Encoding Diplomatic Transcriptions and Translations of Petrarch’s Songbook

"The Petrarchive is designed as a tool both to introduce Petrarch’s collection—a collection that continues to influence modern cultures in many languages—and to give advanced users access to Petrarch’s “original” text and an extensive “material” commentary for each poem."

Petrarchive © 2013-2020 H. Wayne Storey, John A. Walsh, & Isabella Magni.
Team: H. Wayne Storey, John A. Walsh, Isabella Magni, Maria Teresa De Luca, Paolo Scartoni, & Abraham Kim.

What is the Petrarchive Project?

Since 2019, I have been lucky to work as an encoder on The Petrarchive at Indiana University. The Petrarchive project (ed. Magni, Storey and Walsh) is the first rich-text digital edition of one of the icons of Italian literary tradition: Francesco Petrarca’s Rerum Vulgarism Fragmenta.

"When you hear the words sonnet, Renaissance, western literature, love songs, you are hearing the direct influence of Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) and of his collection of lyric poems that he called “Fragments in the Vernacular” (Rerum vulgarium fragmenta)."

The Petrarchive is “Designed for students, casual readers and specialists, the Petrarchive proposes a corrected diplomatic edition and a new edition of Petrarch’s songbook”. Within the Petrarchive you will find edited and diplomatic transcriptions of Petrarch’s songbook;multiple visual indexes to navigate visual maps illustrating Petrarch’s design, layout, and visual poetics; and multi-layered commentary addressing prosodic, historic, textual, and thematic issues along with an English translation of the poems."

An example of the final result from the Petrarchive Website

My Role

As an encoder, I take the English translations and transcriptions of the original Italian texts and put them into XML according to TEI Guidelines.

The TEI Guidelines document a markup language for representing the structural, renditional, and conceptual features of texts.

These guidelines are expressed as a "modular, extensible XML schema, accompanied by detailed documentation, and are published under an open-source license." They focus on the encoding of documents in the humanities and social sciences, and on the representation of primary source materials for research and analysis. The benefit of TEI lies in the richness and expressiveness of its vocabulary. But much of that richness and expressiveness is lost in the translation to HTML. Part of my role as an encoder is to help remedy this loss through TEI Markup/XML.

An example page of Petrarch's Songbook