• Follow us


Hacking the Middle Ages - The Good Men Project

—What happens when scholars in the humanities try to build an app? The History department at QMUL and Cambridge University Library partnered to find out. Chris Sparks reflects on the event.

At the end of April, thirteen postgraduate students and early-career academics from around Europe stepped outside their comfort zones to collaborate in a hackathon at Cambridge University Library. The event saw them create, from scratch, a set of functional web-based apps aimed at bringing the Library’s manuscript collections to a wider and more diverse audience online. The group, with expertise spanning medieval scholarship, digital humanities and web development, were first introduced to the manuscripts they would be working with on Monday afternoon. By Friday they were demoing their apps to an excited audience of academics, librarians and developers. Today, the apps they built are available online to explore and inspire.

The teams selected their manuscripts from a set of writings known as ‘glosses’, which are medieval commentaries on a well-known text (typically the Bible) often supplemented, over later periods, by a range of authors. These ancient books were a good fit for the task: like the Web, the medieval gloss was a form that inspired technical adventurousness, and like our modern app developers its practitioners were concerned with the organisation and communication of complex information for an audience remote in time and space, and with making those complex texts more accessible. Of course, medieval glossators were writing for an elite group of literate men trained within the Church. Our participants, by contrast, chose from a set of four ‘personas’ crafted to represent a variety of modern users: from Leo the Traditional Scholar who knew his manicules from his marginalia, to Mariana the Leisure Learner, an untrained but inquisitive septuagenarian from the southern USA who discovered her love of the Middle Ages on Twitter. Selecting one of these personas as the target user helped our participants focus their design and development of their apps.

Most of the participants were alumni of the international Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts postgraduate training programme, and so had some familiarity with digital editing techniques, but the hackathon was something entirely new — to go from introduction to presentation in just three days, and publication a week later.

For the first couple of days we were keen to keep laptops shut and discussion flowing freely. Our teams sketched out their apps using pen and paper (appropriately distant from the manuscripts, of course) and presented them to the group on flipcharts. At this stage, lo-fi was better because it held the inner perfectionist at bay. As organizers, we were at first more focused on the ideas and the experience than on the products being developed. We wanted to give our participants an experience of collaborative production, and to kick-start their imaginations and ours to generate new ways of thinking about how to publish historical texts digitally, moving beyond images and transcriptions to take full advantage of the exciting new possibilities online. As the week unfurled, though, it became clear that our expectations — high from the start — were going to be exceeded. By Thursday, when the teams welcomed ‘beta testers’ to explore and comment upon the prototypes, the rough sketches of the beginning of the week had been replaced by intricate and detailed drafts; by the time they were presented on Friday, they were technicolour movies.

One of the most rewarding things about the week for me was the air of excitement, experimentation and friendship. It was hard to enter our digital factory in the basement of the library without picking up on the buzz. Collaboration isn’t always something we are always very good at in the Humanities, valorising as we do the model of the noble lonely scholar. Beyond relatively few centres of digital collaboration it is too often the same when we commission digital projects: code and content are split apart, and both are poorer for it. No one who saw our three teams at work would have questioned that these were truly co-productions.

Coding and writing are both creative acts, and they are both communicative acts. By expressing our ideas through language (more often languages, plural) we bring something new into the world and we can challenge, delight and hopefully help our audience to learn something new

Something of this last week brought back to me the excitement I had as a teenager when I first understood that not only could I pick apart the digital fibres of the websites I was beginning to discover, but — with no training and no instructions beyond what I could find online — I could weave them together again to create something entirely new. It wasn’t just me back then; those early days of the public internet and consumer broadband were idealistic ones. When I published my first website as a teenager I remember the excitement that this free-form, open-ended, anything-is-possible medium represented, and the promise that anyone could publish here free of interference and without having to pay. It is a truism today that this teenaged optimism was misplaced; Internet giants quickly tamed the beautiful chaos of the early web and brought the majority of us within their corporate walled gardens, which were well-tended but bland. But this week was a reminder for me that the Web remains the most extraordinarily accessible and powerful creative platform ever invented. And in the Humanities we have only begun to skate across the surface of what is possible.

