Call for Participants: Digital Mitford Coding School, June 27 – July 1, 2017

We invite you to join members of the Digital Mitford project team from Wed. June 28 through Friday June 30, 2017 for the Fifth Annual Workshop Series and Coding School, hosted by the Pitt-Greensburg’s Center for the Digital Text. UPDATED DEADLINE:  Registrations (online or check) by Thursday May 25.

As featured on its public website,, the Digital Mitford project has two major purposes:

  1. to produce the first comprehensive scholarly edition of the works and letters of Mary Russell Mitford, and
  2. to share knowledge of TEI XML and related humanities computing practices with all serious scholars interested in contributing to the project.

Our editing team meets face-to-face to brush up on project methods and make major decisions, and we invite participants and prospective new editors to learn our methods and think with us about project management challenges during the Coding School. Please join us if you want to learn text encoding methods and their applications in the Digital Humanities in the context of an active digital archive project. We will orient you to our methods of text encoding, edition making, and data analysis by giving you hands-on experience with literary and historical documents. We offer an opportunity to learn and reflect on the encoding of markings on manuscript material, as well as the auto-tagging enormous and complicated texts with regular expression matching.

All participants gain experience with navigating and processing editorial markup helpful in managing a digital edition project. Returning participants and advanced coders will continue learning how to write project schemas and process and transform markup for publication. And we invite all participants to think with us about how best to build a site interface and visualizations to help explore the data we are gathering on nineteenth-century networks of people, places, and texts.

Our workshops are held at the lovely Pitt-Greensburg campus, recently named one of the five most scenic college campuses near Pittsburgh.


This year’s conference follows the 25th Anniversary of the British Women Writers Conference (BWWC) held in Chapel Hill, NC (June 21-24) , a conference that is very special to us because its 2013 meeting hosted the founding of our Digital Mitford project. Some of our team will be on hand at the BWWC to offer a Digital Paleography workshop at the conference–a preview of what to expect of our more extended Coding School at Greensburg. We expect our resident Coding School participants to arrive at Greensburg on Tuesday June 27 (so we can begin working at around 9am on Wednesday June 28),  and depart on Saturday July 1,  with our Coding School in session from around 9am Wednesday June 28 through Friday evening June 30.

Members of the Digital Mitford editing team plan to use Saturday July 1 as a meeting day, but will also be working together on project development through the week. Some of that activity will feed into material for the Coding School to work with together.


Though we draw our active editors from researchers of 19th-century literature, we hope that all who join the Mitford project (whatever their background and interests) will find good resources for professional scholarly research and publication, and gain beneficial experience for individual projects. Joining our workshop leads for any interested in joining to a free first-year membership in the Text Encoding Initiative, the international consortium establishing best practices for encoding of digital texts.  We anticipate hosting three overlapping groups:

1) beginning coders who wish to learn our methods to apply them to their own projects

2) scholars who wish to join the Mitford project as active editors, and

3) repeat visitors seeking to review what they learned last year and to learn more about how to process, transform, and publish digital editions and informational graphics from markup.


  • Discussion of best practices for preparing digital scholarly editions as digital databases.
  • Textual scholarship and paleography (working primarily with 19th-century manuscript letters and publications)
  • Participation in an active “dig site” for important data on networks of women writers, theaters, and publishers from the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Text encoding, including the following:
    • TEI XML encoding and best practices for project sustainability and longevity
    • Autotagging and regular expression matching to “up-convert” plain text, and old word-processed documents and dated formats into XML markup,
    • Hands-on experience with XPath and code schemas to help manage a project
    • For those ready (returning and advanced coders) experience writing XSLT and working with an XML database to publish editions and process data for graphs and charts.
  • Perspective on project management and interface development as we work on developing our site interface.
  • Individual and Group Instruction, working with our Explanatory Guides and Resources, organized and led by an elected member of the TEI Technical Council. See our instructional materials for a range of coding we are prepared to teach.



A registration fee is required of all who are not actively affiliated as editors with the project:

  1. Students, Adjunct Instructors, or Independent Scholars: $180
  2. Full-Time Faculty Members, Editors, and Librarians: $300

All registration fees are to be paid by Paypal or by mailing a check to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, and are due by May 15, 2017.  Please complete our web form to register and coordinate payment. Note that there is a one dollar fee for processing electronic payments. Checks may be mailed to: The Digital Mitford Project, c/o Elisa Beshero-Bondar, U. of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, 150 Finoli Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601-5804. (Donations to the project above and beyond this amount are, of course, quite welcome.)

If you have questions about the workshop and want to get in touch with organizers, please write to Elisa Beshero-Bondar (ebb8 at with the subject line “Digital Mitford Coding School”.


We are grateful for funding support from the University of Pittsburgh and Pitt’s Greensburg campus, including a Year of Diversity award to support outreach to new coders and textual scholars.

  • We will cover the costs of residence in suites (with kitchens and good wireless internet) at the Pitt-Greensburg campus and will arrange for licenses for an extended period to use our XML editing software .
  • We cannot cover the costs of travel to Pitt-Greensburg, but we can and do coordinate rides from the Pittsburgh International Airport, the Latrobe regional airport, and the Amtrak train stations in Pittsburgh and in Greensburg.
  • We ask each participant to investigate local funding sources to help cover the costs of travel here.

Thanks, everyone, for reading and sharing with interested parties! We look forward to seeing many new and familiar faces at beautiful Pitt-Greensburg in June. Please feel free to write me with any questions in advance of our UPDATED registration due date of Thursday May 25.

Elisa Beshero-Bondar
Associate Professor of English
Director of The Digital Mitford Project and Pitt-Greensburg’s Center for the Digital Text



  1. […] 1.) Please send e-mail of interest to me at ebb8 at, ideally by 21 April: See our post on the Digital Mitford project blog for […]


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