Editing Modernism in Canada


August 15, 2011

TEMiC report: awesome.

I will admit I was pretty nervous before arriving at TEMiC. After all, what does a confused young undergraduate have to offer a group of experienced scholars? I had no idea how many people would be there, what kind of a pace we would learn at and where I could possibly fit in. Of course, I could have saved time and stress if I had taken a brief moment to reflect on how lovely and generous everyone involved in EMiC is and has been to me from the moment I joined the project. TEMiC was no different. Everyone in the small group of grad students and professors was excited to meet me, hear about my project and share their own experiences and plans. I absorbed as much as possible, taking mental notes on everything they told me and still saving energy to enjoy myself as much as possible.

I only attended the second week of TEMiC, a week focused on project planning. For five short and seemingly leisurely days, we learned a great deal, as you can plainly see from my fellow classmates daily reports. The flexibility of the workshop schedule was really our greatest gain, as it gave everyone a chance to bring his or her own concerns up for discussion. As a result, we were able to discuss (seemingly) all aspects of planning a digital editing project, including securing funding, choosing and using scanners, software and programs, negotiating permissions, copyrights and archives in order to enjoy the most freedom with your material, and the time consuming task of digitizing your material. Through presentations by Zailig Pollock and Melissa Dalgleish, we were able to look in depth at projects currently in progress and get a practical sense of the challenges we would all face. Through presentations by Dean Irvine and Matt Huculak, we learned about the theory and work that is currently going into creating of the EMiC Commons and gained an understanding of how our smaller projects fit into huge advancements in the field of modernist studies and digital humanities. On top of all this, we even found time to win Trivia night at the local bar, suggesting that maybe we have the knowledge and determination to achieve it all (or maybe we just know too much about Hulk Hogan and the Beach Boys).

There were a few key things I took away from the week:

-Modularity! Melissa reminded us all just what a huge amount of work a digital edition is. Starting small allows you to accomplish tasks without getting overwhelmed by a huge amount of material and work.

-Paranoia. I had no idea digital files degrade. This is a little terrifying. Back up your work.

-Collaboration. Academics have the resources and interest to help each other out a lot, especially in the relatively new and intimidating world of digital humanities. We discussed how some kind of EMiC mentorship program could really help people get through their projects, but also how collaboration should not be entered into without any kind of guidelines or ground rules.

Although I am still in the dark about some aspects of digital editions, particularly the ridiculous number of acronyms, I am incredibly grateful for the experience and for all I learned. I am really looking forward to putting my newfound knowledge to use and hearing more about the remarkable projects of my EMiC fellows. I am even excited to run some more files through OCR! Kind of.

Special thanks to those at Trent University who put together such a great workshop and drove us around the city.

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