Balisage 2021 Participant Biographies

Dax Bamberger
Dax Bamberger is a Technical Information Specialist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine. He just recently joined NCBI’s XML conversion team, but has been working on XML conversion in the online scholarly publishing field since 2000, with 19 of those years at HighWire Press.

Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck is a Technical Information Specialist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine. He has been involved in the PubMed Central project since it began in 2000. He has been working in print and then electronic journal publishing since the early 1990s. Currently he is co-chair of the NISO Z39.96 JATS Standing Committee and is a BELS-certified Editor in the Life Sciences.

Elisa E. Beshero-Bondar
Elisa Beshero-Bondar explores and teaches document data modeling with the XML family of languages as Professor of Digital Humanities and Program Chair of Digital Media, Arts, and Technology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Until June 2020, she was a professor of English Literature and Director of the Center for the Digital Text at Pitt-Greensburg. She serves on the TEI Technical Council and is the founder and organizer of the Digital Mitford project and its usually annual coding school. She experiments with visualizing data from complex document structures like epic poems and with computer-assisted collation of differently encoded editions of Frankenstein. Her ongoing adventures with markup technologies are documented on her development site at

Alan Edward Bickel
Alan Bickel is a software engineer at Big Ideas Learning, LLC. | Larson Texts, Inc. His current focus with Big Ideas Learning includes Data and Systems Architecture, System Design, Application and Web development. Tech stack experience includes: LAMP, Node.js, Typescript, Express, Angular, Aurelia MongoDB, Phaser, Apache Tomcat. Actively learning and loving the XML/RDF/ExistDB ecosystem. Interests include:

  • machine translations for digital and print consumables
  • Embedded electronics engineering and development
  • text-to-speech and accessibilty-driven application development
  • learning how to build XAR apps not like a newbie
  • Path of Exile

David J. Birnbaum
David J. Birnbaum is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been involved in the study of electronic text technology since the mid-1980s, has delivered presentations at a variety of digital humanities and electronic text technology conferences, and has served on the board of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the editorial board of Markup languages: theory and practice, and the Text Encoding Initiative Technical Council. Much of his electronic text work intersects with his research in medieval Slavic manuscript studies, but he also often writes about issues in the philosophy of markup. For the past ten years he has been teaching an XML-oriented course in the University Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh entitled “Computational methods in the humanities” (

Elli Bleeker
Elli Bleeker works as a researcher at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands. As a Research Fellow in the Marie Sklodowska-Curie funded network DiXiT (2013–2017), she received advanced training in manuscript studies, text modeling, and XML technologies for text modeling. She completing her PhD at the Centre for Manuscript Genetics at Antwerp University (2017) on the role of the scholarly editor in the digital environment. She specialized in digital scholarly editing with a focus on modern manuscripts, genetic criticism, and semi-automated collation. Currently, she works together with Ronald Haentjens Dekker and studies the potential of graph technologies for the modeling of literary and historical texts. This confronts her frequently with complex manuscripts that are very challenging to model computationally. Still, she would choose it again without a doubt.

Geert Bormans
Geert Bormans has long been an angle-bracket jack-of-all-trades. He loves the beauty of a well-architected solution or a pure and simplified process. Geert makes a living as an independent consultant, through his company C-Moria BV, providing XML or Linked Open Data solutions, mainly to the publishing industry. He does so with a broad geographical flexibility.

Geert likes an interesting challenge, easily found when having two teenage daughters. However, he prefers the challenges to involve alpine ground, six strings, or markup.

Bram Buitendijk
Bram Buitendijk is a software developer at the Humanities Cluster, part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has worked on transcription and annotation software, collation software, and repository software.

Patrick Durusau
Patrick Durusau is the Chair of the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC and has been a member of that TC since its initial meeting on December 16, 2002. His employer/sponsor has changed several times over the years, and Patrick has been a co-editor/editor of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for the majority of that time. Patrick is also the project editor for the ISO/IEC mirror of ODF as ISO/IEC 26300.

Patrick blogs about topic maps (being one of the co-editors of ISO 13250-1), other semantic issues and of late, how irregular forces can leverage data for their causes at Another Word for It.

Tracey El Hajj
Tracey El Hajj is a recent PhD graduate from the Department of English at the University of Victoria. She works in the field of Science and Technology Studies, and her research focuses on the “algorhythmics” of network communications. She was a 2019-20 President’s Fellow in Research-Enriched Teaching at UVic, where she taught an advanced course on “Artificial Intelligence and Everyday Life”. She is also a research associate with the Map of Early Modern London and Linked Early Modern Drama Online as well as a research fellow in residence at the Praxis Studio for Comparative Media Studies, where she investigates the relationships between artificial intelligence, creativity, health, and justice.

