Software success for UoN’s Early Modern Women Research Network

Friday, 6 October 2017


In an acknowledgment of UoN’s research leadership in the field of early modern women’s writing, the Early Modern Women Research Network (EMWRN) has been asked to share their digital archive software with leading Renaissance literature academics at Northwestern University, USA.

The software was first developed by Professor Paul Salzman from EMWRN when he produced a digital edition of the writings of Lady Mary Wroth during a Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project.

UoN’s Associate Professor Ros Smith and Dr Trisha Pender along with Digital Humanities Specialist Dr Bill Pascoe then further developed and expanded the capabilities of the software for their Discovery Project the Material Cultures of Early Modern Women’s Writing.

Associate Professor Smith recently received a request from Professor Wendy Wall, of Northwestern University and President of the Shakespeare Association of America, to see if EMWRN would share their software.

“It was a thrill to hear that one of the most prestigious Renaissance scholars in America wanted to use our software for her new digital project,” Associate Professor Smith said.

Professor Wall is working on a digital project dedicated to transcribing, editing, contextualising and disseminating the poetry of Hester Pulter. Pulter was a seventeenth-century poet and writer, whose manuscript was discovered in 1996.

“Professor Wall’s central idea is to offer an edition of Pulter’s huge handwritten manuscript that doesn’t present just one authorised text, but instead allows variant possible authorised texts to be viewed side by side. This is the strategy we have developed in the EMWRN digital archives, because it makes the process of editing transparent,” Associate Professor Smith said.

“The fact that she’s requested the use of our software shows that what we’re doing is very cutting-edge and is an acknowledgement that we’re a leader in the digital humanities. Our software allows you to display text visually. You can see a photo of the original manuscript, or a transcription or a modernised version all just by ticking a box,” she said. “It makes it easy to show the multiple ways texts were transmitted, whether in manuscript, print or even carved upon a wall as graffiti.No one else is doing this so we’re definitely ahead of the game,” Associate Professor Smith said.