Wish List

Brief description of current project ideas, in alphabetical order:

  • AnnotationRemix the Manuscript started with a kind of annotation problem: what would be the best way to represent Emily Ulrich’s analysis of marginal commentary in the manuscript? We soon realized that choosing a method or a tool was a research project in itself. We also learned that the word annotation caused confusion in every planning meeting due to widely variant (but all accurate) understandings of what it means. These ambiguities seem significant and worth studying too.
  • CataloguesImagining History Project is now an orphaned wiki site listing most known copies of the Brut (but not ours). The catalogue is full of valuable information. What can we do with it now that we have so many different database and visualization tools? We have permission from John Thompson, the original project lead, to reuse the content.
  • Digital Publishing. We’ve published a photo essay about the Brutnothing more sophisticated than a PDF with image inserts.  What new insights emerge if we re-publish the “same” material in born-digital platforms? What options do we even have for born-digital exhibits?
  • Digital Arts. How is the pixel mediating history and materiality in digital manuscript studies? Our collaborations with Benjamin Patrick help us explore the basic unit of visual representation, contributing (we hope) new insights into what we see when are looking at media files.
  • DNA. Scholars have been doing various things with material analysis of vellum. Wouldn’t it be interesting to contribute a sample from the Brut manuscript and see what we might see?  At the same time, we could learn about the state of genetic methodologies for historical research and their implications for medieval studies. After watching  this video, we think we need a chemist.
  • GIS. What patterns can we map, literally, across the geography of Britain? And what happens if we run the same data through different mapping tools?
  • Interoperability. How many other copies of the Brut have been digitized? Where are they and what can we do with them in digital space? What tools facilitate comparison and other useful operations?
  • Manuscript Average. I’m fascinated by this concept, described by Jesse Hulbut, that involves superimposing digital images. I know that it’s art but I’m not yet sure what else it could be for the Brut. I’m also not sure how to do it, although I’d guess there’s more than one way.
  • Multispectral Imaging. Sophisticated imaging can make invisible text visible. It can also automate the recognition of patterns across vast amounts of data. What can it do for the Brut?  It so happens that our team member Emily Ulrich is a research assistant on a multispectral imaging project at Yale, so we’re curious about possible collaborations.
  • Transcribe. Turning medieval handwriting into readable type is no simple task. Are digital transcription tools making it easier or just different? How are developments in automatic transcription affecting editorial theory? Can a manuscript page become machine-readable?

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