Peter Flynn
Peter Flynn managed the Academic and Collaborative Technologies Group in IT Services at University College Cork, Ireland until his retirement in 2018. He trained at the London College of Printing and did his MA in computerized planning systems at Central London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). He worked in the UK for the Printing and Publishing Industry Training Board as a DP Manager and for United Information Services of Kansas as IT consultant before joining UCC as Project Manager for academic and research computing. In 1990 he installed Ireland’s first Web server and concentrated on academic and research publishing support. He has been Secretary of the TeX Users Group, Deputy Director for Ireland of EARN, and a member both of the IETF Working Group on HTML and of the W3C XML SIG; and he has published books on HTML, SGML/XML, and LaTeX. Peter also runs the markup and typesetting consultancy, Silmaril, and is editor of the XML FAQ as well as an irregular contributor to conferences and journals in electronic publishing, markup, and Humanities computing, and has been a regular speaker and session chair at the XML Summer School in Oxford. He completed a late-life PhD in User Interfaces to Structured Documents with the Human Factors Research Group in Applied Psychology in UCC. He maintains a fairly random semi-technical blog at

Tony Graham
Tony Graham is a Senior Architect with Antenna House, where he works on their XSL-FO and CSS formatter, cloud-based authoring solution, and related products. He also provides XSL-FO and XSLT consulting and training services on behalf of Antenna House.

Tony has been working with markup since 1991, with XML since 1996, and with XSLT/XSL-FO since 1998. He is Chair of the Print and Page Layout Community Group at the W3C and previously an invited expert on the W3C XML Print and Page Layout Working Group (XPPL) defining the XSL-FO specification, as well as an acknowledged expert in XSLT. Tony is the developer of the “stf” Schematron testing framework and also Antenna House’s “focheck” XSL-FO validation tool, a committer to both the XSpec and Juxy XSLT testing frameworks, the author of Unicode: A Primer, and a qualified trainer.

Tony’s career in XML and SGML spans Japan, USA, UK, and Ireland. Before joining Antenna House, he had previously been an independent consultant, a Staff Engineer with Sun Microsystems, a Senior Consultant with Mulberry Technologies, and a Document Analyst with Uniscope. He has worked with data in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and with academic, automotive, publishing, software, and telecommunications applications. He has also spoken about XML, XSLT, XSL-FO, EPUB, and related technologies to clients and conferences in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

Michael R. Gryk
Michael R. Gryk is Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at UCONN Health.

Ronald Haentjens Dekker
Ronald Haentjens Dekker is a software architect and lead engineer of the Computational Modelling for Textual Sources (ComTES) at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. As a software architect, he is responsible for translating research questions into technology or algorithms and explaining to researchers and management how specific technologies will influence their research. He has worked on transcription and annotation software, collation software, and repository software; and he is the lead developer of the CollateX collation tool. He also conducts workshops to teach researchers how to use scripting languages in combination with digital editions to enhance their research.

Mary Holstege
Mary Holstege spent decades developing software in Silicon Valley, in and around markup technologies and information extraction. She has most recently been pursuing artistic endeavours. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Computer Science, for a thesis on document representation.

Gerrit Imsieke
Gerrit Imsieke is managing director at le-tex publishing services, a mid-size preprint services, data conversion, and content management software company in Leipzig, Germany. A physicist by training, he entered the field of scientific publishing during his graduate studies. He is responsible for XML technologies at le-tex. He is a member of the NISO STS Standing Committee and of the XProc 3.0 working group.

Janelle Jenstad
Janelle Jenstad is Director of The Map of Early Modern London (MoEML), PI of Linked Early Modern Drama Online (LEMDO), Co-Coordinating Editor of Digital Renaissance Editions (with Brett Greatley-Hirsch, James Mardock, and Sarah Neville), and (with Mark Kaethler) Co-Coordinating Editor of the MoEML Mayoral Shows Anthology (MoMS). With Jennifer Roberts-Smith and Mark Kaethler, she co-edited Shakespeare’s Language in Digital Media (Routledge). She has edited John Stow’s A Survey of London (1598 text) for MoEML and is currently editing The Merchant of Venice with Stephen Wittek and Heywood’s 2 If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody for DRE. Recent articles have appeared in Digital Humanities Quarterly, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Renaissance and Reformation. Recent chapters appear in Teaching Early Modern Literature from the Archives (MLA); New Directions in the Geohumanities (Routledge); Early Modern Studies and the Digital Turn (Iter); Placing Names: Enriching and Integrating Gazetteers (Indiana); Early Modern Studies and the Digital Turn (Iter); Making Things and Drawing Boundaries (Minnesota); Rethinking Shakespeare Source Study: Audiences, Authors, and Digital Technologies (Routledge); and Civic Performance: Pageantry and Entertainments in Early Modern London (Routledge).

