Center for the Digital Text

"I code" / Eye Code Logo of Pitt-Greensburg's Center for the Digital TextCenter for the Digital Text

Pitt-Greensburg's Center for the Digital Text represents a distinctive node of expertise and outreach in the Digital Humanities at the University of Pittsburgh. For the purposes of defining our center we interpret "text" in an unusually broad way, drawing from its Latin origin referring to weaving and webs, related to the word textile and not limited to books made of printed words and characters. The faculty who founded the center have special strengths in the mining and processing of texts made of words and in the production of digital archives that contribute to the information systems of the worldwide web following international standards set by the Text Encoding Initiative and the World Wide Web Consortium. However, our affiliated faculty work with words, images, sound, and multimedia, extending the concept of "the digital text" to structures of cultural production woven into machine-readable fabrics and accessed by human-readable code. 

The Center dedicates itself to the following activities:

  • supporting the training of faculty from Pitt-Greensburg and elsewhere in digital methods
  • serving the global community in outreach activities to encourage the launch and development of new projects connected to digital texts and their curation on the World Wide Web
  • giving students trained in our Digital Studies program experience in training, outreach, and consulting in the wider community of digital scholarship and digital media development.

As an institutional sponsor of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), our Center for the Digital Text supports up to five faculty to participate in week-long courses at the University of Victoria to learn digital methods, with the goal of supporting new initiatives in teaching and research. At home in Greensburg, each May or June (either before or after the DHSI), the Center hosts a Coding School at the Greensburg campus connected with sharing the coding and research methods applied in the Digital Mitford project. Led by our Center Director, Elisa Beshero-Bondar, and supported by Pitt-Greensburg student assistants, the Coding School offers training in residence on TEI and XML, as well as regular expressions, XPath, and its applications in XSLT and project management. Up to 2016, the Center has offered a single three-day introductory course designed for people to learn coding to develop digital archives, but for 2017 and future plans a second advanced course to follow the first, to concentrate on XSLT, XQuery, and other transformations of XML into HTML, SVG, and more.