DiXiT: Large EU-funded bid on Scholarly Editions; James Cummings as Oxford PI

Dr James Cummings, from the University of Oxford’s Academic IT Services, is the Oxford PI on a large multi-million Euro funded project investigating the creation and publication of digital scholarly editions. DiXiT is funded under the Marie Curie Initial Training Network Actions within the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme and runs from September 2013 until August 2017.

DiXiT offers a coordinated training and research programme for early stage researchers and experienced researchers in the multi-disciplinary skills, technologies, theories, and methods of digital scholarly editing. It includes 12 fellowships for early stage researchers (PhDs) for a period of 3 years, and 5 fellowships for experienced researchers (Post-Doc) for a period of 12 to 20 months.

The University of Oxford is a full partner in the DiXiT project and will be contributing to the WP2 on “Technology, Standards, Software” led by the Huygens Institute. Under WP2 the research priorities are:

  • first research priority is the integration of web-based tools into the TEI ecosystem for enabling collaborative and standards-based editing (ESR6). This task includes semantic annotation of digital content.

  • The creation of TEI application profiles, geared towards specific functionality, genres or corpora, is a second research priority. Versioning is an issue that comes up in almost all critical editions, and tools that help editors and users make sense of textual variation are urgently needed. For this, a possible augmentation of the Versioning Machine from an interface to a dynamic database environment with multiple views is envisaged (ER2).

  • A third research priority is the interoperability of the several standards overlapping with the TEI, such as the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding digital objects and the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) standard for annotation exchange. Digital editing needs to find ways to create interoperable content so that research can become part of a wider web of scholarship.

  • The fourth research priority is a requirements study for a publication architecture (ER3) targeting multiple media, not only web and paper, but also mobile devices (EPUB). Progress in this field is especially important to projects without access to a large supporting technical staff.

  • fifth research requirement is the enhancement and integration of tools geared towards stylistics, text analysis and/or visualisation (ER4) to ensure the edition’s relevance for a public that extends beyond textual scholars.

In cooperation with TEI-C, Graz, and EHESS the University of Oxford will be providing a training workshop in Graz in the Autumn of 2014. Specifically:

“Introduction to TEI P5 XML for Digital Scholarly Editions: Four day course to provide students with a TEI-based theoretical framework and practical experience in creating digital editions using the open international encoding standard TEI P5 XML. Basics of representing textual phenomena and features for the description, transcription and representation of primary sources will be covered, from data input to publication. To be taught by network experts from UOX, TEI-C, EHESS/TEI-C, GU and appropriate ERs.”

The University of Oxford’s Academic IT Services, under Dr James Cummings, will be hosting Experienced Researcher #3, for 20 months from March/April 2014. This ER3 will work on WP2 “Practice and usability of critical editions” supervised by Dr Cummings with a project title of “Requirements for a publication infrastructure”. The tasks and methodologies envisioned include:

  • inventory of existing tools and architectures for creating publications;
  • sketching reusable components for such an infrastructure;
  • developments for TEI ODD meta-schemas;
  • oXygen-TEI framework development;
  • proof of concept edition based on defined reusable components (in collaboration with SyncRO) with the results as Inventory of tools;
  • documentation of publication workflows;
  • improved TEI-oXygen Framework;
  • improvements in TEI ODD meta-language

The ER3 will have two secondments for up to 3 months each, one at KCL to “study digital publication tools and frameworks” and one at Syncro Soft to “develop enhancements for TEI-oXygen Framework”.

Academic IT Services at the University of Oxford’s IT Services will also host a secondment of Early Stage Researcher 7 (supervised by Dr Patrick Sahle at University of Cologne). ESR7’s work will be on “Mass digitization data for scholarly research and digital editions” which described in more detail is “Evaluation of mass digitization data; assessment & evaluation of methods, algorithms and tools for data enhancement towards critical research”. In visiting us the ESR7 will be expected to “Learn advanced modelling and processing scenarios for TEI data”.

The DiXiT network includes the following academic partners:

Commercial partners for the ER3 hosted by University of Oxford’s Academic IT Services include Syncro Soft, the producers of the oXygen XML editor.

IT Services will be advertising for the ER3 post in due course. For more information on the project please see http://dixit.uni-koeln.de/.

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