Joel Kalvesmaki
Founder and director of the Text Alignment Network (TAN), Joel Kalvesmaki is an XML developer for the Government Publishing Office and a scholar in early Christian studies. Those two worlds intersect in TAN and the Guide to Evagrius Ponticus, an authoritative online reference work on the fourth-century monk-theologian.

Fotini Koidaki
Fotini Koidaki is a PhD candidate at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki where she studies a 19th century literary corpus of prose fiction using NLP methods in order to examine the literary consistency of it, as well as the narrative patterns and the themes. She is an encoding researcher in the research and entrepreneurial project ECARLE – Exploitation of Cultural Assets with computer-assisted Recognition, Labeling and meta-data Enrichment on behalf of the Laboratory of Philology and New Technologies. At the same time she is working on research the project “Semantic analysis of 19th-century modern Greek fiction with text mining techniques”. Since 2015 she coordinates a DigiNes research group focused on Digital Literary Studies, Digital Scholarly Publishing and Literary Text Mining. She also holds a BA on Modern Greek Literature and a MA on General and Comparative Literature.

Robin La Fontaine
Robin La Fontaine is the founder and CEO of DeltaXML. His background includes computer aided design software, and he has been addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with information change for many years. DeltaXML tools are now providing critical comparison and merge support for corporate and commercial publishing systems around the world, and are integrated into content management, financial, and network management applications supplied by major players. Robin studied Engineering Science at Worcester College, Oxford, and Computer Science at the University of Hertford. He is a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He has three adult children, three and a half grandchildren, and never finds quite enough time for walking, gardening and working with wood.

Deborah A. Lapeyre
Deborah Aleyne Lapeyre is a Senior Consultant for Mulberry Technologies, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in helping their clients toward better publishing through XML, XSLT, and Schematron solutions. She works with Tommie Usdin as architects and Secretariat for JATS (ANSI NISO Z39.96-2019 Journal Article Tag Suite) and BITS (Book Interchange Tag Suite). She teaches hands-on XML, XSLT, DTD and schema construction, and Schematron courses as well as numerous technical and business-level introductions to XML and JATS. Debbie has been working with XML and XSLT since their inception and with SGML since 1984 (before SGML was finalized as an ISO standard). In a previous life, she wrote code for systems that put ink on paper and used, taught, and documented a proprietary generic markup system named “SAMANTHA”. Hobbies, besides Balisage, include pumpkin carving parties.

Tim Larson
In Timothy Roland “Tim” Larson’s four decades of professional experience, he has written in many formats from page to screen, for all ages from early reader to adult, and in most media, including interactive media and markup languages. He is a developer, producer, entrepreneur, and occasional yacht crewman. Tim helped found Grant Larson Productions, a film production company, and he is the chief architect of Larson Texts, an educational publishing company. Many of his projects have won awards and achieved market success. Tim is married to Mary Grant Larson, and together they have 2 children, 2 grandchildren, 2 dogs, and a multi-generation family farm in Pennsylvania, where they still make hay in the summer and cider in the fall.

Martin Latterner
Martin Latterner is a Technical Information Specialist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine. He has been involved in XML conversion for NCBI literature databases since 2008. Prior to coming to NCBI, he worked with Alexander Street Press, and electronic publisher in the humanities.

Evan Lenz
Evan Lenz lives in Indianola, Washington, a small wooded beach town on the Port Madison Indian Reservation. In his consulting work, he has lately been helping mechanics fix cars and C++ developers grok APIs, all while knowing very little about either (cars or C++). Such is the life of an XML developer! In his spare time, he writes and sings songs that keep his spirit happy and his mind in check.

