CFP: Early Modern Women’s Manuscripts (9/30/08)

by Jessica C. Murphy

Call for Proposals: Early Modern Women’s Manuscripts

The Brown University Women Writers Project is seeking collaborators for a three-year project to explore the digital representation of women’s manuscript materials. We will be applying for NEH funding in fall 2008 to support between five and ten manuscript encoding and transcription projects to be undertaken if the grant proposal is successful. Once transcribed and encoded, the manuscripts would be published as part of Women Writers Online. We invite proposals from potential collaborators to transcribe, edit, and encode a manuscript, and to participate in discussions of editorial and encoding methods. If funded, the project would begin in summer 2009 and would be completed by fall 2012.

Proposals of up to 1200 words should be sent via email (preferred) or post by September 30 to:
Women Writers Project
Box 1841, Brown University
Providence, RI 02912

Details on the grant

The overall goal of the grant is to enable the WWP to explore manuscript encoding and publication. Both the encoding and the public representation of manuscripts are quite different from the printed materials currently in WWO. In addition, manuscripts may typically require a level of scholarly intervention that will affect both how we represent the text and also how the encoding is undertaken. There are both technical and social questions to be tackled:

–how closely do scholars need to be involved in the encoding and transcription process?
–how wide a range of editorial approaches can we accommodate within the framework of WWO?
–how should work processes like proofreading be managed, and how should they involve the scholar?
–how will manuscript materials be used, within WWO, and how might this use differ from that of printed materials?

Participants in this grant would be asked to undertake the following:
–attend three project meetings at the Women Writers Project in Providence, RI to get an understanding of the WWP’s encoding system, to discuss the details of the individual manuscript project, and to learn the basic principles of text encoding and digital scholarly editing

–prepare a transcription (and possibly a basic encoded version) of the manuscript in question
–assist with proofreading the text
–engage in discussion and respond to queries concerning the text, its transcription, and its editorial treatment
–secure permission to publish the transcription as part of WWO

Travel expenses will be paid by the grant.

How to apply

Please submit a proposal of up to 1200 words describing the manuscript, the kinds of editing it requires, and the qualifications and interests of the team. Please include the following information:

–name, CV, and contact information for the person making the proposal
–names and CVs of any others involved in the proposal
–a brief description of the manuscript you would be working on, including its length, particulars of its composition and circulation, contents, and any idiosyncrasies or special challenges it would pose
–a brief description of the manuscript’s intellectual property status: who owns it, whether permission to publish has already been secured, whether microfilm or digital images have already been made, etc.
–a brief description of the team’s interests and qualifications for undertaking this project

No technical expertise or experience is necessary, but participants must be willing to learn text encoding.

Manuscript materials may be of any type, and should be drawn roughly from the period 1400-1850, and should involve a female author or scribe (though the authorship need not be exclusively female). The main language should be English, though portions in other languages are permissible. The proposed project should be of a scope that permits completion within a three-year period.

We encourage proposals from individuals or groups, and preference will be given to proposals that involve one or more graduate students.

Criteria for selecting these projects will include:

–the project’s feasibility within the scope of the grant
–the qualifications and interest of the applicant(s)
–the relevance of the manuscript to the WWP’s scope and goals

Applicants will be notified of our decision by October 10, 2008. Successful applicants will need to supply an updated CV, a letter of support, and a brief project description.