Thanks my fellow organisers: Mary Chester-Kadwell (Cambridge Univeristy Digital Library), James Freeman (Cambridge University Library), Suzanne Paul (Cambridge University Library), and Eyal Poleg (QMUL History). Thanks also to our hosts at Cambridge University Library, and to the HSS Collaborative Fund at QMUL which provided funding for the event. Most of all thanks to all the participants.—

This post was previously published on The Historian and is republished here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.—Join and crush a stereotype or two

Join and crush a stereotype or two

—Photo credit: Shutterstock

Read More

Leave A Comment

More News


Ducati teases their next-generation Streetfighter 2019-06-17 05:29:05Ducati is getting ready to unveil the Streetfighter V4 but before they do, the company wants to take a prototype through the 156 turns of the legendar

Tag Heuer brings back the 80s with its 2019-06-17 05:03:50Tag Heuer enters another decade with the latest release in their 50th Anniversary Monaco series with the 1980's Special Edition. Inspired by the raci

Halios' coveted Seaforth now comes in bronze 2019-06-14 16:16:58Vancouver-based Halios is releasing a new version of one of their most coveted designs in a beautiful bronze case. The new Seaforth Bronze takes the w

Outlier's latest experiment upgrades the stuff sack with 2019-06-14 15:48:02Sometimes the simpler the bag, the better and in this case, it's definitely the latter. Outlier's Experiment 171 takes the stuff sack idea and thoro

Montblanc introduces the new StarWalker collection 2019-06-14 14:53:55Montblanc's newest collection looks into the expanse of space to inspire the designs of its StarWalker collection. The most striking detail is a tran

Zenith revives the original El Primero 2019-06-14 07:02:08One of the most important watches in watchmaking history is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and its original version is being reborn with the&

Cambridge Audio brings their Hi-Fi know-how to the 2019-06-13 23:02:13British Hi-Fi specialist Cambridge Audio launches its first set of wireless earbuds and its looking like its a strong alternative to the Apple AirPods

Nike Sportswear debuts three new footwear lines 2019-06-13 22:16:06Nike Sportswear's latest shoes can't be defined by any specific sport. Each of the styles represents new footwear lines that highlight the brand's

Audemars Piguet is bringing the world's thinnest Perpetual 2019-06-13 20:39:18Audemars Piguet's incredible RD#2 concept is getting an official release with the debut of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, which is now

Sean Woolsey's Smart Desk has got all the 2019-06-13 18:49:47Sean Woolsey Studio offers up its latest furniture piece, a Smart Desk with all the features you would ever need in a modern desk. The desk features A

Alpine adds the A110S flagship to its sports 2019-06-13 16:44:57One of the most intriguing automobiles that can only be purchased in Europe (and Japan) is the new Alpine A110. The French sports car has been in prod

Auto Fabrica gets minimal and modern with their 2019-06-13 15:31:28Auto Fabrica's new custom build for BMW Motorrad marries handcraftsmanship and 3D printing technology with the "Type 18" motorcycle. Based on the R

The Good Men Project

This is Why Your Money Should Line Up 2019-06-18 17:00:33When you look at how you manage your money, does what you see reflect who you are? If examined by an outsider, would they know what's important

To the Sacred Masculine on Father’s Day 2019-06-18 16:30:22An abstract letter. The post To the Sacred Masculine on Father’s Day appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Learning Time Management and Leadership 2019-06-18 16:00:07Why you need to give authority and responsibility to people. The post Learning Time Management and Leadership appeared first on The Good Men Project.

The Vatican’s Rejection of Transgender People 2019-06-18 15:30:10What gender we are is not going to be the biggest obstacle of the human condition. The post The Vatican’s Rejection of Transgender People appear

When Was the Last Time You Did Something 2019-06-18 15:00:31How to make learning a life long obsession The post When Was the Last Time You Did Something That Scared You? appeared first on The Good Men Project.

A New Conversation Can Lead to a New 2019-06-18 14:30:53Dr. Vibe speaks with a men's coach about the need for new conversation between men. The post A New Conversation Can Lead to a New Culture of Manhood

3 Reasons Why Even Your Job Requires Some 2019-06-18 14:00:07Because if no one knows about you, you’re not going to make a living. The post 3 Reasons Why Even Your Job Requires Some Marketing appeared firs

We Need To Design Better Sex Education for 2019-06-18 13:30:25Let's give them the important info they need. The post We Need To Design Better Sex Education for Kids appeared first on The Good Men Project.