Pietro Maria Liuzzo
Pietro Maria Liuzzo deals with written artefacts and their digital representations, their encoding, visualization and reusability, with methods for easy and fruitful collaboration in cataloguing inscriptions and manuscripts, in editing ancient texts and scholarly resources. He has been involved with digital epigraphic projects for a long time.

Joshua Lubell
Joshua Lubell is a computer scientist whose work focuses on manufacturing systems cybersecurity. His XForms-based Baseline Tailor software tool for security control selection won a Government Computer News ‘Dig IT’ award. Prior to his work in cybersecurity, he contributed to the development of ISO 10303, a standard for representation and exchange of computer-aided designs and other product model data, for which he received the United States Department of Commerce Silver Medal. He is also a Balisage hyper-local, residing in the heart of Rockville, Maryland.

Bonnie Mak
Bonnie Mak is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois and holds courtesy appointments in History and Medieval Studies. She studies the history of information practices from antiquity to the 21st century. Mak’s first book, How the Page Matters (2011), investigates the enduring role of the page in the transmission and production of knowledge. More recently, she has experimented with different ways of publishing of her scholarship, including in the form of wooden cabinets, macramé bracelets, boxes, and file cards. This is her first appearance at Balisage.

James David Mason
James David Mason, originally trained as a mediaevalist and linguist, became a writer, systems developer, and manufacturing engineer at U.S. Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge since the late 1970s. In 1981, he joined the ISO’s work on standards for document management and interchange. He chaired ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34, which is responsible for SGML, DSSSL, Topic Maps, and related standards, for more than 20 years. Dr. Mason has been a frequent writer and speaker on standards and their applications. For his work on SGML, Dr. Mason has received the Gutenberg Award from Printing Industries of America and the Tekkie Award from GCA. He recently retired from working on information systems to support manufacturing and documentation at DOE’s Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Ari Nordström
Ari Nordström is an independent markup geek based in Göteborg, Sweden. He has provided angled brackets to many organisations and companies across a number of borders over the years, some of which deliver the rule of law, help dairy farmers make a living, and assist in servicing commercial aircraft. And others are just for fun.

Ari is the proud owner and head projectionist of Western Sweden’s last functioning 35/70mm cinema, situated in his garage, which should explain why he once wrote a paper on automating commercial cinemas using XML.

Steven Pemberton
Steven Pemberton is a researcher affiliated with CWI, Amsterdam. His research is in interaction, and how the underlying software architecture can support users.

He co-designed the ABC programming language that formed the basis for Python and was one of the first handful of people on the open internet in Europe, when the CWI set it up in 1988. Involved with the Web from the beginning, he organised two workshops at the first Web Conference in 1994. For the best part of a decade he chaired the W3C HTML working group, and has co-authored many web standards, including HTML, XHTML, CSS, XForms, and RDFa. He now chairs the W3C XForms and Invisible Markup groups. More details at

Kelly Peters
Kelly Peters is a Technical Information Specialist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine. She joined NCBI as a journal manager for PubMed Central in 2012. She then moved to working in XML conversion for NCBI literature databases in 2014. Prior to coming to NCBI, she worked at CVPath Institute, Inc., as the head archivist.

Wendell Piez
Wendell Piez has been a markup advocate, systems developer, and Balisage presenter since early days.

Liam Quin
Liam Quin runs an information design and XML consulting company, Delightful Computing, and previously was XML Activity Lead at the World Wide Web Consortium; before that he was involved in the creation of XML itself and in SGML, most notably at SoftQuad Inc. in Toronto. His backgrounds are in digital typography and computer science.

Nina Linn Reinhardt
Nina Reinhardt holds a B.A. in production editing from Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK). This paper is a byproduct of her master’s thesis in the field of Media Management, also at HTWK Leipzig.

Allen H. Renear
Allen Renear is a faculty member in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He served as dean of the School from 2012 to 2019 and is currently in the Office of the Provost as a Special Advisor for Strategic Initiatives. Prior to coming to Illinois he was Director of the Scholarly Technology Group at Brown University. Renear was an “Observer” at X3V1.TG8 during the finalization of ISO8879 and has never recovered. He has served on several early TEI committees, was the American Philosophical Association’s delegate on the first TEI Advisory Board, was involved in various roles in the Brown University (now Northeastern University) Womens Writers Project, and was the first Chair of the Open eBook Publication Structure Working Group (OEBPS, now ePUB/IDPF). He has been coming to Balisage (and its predecessors) for longer than he can remember. His academic specialties are data curation, scientific communication, and the conceptual foundations of information systems.

