Undergraduate Research at the Vis Center

Research Question-Week 2

This week I began the final leg of the Latin to NIV Translation XML. This officially puts me past the half way point in the Chad Gospel XML. It is exciting to get to the point with this data where I feel like I have made a substantial dent in its preservation!

Just to give a brief overview of how I have gone about writing the XML, I began by going through each image of the Chad Gospels and writing down the Latin in each page. I then went through and noted every Chapter, verse, line break, and page break that occurred in the text. Then, in order to make the text easily searchable, I noted every time incorrect Latin was used, added correct Latin, and made sure that all abbreviations and words that were split by line and page breaks could be found (and searched) in their correct forms. What this boiled down to is a lot of details that had to be checked and double checked!

After I finished that, I began matching up the Latin from the Chad Gospels to the English translation of the Bible. This process was a little less detail oriented than the Latin XML, however, it has been flexing my “Latin muscles” a bit more.

One of my main struggles in all of this  has been to retain our vision for the Info Forest App  in those moments where it can be hard to get past some of the more monotonous aspects of my portion of the project. For example, when it is 3 in the afternoon and I have been writing XML for 7 hours and still have 1 hour to go, when I have been staring at the same line on the manuscript for 20 minutes and can still not figure out for the life of me what it says, or when there is an error in the XML and I have already spent so much time looking at it that I have begun to question the existence of numbers and letters that actually have meaning.

This week has been especially good for me in that Dr. Brent Seales and Julie Martinez have been working with us to identify our research question. I think this has been so beneficial because I personally equate the concept of a research question with the purpose of a mission statement. It is our guiding force as we push through the less exciting aspects of our work and gives us not only a sense of purpose in our work, but also a sense of its significance.

While still in the rough stages of its formation, I have begun to identify my research question. It will be a little less conventional than my fellow teammates’ due to the nature of my contribution to the project, however it is just as vital to what I am contributing to the app as it is to what they are contributing.

With that said, I hope to find a way to assemble the data from important manuscripts in a way that is accessible, correct, and logical. I see my role on the team as someone who is here to enable the success of my teammates by providing quality content that will work cohesively with the technology they are creating so that those who are scholars and those who are not will be able to enjoy and find meaning in the Info Forest project.