Index of Middle English Prose: Digital Cotton Catalogue Project
The Index of Middle English Prose (IMEP) is the most important reference tool for Middle English non-verse texts. It seeks, for the first time, to locate and identify all surviving English prose texts composed between c. 1200 and 1500. In this project I will aim at developing and testing an innovative digital search tool that will greatly facilitate accessing all entries across the different IMEP catalogues and make it possible to search for texts regardless of the wide range of spelling variation. The prototype of the digital search tool will be based on a draft of an IMEP volume for one of the most famous medieval manuscript collections in Britain: the Cotton collection in the British Library. I will, additionally, edit an IMEP volume for print publication. The proposed research action formulates three main objectives. These seek to improve the functionality of the IMEP website, to expand the site with the addition of the Cotton volume and to lay the foundation for expansion of the IMEP by writing guidelines for the digitisation of further volumes. Since I am trained in manuscript studies and Middle English as well as in Digital Humanities and compilation of corpora of historical texts, I possess the necessary expertise to undertake the research action. The action includes research trips to the British Library in London as well as a secondment at the Cambridge Digital Humanities (CDH). The host is the University of Oslo where local expertise is available that is highly pertinent to the research action, including the editor-in-chief of the IMEP and an IMEP advisory board member with complementary expertise in both manuscript studies, Middle English, and natural language processing. The research action will both consolidate and expand my profile to qualify me for an assistant/associate professorship.