Since the Digital Mitford project launched at the 2013 meeting of the BWWA, we have made it a core mission of our project to share our knowledge of TEI XML and related coding practices with all scholars interested in contributing to the project. Since the BWWA is the community of serious scholars whose interests and practices are most closely aligned with our work, we are holding a special introductory workshop dedicated to digital paleography of letters and life writings of 18th- and 19th- century women writers for the 25th anniversary of the BWWC.

This workshop gives participants hands-on experience with transcription and encoding of manuscript letters working with the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and the recommendations of the TEI Manuscript and Correspondence SIGs. Editors from the Digital Mitford project ( will provide a selection of photo facsimiles and partially encoded transcriptions of letters by Mary Russell Mitford to give participants experience with the applications of markup to contain transcription as well as metadata about the hands represented on the page, postal markings, and the media on which correspondence was written. Digital Mitford editors will discuss traditional questions of textual scholarship, including how to determine dates and proper names working from partial clues. We will also share how we have involved students in the coding and research process and consider the information resources we can build from markup beyond the traditional scholarly edition of letters, such that we can study networks, plot maps, and investigate information missing from standard databases of information about the 18th and 19th century people, places, and events.

Participation in this workshop will require participants to install a free version of the ‘<oXygen/>’ XML Editor ahead of time, available from We may be able to provide extensions of on the term of the free license. Participants will be invited to attempt reading a manuscript, but in the interests of time they will also be provided partial transcriptions of letters, and much of the session will involve orientation to collecting and representing metadata, and the kinds of information that can be systematically organized, traced, and studied with XML markup.

The workshop is led by Elisa Beshero-Bondar, the organizer of the Digital Mitford project and elected member of the TEI Technical Council, together with Lisa M. Wilson, Prof. of English at SUNY Potsdam and Lead Bibliographer and Book Historian of the Digital Mitford project, and Kellie Donovan-Condron, Assistant Professor of English at Babson College, who has been investigating with Elisa Mitford’s social networks, mining the markup data from the project. All are experienced coders of manuscript letters, and Elisa and Lisa have involved their students in the research process.

You may sign up for this workshop in the conference registration form, opening on March 15, 2017. Please note that the number of attendees is limited to 25.