You wouldn't think that the Covid-19 pandemic would have much of an influence over a project like this. However, it's managed to slow down almost everything in the academic world. At the moment, the main thing I'm trying to do is find colleagues who can contribute to making getting the online edition available on this site. Amongst other things, I need a software developer. Under normal circumstances, the first thing I'd do is wander over to the Computer Science department and try to find a familiar face. Then I'd ask a few informal questions, look over the noticeboards and recent publications on their bookshelves, maybe talk to the receptionist. In all probability, I'd end up talking to a lecturer who would recommend a professor who knows more about the topic, and that professor would have a former student who teaches that sort of thing, and that former student would have a current student looking for a project to work on, or something like that. That person might be on the other side of the world on in the next building. It's this sort of informal and efficient networking that makes working on a campus so worthwhile.

So at the moment, I'm putting together materials to attract a software developer to produce a single page web application to replace the current structure of this website. The idea is that all of the textual information of the Ormulum in several parellel editions will be available, and can be compared with the manuscript. So, for example, take these first few lines from folio 3v, the "second page" of the manuscript.

folio 3v of MS Junius 1
folio 3v of MS Junius 1
 

 As you can see, it's not particularly accessible. There is only a little damage and rewriting here, but the obsolete letters and punctuation make things difficult, like thorn and wyn, the stacked letters like the rr and mm, and the so-called nasal strokes. A section like this would be rendered in at least three versions, like this

edition texts of verses 95 to 99
edition texts of verses 95 to 99

As seem here, there are the critical and diplomatic editions. The critical edition is the text in its idealised final state, taking into account all corrections. The diplomatic edition includes all the information we can garner from the manuscript, and includes extensive footnotes. I have also recently decided to make a "scriptorium" edition, which renders the manuscript text in an idealised orderly form, as if Orrm had made a copy of his own. This allows for further information about the manuscript and handstyle, as well as Orrm's shorthand features, to be more easily represented. This will especially be the useful for the Latin Texts, in which there is a lot more shorthand. This means that I also want to find a colleague who works on medieval Latin and would like to write a paper or two on the topic.

The great barrier to acheiving these roles of course is financing. The funding which Nils-Lennart got for the project has expired, and my application for a research grant from the Swedish Science Council wasn't successful this year. However, even if it had been, what I've been writing about this week isn't research at all, it's infrastructure, which the research authorities don't like paying for. There has been a recent development by the Swedish National Heritage Board, Runor, which is a single-page application allowing easy access to a database of all the inscriptions of runic language in the world, so the scale of the Ormulum Project is much more manageable. I'll keep sending in the forms, one of them'll stick soon.

-Andrew