I haven't really stuck with writing this newsletter as regularly as I thought and I kept delaying writing another update until I felt I had something worth the delay. Of course, this is a common vicious circle for me. If I wait until I have an update worthy of a delay, then the extra delay in waiting ups the game, requiring an even more worthy update. This continues until no news can possible justify the delay. The solution, to borrow from C. S. Lewis's Screwtape, is to just laugh and go to bed.
And so here is a quick update on some highlights in 2019 without any attempt to justify the time since the last update.
I completed two qualifications in 2019 (both of which I've written about before):
Having done many distance learning courses over the years, I can honestly say, both the Signum and Berklee experiences have been far and away the best online learning experiences I've had.
In both cases, they also got me back into areas of study I'd been away from for far too long. In the case of Signum, I also made many new friends.
My involvement with Signum and Berklee will continue in 2020, with the former as an at-large board member and with the latter as a student in another professional certificate programme (this time specifically on film and television composition and orchestration). There is also some Greek / linguistic study potentially on the horizon.
There are two other highlights I want to mention in this update: my talk at Tolkien 2019 in Birmingham, and starting the "greek-texts" project.
As mentioned in previous updates, I was both thrilled and uncharacteristically nervous to have my talk "Tolkien and Digital Philology" accepted for the conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Tolkien Society. The talk seemed well received and I met a lot of wonderful people that I've stay in touch with since.
I took somewhat of a break from the Digital Tolkien Project after that conference but I'll be back in full force in 2020 with some exciting collaborations.
The other exciting bit of news is the unexpected starting of the greek-texts project. You can read more about how it come about in this blog post:
but the TL;DR is that we're putting together openly-licensed, linguistically-annotated Ancient Greek texts and vocabulary lists for learners (as well as tooling to help in their creation).
There are also some other exciting Greek collaborations happening like the Greek WordNet. And of course, there's great stuff happening with the Scaife Viewer but you can subscribe to a separate newsletter for those updates (when I write them)! I've also well-and-truly gotten back into my morphology tour blog posts.
As well as the Birmingham trip, I've done a lot of travel since my last update, including six weeks in European at various DH and linguistics conferences (and a Baltic cruise in the middle), multiple trips to New York to see friends, and four weeks in Australia (from which I just returned last night) for Christmas and to renew my US visa for another two years.
I'm sure I'll think of other things I want to update you all on but hopefully I'll get back into more of a rhythm in writing these updates this year.