck and in encoding in general that I think, with the two of us, we will wrap up the corpus before the end of the year) – link to the corpus here!

– Sabine has been actively encoding Boeckh’s reports on the philological seminar and we received yesterday the authorization to publish (online and in print) the scans of the original documents from the University Archive – a first ever. The link to the corpus is here (the scans should be online on Monday)! The director of the Historical Collections of the Grimm-Zentrum is to be thanked greatly for scanning the documents and making this publication possible.

– Julia has almost reached entry 2 000 of Boeckh’s book catalogue (which counts a little less than  6 000 on the whole). This is still not online since the visualization involves a direct link to the work index which requires some tuning, but Alex and I settled on a reasonable solution this morning, and it should be online before the end of the month. I will certainly let you know about it!

– Sophia is almost done preparing the Voß-Solger letters (a print version) and especially the commentary. As soon as this is done (only a few more days), she will get back to unifying some 15 Chamisso letters that are on our internal platform, waiting to be polished. Those should be published in the course of summer.

– Selma has encoded her reference text by Helmina von Chézy (an open letter / fictional text addressed to Bettina von Arnim). This should be online in a month or so.

– Alex and I agreed today on activating the pdf button of the edition by Mid-September. The pdf conversions already works pretty well for letters as it is, but need some re-working to be reasonably clean when applied to the other types of manuscripts we have. Roxane, being the only drama (and the only manuscript with comparatively short lines), always requires specific attention. And will get it for the pdf function as well.

Which means that we will be able to work on the collation from the fall on (sooo looking forward to developing something new!!!), with 2 out of the 3 due volumes in print (one is Voss, in German, and the other one is the “figures of the intellectual”, in French – I had rather not think about who is going to take care of the Solger volume right now, but I see it coming that I will have to pay someone to do the copy editing and translating in order to preserve the time I want to dedicate mainly to writing, e.g. August-October and December-February).

You can count on me to tell you more on the workshop DH Kompetenzzentren and on the Manifesto for young researchers in DH soon, since I spent most of June preparing both. See you soon!

Our digital edition moving on without me doing a thing (almost)

Having returned from a week in a continuous snowstorm in a beautiful mountain setting where one might, in other circumstances, have been able to actually ski, I found my self in another kind of storm – one where one might, in other circumstances, be able to actually work. No mountains there though, just flat Brandenburg.

Instead of working on, say, some encoding, or the next volume to be directed, or some new archival material – or even, let me dream some, on the book that has been awaiting to be completed for the last nine months -, instead of all that, I spent the last three days thinking about proposals and tweeting about applications, and began writing said proposals and applications (and taking care of replacements for my people on maternity leave). Half a week has now elapsed, no palpable work has been done, and I am not sure any more why I am doing that. If what I want is to reach a tenured position – preferably an interesting one, too -, how can I imagine that such activity fragmentation can be, if not the shortest, at least the surest way to do so? What is interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, connecting work really worth, career-wise?

These moments where I lack inner guidance make me immensely grateful towards my group. While I fight some kind of windmills, they keep moving on and doing what we have settled on. The organization of the November conference (“Brief um 1800 – Zur Medialität von Generationen” – I realize now that I have no conference page to link to, will take care of it before the week is over) is moving on with interesting answers to our Call for Papers on H-Germanistik – please, send in more of those! We want to get to know original and exciting research projects dealing with the configuration letters + generation + around 1800!

Our digital edition of the Peter Schlemihl should be publishable in 2 or 3 weeks (almost 200 manuscript pages carefully encoded by Anna and revised by Johanna). The Chamisso letters from the de La Foye corpus are being processed – those from the last course being revised by our intern Sophia Zeil, Anna and Sabine, and those from the new course coming in. It will certainly take another 6 to 9 months before the whole corpus is completed, but the bundling of forces helps things progress. Sabine (and I too, two weeks ago) has been working on the index of persons as well as on our new joy of life: the index of groups of persons.

I have refused to introduce such an index for a long time, considering it was not economical enough for our project. I still think it is so when it comes to naming “my kids” or “my nephews”: we are better off with a note in this case. But with Boeckh, everything changed.

Indeed, the one that has done a great deal for the digital edition lately is certainly Alex. First, he put together EAD and XML datasets to create our Boeckh platform – a repository containing short descriptions and localisations of all of Boeckh’s manuscripts (not complete yet, of course, but already fairly large considering we could import the kalliope-datasets). The data from this “platform” (still looking for a better name) are connected to our digital edition through the 3 index of persons,  places and works. Which is why the work on Boeckh’s book collection will, in the end, be a major piece of that puzzle. But let’s not rush ahead. Right now, we are still busy connecting the persons. Sabine and I created about 100 entries in the index of persons (additionally to the about 200 we could gain from kalliope via the GND numbers – long live normdata!): all of Boeckh’s family, closest colleagues, major actors at the University, students from the Philological Seminar. Then, we created groups of those – the deans at the University in the academic year 1811-1812, the students from the Philological Seminar in the academic year 1812-1813, and so forth. That is tedious, but comparatively, a piece of cake. What made me sweat most was the the group “Members of the Philosophical Faculty”. There, too, I divided the group after the academic years, but it is not very satisfactory considering that those professors who die suddenly mostly do so in the middle of the year. The aim of constituting these groups as entities is to be able to work with rich metadata sets coming from the Archive of the University, that contain requests often addressed to “the Professors of the Philosophical Faculty”. This is one of the corpora I would want to edit “next” (after Tieck, Beausobre, the Friday Society, the Classical Philology Lecture Notes… sigh). And of course, it will be of help for Sabine’s edition of the reports from the Philological Seminar (which she, contrarily to me, will actually manage to do this year, since she does not have 8 other things to do, but 2: the Chamisso corpus and her dissertation).

Alex also worked on the collation – in December, and none of us managed to look into it seriously. He collated our transcription of the Sandmann with the DTA’s version. The result shows so many differences that we have to think of a way to bring some hierarchy in the collation. Apart from the technical aspects, it also means that we have to define what our version of record should be and how we can merge XML-files while making the part originating from us and the part originating from the DTA visible.

And he worked on a generic version of our TEI2PDF – one that would not just be conceived for Boeckh’s Encyclopädie, but would fit to all of our corpora. As ever, it is an almost impossible task considering the variety of  layout in the original texts. But the pdf version is a reading version that does not aim at reproducing the manuscript, so that some of the layout specificities of the subcorpora are being ignored. I appreciate this little detour through TeX, it reminds me of my dissertation time (said dissertation in now online on  TEL at long last before the end of the week: you can find it here).

Did I mention already how great my team is? We have a meeting tomorrow afternoon, I am sure they will surprise me again with their enthusiasm and good ideas. Maybe I don’t really need to do some real work myself, after all…

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