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Dr. Beshero-Bondar: Preparing Twentieth Century Letters for Twenty-First Digitals

by Tori Phillips

Dr. B

Dr. Elisa Beshero-Bondar. Photo courtesy of

Elisa Beshero-Bondar, Associate Professor of English at Pitt-Greensburg, has been elected to the TEI Council for the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI).  The TEI develops and maintains a standard for the representation of texts in digital form. Their guidelines secify encoding methods for machine-readable texts, mainly in the humanities, social sciences and linguistics.

For the extended interview, visit

  1. Describe your new role.

As a new member of the TEI Technical Council, I am responsible for helping to explain, support, and update the guidelines and coding rules for the TEI. I will be involved in drafting and revising the guidelines we have in place, and in evaluating proposals to change our coding rules.

  1. What effect will this have on campus?

Our campus is becoming known as a place where people from other colleges and universities can come to learn about the TEI: Each summer for the past two years, I have been hosting an annual workshop for my Digital Mitford collaborative coding project, which includes a team of professors and students from multiple schools working together to create digital editions of a big collection of thousands of letters by 19th-century writer named Mary Russell Mitford. Our team comes together here at Pitt-Greensburg to get a coding refresher course in the summer, and we’ve recently started to reach out to invite people to come join us just to learn to code their own projects, even if they aren’t part of ours. We’re launching a TEI coding school here at Pitt-Greensburg as a result, and my position on the TEI Technical Council should now help build that coding school and make us more visible in the world community of textual scholars.

  1. How will students and professors benefit from this?

We’ve begun to be noticed as an institution where interesting digital projects are launched by teams, not only our Digital Mitford project but also our Digital Archives and Pacific Cultures project or the Amadis-in-Translation study that I’ve launched with Prof. Stacey Triplette and Helena Bermúdez Sabel, a graduate student from Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela.

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