I am a PhD Student at the University of Toronto's Centre for Medieval Studies, and in the Collaborative Program in Editing Medieval Texts. I am currently researching the function of Latin commentaries in the schools of the twelfth and thirteenth century. On the side, I have also long pursued interests in the interesection of the humanities with technology and in typography. This website provides a home for a few basic tools that I’ve found very useful in my work. You might also be interested in my list of online resources for Medieval Studies.
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This application provides a version of Lewis & Short’s Latin Dictionary, as digitized by Perseus. It does not require an Internet connection, and is thus much faster than online versions. It was originally written by Joshua Hayes; I have updated it to take advantage of Lion and add a few niceties to the interface. The code is open source, and is available on Github. If you have an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, Lexidium is excellent; Windows users might be interested in Glossa.
Since the 1980s, Macintosh computers have shipped with a keyboard layout that makes it relatively easy to type diacritics and other symbols through the use of the Option key. Windows only provides an “International” layout with a very limited range of accents; strangely, using this layout makes the quotation mark and apostrophe keys completely unusable. I created two keyboard layouts to fix this situation: one duplicating the standard U.S. layout used on the Mac (also identical to the “Canadian English” keyboard layout), and another replicating the “U.S. Extended” keyboard layout introduced with Mac OS X. If you aren’t already accustomed to one, I would recommend starting with the U.S. Extended, which provides more accents and places some characters in more logical positions. The standard layout, however, provides access to a few mathematical symbols that some might find useful.
These layouts do not change the basic keyboard, and thus do not require changing any existing habits. For their use, refer to Penn State University or Harvard for the U.S. Extended layout, or Penn State’s page on the standard Mac layout, substituting the AltGr (right Alt) key for the option key. The On-Screen Keyboard built in to Windows will also allow you to view most of combinations.
To install, unzip the downloaded file, and run the “setup.exe” program; the installer will automatically add the layout to the input menu. I’ve tested it on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Both layouts can be installed on a system simultaneously, and can be removed through the Control Panel. I have also included the source file for Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, should you wish to make any modifications.
Computers aren’t normally set up for excellence in typography, and don’t go out of their way to support dead languages. Fortunately, through the magic of Unicode, the situation can be improved somewhat by installing a few fonts. To access the characters you need, use the Character Viewer in Mac OS X or the Windows Character Map.
If you have even a remote interest in using type effectively in written communication, read The Elements of Typographic Style.