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Resources for medievalists in Hispanic Studies: Tools for medieval texts

Working with medieval texts

Medieval writing desk

Working with medieval texts can raise some particular challenges. The following tools have been selected and evaluated by Amaranta Saguar García (DPhil student, LMH) as essential for students in medieval studies.

Collation software

After transcription, either paleographic or semi-paleographic, medievalists are frequently confronted with the collation of several witnesses of a text. The following software has been developed to aid collation.

Fonts

Medieval writing is characterised by the frequency, abundance and variety of abbreviations and special characters. Although most medieval characters are covered by the Unicode standard, these are not always represented in commonly-used fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri. This can increase the difficulty of adequately transcribing medieval texts. Although it is possible to use macros to solve this problem, a more user-friendly alternative is to use a typeface which includes all the relevant medieval characters. Currently, there are two independent projects which have created TrueType fonts for medievalists.

Transcription software

Transcribing digital texts can be a difficult task. Unless you have a desktop with two screens, you will either resort to cascading windows, or flicking from one screen to another. Transcription software can facilitate this kind of work immensely.