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42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies 
The 42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS) [see, ICMS homepage] took place at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI, USA), 10-13 May 2007. According to information provided by the University, more than 3,000 participants were expected to attend from more than twenty-five countries. There were approximately 600 sessions on a wide variety of topics relating to medieval studies (from Anglo-Saxon literature to ecclesiastical topics; from scholarly perspectives on dress, to warfare in the Middle Ages; and so on). This annual meeting is primarily for scholars and students, but many non-specialists are attracted by its exhibits, performances, and other popular activities.

Dr Debra Lacoste represented the NEUMES Project in her presentation "Digital Transcription of the Sarum Antiphoner to NEUMES Data" {definition: Sarum Antiphoner}. This was in the session on Electronic Resources and Medieval Liturgy hosted by the CANTUS database project [see, the session programme]. Her presentation was a short version of the "NEUMES Transcription Primer," of which she is the editor. Her handout from the presentation is available in PDF here.

Presentation by Debra Lacoste at ICMS'07
Debra Lacoste presenting her Primer
of chant manuscript transcription
to NEUMES data, at the 42nd ICMS.
Presentation by Debra Lacoste at ICMS'07
The audience were quite interested in using
XML as the delivery format for digital
transcriptions of medieval manuscripts.

Presentation by Debra Lacoste at ICMS'07 Many of Dr Lacoste's audience were academic musicologists who specialize in Western (Latin) medieval chant. She felt the presentation was a success, and was especially well-received by the younger scholars at the session. A lively question-and-answer period ensued, and these discussions continued after the session.

From the point of view of the NEUMES Project, the conference was helpful because we received valuable feedback from this group of scholars. Questions (such as, "How do you search for a word?") help us understand how transcription data will be used by researchers in the field. We also benefitted from suggestions about some types of early notations that would be useful in our battery of beta-test transcriptions for testing and to demonstrate the flexibility of NEUMES encoding.


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