ESTS Conference: I <3 Amsterdam

Just returned from an exceptional few days in Amsterdam, where the ESTS Conference was held last week. The Dutch are wonderful hosts. Without exception (at the conference and throughout Amsterdam), whether assisting with conference details, technology, or more touristic ventures, the people were gracious. My* recommendation: when you go, buy a tram pass and explore this beautiful city!

While larger conferences offer a wider sampling of digital scholarship, for me it was a genuine pleasure to spend a few days immersed exclusively in textual studies. Many of the talks were thematically consistent, focused on integration of technology within editing methods/editorial models and dedicated to exploring how our work as textual scholars is advancing and evolving in pace with emerging technologies. Among the highlights were talks describing significant potential for computer assisted paleographic analysis, interactive chronology of textual composition, data annotation, a CMS designed for and by editors, and editions which reflect careful (& honest this should be obvious, shouldn’t it?) consideration of audience.

My own talk introduced MBDA’s participatory metadata editing model. The talk exposes MBDA’s in-progress work (as well as our open development model), and it was excellent to receive very good questions that anticipate the challenges of:

  • crowd control
  • how we might ‘game-ify’
  • audience
  • incentives for participation
  • how we are acknowledging community participation

We’d been working through these kinds of issues prior to the conference, and our interdisciplinary project team has ensured depth and diversity of perspective, but – especially as we move ever closer to pre-launch testing (scheduled for Jan/Feb 2013) and our spring launch (April 18, 2013) – serious and critical feedback from experienced editors refines our project lens and improves not only the view, but how we see it. Dank u, ESTS.

*my son’s recommendation: NEMO.