The 4th Course of the MHRD sponsored SPARC Course concluded at the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, on December 20, 2019. The title of the course was “Digital Apprehension of Poetics”, and was offered to students who are doing research and also to postgraduates from various universities of Delhi. The foreign course coordinator was Professor Sean A. Pue, a renowned scholar in the field of Digital Humanities from Michigan State University, United States of America.
Aim of the course
The course aimed at trying to bridge the gap between the shrinking significance of Indian poetics and the growing digitization that is taking place nowadays. It aimed to help understand how we could utilize tools of digital technology to comprehend and annotate Indian poetic texts.
Learning from the experts
In the first week, the emphasis was on introducing the various digital technological tools that could be utilized to eventually come up with a digital critical edition of Indian poetics. Some of the tools that were learnt in the first week included Textual Encoding Initiative, which helps in which fonts are stylized in particular ways. However, there is a significant drawback with regards to Textual Encoding Initiative in South Asian languages.
As alternative researchers learnt how tree structures can help us understand what happens in Indian poetics. They also learnt what is digital annotation and how it can be carried out.
In the second week, researchers learnt about how to use various technologies like Transkribus, a software which helps in annotating the manuscript. This is specifically helpful when we consider annotating poetry and short piece of writing. Researchers also learnt how to carry out audio and visual annotation through software like Aegisub, which helps in the process of subtitling. This is a useful tool especially since many visual files are in foreign or regional language.
The final two classes focused on understanding Indian poetics and what are the problems that should be avoided when one is designing a digital critical edition for any text.
The course concluded with a group discussion on creating a digital critical edition of Indian poetics.
MHRD supported SPARC programme
This course was offered under the MHRD supported SPARC programme, which is an initiative to bring international expertise to the doorstep of Indian universities and researchers. Jamia’s English department has been awarded 4 such MHRD sponsored SPARC courses, which is rare for any department in the country.
Courtesy: India Today
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