Grading breakdown

Assignment Percentage
Attendance 10%
Participation 15%
Project 60%
+ manuscript analysis + 15%
+ teiHeader + 15%
+ text body + 15%
+ web presentation + 15%
Post-project analysis 15%


Because of the collaborative nature of DH, attendance and engagement are key. Skills learned in lab sessions will be essential to the success of the project.

Attendance is defined as your physical presence in class. Your grade will be reduced by two points for any unexcused absences and by one point for excused absences over one occurrence. Excused absences require you to contact me before class starts.


Engagement is defined as your intellectual presence in class. Be awake and present. Contribute to discussion and group activities. Complete all in-class activities, including informal presentations. Don’t be afraid to click on things to see what happens.

I will employ a variety of methods to evaluate your completion and comprehension of the readings including in-class writing assignments and small group discussions. The majority of these exercises will be pass/fail.


The main deliverable for this course will be your group project. The project will be divided into separate deliverables, due throughout the semester. This will be a shared group grade. Your grades for this project will feed into your FREN 341 grade.
+ manuscript analysis
+ teiHeader
+ text body
+ web presentation

Manuscript Analysis

The objective of this assignment is to apply your knowledge so far of the manuscript signifying system, manuscript production, and manuscript mise-en-page to an analysis of the codex in which your selected poem is found. This assignment will serve as the your final project prospectus and will give the necessary detail for creating the digital edition of your text. When assessing a manuscript’s physical and textual state, there are infinite details that are potentially interesting and worth pointing out. Narrow your analysis somewhat to try to assess questions like: what kind of person would have commissioned the codex? what material evidence supports this? what is the ownership history (library stamps, etc.)? are you able to determine the century of production based on handwriting and other artistic styles? are there any rips or tears, and are these sewn up, happening before codex preparation, or are these from post-codex production? Be observant and creative, and be sure to comment especially on the layout and appearance of the folio(s) on which your selected poem appears. Your analysis should have the following components:

  • General description of the codex as a whole;
    – Conclusions about use and circulation?
    – Is the calligraphy the same throughout, or does it change? If it changes, this probably indicates that two (or more?) scribes were at work.
    – Is there a colophon? Is there a date?
    – You should be using the terminology you’ve learned from your manuscript studies readings.
  • Detailed description and analysis of the particular folios of your selected poem;
    – An analysis of decorative elements,
    – Damage?
    – Spaces?
    – Any other non-textual elements that bear meaning?
    – Calligraphy and scribal style? Are the letters regular? Could this be a professional scribe?
  • Encoding prospectus
    – What type of features do you plan to encode – linguistic, structural, presentational? If the answer is all of the above, what are your priorities?
    – What encoding challenges do you anticipate? Are there editorial decisions you will have to make in order to present this manuscript digitally?
    – Which TEI modules will you need to encode your manuscript?
  • A rough transcription of the poem;
  • – Remember, the only way anyone learns to read medieval handwriting is just to start trying to read it. See Steve at any moment for the inevitable odd squiggle or funny looking smudge.
    – Use an existing print edition in Occitan to guide you. Again, we are not expecting you to learn medieval Occitan, and nobody would. As any person studying these poems, they have to use their knowledge of French and a dictionary.
    – Here are some linguistic resources:

  • Bibliography on the poem, the poet, the codex, and any other relevant information that helps you interpret this codex.


Complete the teiHeader for your chosen manuscript. You should use the Manuscript Description module to its fullest potential. Translate as much content from your Manuscript Analysis assignment as possible. You can use the Digital Walters project as an example. The header should include all the principal components of the teiHeader: fileDesc, encodingDesc, profileDesc, and revisionDesc. Your best approach will be to walk through Module 2 and 10 and evaluate whether or not your project needs those tags.

Text body

Fully encode the structural, linguistic, stylistic, and interpretive elements of your text. Your encoding should reflect the priorities you set out with in your manuscript description. Tags will likely differ from project to project.

Web presentation

Using TEI Boilerplate, customize the web presentation of your TEI document. Be creative! What modifications can you make to the display of the text that will make it easier to understand by students like yourselves? How can the display take advantage of the encoding of the text body? Submit the custom.css file as well as any images you may have saved in the /images folder.

Post-project analysis

For most of you, this course was an unexpected trip into coding and computers. This assignment asks you to reflect on your individual experience of the course as well as the technical skills you’ve gained.

In two – three pages, examine the following:

– Describe your role in the group and your contribution to the project. Now that you understand what goes into making a digital edition, is there a role that you feel more drawn to based on your skills and interests?
– What aspect of the text encoding project did you find most challenging? How did you overcome this challenge? Looking back, are there encoding or presentation decisions that you and your group would have made differently?
– How do you foresee encoded texts being useful in your own scholarship and in the larger scholarly community? Are there other texts that you would find especially useful if they were available in TEI and why?
– What have you learned about technology and Digital Humanities from this course? How does what you’ve learned affect the way you view your work in other disciplines, or perhaps your future career path?
– For students in FREN 341: how did this studio course affect your understanding of the material in the French course? Comment on differences between medieval and modern textuality. What have you learned about the process of bringing medieval texts to the modern reader?
– For students not in FREN 341: how did this studio course affect your understanding of primary source material and the experience of publishing it on the Web? What have you learned about the process of bringing your historical texts to the modern reader?