about

This blog accompanies the work on my PhD thesis in the field of Digital Humanities (DH). The thesis is focused on modelling scholarly editions of medieval works, including variance in iconographic programs (found in works such as “Der Welsche Gast” or the “Legenda Aurea”). A few more details about my thesis can be found below but first, let me summarize the main characteristics of the blog:

  1. The posts will be written in English, primarily, although I am not a native speaker. The reason for this is that my thesis will be written in English as well and that I want this to be available to the international DH community. A few posts, however, might also feature German.
  2. I will use the blog as a platform to disseminate scripts/slides from my conference presentations, share workshop reports, and provide thoughts on questions pertaining to different aspects of DH.
  3. The featured topics will often touch on my thesis but not necessarily so. They will include epistemology, methodology, philosophy of science, modelling and scholarly editing.
  4. As my thesis is my main focus, the posting frequency will favor an approach of quality over quantity, although quality will not be defined by the established character of what I write but rather its willingness to engage; as this is, after all, a blog and not a journal.
  5. In terms of readership, I will be writing for other PhD students interested in DH and colleagues from the field. However, everyone is welcome to add to the conversation.

As for my thesis: Instead of outlining my table of contents here or sketching the bare skeleton still lacking in meat, I will share a small array of questions that serve as its backbone:

Is it possible to construct a critical apparatus for iconographic programs akin to records of variance in textual criticism? Is it possible to semantically mark-up illustrations beyond tagging their contents, that is to say, is it possible to create a model that allows for structural cross-references between illustrations as well as illustration and text – within the framework of an intellectual entity identified as a congruent “work” – to be made explicit? How do we define a “work”, especially when it comes to the highly heterogeneous tradition of manuscripts in a pre-print era that lacked the notion of intellectual property popularized thereafter? How do we define the different layers of models involved in digital scholarly editing? What does the process of modelling involve, exactly, and what is specific to objects of study from the humanities in this computational context?

While my thesis aims to answer these methodological question in conjunction with creating a model for a scholarly edition of the “Elsässische Legenda Aura”, this blog aims at being an accessory to this that will offer glimpses into the thought processes involved.