Bodleian Student Editions

Please note that these workshops are fully subscribed for this academic year, 2016–2017.

The catalogue and transcription of letters from the first workshop are now available online through Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO).

Textual editing workshops for undergraduates and postgraduates

A collaboration between the Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections, the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and the Faculty of History’s Cultures of Knowledge project, Early Modern Letters Online.

We are looking for enthusiastic undergraduates and postgraduates from any discipline to take part in one of a pilot series of workshops in textual editing, working with original manuscripts from the Bodleian’s Special Collections in the Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library. Each workshop will stand alone, and similar content will be covered in each.

Day-long workshops will be held:

Michaelmas Term 2016
10:00–16:00, Wednesday 2nd week, 19 October
10:00–16:00, Thursday 8th week, 1 December

Hilary Term 2017
10:00–16:00, Wednesday 3rd week, 1 February
10:00–16:00, Thursday 7th week, 2 March

 Trinity Term 2017
10:00–16:00, Wednesday 3rd week, 10 May
10:00–16:00, Thursday 7th week, 8 June

Textual Editing

Textual editing is the process by which a manuscript reaches its audience in print or digital form. The texts we read in printed books depend on the choices of editors across the years, some obscured more than others. The past few years have seen a surge of interest in curated media, and the advent of new means of distribution has inspired increasingly charged debates about what is chosen to be edited, by whom, and for whom.

These workshops will give students—the future users of texts for scholarly research—the opportunity to examine these questions in a space designed around the sources at the heart of them. The Bodleian Libraries’ vast collections give students direct access to important ideas free from years of mediation, and to authorial processes in their entirety, while new digital tools allow greater space to showcase the lives of ordinary people who may not feature in traditional narrative history.

Early Modern Letters

The pilot sessions will focus on letters of the early modern period. Letters are a unique source, both challenging and essential for historians and literary critics: in the so-called ‘Republic of Letters’ they were a vital means by which the ideas which shaped our civilization were communicated and developed.

Participants will study Bodleian manuscripts, working with colleagues from the Bodleian’s Special Collections, the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and the Cultures of Knowledge project, to produce an annotated digital transcription which will be published on Culture of Knowledge’s flagship resource, Early Modern Letters Online, as ‘Bodleian Student Editions’.


Each workshop will introduce students to:

  1. Special Collections handling
  2. Palaeography
  3. Transcription and proofreading
  4. Metadata creation and curation
  5. Licensing
  6. Submitting metadata and transcriptions into Early Modern Letters Online
  7. Text at scale

Participation is open to all students of the University of Oxford. If you would like to participate please contact Mike Webb, Curator of Early Modern Manuscripts,

The Bodleian Libraries welcome thoughts from students at all levels on ways in which the use of archival material and engaging with digital scholarship can facilitate learning and research.

This Bodleian Student Editions series is organized by:

  • Helen Brown, DPhil candidate in English
  • Miranda Lewis, Digital Editor, Early Modern Letters Online
  • Olivia Thompson, Balliol-Bodley Scholar
  • Mike Webb, Curator of Early Modern Archives and Manuscripts
  • Pip Willcox, Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship

Find out more

For an idea of the range of collections in the Weston, visit the exhibition Bodleian Treasures: 24 Pairs in the Treasury gallery in Blackwell Hall, where some famous items are illuminated through juxtaposition to a less known item that prompts reflection on the concept of a treasure. The latest themed exhibition at the Weston Library, Staging History, opened on 14 October in the adjacent ST Lee gallery.

You can find about the range of services and events the Centre for Digital Scholarship offers.

You may be particularly interested in an upcoming training course introducing the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative.

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