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July 2020

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Call for Applications

Advanced digital editing: modeling the text and making the edition

A summer 2020 NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities

Application deadline

Applications are due Friday, February 28, 2020. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by Monday, March 23, 2020.

Institute dates: Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 17, 2020.


The University of Pittsburgh is pleased to invite applications to an NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities for summer 2020 entitled Advanced digital editing: modeling the text and making the edition. The target audience for this two-week workshop is textual scholars who are already comfortable editing their digital texts in TEI XML or comparable alternatives; the goal of the Institute is to assist them in moving beyond textual editing to imagining, creating, and publishing research-driven, theoretically and methodologically innovative digital editions.


Digital humanists already have access to workshops and tutorials to help them learn to transcribe, edit, and tag a text in preparation for publishing a digital edition. These training resources play a vital role in empowering editors to formalize and instantiate their interpretations as markup, so as to make them available for subsequent analysis. Nonetheless, sophisticated markup expertise alone is not enough to make an edition; learning nothing more than tagging may leave scholars staring at their angle brackets and wondering what to do next. Understanding how to turn a set of tagged texts into a customized, goal-oriented research edition is crucial for scholars who wish to ask original questions of their documents and produce innovative editions. Digital humanists cannot build editions that break methodological ground solely on the basis of solutions prepared largely by others. For that reason, the focus of this Institute is on the creation of digital editions motivated by project-specific research questions and implemented from a perspective driven first by theory of edition, second by editorial methodology, and necessarily but less importantly by specific toolkits. In this respect we foreground not learning a particular programming language, technology, or framework, but learning to think and act digitally about the process of creating a digital edition. Because tools and technologies come and go, the Institute emphasizes learning to translate original, technology-informed thinking about editions into implementations of those editions, rather than on “tooling up” in the context of currently popular frameworks. In this respect, the Institute recognizes thinking digitally in ways driven by project-specific research goals as the most important feature of sustainable Digital Humanities training and education.


The Institute will introduce textual and manuscript scholars to a powerful and broad-reaching set of digital methods and technologies, grounded in a context that prioritizes a research-driven theory of edition. Participants will engage with the entire editorial process, from document analysis to editing to publication, leading to the production and publication of a collaborative edition. Throughout the Institute, participants will discuss how the theoretical and practical skills they are acquiring will be applied in their own work, culminating in the final day’s presentations and review of the collaborative process. The Institute will meet at the main (Oakland) campus of the University of Pittsburgh from Monday, July 6, 2020 through Friday, July 17, 2020 and will draw on an international faculty of distinguished scholars, practitioners, and teachers of digital philology from several collaborating institutions.


Guest instructors

The instructors will be assisted by


Applicants should already be familiar with digital textual editing in TEI XML or similar technologies and should be seeking guidance and training in how to move their texts into innovative digital editions that will enable them to explore project-specific research questions. Evidence of meaningful prior hands-on digital textual editing experience is required, but prior experience in programming for textual exploration and publication is not. For budgetary reasons, preference will be given to applications from within North America. Participants accepted to the Institute will receive a travel allowance, complimentary accommodation in single-occupancy dormitory rooms with private bath, and a complimentary meal plan in the University Dining Services in lieu of per diem. Participants must bring their own laptops, which must run one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X (10.11 [El Capitan] or later), Windows 10 (version 1909 or later), or GNU/Linux (any distribution); mobile and cloud-based operating systems, such as iOS and Chrome OS, are not supported. We welcome scholars at all career levels from graduate students through senior faculty. Applications to the Institute should include the following:

All application materials should be submitted by email as a single PDF file to The deadline for applications is Friday, February 28, 2020, and applicants will be notified about acceptance by Monday, March 23, 2020. Questions may be directed to

David J. Birnbaum, Institute Director
Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Faculty Fellow, University Honors College
Faculty Affiliate, Digital Studies and Methods
University of Pittsburgh


This announcement has been posted to Humanist, Digital Classicist, Digital Medievalist, TEI-L, Scholarly Editing, WWP-Encoding, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP-L), the DiXiT Fellows mailing list, and the Digital Humanities Slack. Please circulate.