The Estoria de Espanna Project goes to De Montfort

Most of the Estoria team have been in Seville this week at the third annual project colloquium. There will hopefully be at least one nice blog post on here on that topic before too long! Let’s just give them chance to pick up their suitcases off the luggage carousel, shall we?

I, however, have not been to Seville, but I have been talking all things Textual Scholarship at the 12th Annual Conference for the European Society for Textual Scholarship in the less glamorous but no less exciting location of De Montfort University in Leicester. Before I get into the nitty gritty of the conference lowdown I would like to take the opportunity to mention four things which really made my day last Thursday, on Day One of the conference:

1. Of course, seeing my fellow project-member Bárbara Bordalejo and catching up over a coffee.
2. The Amazing Biscuits that accompanied the aforementioned coffee. Actual shortbread. Not a rich tea in sight.
3. A mere £2 for a day’s visitor parking on campus. I was expecting more along the lines of a £6 assault on my purse.
4. Highchairs in the student cafeteria and proper baby changing facilities. I didn’t take Mini Medievalist with me, but this still shows a great forward step in universities being inclusive places for student parents. Other universities would do well to invest in such facilities.

The ESTS conference was great.You can read Dr Wim Van Mierlo’s Storify of the conference here (note that Pumpkin Duxfield the cat makes an appearance). It was a brilliant opportunity to mix with others who are, like me, really interested in editing, transcribing, tagging, manuscripts, crowdsourcing, and so on. The papers were interesting and varied, and the lecture theatres were filled with a who’s who of my bibliography. I also had the chance to speak to and to listen to the papers of people whose research is relevant to my thesis, including Professor David C. Parker and Dr Catherine Smith from ITSEE in Birmingham (their office is down the hall from the EDIT office, but to speak to them we all trekked to Leicester – isn’t that always the way with these things?), Professor Peter Robinson, who was cited in almost every panel or talk I attended, and Professor David Greetham, whose mere presence at the front of the room caused almost everyone to noticeably sit up and pay even more attention than they had been doing so far. I was also able to hear about the research of lots scholars who I hadn’t heard of before, but should have done, or hadn’t yet got round to reading the works of, but should have done. I may or may not finish this PhD before I turn 50. I also chaired my first panel, and was grateful to Peter Robinson and David Parker for keeping the discussion going while I scribbled down as much as humanly possible for the thesis chapter I am writing at the moment.

Snippets I took from the conference that I will share today are Florida scholar Gary Taylor’s point that when editing, it is important to not let one’s emotional ties to the work get in the way, particularly if you are making a new edition of a work you have previously edited, David Greetham’s point that white space on a manuscript page seemed to invite the reader to annotate folios (how many times as a teacher did I tell children off for writing in books?!), and Glasgow scholar Andrew Prescott’s points that manuscripts are unstable objects which can be rebound and have folios added or removed, and that we cannot trust facsimiles because they may have been retouched if the original copy made was not that clear, and may therefore be different from the original.

I was lucky to be allowed to present my own paper at a conference full of such renowned academics, and to get some feedback from them both in the discussion and in the coffee break afterwards. Dr Caroline Macé thanked me for the honesty about crowdsourcing and cost (both time and financial) implications in my paper and asked if I thought crowdsourcing could really be *the answer* for transcription projects, Wout Dillen asked for more information about our Transcription Guidelines, and Professor Anthony Lappin asked about some of our tagging choices when it comes to abbreviations. This feedback will certainly provide me with yet more juice for my thesis.

To read more about the ESTS conference you can look at the #ESTS15 hashtag on Twitter, and of course to read about the Estoria colloquium you can look at #estoriadigital.

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