Dads and Daughters: Breaking the Period Talk Taboo 2019-06-18 13:00:05Teaching a girl about menstruation isn’t just a “mom thing”. The post Dads and Daughters: Breaking the Period Talk Taboo appeared fi

Eccentricity: Are You a Greyhound or a Pekingese? 2019-06-18 12:30:35Don't hide your quirks; be proud of the things that make you unique. The post Eccentricity: Are You a Greyhound or a Pekingese? appeared first on The

Excessive Positivity Is Unchecked Privilege 2019-06-18 12:00:02If you're fortunate enough to only see the good, good for you. The post Excessive Positivity Is Unchecked Privilege appeared first on The Good Men Pr

Shame Can Keep You From Living Your Legacy 2019-06-18 11:30:43There is no shame in wanting to live a legacy lifestyle. The post Shame Can Keep You From Living Your Legacy appeared first on The Good Men Project.


Garmin Introduces Overlander GPS 2019-06-17 08:52:44“Overlanding” is driving somewhere in a kitted-out SUV, occasionally off-road. There are a million and one accessories overlanders will ne

Add the Ambiance of a Campfire with the 2019-06-17 08:46:02Depending on where you play, there are lots of restrictions against building an open fire at beaches, parks, and campgrounds. To hack these rules &

The Concours Celebrates The World’s Most Incredible Cars 2019-06-17 07:52:55When the automobiles get up into the realms of the very rare & collectible, the term “car show” is Frenchified into a judged & jur

Floyd is 70s Skate-Inspired Rolling Luggage 2019-06-15 00:42:56Created by a pair of Bavarian skateboarders who were inspired by the introduction of the urethane wheel that revolutionized skateboarding  in the

Samsung Unveils The Wall Luxury: A 292-Inch 8K 2019-06-15 00:34:35Samsung’s aptly named, The Wall Luxury TV, is literally going to take up a whole wall. It’s a massive 292-inches from corner to corner; an

Drone Maker DJI Introduces S1 Rover Robot 2019-06-13 16:22:35DJI, maker of the world’s most popular camera drones, has created their first terrestrial robot. The S1 rover, which stands for Step 1, shows th

With AYFRAYM You Can Build Your Dream Getaway 2019-06-13 16:05:02Modeled after vacation cabins of the 1960s, the AYFRAYM is a beautiful 1,574 square foot A-Frame kit that features three large walkout cedar decks, la

Jones’ Lightweight Utility Trouper is the New Golf 2019-06-13 15:05:10The Utility Trouper from Oregon-based Jones Sports, is a hardworking stand bag loaded with the features you need to play your best. At 5 pounds, it&rs

Nike Introduces Neon Green Zoom Series Shoes 2019-06-13 14:22:37This exclusive color is called Nike Phantom Glow. And it’s integrated into all 4 styles in the brand’s new Zoom Series. Choose from the Ai

This Handsome Travel Wallet Keeps You Organized On 2019-06-12 18:38:51When you’re cruising across international borders and zipping through time zones, it’s best & safest to keep your essentials all in on

Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1 Wireless Buds Raise The 2019-06-12 18:34:23On a full charge, Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1 wireless earphones give you 9 hours of playback, which is nearly twice the battery life of the 2

Keep Your Blades Razor Sharp With This EDC 2019-06-12 16:38:53The EDC Edge Maintenance Tool from Benchmade carries just like one of their award-winning blades but this thing is made for maintenance. It features b

Maxim - The Ultimate Guys

3 Things You Should Know Before Buying a 2019-06-18 16:24:19Rolexes are more complicated than you might think. That's not a commentary on the intricate inner gears of the watches themselves, but rather the lux

James Bond Will Drive the New Aston Martin 2019-06-18 13:50:24James Bond will reportedly drive the brand-new Aston Martin "Valhalla" hypercar in Bond 25.  The British marque just unveiled the pre

Bella Hadid Apologizes After Offending Fans From the 2019-06-18 13:43:45Bella Hadid has issued a public apology after photos she published in an Instagram Story caused an online uproar in the Middle East.  T

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's Inspirational MTV Awards Speech 2019-06-18 12:00:00Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stole the show at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards with an inspirational acceptance speech that's going viral.  Ho

Watch 'Mythbusters' Host Adam Savage's Real-Life Titanium Iron 2019-06-18 11:33:55Former Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage made a high-tech piece of the Marvel Universe a reality by building (and then flying) Tony Stark's Iron M

