This fall, the Hoccleve Archive acquired a new batch of contributors at both its home institutions. At the University of Texas, Mark Watts have begun working on transforming a database of references to time in the Regiment of Princes into a digital concordance table, as part of the Time Referents Concordance project. At Georgia State, five Student Innovation Fellows (SIFs) have been assigned to work on the Hoccleve Archive. The Georgia State team has been working on issues relating to D.C. Greetham’s HOCCLEX project. The HOCCLEX files were created in the 1980’s by an editorial team led by Greetham, and contain semi-diplomatic transcriptions of the poems from the three holograph manuscripts, painstakingly marked with a Middle English root form and tags identifying other grammatical and syntactical data, for example, person, number, and part of speech. These tags initially served the purpose of creating data for a lexicon, in which individual words could be checked against their root forms and part of speech so that variant spellings could be identified and normalized. In their original conception, they were at the editorial heart of Greetham’s proposed critical edition of the Regiment, populating the database that would guide editorial decisions relative to accidentals. While Greetham’s edition never materialized, they were used by Charles Blyth’s 1999 TEAMS edition of the Regiment.
Since that time, the HOCCLEX files, and the treasure-trove of information they contain about Hoccleve’s Middle English, have not been easily accessible to scholars. Not only were they privately stored, but more importantly, they were developed using a now-lost and unknown piece of software, making them difficult to use in their original format. The SIF fellows at GSU have built a custom-script that allows the HOCCLEX files to be translated into .TXT and XML formats. In this new format, the files will serve as the basis for several forthcoming substantive additions to the Hoccleve Archive website.
1. With the addition of a more detailed XML mark-up and a style-sheet, the HOCCLEX files will allow us to host a digital edition of the poems in the Holograph manuscript.
2. Once a database and HTML display are created, the HOCCLEX files will populate the Hoccleve Lexicon, a fully searchable and browsable guide to Hoccleve’s orthography and diction. In this form, they will serve as a robust and publically accessible version of what they were originally designed to be, an invaluable source of primary material for users of the crowd-sourced editorial tools we will develop to create a digital critical variorum edition of the Regiment of Princes. Moreover, because the Lexicon will be public and searchable in ways beyond those possible when the HOCCLEX files were created, they will be open to researchers asking a broad variety of questions about Hoccleve’s texts and the development of the English language and its poetry.
3. The HOCCLEX files are now an important primary source in their own right, evidence of an early moment in the history of the digital humanities. By making them available, we will be documenting that history, an important step in our larger aim of using the Hoccleve Archive as a hub for preserving and sustaining the history and practice of Hocclevean textual production and editorial scholarship.