Thursday, 20 October 2011

Amaranta Saguar García on on-line resources for Medievalists

On-line resources for Hispanists and Italianists working on the Middle Ages: the essentials

Amaranta Saguar García (Lady Margaret Hall)

This being a welcome session for old friends as well as newcomers, the I3MS decided to start with a more practical session on on-line resources for Hispanists and Italianists working on the Middle Ages. We thought it was the best thing to do after the long vacation, not to start with more intellectual topics such as those that will be the subject of the next sessions.

After introducing ourselves, that is, the current Standing Committee of the I3MS, the departure of one of the co-founders of the seminar, Florence Curtis (St Anne's College) had to be announced. As a result, Hispanists are slightly underrepresented at the I3MS, so that we need more MSt and DPhil students working on Medieval Iberia! Some more time was devoted to introductions, so that those present were able to talk a little bit about themselves, their current research and their expectations with regard to the I3MS. We feel lucky to have seen there many new faces, included two visiting students from the University of Salamanca (Spain).

The paper that followed dealt, as its own title conveys, with the essentials of computer resources for Medievalists. They were organised in three different groups, the first dealing with indispensable software and derivatives, the second with on-line bibliographical research and the third with linguistic issues.

In first place, Amaranta talked about typefaces specifically created to transcribe medieval texts. These fonts include a wide range of medieval special symbols and have been developed by two different projects: the MUFI-Project and the Junicode initiative. After that, she mentioned some transcription helps such as Transcript, but she moved very quickly to collation software, among which she highlighted CollateX as the most professional and Juxta as the most user-friendly. Finally, she described the different possibilities for bibliography management, not overlooking the utilities of modern text processors, but recommending the use of personal bibliographical software. This being usually very expensive, she recommended considering using Zotero, which is a free personal bibliography manager and can be used to gather bibliographical information from the Internet too, apart from helping to organise your fauvorites bookmarks.

The second section devoted to bibliographical research included search engines devoted almost exclusively to manuscripts (Manus, Calames and Philobiblon) and search engines that included printed old books (CERL Portal) and incunabula (ISTC, GW).

With regard to historical linguistics, Amaranta presented three corpora of old Spanish and Italian (two Spanish -CORDE and Corpus del Español- and one Italian) and the on-line Italian historical dictionary TLIO.

The paper ended with the promise of future sessions on more specific on-line resources, so that feel free to write to i3ms.oxford@gmail.com with your suggestions and ideas. For those who were not able to attend this session, Amaranta has made available over the Internet her slide presentation at her profile in Academia.edu. Moreover, you will find a recording of the paper at the bottom of this entry, which is a novelty we have just introduced in the I3MS. We would like to start recording our sessions with the intention of creating a podcast, hopefully at the website of the University of Oxford. Please, let us know what you think about this new idea in the comments!

Paper author: Amaranta Saguar García.
Published under a CC license
 
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