6 Refreshing Twists on the Italian Aperitivo, the 2019-06-18 09:00:00Aperitivo culture has caught fire across the country, and for good reason: The drinks are delicious, meant to be shared in good company, and they are

Ashley Graham Says Her Body Was 'Treated As 2019-06-18 09:00:00Ashley Graham wants people who thinks of her body as a "thing" to change their backward ways. The model, podcaster, TV host and lingerie mogul

Everything You Need to Know About 'Euphoria', HBO's 2019-06-18 08:00:00HBO's new drama Euphoria starring Zendaya just premiered on June 16th and is already one of the buzziest shows of late thanks to graphic nude sc

Master & Dynamic Debuts Kevin Durant-Designed MW65 Wireless 2019-06-18 07:00:00Kevin Durant may be out for the entire 2019-20 NBA season because of an Achilles injury, but that hasn't stopped the Golden State Warriors star from

Quentin Tarantino Picked His Favorite Marvel Movie, and 2019-06-17 16:34:40At this point he's an iconic director, so people may forget that Quentin Tarantino started out as a hardcore film geek. Just a guy who freaking loves

Tracy Morgan's Crashed Bugatti Will Cost a Fortune 2019-06-17 14:25:58Tracy Morgan will have to pay the price of a 2020 Jeep Gladiator to fix his $2 million Bugatti after an unfortunate fender bender earlier this month.&

People Smoked Weed 2,500 Years Ago to 'Communicate 2019-06-17 14:00:00People were getting stoned while attempting to talk to spirits as as early as 500 BCE, a new study indicates.   Scientists have directl

Real Men Real Style

How To Spot A Liar (Bad Body Language) 2019-06-09 07:55:35The post How To Spot A Liar (Bad Body Language) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Have The Courage To Be The Best Dressed Man In T

10 Rules For Buying A Suit (Men’s Suit 2019-06-08 07:55:02The post 10 Rules For Buying A Suit (Men’s Suit Buying Guide) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Match Shirts & Neckties

Dads and Grads: The Ultimate RMRS Gift Guide 2019-06-07 07:55:53The post Dads and Grads: The Ultimate RMRS Gift Guide 2019 Edition appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Guide to the Suit Jacket Blaz

Going BALD?! 10 Bad Habits That Destroy Your 2019-06-06 07:55:55The post Going BALD?! 10 Bad Habits That Destroy Your Hair (Hair Loss Causes) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Harvey Specter Sui

5 Reasons Why Every Man Should Shave His 2019-06-02 07:55:47The post 5 Reasons Why Every Man Should Shave His Head appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:9 Factors that Affect Male Hair Loss | 6

Top 10 Best Selling Men’s Colognes (That REALLY 2019-06-01 07:55:53The post Top 10 Best Selling Men’s Colognes (That REALLY Are Fantastic) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:5 NEWBIE Style Rul

5 Morning Routine Steps You Can’t SKIP (Don’t 2019-05-30 07:55:25The post 5 Morning Routine Steps You Can’t SKIP (Don’t RUIN Your Day – Details Matter!) appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Rela

5 Shoe Styles That Make You Stand Out 2019-05-28 07:55:54The post 5 Shoe Styles That Make You Stand Out From The Crowd appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:Buy Two? | Essentials Men Should O

7 Summer Shirts Every Man Should Own 2019-05-25 07:55:09The post 7 Summer Shirts Every Man Should Own appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:How To Look More Muscular | 7 Tips For Men Who Are

Say THIS & Sound Stupid – 10 Phrases 2019-05-23 07:55:06The post Say THIS & Sound Stupid – 10 Phrases That Make You Look Like An Idiot appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:How To

Spend MORE Money Here! 5 Accessories Professional Men 2019-05-21 07:55:27The post Spend MORE Money Here! 5 Accessories Professional Men Must Upgrade ASAP appeared first on Real Men Real Style. Related posts:How To Match Yo

Breaking Muscle

7 Parts of the Body That Need More 2019-06-06 20:10:59Here are seven stretches to do after lifting sessions for the areas of the body we often forget about. The debate about stretching—dynamic versu

The Locomotion Workout 2019-06-06 06:01:45This workout combines normal patterns with movement in order to reveal blind spots and keep passion alive. Training is hard. Even for the most dedicat

Strategies That Can Take You From Good to 2019-06-04 12:05:42Take a deep dive into muscle growth strategies, genetics and strength gains with Dr Joel Seedman.   read more

