Linda Spinazzè – Dynamically Structured Editions
I am Linda and I am from a little town near Venice, in Italy. After completing a PhD and two years of research in Italian academic institutions, I have finally got the opportunity to widen my experience in an international environment. Thanks to the Dixit Network I have just started my new challenging adventure as an Experienced Researcher (ER2) at Maynooth University. Under the supervision of Professor Susan Schreibman, I am joining the tight-knit Letters of 1916 team. I must say that I am very happy to be involved in such a project. For some time I have been interested in crowdsourcing and collaborative methodologies. In my opinion crowdsourcing isn’t just a passing trend: the success and growing interest in the “first public crowd-sourced humanities project in Ireland” is the proof of this.
Letters of 1916 has made it its mission to re-evaluating of the 1916 Easter Rising, one of the most important events in recent Irish history. Letters acquired both from big or small (alternatively: more or less known) archives and from private collections are composing a precious archive for a new fresh reading of the crucial months leading up to and after 1916 Rising. The creation of the archive is already underway and is a great example of a collaborative approach.
The second phase, connected with the visual presentation, reading and manipulation of the primary historical sources, i.e. the letters, aims to combine the traditional environment of digital scholarly editions with more analytical tool. With regard to the needs of academic research it is important to observe certain rigorous standards in terms of the digital editing of the letters and the collocation of the entire archive within a valuable infrastructure for searching and browsing. In addition to these functionalities the final implementation of the project will integrate tools to carry out analysis of the data. Since the project itself is also supported by the activities and interests of a large audience (larger than the usual academic one), the tool for sharing and disseminating the digital sources will have to be user friendly without compromising the fundamental philosophy of the project.
For the next year my aim will be to contribute as far as I can to the second phase of Letters of 1916. Even though I am not an expert in Irish history, I am very excited about participating in, and contributing to a project that can improve and disseminate the cultural heritage. In this archive where so many names of unknown people and fragments of their lives, stories and relationships find their place, it is possible to discover a sort of collective memory which may otherwise be lost.
Looking to my past, I can tell you that in recent years I took part in some different projects on Latin literature digital archives devoted to research into intertextuality. My PhD dissertation (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) was linked to the Musisque Deoque: A digital archive of Latin Literature and involved editing digital text to include variant readings of Elegies by the late Roman author Maximianus. Arising from my interest in the digital tools devoted to researching intertextuality, my last project as a research fellow in the University of Udine was focused on a specific stylistic aspect of Latin literature: Cursus in Clausula is a tool for the analysis of ‘cursus’, that is the study of the rhythm of the clausulae, the closing of sentences in Latin prose. In order to build a web-based and user-friendly tool for the statistical analysis of this hard stylistic feature, I had to put my technical programming skills to the test (I got to use PHP for a real project, not only for studying, at last!) and I started to explore quantitative methods to study literature.
Although all my technical skills have arisen through my work on Latin literature, now it is time to change…and this change means improving my competences in digital scholarly editing and, technical skills and, this much I sure of, my English fluency too!