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Winchester Research Apprenticeship Scheme (WRAP)

Three Winchester undergraduates have been awarded Winchester Research Apprenticeships to  work on the inquisitions. WRAPs involve a week of funded work in support of staff projects: others relate to the New Victoria County History of Hampshire, the Winchester Project, and Scottish chantries. These three involve modernising the dates in the first two calendars of IPMs.  These are accessed on British History Online, compared with Cheney's Handbook of Dates, and the results are entered into a machine-readable template devised by Matthew Holford and Gordon McKelvie , so that the results can (after checking) be entered into the texts online. The inquisition process was not so sophisticated early on – there were fewer dates and fewer capable of checking and modernising – and it is not clear how rapidly the students can work.  Two are working on vol 1 (from the beginning and the end) and one on vol 2.  If they do not finish, as expected, further WRAPs will be awarded in 2014. There are numerous other minor projects that could improve the published text: from 1399 all dates are modernised – but some researchers, interested in the cult of saints, would like the original dates restored.

Enhancement of dates and places in CIPM 1-21

We are pleased to announce that a part-time research assistant, Gordon McKelvie of the University of Winchester, has been appointed to the project. Mr McKelvie will work primarily on providing modern calendar equivalents for the dates in CIPM volumes 3-17. Those volumes preserved the dating of the original IPMs, by regnal years and (often) liturgical feasts, e.g. Monday after SS. Peter and Paul, 17 Richard II. Converting such dates to modern forms (date-month-year) can be difficult and is often time-consuming; providing modern forms alongside the original dates will make the volumes significantly more accessible and user-friendly. Categorization of different sorts of date (writ date, inquisition date, date of tenant's death and so on) will also facilitate analysis of the inquisitions themselves. At a later stage it is hoped to amend the dates in the already digitised volumes 1 and 2 on British History Online.

IPM Text Encoding Part 2: Indexes of people

In Part 1, I gave an overview of the process we are using to automate the structural and semantic XML markup of the IPM calendars. In this post, let's have a look at how we are dealing with the metadata about Person entities mentioned in the calendar entries.

IPM Text Encoding Part 1: Calendars

The process of digitizing the inquisition post mortem records involves the encoding of 29 volumes of text into a computer-interpretable format that provides both structural and semantic markup. We are using Extensive Markup Language (XML), and a specific vocabulary of this known as Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5. Encoding the data in this way allows us to identify - and make searchable - specific items of interest within each inquisition, such as:

Appointment of a New Researcher

Dr Matthew Tompkins has been appointed as the second historic researcher for the project. He brings particular expertise in economic history (and especially the late medieval rural economy) to complement the interests of Michael Hicks and Matthew Holford. A graduate of Cambridge and holding a doctorate from Leicester, Dr Tompkins is a highly experienced researcher who  has worked on projects dealing with Buckinghamshire towns, the borough of Wallingford, and private law and medieval village society. He will share in the enhancement of the printed volumes, the markup of the digitized text for 1399-1447 , and the preparation of featured IPMs and case studies and other methods of publicising the project. Dr Tompkins takes up his two year appointment with effect from 1 January 2013 and will be based at the University of Winchester.