Digital Mitford Coding School: May 20 – 24, 2019: Call for Participants

We invite you to join members of the Digital Mitford project team from Monday May 20 through Friday May 24, 2019 for the Seventh Annual Workshop Series and Coding School, hosted by the Pitt-Greensburg’s Center for the Digital Text and the University of Pittsburgh Library Sytem.  Updated Deadline: Registrations (online or check) are due by Friday, May 10.  Review the 2018 Agenda and read on for more information.


Join us if you want to learn text encoding methods and their applications in the Digital Humanities–in the unusual context of an active digital archive project.  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 19th-century author 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 or building their own projects.

During the instructional hours of the Coding School, Coding School registrants learn our methods and think with us about project management challenges (and Mitford team members work together or brush up on methods). We orient you to our methods of text encoding, edition making, and data analysis by giving you hands-on experience with literary and historical documents with a sustained immersion in our active project. After hours, coding school participants mingle with the Mitford team and student assistants to share ideas and workshop plans informally in sustained conversations.

All participants gain experience with navigating and processing editorial markup helpful in managing a digital edition project. We offer an opportunity to learn and reflect on a range of contexts for digitizing documents, from encoding markings on manuscript material to auto-tagging enormous and complicated text transcriptions with regular expression matching.

This year, we host a special instructional workshop by Prof. Jeffrey C. Witt, developer of the Scholastic Commentaries and Texts Archive who will teach us how to serve, curate, and connect archival images with the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), connected linked data from TEI.

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.


Arrivals and Departures: We expect our resident Coding School participants to arrive at Greensburg on Sunday May 19 (so we can begin working at at 9am on Monday May 20),  and depart on Friday afternoon May 24. (Note: It’s likely we can accommodate departures on Saturday May 25.)

One day of our workshop, Thursday May 23, will take place in Pittsburgh with a visit to the Rare Books and Special Collections at Hillman Library.


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.  As always, 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 sustainability and 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,
    • Preparing and “cleaning” documents for XML markup and data analysis
    • 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.
    • Starting his year, an introduction to IIIF for connecting and sharing archival images, connected with TEI projects.
  • 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: $181
  2. Full-Time Faculty Members, Editors, and Librarians: $351

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 Tuesday May 7. 2019.  Please complete our web form to register and coordinate payment. 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 Library System and Pitt’s Greensburg campus 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 ask each participant to investigate local funding sources to help cover the costs of travel here. 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.

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 at ebb8 at with any questions in advance of our registration due date of Tuesday May 7.

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




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