The context of the present project
This website is the fourth stage in a project which has been ongoing since 1999. The previous stages are outlined below.
The first stage
During 1999 and 2000 a transcription methodology was established and the Welsh prose manuscripts from the thirteenth century were transcribed by Graham Isaac and Simon Rodway. The fruits of that pilot study were published in 2002 on the CD-ROM Rhyddiaith Gymraeg o Lawysgrifaur 13eg Ganrif.
The second stage
In September 2000 Dr D. Mark Smith was appointed Research Assistant and he subsequently spent three years extending the work to the fourteenth century. This work is soon to be published on a sister website.
The third stage
The first stages concentrated on transcribing; the data were typed into Microsoft Word files. Between October 2003 and May 2004, however, a more technical project was undertaken to transform the original files into xml-encoded ones so that the data conformed to international encoding standards. The aim was to tag the texts on the level of the page or folio, column, line, and word.
In order to accomplish this aim, Mick van Rootseler, an IT expert, was employed to devise a suitable encoding framework and to compile a program which would display the texts on a website. We were fortunate also to have the assistance of Dr Diana Luft, who undertook most of the transition from the raw data files to the encoded ones. Dave Kirtland, an undergraduate student at the Cardiff School of Computing, compiled a program to assist with this operation. We are most grateful to Professor Omer Rana, who oversaw Daves project, for his interest and support. This stage of the project was directed by Professor Peter Wynn Thomas. The experience and lessons learned from it prepared the ground for the present project.
The present project
The present three-year project was funded by the AHRC. Transcription was undertaken by D. Mark Smith and Diana Luft, who also encoded the data. The encoding framework previously devised in consultation with Mick van Rootseler was adapted and expanded as necessary and Ewen Orme further developed Dave Kirtlands program. Digital images of the Shrewsbury manuscript were produced by Mark Barrett and Alun Jenkins. Turning the codes into an operational and visual reality was undertaken by Malcolm Macleod and the website further developed by Chris Venness, who gave it its final public face. Lee Paton was responsible for mounting the website on the Cardiff University server. The transcriptions and other content were edited by Peter Wynn Thomas, who also directed the project.
The Steering Committee
From the outset, the project was overseen by a steering committee which was established by the Language and Literature Committee of the Board of Celtic Studies. It included Gareth Bevan, Patrick Donovan, Andrew Hawke, Daniel Huws and Morfudd E. Owen as well as the following representatives of the Schools and Departments of Welsh:
- Aberystwyth: Gruffydd Aled Williams and Patrick Sims-Williams (Chairman)
- Bangor: Branwen Jarvis and Peredur Lynch
- Cardiff: Sioned Davies and Peter Wynn Thomas
- Swansea: Christine James and Dafydd Johnston