There is a postcard on my desk which depicts the cover of an old edition of the Edna O’Brien novel ‘August Is A Wicked Month’. I left it on my desk throughout the said ‘wicked month’ as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the sudden onslaught of teaching preparation and project work, as the start of term barrelled towards us all. As a result, there was no Bannatyne blog, however progress has been made on all fronts.
This project started in earnest at the very end of January 2019. As with all academic projects, the original envisaged terms of the project, and its proposed outputs, have morphed slightly over its duration. (This is without even mentioning the sudden appearance of a global pandemic in the middle of things!) As is often the case with a specifically digital project, the emergence of new technological possibilities, solutions and options have created a working pattern that is wonderfully responsive, and leads us to some unforeseen places and methodologies. What has not altered is my commitment to getting a useable edition of the fourth section of the manuscript online by early 2021.
I am currently working with a web designer to get a functional web-based framework for the poems online in the next few months. This will display the poems in an easily readable format, which can be accessed by mobile or desktop browsers, and will allow for PDF generation of the poems for use in classrooms and research. The ‘raw’ TEI, however, will also be available as a download: I am committed to making sure that the encoding and content of this project is freely available to all under a Creative Commons 4.0 license that allows for analysis, reproduction and further research in a myriad number of contexts. I may not have reached some of the bells and whistles I’d hoped for in my blue sky thinking but I am very pleased with what has been achieved so far in terms of securing the longevity and accessibility of the manuscript.
[I also finished the page numbering for the TEI file. It is worth noting that when dealing with the Bannatyne, one must deal with three sets of page numbers: the technical folio pagination, the IIIF pagination and the pencilled in pagination on each folio from earlier editing and cataloguing. It was, at times, a very frustrating puzzle to solve.]
Two project-adjacent things have been piquing my excitement in the ‘wicked’ summer months. One is the preparation for my course on ‘Medieval Women’ at the University of Saskatchewan. I worked hard to devise a syllabus that spoke to both my original research interests in feminist theory, and utilised the material and thematic interests that have come up over the course of this project.
This leads neatly on to the second exciting development, which is the progress of a proposal with the National Library of Scotland. The NLS have been great friends to both this project and myself as a scholar, and I have been working hard to develop a proposal for a Wiki Edit-A-Thon, in which students from the University of Saskatchewan and academics from the UK and other international institutions will come together in December to edit and create Wikipedia entries related to the content of the Bannatyne manuscript, to enrich both the digital edition and the available secondary information about the specific elements of the text.
I am so excited to embark upon this venture. It was always a dream to be able to expand the utility of the edition into the wider field of Older Scots, and with recent attention being drawn to the Scots Language Wikipedia scandal, the need for robust and thoughtful scholarship is not only painfully evident, but also urgent. If you’d like to participate, please do not hesitate to contact me.