Introduction to Electronic Textual Editing is an experimental, workshop–style course at UNF that introduces students to methods of Digital Humanities research through hands–on work in the transcription/digitization, regularization, and encoding of manuscript or rare print texts. In Summer A 2016, Dr. Clayton McCarl of Languages, Literatures and Cultures taught the course for the first time, in collaboration with Dr. Aisha Johnson-Jones, at that time the head of Special Collections and Archives at UNF’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library. The course was centered on the electronic edition of personal correspondence and other documents, held in Special Collections, related to Eartha M. M. White (1876–1974), founder of the Clara White Mission and a leader of Jacksonville’s African American community. Dr. Johnson-Jones, a specialist in African–American History, helped students to understand the biographical and social context in which these documents were produced. She likewise trained students on archival methods and procedures and instructed them on the proper handling of rare materials. Dr. McCarl led the students in the transcription, regularization and annotation of the documents, as well as their encoding in TEI–XML, the standard today for creating digital texts in the Humanities. As transcribers, editors and annotators, the students took on a variety of roles in this course, and those with previous experience with TEI–XML had the opportunity to assume leadership with respect to the technical aspects of the project. Students’ work in this course will eventually form part of an online archive designed to increase the accessibility of the Eartha M. M. White materials, an important and underutilized resource for understanding Jacksonville’s complex history. This archive will include an introduction composed jointly by Drs. Johnson-Jones and McCarl, in which they will contextualize the materials and discuss the collaborative method employed in the archive’s construction.
Dr. Aisha Johnson-Jones is supervisory archivist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta. She was formerly the head of Special Collections and Archives at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at UNF, and continues to collaborate on this project. Her doctoral dissertation explored the contributions of the Julius Rosenwald Fund to the development of libraries in the American South through archival research. Johnson is dedicated to uncovering the history of those less represented using archival studies.
Dr. Clayton McCarl is the interim chair of the UNF Digital Humanities Initiative and the director of the UNF International Studies Program. He is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. His research involves the electronic edition of manuscript and rare print books dealing with the Spanish maritime world in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.