Course description

The main goal of this course is to introduce students to textual scholarship in general and digital scholarly editing in particular. The main outcome of this new course will be to publish a small-scale digital scholarly edition online of one of the most remarkable Spanish literary works, the Lazarillo de Tormes (XVIth century). The course is conceived as a combination between collaborative research and technical skills. At all steps of the process, we will work together toward the completion of our digital edition. Unlike other courses in digital editing taught worldwide, this course will introduce you to a “full stack,” giving you the ability to make your own digital editions in the future without the need for funding, a publisher, or a “technical” team. The course will be divided into lectures and recitation sessions, in order to offer theoretical concepts and to transfer them into practice.

This course will have five main units:

UNIT 1. Introduction to textual scholarship: What does it mean to edit a work?
UNIT 2. Planning a minimal digital scholarly edition: Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)
UNIT 3. Structures of control in text processing: eXtensible Markup Language, Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative
UNIT 4. The ethics of memory in representation layers: HTML, CSS
UNIT 5. Input and output and textual migrations: XSLT, Liquid
UNIT 6. Infrastructure for publishing: Jekyll, Liquid Templating language

The learning goals of this course are as follows:

  1. To participate in an authentic research and editing project, engaging in all the steps of the process.
  2. To become aware of the challenges and opportunities of the digital medium for scholarly research and editing.
  3. To apply different methods and technologies and to understand the value of web standards.
  4. To understand data modelling from a theoretical as well as a practical point of view.
  5. To learn the principles of the XML language and to apply the TEI Guidelines.
  6. To grasp the basic principles of HTML and CSS.
  7. To understand the role of the XSLT language and Liquid.
  8. To work collaboratively and to enhance the student’s experience while practicing the Spanish language and engaging in authentic communication.

Grading and Out-of-Class Assignments

There will be a total of six assignments oriented around the following:

  1. Exercise on Textual Criticism (Feb 1) - 5%
  2. Proposal of a data model for the Lazarillo (Feb 15) - 5%
  3. Encoding of a selected part of the Lazarillo (March 7) - 10%
  4. HTML and CSS set of exercises (March 28) - 10%
  5. XSLT set of exercises (April 11) - 10%
  6. Jekyll and Liquid manipulation (April 20) - 10%

There will be one midterm evaluation on March 7 (20%) and a final examination (20%) (Date as determined by the registrar’s office). The course is conceived as a collaborative project, where each student will be in charge of a main chapter, for this reason collaborative work will represent the rest of the grade (10%).

Weekly Breakdown and assignments for each lecture

Lecture 1 (Jan 20) (Unit 1) General introduction and plan of the course.

Lecture 2 (Jan 25) What does it mean to edit a text?

  • David Greetham. “A history of textual scholarship.” The Cambridge Companion to Textual Scholarship. 2013, pp. 16-41
  • Miguel Ángel Pérez Priego, La edición de textos. 2012, pp. 15-46, 47-76; 77-100

Lecture 3 (Jan 27) Basic principles of textual criticism and the different trends from the nineteenth century to the present.

Lecture 4 (Feb 1) The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities, first encounter with the work.

  • Lazarillo de Tormes, 2011, pp. 91-205
  • Mainer, “Caminos de la ficción.” Historia de la literatura española. 2013, pp. 281-336

Lecture 5 (Feb 3) A data model for the Lazarillo

Lecture 6 (Feb 8) Introduction to Github (1)

Lecture 7 (Feb 10) (Unit 2) Introduction to Github (2)

Lecture 8 (Feb 15) (Unit 3) Introduction to the Extensible Markup Languages (1)

  • A Gentle Introduction to XML.” P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange, 2015
  • Pierazzo 2015, 103-125 (“Work and Workflow of Digital Scholarly Editions.”)

Lecture 9 (Feb 17) The Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (1)

Lecture 10 (Feb 22) The Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (2)

Lecture 11 (Feb 24) The Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (3)

Lecture 12 (Feb 29) The role of schemas and ODD documents

Lecture 13 (March 2) The encoding praxis: Practical session (no reading assignments).

Midterm (March 7)

Lecture 14 (March 9) (Unit 4) Introduction to HTML

Spring Break (14-18 March)

Lecture 15 (March 21) Designing the web: HTML & CSS (1)

Lecture 16 (March 23) Designing the web: CSS (2)

Lecture 17 (March 28) (Unit 5) Transforming the code: (XSLT)

Lecture 18 (March 30) Advanced XSLT (1): from XML to HTML

  • Bauman, and J. Flanders, [“Navigating the Tree.”] Brown University, 2012

Lecture 19 (April 4) Advanced XSLT (2): from XML to HTML

Lecture 20 (April 6) Advanced XSLT (3): from XML to other outputs

Lecture 21 (April 11) (Unit 6) Creating the web prototype: the infrastructure

Lecture 22 (April 13) Introduction to Jekyll

Lecture 23 (April 18) Technologies in use: Markdown and Liquid (1)

Lecture 24 (April 20) Technologies in use: Markdown and Liquid (2)

  • Shopify, Liquid. GitHub, 2015

Lecture 25 (April 25) Quality assurance and evaluation of the web prototype (1)

Lecture 26 (April 27) Quality assurance and evaluation of the web prototype (2)

  • Pierazzo 2015, “8.7. Trusting Digital Editions? Peer Review and Evaluation of Digital Scholarship”, pp. 187-192.

Lecture 27 (May 2) Testing and troubleshooting


Departmental Policy on absences

The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures has an across-the-board policy on class absences. Students who have three (3) unexcused absences or more will see their final grade reduced by one letter. An excused absence is an absence due to a religious holiday or one for which you can provide some form of written justification from a physician or dean. You should not interpret this policy as entitling you to a given number of free absences from class. You should see it as a hedge against illness and other unforeseen circumstances that may make it impossible for you to attend class.

Academic integrity

The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures fully supports and adheres to all Columbia University policies and procedures regarding academic dishonesty (plagiarism, fabrication, cheating, etc.). The work you submit in the class is expected to be your own. If you submit work that has been copied from any published or unpublished source (including the Internet) without attribution, or that has been prepared by some other than you, or that in any way misrepresents somebody else’s work as your own, will have an F as final grade and he/she will face disciplining by the university. It is expected that all students abide by the University´s Code of Academic Integrity ( and refrain from any activity constitutive of academic dishonesty as defined therein. For additional information, visit the university´s page of frequently asked questions regarding academic integrity, or consult me in the event of any uncertainty on your part about what may constitute academic dishonesty.