Second MEDEA Workshop

Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, April 6-8, 2016

Account books allow scholars to explore the development of economic
behavior on both a macro- and micro-structural level. In our first
workshop at the University of Regensburg in October 2015, we heard from
scholars who have begun to explore models for digitizing such sources in
projects in Europe and the United States. Our second workshop will
include reports on testing of models from the first workshop as well as
presentations by scholars new to the MEDEA project.

The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) has developed useful models to encode
texts and digital scholarly editions, and the Semantic Web offers
opportunities to collect and compare data from multiple digital
projects. The MEDEA project looks at these methods with the goal of
developing broad standards for producing semantically enriched digital
editions of accounts. It fosters discussion of benefits and deficiencies
in existing standards by bringing together economic historians,
scholarly editors, and technical experts to discuss and test emerging
methods for semantic markup of account books. For this purpose we call
for contributions of scholars with experiences in the scholarly edition
of historical financial records and ideas about how to use digital
methods within this context.

We invite proposals for participation in our second workshop, which will
be held at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts (USA), April 6-8,
2016. Participants will present current research projects using data
from historical account books, describe the encoding models of their
projects, and share ideas for a common model. The discussions and
examples will focus on a set of questions intended to elucidate the
features of accounts of greatest interest to scholars. Thus the
activities will focus on the following issues:

    How might we model the economic activities recorded in these
documents? In particular: What models of bookkeeping were followed
historically and how can they be represented formally? Are data models
developed for modern business reporting helpful?
    How can we model the economic reality behind the texts? Can we
establish common resources on metrics and currencies or even the value
of money that can be reused in other projects? Is it possible to build
common taxonomies of commodities and services to facilitate the
comparison of financial information recorded at different places and
times? That is, can we develop references on the order of name
authorities and standards for geo-referencing?
    How might we integrate topological information of the transcription
with its financial interpretation? Is the “table” an appropriate method?
What possibilities are offered by the TEI Manuscripts module and use of
the tei:zone element?
    How can we integrate a topological/documentary approach and the
growing linguistic interest in the texts with the interpretations that
economic and social historians extract from the documents?

Submit proposals (not to exceed 700 words) to [log in to unmask] by
January 15, 2016.

The program committee will notify applicants of results no later than
January 31, 2016.

We particularly encourage proposals from early-career researchers. A
limited budget is available to support costs of travel and accommodation.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.

See more details on the project and abstracts/presentations from the
first workshop in Regensburg at