Dr James Cummings is the Senior Lecturer in Late-Medieval Literature and Digital Humanities for the School of English Literature, Language, and Linguistics at Newcastle University. He studies the use of digital technology for editing and also the surviving records of late-medieval drama. He came to Newcastle University to be part of the Animating Text Newcastle University (ATNU) project which is exploring the intersections between traditional scholarly textual editing, digital editing, digital humanities, and computer science. His work in digital scholarly editing has led to interests in Handwritten Text Recognition and the up-conversion of semi-automated procedures, and potential for supervised machine learning in the editorial process. He is a member of The Alan Turing Institute's Humanities and Data Science Interest Group.
From 2005-2019 he was an elected member of the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium's Council, and was previously its Chair. This develops new features and fixes bugs in the TEI Guidelines for encoding digital text. He has since been elected to their Board of Directors. He is the Newcastle University Digital Humanities Theme Lead for N8 Computational Intensive Research project.
James completed a BA in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto, an MA in Medieval Studies from the University of Leeds, and a PhD in medieval drama from the University of Leeds. His PhD (2001) investigates the archival survival of information concerning the performance of drama in medieval culture. It involved a significant amount of archival transcription.
One of his main research interests in late-medieval drama is the Records of Early English Drama project and its shift to digital technologies. In addition to the archival survival of information concerning late-medieval performance, James is also interested in the relationship of medieval manuscripts to their digital surrogates. From 2009-2012 he was elected director of the executive board of the Digital Medievalist project.
He was the founder and (until his move to Newcastle in 2017) co-director of Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School. He is the founder and main instigator of the grass-roots open DH Awards. James occasionally attempts to bridge both Medieval Studies and Digital Humanities in his research.