Today is the first day of my sabbatical! As a library faculty member on a 12-month contract, it is customary for us to get three months of leave in the summer on a five year cycle. For me, this sabbatical comes on the heels of my promotion to associate professor (!). It also marks the first time I have ever had any substantial opportunity to pursue my own research agenda. The nature of my work is very service-oriented. I teach, consult, and contribute to others’ learning, teaching, and research at my university and beyond. Even my publications reflect this direction. So when it came time to propose my sabbatical plans, I basically had to initialize a whole research agenda. It came together pretty easily after a little reflection, but I’m still adjusting to the idea that I am the one propelling my work, rather than other people. I know the opportunity for deep engagement will be beneficial for my professional (and personal) life, but right now it still feels like a major indulgence. I’ll go into my actual plans below, but for now, my top goal seems to be “figure out what it means to be a person on sabbatical.”

I’ve decided to devote my leave time to developing and documenting a model for building digital editions with Jekyll, CETEIcean, and potentially IIIF. I’ve begun this work on the Huon d’Auvergne Digital Archive) and I see a lot of promise in its use by others. I expect I will write more about the landscape, but the short version is: I think there’s still value in the TEI and not so much value in everyone learning XSLT to do something with TEI-encoded documents. I want to create an option for folks who don’t have their own developers but are willing to work through some good documentation. I also want to develop a new course on this topic (and maybe another course on something else). For a good dose of theory, I’ll be taking a scholarly editing course at Rare Book School next week. Finally, I’m hoping to use the proceedings for our local historical society as my demo text.

Ultimately, I just want to make texts available online in their best possible form. I want this to be easy for scholars, but mostly I want more texts to make it to the public. I could say more, especially about my particular context, but for now let me leave you with a view of my summer office:

laptop on table in outdoor setting