Call for Participants: Digital Mitford Coding School, June 27 – July 1, 2017

Update: Online Registration is now active!
Coding School Schedule: We are in session for full days from Wed. June 28 through Fri. June 30. (Arrivals June 27; Departures July 1.)
Please send e-mail of interest to me at ebb8 at, ideally by 21 April: See our post on the Digital Mitford project blog for details.

Digital Mitford

We invite you to join members of the Digital Mitford project team from Wed. June 28 through Friday June 30, 2017 for the Fifth Annual Workshop Series and Coding School, hosted by the Pitt-Greensburg’s Center for the Digital Text. E-mail your interest by Monday April 3; and send registration fee (described below) by Monday May 15.

As featured on its public website,, the Digital Mitford project has two major purposes:

  1. to produce the first comprehensive scholarly edition of the works and letters of Mary Russell Mitford, and
  2. to share knowledge of TEI XML and related humanities computing practices with all serious scholars interested in contributing to the project.

Our editing team meets face-to-face to brush up on project methods and make major decisions, and we invite participants and prospective new editors to learn our methods and think with us about project management challenges during the Coding School…

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Digital Mitford Coding School, June 25-27, 2016

We invite you to join members of the Digital Mitford project team from Saturday June 25 through Monday June 27, 2016 for the Fourth Annual Workshop Series and Coding School, hosted by the newly est…

Source: Digital Mitford Coding School, June 25-27, 2016

from 900 to 1425 xml:ids: A Mitfordian milestone

The Digital Mitford team coordinated a massive effort last fall to complete a burst of coding, in particular to finish up transcriptions of assigned letters and to research and develop new prosopog…

Source: from 900 to 1425 xml:ids: A Mitfordian milestone

Presentation for the Digital Diversity Conference, 9 May 2015

Our Prezi for the Digital Diversity Conference in Edmonton, Alberta.

Digital Mitford

Here’s a link to our our Prezi presentation for our Digital Mitford panel at the Digital Diversity Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, for 9 May 2015. This conference celebrates the 20th anniversary of The Orlando Project and the Women Writers Project, and it was wonderful for us to be invited to propose and give a panel on the Mitford project here!

Elizabeth Raisanen, Lisa Wilson, and I will co-present, and Elizabeth’s task is to introduce us by discussing how our project responds to the history of digital archives and databases on women authors. Lisa and I will discuss our project, workflow, and training methods, and show some of our data visualizations–our co-occurrence networks and mapping experiments thus far.snipviewPrezi

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The Digital Mitford Coding School, May 27 – 31, 2015 at Pitt-Greensburg: Our Third Annual Workshop

Just posted on the Digital Mitford blog: Please join us for our Digital Mitford Coding School at the end of May 2015!

Digital Mitford

Digital Mitford Workshop Participants: June 2014 Digital Mitford Workshop Participants: June 2014

We call for participants and prospective new editors to join us from Wed. May 27 through Sunday May 31, 2015  for the Third Annual Workshop Series (or Coding School) of the Digital Mitford: the Mary Russell Mitford Archive, at Please join us if you want to learn text encoding methods in Digital Humanities through hands-on participation in a large-scale digital archive project now well underway. We are happy to teach what we know and are learning, and to orient you to coding with hands-on experience on our active project as part of our end-of-May three-day workshop series.  Our workshops are held at the lovely Pitt-Greensburg campus ( during the last week of May 2015. We expect people to arrive on  Wednesday May 27 and depart on Sunday. May 31, with our workshops running during the days from Thursday morning May 28 through Saturday evening May 30.


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A Rare Photo, and New Network Graphs of Mitford’s Reading

Digital Mitford

Greg has discovered a photograph of Mary Russell Mitford in the Reading Central Library Catalog! The photo was taken by Henry Fox Talbot, and is one of a kind of early photo that he invented called  a “Talbotype”, roughly contemporary with the daguerrotype. The Talbotype is apparently undated, but it must be from the 1840s or 50s, since Talbot pioneered his photographic method in 1841. We’ve added it to our little carousel of Mitford images on the Digital Mitford project site.


