Sebastian Patrick Quintus Rahtz,
13 February 1955 – 15 March 2016


I have been helped by, worked with, learned from, and been friends with Sebastian Rahtz since before I even came to work at OUCS (now IT Services).  During my years working with him there were only a few times that I ever showed him something new, or a better way to do the thing he was doing, more often than not it was the reverse. I learned a lot from Sebastian, not only about the way to approach technical problems, management, workflow, etc. but in many ways how to be a better human being.  I won’t attempt to list the projects, services, people, and organisations that Sebastian has made better by his existence. I would only leave out many crucial and important ones. I will miss him.

sit tibi terra levis


Teaching for DEMM: Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts


This is the second year that, as part of my commitment to DiXiT, I have also taught on the Erasmus+ Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts network.  Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts (DEMM) is a joint training programme between Charles University in Prague, Queen Mary University of London, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, the University of Siena, and the library of the Klosterneuburg Monastery. It equips advanced MA and PhD students in medieval studies with the necessary skills to eAmiatinusdit medieval texts and work in a digital environment. This is done through a year-long programme on editing medieval manuscripts and their online publication: a rigorous introduction to medieval manuscripts and their analysis is accompanied by formal training in ICT and project management. The end of each one-year programme will see the students initiated into practical work-experience alongside developers, as they will work on their own digital editions, leading to its online publication.

Funded by the Strategic Partnership strand of the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme, DEMM will run for three consecutive years, always with a new group of students. It will lead to the publication, in print and online, of teaching materials, as well as a sandbox of editions.

My institution is not directly involved in it (but there is overlap with DiXiT) and last year I taught and assisted at both the workshop in Lyon and the Hackathon in London. This year the students had a a week’s introduction to Palaeography, Codicology and Philology at Stift Klosterneuburg in the autumn and then in March had a week’s workshop on encoding, tagging and publishing in Lyon.

Needless to say I was providing tuition on the Text Encoding Initiative and a full schedule, with links to my presentations (some of the others are behind a password protected site) is available at:

This follows a fairly predictable pattern of introducing people to the concept of markup, the formal syntax of XML, and the vocabulary of the TEI. It then goes on to expand this with an introduction to the core elements, named entities, and the following morning TEI metadata. Here of course we also single out the elements for both manuscript description and transcription since that is key for those undertaking  to build digital editions of medieval manuscripts.  The course continued on to talk about critical apparatus, genetic editing, and publication / interrogation of your results.