Another use for spreadsheets

They’re useful for keeping track of cognate manuscripts, and I’m setting up one to do that for a manuscript collection I’ve been working with for some time. As an aside, you can’t tell that from my recent publications, as I’ve just realized, so I’m wondering what I could quickly throw together as a note, just to put something out there with my name on it and keep marking my territory. Discussions of scoopage at Notorious’s place have me slightly spooked.

But anyway: a cognate manuscript is one that shares texts with another. Since the collection I have in mind is a large one, I’m not interested in manuscripts that share only one text with this one (though if you had a smaller batch of texts, you might be). Two or more shared texts, however, and I’m paying attention. So here a spreadsheet is very helpful: it’s easily searchable, and gives a clear visual representation of which texts appear in different cognate manuscripts.

I think I’d need a three-dimensional spreadsheet to do a perfect job, because ideally I’d want to show all the contents of the other manuscripts, to indicate what they have that my main interest doesn’t. I can imagine this in some sort of holographic device, color-coded so that the shared texts would really stand out. But I’m not so technologically inclined as to be able to create the holograph-cube.

I’ll just make a note of it for my sci-fi novel about manuscript study . . . .

Home again, home again

“Well, I’m back,” she said.

No, no, that was the end of the story. We’re not done yet. I have two weeks to work, and then a brief vacation, and then three more weeks to work before classes start. It only feels like summer is almost over. Five weeks is a good bit of time. I can finish the article-in-progress, and review a manuscript, and plan my fall classes, in that time. I even believe that. It’s all the other stuff that I keep forgetting about that may derail me: conference organizing, house stuff, rec letters, and so on.

The trip was good. Intense, but good. All potential travel problems, like booking a train ticket for the wrong day (well after my flight home) resolved themselves. I achieved the things that had to happen in London, Cambridge, Lewes, and York; the conference paper got done and delivered; I finally had lunch in the BL with ADM; on my last night I stayed with a friend from grad school (and her niece and niece’s boyfriend—in a 2-room flat—it was a bit undergraduate) and we got to catch up a bit. I have photographs. I have transcriptions. I have plans for lots of interesting work.

The cats seemed glad to see me, especially Basement Cat, who groomed my hands and arms very thoroughly yesterday. Today is a rest day in the Tour de France, so that gives us a chance to catch up. I keep getting too sleepy to stay up, so we still have half of yesterday’s stage to finish. I’ll try to post something more interesting soon.