A Year in Piers

One year, mucking around in the manuscript corpus of Piers Plowman.  One manuscript. One visualization. Every week. For FIFTY-TWO weeks.

This blog marks the commencement of a year-long intensive digital exhibition of the manuscript corpus of Piers Plowman. Now the fifty-two physical manuscripts themselves are distributed across twenty-one different libraries or repositories in four different countries on two continents. Due to these physical constraints, I’m clearly not putting them all in one room (though I do think that would be a fabulous and exciting endeavor) and then blogging about it.  Nor am I simply going to be creating an “online exhibition” of each manuscript, though that kind of collecting is a part of this endeavor. Neither the material nor the digital “presence” of the Piers Plowman manuscripts is really on offer here. This blog is by no means an attempt to translate either the physical body of Piers, or the text each one instantiates, into digital form.

Most importantly, I’m not offering a surrogate (or surrogates) for the manuscripts themselves–something that would allow you to do some kind of substantive research upon a manuscript object, just at a distance. Surrogacy and text encoding are both projects that are already well underway at the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive and even from some of the various repositories that have digitized their Piers manuscript(s).

What I’m offering instead are slices of data and a data infrastructure for making both the text and the materiality of Piers Plowman accessible online and as part of the growing semantic web of linked data.

This project, then, is twofold.  For the next year, I will be making a minimum of two posts per week.

Continue reading A Year in Piers