Jonathan Robie
In the XML world, Jonathan Robie is best known as one of the inventors of XQuery and an editor of W3C XQuery specifications from the the first Working Drafts through XQuery 3.1. In the Bible translation community, Jonathan works with Clear Bible on linguistic datasets related to biblical Greek and Hebrew. Previously, he worked for SIL International as Program Manager for the Paratext ecosystem, used by over 9,000 Bible translators in over 300 translation organizations worldwide. He is also co-chair of the Copenhagen Alliance for Open Biblical Resources and chair for Distributed Text Services, an API for TEI document repositories.

In a long and varied career, Jonathan has served as Chair of the API Governance Board at EMC’s Enterprise Content Division, a member of the AMQP enterprise messaging team at Red Hat, and the architect of XML database systems at Software AG, Progress Software, Texcel Incorporated, and POET Software.

C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
C. M. Sperberg-McQueen is the founder and principal of Black Mesa Technologies, a consultancy specializing in helping memory institutions improve the long term preservation of and access to the information for which they are responsible.

He served as editor in chief of the TEI Guidelines from 1988 to 2000, and has also served as co-editor of the World Wide Web Consortium’s XML 1.0 and XML Schema 1.1 specifications.

Simon St.Laurent
A troublemaker, Simon St.Laurent has been working with XML since the early drafts of the specification. His first book on XML, XML: A Primer, went through three editions, each time teaching a new group of developers a variety of bad ideas. The example using XML to manage lighting supposedly inspired several protocols for excessively complicated control systems. His book Cookies may be partially responsible for the erosion of privacy. His other books have done less damage because they haven’t sold as well, but he fears that Introducing Erlang and Introducing Elixir may prove to be contributing factors in the development of Skynet.

His more positive contributions include a partially-completed book on hand tool woodworking, various writings on Quakerism, and two adorable children. He has lately become obsessed with hospitality and craft, leading to binges of repentance for past (and current) work. He still works on Web-related publishing projects, now in video, at LinkedIn Learning.

Charlie Taylor
Charlie Taylor is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh studying History of Art & Architecture and Classics. She was enrolled in Dr. Birnbaum’s “Computational methods in the humanities” class in Spring 2020, and currently serves as a teaching assistant for the course. She will graduate in Spring 2023 and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Medieval Studies.

Katerina Tiktopoulou
Katerina Tiktopoulou holds a BA (1986) and a PhD (2003) on Modern Greek Literature from the School of Philology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and a BA (2010) on Italian Literature from the School of Philology, University “La Sapienza” of Rome. She worked (1997-2007) as a researcher in the Centre for the Greek Language (Department of Language and Literature). Since 2016 she has been an Associate Professor of Modern Greek Philology in the School of Philology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Since 2018 she has been responsible for the MA program in Modern Greek Studies and since 2019 the Head of the Laboratory of Philology and New Technologies in the same School. Her research interest in Modern Greek Philology includes the study of vernacular literature of the 16th century, romanticism, autobiography, editorial intervention, text editing and on-line publishing, and digital humanities. Her research projects focus on the digital edition of Greece’s national poet Dionysios Solomos’ (1798–1857) manuscripts and on the study 19th century literature, combining traditional and new technologies. Currently, she is the supervisor of two financed research projects in digital humanities.

B. Tommie Usdin
B. Tommie Usdin is President of Mulberry Technologies, Inc., a consultancy specializing in XML for textual documents. Ms. Usdin has been working with SGML since 1985 and has been a supporter of XML since 1996. She chairs the Balisage conference. Ms. Usdin has developed DTDs, Schemas, and XML/SGML application frameworks for applications in government and industry. Projects include reference materials in medicine, science, engineering, and law; semiconductor documentation; historical and archival materials. Distribution formats have included print books, magazines, and journals, and both web- and media-based electronic publications. She is co-chair of the NISO Z39-96, JATS: Journal Article Tag Suite Working Group and a member of the BITS Working Group and the NISO STS Standing Committee. You can read more about her at

Norman Walsh
Norm Walsh is a Senior Software Developer at Saxonica. He has also been an active participant in international standards efforts at both the W3C and OASIS. At the W3C, Norm was chair of the XML Processing Model Working Group, co-chair of the XML Core Working Group, and an editor in the XQuery and XSLT Working Groups. He served for several years as an elected member of the Technical Architecture Group. At OASIS, he was chair of the DocBook Technical Committee for many years and is the author of DocBook: The Definitive Guide. