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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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SN-0075 - Scandinavian Studies - New Edition of an Old Icelandic Text

Collection Date:
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Natalie Van Deusen
  • Email:
  • Title: Graduate Student
  • Institution/Organization: Univ. of WI - Madison
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Scandinavian Studies

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Hildy Feen
  • Email:
  • Title: Sr. Information Processing Consultant
  • Institution/Organization: Univ. of WI-Madison

Notes on Methodology:

Please briefly describe the collection methods used (eg. "self report", "questionnaire", "ethnographic interview")

Recorded interview. A transcription was made of the interview, and from the transcription, this scholarly narrative was developed.


The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this narrative apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

  1. In the opinion of the scholar, who participates in the process the story describes?
    (e.g. "just this scholar", "many people in the scholar's field of inquiry", "all academics", etc.)
  2. What is this process intended to accomplish for the scholar?
  3. Who is the intended audience of the processes described?
  4. Is this the only process the scholar uses to accomplish his/her goals?
  5. What "shared services" would help transform the story into something of more benefit for the scholar or his/her audience?  What process or processes in the story could be automated?


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Scholarly Narratives

2. Suggested keywords: Does this narrative contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

  • Aggregate – The research involves creating a new edition of an old Icelandic text from 5 Medieval manuscripts
  • Annotate
  • Consider
  • Discover
  • Engage
  • Interact - The researcher will be interacting with a scholar/researcher who has pioneered producing digital editions of Medieval Icelandic texts, in addition to working with a library programmer/digitizer
  • Publish - The research outcome is to publish via the web, in digital format, a new edition of an old Icelandic text which is found in 5 Medieval manuscripts.
  • Preserve – The published digital format would be preserved in a digital collection.
  • Share – The published digital format would be in a digital collection repository

3. Please list additional keywords here:


Please include the text, documents, media, or other material which comprise this narrative

  • WHAT: a description of a small portion/subset of your work around which you would like technology support and any "need to know" relationships between this subset of work and your larger research/teaching efforts,

Her dissertation is a new edition of an old Icelandic text which is found in 5 Medieval manuscripts.  She is producing a new edition that will be done in both hard copy and digital format. The digital format will include scanned images of the manuscripts that are from around 1400 or so alongside transcribed text which is marked up in XML4, which will provide important notes about the text that is transcribed.

  • HOW: the tasks you currently perform and methodologies/processes you employ to achieve this portion of your work and any required order of these tasks (i.e. "x" must be done before "y")

Natalie will be working with Matthew James Driscoll who has pioneered producing digital editions of Medieval Icelandic texts.  He is going to guide her in the process according to the standards he has produced for such editions, and according to the standards others within the field, especially within MENOTA, have developed.  MENOTA has specific standards for producing an edition.  For example, for textual notes, if there’s a word for which there’s some problem, in a hard copy edition you would make a foot note, but for digital editions, there’s ways of handling this, and how to deal with special characters. Matthew and others, particularly within MENOTA, have created guidelines on how to deal with those things, including abbreviations and the like.

She will be doing the transcribing, creating the XML, creating the digitized text.  She will be using <oXygen/> for xml and Opera to view the product, based on a Manuscript seminar she attended in Copenhagen on XML and digital editions.  The person she is working with in Copenhagen will also be using these tools. 

  • HELPS: any tools, content, or collaborations you currently use to help complete your research and/or teaching tasks, and

As noted above, she will be working with Matthew James Driscol who has pioneered producing digital editions of Medieval Icelandic texts, in addition to others in Copenhagen who are familiar with the production of digital editions.  She will also be continuing to work with Peter Gorham for mark-up/digitization questions, a UW-Madison library developer, with whom she worked on an earlier transcription project. She will be using <oXygen/> for xml and Opera to view the product.

  • NEED: a description of a specific technology need or your best guess at the technology support you want

She will need to learn how to put images side-by-side with text.

Knowing more about xml mark-up, being trained in this, would have helped her.  The library school does offer a class, but she found out about this after the fact.  Departments don’t always know what resources are available for these types of projects.  Knowing what resources are available, even to teach herself, would have been helpful.

From Peter Gorman:  Easier to use text/XML editors for scholars would be helpful. <oXygen/>  comes close, but the UI has become cluttered with 'power tools'. BBEDit is great for hackers, but it takes a hacker to get the most out of it.

Beyond technology, the greatest needs are for consistent community-wide standards for transcription and markup. Fortunately for their transcription project, Old Norse is in pretty good shape, with the Menota Handbook (

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