Perfecting the Push-Up and Fixing The Common Faults 2019-06-03 12:44:58There is no more fundamental or universal exercise than the push-up. The push-up—there is no more fundamental or universal exercise. It is the f

Heal and Prevent Hand Rips 2019-06-01 18:26:42If you’re swinging around on bars doing 100 pull-ups or toes-to-bar what do you expect? To a certain degree, ripping your hands is inevitable. I

5 Common Squat Problems and How to Fix 2019-05-31 18:54:51Despite its relevance, the squat definitely takes detailed work to perfect. A simple squat is one of the most effective exercises for building muscle,

Greek Pimiento Burgers 2019-05-29 12:43:10Take a summer food vacation to Greece by combining all of the signature flavors in a tasty, grilled burger! Take a summer food vacation to Greece by

Ladies Only: Nutrition and Training for Performance and 2019-05-29 10:09:14Make the most of your cycle by learning what works for you while training. Like clockwork, every other month when the tomato truck was in town, I used

Caprese Chickpea Burgers 2019-05-27 13:06:26Lighten up your summer eating with this chickpea based vegetarian burger. Lighten up your summer eating with this chickpea based vegetarian burger. Mi

Thick Thighs to Save Lives 2019-05-27 11:59:33Using BFR bands can help gain muscle size and strength. Biologically, men maintain most of their mass in their upper half while women maintain most of

Resistance and Adaptation: Is Your Environment Weakening You? 2019-05-26 15:00:29Might we be allowing ourselves to be less capable than ever before? “Over-sentimentality, over-softness, in fact washiness and mushiness are th

The Six Pack of Knowledge: Thought Leaders in 2019-05-24 18:34:51Binge-listen opportunity with some of the best coaches in fitness: Dr John Rusin, Eric Bach, Dr Joel Seedman, Dr Andy Galpin, Damian Lees, Brad Borlan

Muscle For Life

Bedros Keuilian on How to Turn Adversity Into 2019-06-17 09:00:49If you want to know how to get everything you can out of life with what you’ve got, you want to listen to this podcast. ..Read the full article

Hafthor “The Mountain” Bjornsson on Life as the 2019-06-14 09:00:56If you want to learn how Hafthor Bjornsson trains, eats, sleeps, and lives to become the World’s Strongest Man, you want to listen to this podca

Eric Trexler on How to Minimize Metabolic Adaptation 2019-06-12 09:00:18If you want to know why getting leaner gets more and more difficult the leaner you get, and what to do about it, you want to listen to this episode. .

My Top 3 Takeaways from Brave New World 2019-06-10 09:00:40We need enough people to see the world as it is and not as they wish it were, and that’s why I’m recommending you read Brave New World. ..

Legion made the Inc. 5000 List! And Muscle 2019-06-07 09:00:42If you want to know what me and my jolly band of pirates and bums have been up to lately, you want to listen to this episode. ..Read the full article

Muscle For Life Success: Drew M. 2019-06-07 09:00:28Drew lost 28 pounds and 13% body fat in 12 months following my Bigger Leaner Stronger program! ..Read the full article on Muscle for Life The post Mus

Lyle McDonald on How to Recover Faster from 2019-06-05 09:00:24If you want to learn simple and effective strategies for healing injuries faster, you want to listen to this podcast. ..Read the full article on Muscl

How to Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage Easily 2019-06-03 09:00:47If you want to know what works for calculating body fat percentage and what doesn't, then you want to listen to this podcast. ..Read the full article

Adam Schafer on Masterminds, Esports, Gambling, and More 2019-05-31 09:00:46Adam Schafer from the popular podcast Mind Pump has an axe to grind with business masterminds, and in this episode, you’re going to find out why

Muscle For Life Success: Emil C. 2019-05-31 09:00:17Emil lost 35 pounds and 14% body fat and gained an incredible amount of strength following my Bigger Leaner Stronger program! ..Read the full article

How to Use Deloads to Gain Muscle and 2019-05-29 09:00:56If you want to learn how to use deload weeks to gain muscle and strength, you want to read this article. ..Read the full article on Muscle for Life Th

How to Make Meal Plans That Work For 2019-05-29 09:00:44No matter what your goals or dietary preferences, meal planning can help. And this podcast will show you how. ..Read the full article on Muscle for Li

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.