Category Archives: MA Digital Humanities

Digital Codex Mendoza online

Ernesto Miranda, a former student on the MA in Digital Humanities here at DDH, has just published a digital edition of the Codex Mendoza, a sixteenth-century manuscript that is now one of our most important sources for pre-Hispanic culture in Mexico. The project began life as an assignment for one of his MA modules, ‘Material Culture of the Book’, for which students had to plan how they would digitise a book or set of books. After graduating, Ernesto took his plan to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, University of California Press, and King’s College London, and convinced them all to help him actually do it.

The edition is now freely available both online and as an app on the iTunes store, and has already been featured in the New York Times (among others). It allows you not only to view the pages of this famous and fascinating manuscript, but also to see in situ transcriptions, translations and supplementary material. See, for instance, this page on daily life (drag your mouse over the image to see the translation), or this one with annotations on territorial expansion.

Part of the project press-release is quoted below which gives some more background to the project. But now go, explore and enjoy!

The digital resource was created in collaboration with Bodleiain Library, Oxford, (where it has been held since 1659), King’s College London and University of California Press. It was developed in 2014, under the curatorial direction of Frances Berdan and Baltazar Brito.

The Codex Mendoza was created under the orders of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1542 to evoke an economic, political, and social panorama of the recently conquered lands. It has 72 illustrated pages glossed in Nahuatl, and 63 correspondent pages with Spanish glosses.

The Digital Codex Mendoza is part of INAH’s effort to highlight the importance of Mexican Codices for national history. This effort began in September, 2014, with the opening of the unprecedented exhibition, Códices de México, Memorias y Saberes, where 44 codices were shown for the first time to the general public. Codices are extremely sensitive documents in terms of preservation, so very few people have access to them. This is why the exhibition and the digital edition of codices held outside Mexico, such as Digital Codex Mendoza, are so important.

This effort is the first of a series that will virtually repatriate essential Mexican documents. It serves as a milestone regarding academic digital editions in Mexico and Latin America. Through this work the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), or National Institute of Anthropology and History, demonstrates the broad-based utility of this type of edition and the need to seek new forms of representation for such complex systems of knowledge. At the same time, the effort furthers the permanent calling of the INAH to study, preserve, and spread awareness of the cultural patrimony of the Mexican people, and create new ways of engagement with cultural heritage.

Decoding Digital Humanities London – 2012

Decoding Digital Humanities London (DDHL) is a series of informal monthly meetings for anyone interested in research at the intersection of computational technologies and the humanities. These gatherings provide an opportunity to discuss readings and raise questions, but also to mingle and share ideas with others in the field of digital humanities.

The series was founded at University College London and is now aiming at involving a larger number of institutions across London. PhD, MA students and staff at UCL, King’s College London and Goldmisth’s University of London are amongst the organizers this year.

The first meeting will be on January 31st at 6.30pm at The Plough (upstairs), 27 Museum st, WC1A 1LH. We will discuss the Digital Humanities Manifesto: http://tcp.hypotheses.org/411.

No registration is needed but an email would be appreciated. Please write to decodingdh@ucl.ac.uk.

DDH Internal Research Seminar: Tablet apps, or the future of Digital Scholarly Editions

At yesterday’s (23 November) Internal Research Seminar, Elena Pierazzo and Miguel Vieira presented Tablet apps, or the future of Digital Scholarly Editions, a preview of the paper that they will give tomorrow at the study-day “The Future of the Book“.

The paper discussed those opportunities that tablet device could offer for the digital publication of scholarly editions. This work stemmed from Patricia Searl’s MA dissertation, who completed her Digital Humanities MA at DDH last year.

The main issue arises from the apparent lack of use of digital scholarly editions published on the web. The speakers found particularly worrying the fact that these editions are never part of undergraduate syllabi, even though they usually offer high quality scholarly texts with free, open access.

Tablet devices are user-friendly, portable and create a stronger sense of ownership compared to websites. This makes for an experience closer to reading from a book, but would it be true for digital scholarly editions? Would it work for editions that need sophisticated ways of presenting historical evidence and editorial work? The presenters believe that the eBook model would probably not be sufficient, but the “App” paradigm might.

 

Enhanced eBooks already exploit this idea by introducing a highly interactive, almost ludic component to the digital edition. Nonetheless, none of these apps have been connected to scholarly work so far. The speakers noticed, for example, how it is impossible to find an editor of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land enhanced eBook (see image).

Finally, the paper also discussed those issues that would be familiar to any smartphone or tablet user, such as cross-device compatibility, keeping up-to-date with new OSs and heavily controlled app “markets”. These issues influence the true user reach, but first of all complicate development quite substantially (even more than, for example, dealing with cross-browser issues).

The paper was followed by a lively discussion. There was general agreement that scholarly editing should get involved in tablet computing; the best way of doing so, however, is yet to be fully understood and provides fertile ground for an exciting new research area.

The DDH Internal Research Seminar series aims at giving a space to DDH staff to present their research and discuss them in an informal environment.