I have also been working on network analysis from 88 coded letters and literary texts that are established enough for us to coordinate data on Mitord’s social network and her many and frequent references to titles–of books, periodicals, and works of art. Here are some preliminary views:




Please visit our project site page on Mitford’s People, Places, and Networks for a discussion of the graphs, and what we’re currently…

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The Digital Mitford’s Guide to 19th-Century British Postmarks, and How To Code Them in TEI

Sharing from our Digital Mitford Project Blog–a very helpful annotated guide to TEI encoding of the more challenging aspects of 19th-c. manuscript letters.

Digital Mitford

Here is a colorful, annotated series of powerpoint slides prepared by Greg Bondar, working from my notes on TEI coding, our photos of letters from the Reading Central Library (posted with their permission), and information from the canonical reference tome, Alcock and Holland’s The Postmarks of Great Britain and Ireland. (You really need to borrow the print book from a library-not enough of it is available online.) This should help us with identifying and encoding some of the more challenging aspects of 19th-century mansucript letters! Thanks, Greg!

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Digital Mitford Annual June Workshop Set: June 2, 3, and 4, 2014

Digital Mitford

Image Mary Russell Mitford in Pieces

We are calling for participants to join the Digital Mitford: the Mary Russell Mitford Archive, at If you are interested in learning TEI coding and participating in a large-scale digital archive project now well underway, we are happy to orient you to the project as part of our June workshop series.

We are hosting our second of what we hope will be an annual series of face-to-face workshop sessions at the lovely Pitt-Greensburg campus, during the first week of June 2014. The dates are now set, so that we expect people to arrive on Saturday or Sunday May 31 / June 1, and depart on Thurs. June 5, with our workshops running during the days throughout Mon. – Wed. June 2 – June 4. (This is basically the same timing as last year’s launch workshops.)

Please share this message with any researcher whom…

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Digital scholarship in the humanities: Will post carry the same weight as publish?

Digital scholarship in the humanities: Will post carry the same weight as publish?

Pitt’s University Times interviewed me along with some other very fine people from across the university on digital humanities projects and their prospects for recognition as quality scholarship in academia.

A Stitch in Time: Excel to XML in the Year 2014

This blog post is a reminder to me in the likely event that I’ll be in this situation again (hence “a stitch in time”), and I hope it may also prove a useful resource for others who discover themselves in my position. 

Behind the scenes of our XML-based Digital Mitford project, we’re organizing lots of information in Excel spreadsheets–info on archive holdings, bibliography data–it’s simply convenient to enter lots of data that way rather than in angle-bracket mode. We decided to use Excel for certain applications last summer only after we figured out how to “map” a spreadsheet file to XML. Having figured it out once, we’ve not needed to redo it until…today. I suddenly found a pressing need to set this up anew on my laptop, and I cursed myself today for not recording somewhere what I did months and months ago…because it was all so much more complicated than it needed to be and I didn’t want to go through all THAT again! Standard software applications shouldn’t be making their code-minded users work harder than they did 10 years ago to do the same things, and they only aggravate the problem when they don’t update their official Help documentation.

First of all, current versions of Excel (or versions 2007 and later) SEEM to offer sufficient tools to map spreadsheet data to XML, but one sooner or later figures out that the old 2003 version offered a better way to generate a schema (.xsd file) directly from the data.  

If you don’t have the Developer tab showing, you need to unveil it (or “customize the ribbon”). That’s the easy part.

Here’s what’s going to be obnoxious. If you want to generate your own schema from your data, without resorting to an external file, you’re going to wind up here, reading about how to “Create an XML Data File and XML Schema File from Worksheet Data” and sadly, it’s going to lead you to a buggy and outdated “XML Tools Add-in” patch. When you attempt to work with this old chestnut from the year 2003, you’ll generate errors (and headaches), not the schema you need. Keep the instructions open, but get yourself the revised XML Tools Add-in from You could either follow their instructions to debug the 2003 add-in, or do yourself a big favor and just download and install their excellent debugged version of the year 2013.

Why this isn’t available to us directly from Excel’s documentation is…beyond comprehension!