Digital Mitford Coding School: June 22 – 26, 2022

Call for participants

Please join us as we convene in person, June 22 – 26, 2022 near the shores of Lake Erie for the Eighth Digital Mitford Coding School. Our registration form is now active! This is our first Coding School since 2019, the summer before the pandemic. Since then we have moved from Pitt to Penn State, from Greensburg to Erie, PA (USA), and we are now hosted by the Digital Humanities Lab and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. To get a sense of what we do, you can see our agenda for this 2022 session! And please write to Elisa Beshero-Bondar (eeb4 at to indicate interest or ask questions. Please continue reading for details about registration and what we cover in the workshop.

Registration information

The Registration form is now available. We can accommodate two kinds of registration:

  1. If you would like housing with the “Mitford Coding Camp” on Behrend’s campus during the workshop, please complete your registration by June 15. Rates:
    • $300: employed full time (faculty/staff/librarians/editors/etc)
    • $160: student/part-time faculty rate
  2. Local registrations (for those not staying on campus) are due by June 20: Local non-resident rate: $80.

Registration covers the costs of residence in suites (with kitchens and wireless internet) at the Penn State Erie campus and will arrange for licenses for an extended period to use our XML editing software. We may be able to provide wired ethernet access (one hub per apartment): ask about this. Sorry, we cannot cover travel expenses here, so we ask each participant to investigate local funding sources to help with travel costs.

A workshop from within a live project

Digital Mitford’s Coding School is distinctive: you learn methods of text encoding and their applications in Digital Humanities, from the context of an active, ongoing digital edition project. Our Digital Mitford project formed with two major purposes, as featured on our project website (

  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.

For this summer 2022 session, we’re planning a special concentration on challenges and possibilities for encoding data from manuscripts, and especially handwriting over printed materials. 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.

Other topics we can guide you with (whether during workshop sessions or in evening/after hours consultation) include how to write project schemas and process and transform markup for publication. 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 Coding School is held at the beautiful campus of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, the site of an 854-acre arboretum with over 200 species of trees inside and outside the buildings.

Timing: arrivals and departures

Those staying in residence should plan to arrive to campus on Wednesday June 22, so we can begin our workshop at 9am on Thursday morning, June 23.

Plan on departure on Sunday June 26, an optional morning wrap-up session for the workshop.

Who attends?

We typically host three overlapping groups:

  • beginning coders who wish to learn about digital text encoding of manuscripts and cultural heritage resources.
  • scholars of 18c and 19c writers, women writers, possibly seeking to join the Digital Mitford project,
  • scholars from any field launching projects, bringing members of a project team to gain perspective on digital archive management and production

What we teach and share

  • 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, 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 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.

For more information

Contact Elisa Beshero-Bondar at eeb4 at with any questions about registration or the workshop.
Thanks for reading and sharing with interested parties!

Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PI of The Digital Mitford Project
Professor of Digital Humanities |  Director of the Digital Humanities Lab | Program Chair of Digital Media, Arts, and Technology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College


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