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One of the major international medievalists scholarly gatherings happens every July in Leeds: the International Medieval Congress. This year the general subject is “Materiality”, and we think that this something digital medievalists can say a lot about:
Medievalists have long been aware that the objects of their research are conditioned by their materiality — that the shape of a charter or a manuscript is a part of its meaning. Since the 1980’s, recognition of this principle has elevated the study of material culture to a field within the broader discipline of Medieval Studies. At the same time libraries, research institutions, and museums have been intent on producing digital catalogues and images of their collections.
The result of these initiatives is a mass of data and metadata constituting a new frontier for digital methods: 3D modeling, multispectral imaging, and Handwritten Text Recognition create new modalities of representation, while Controlled vocabularies, Linked Data, Ontologies and APIs like IIIF enhance the possibilities to model and share descriptive data. Superadded to these developments, digital methods for the interpretation of source material and presentation of research results have grown beyond the materiality of printed books and articles: data publications have started to gain traction in the community; complex visualizations tell more than a description by words, and digital editions incorporate experimental forms of interaction with research data that goes beyond the traditional forms of publication. In all of this, Medievalists have been leaders in adopting digital methods to work with the physical heritage of the Middle Ages.
Given this ferment, the Digital Medievalist community is looking for proposals presenting projects making use of these new technologies to give further – and new! – insights into the materiality of sources, and how medievalists work with cultural heritage data to understand better the impact of the digital methods on our understanding of the Middle Ages.
Please send your proposal (300 Words incl. a short CV) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 25th.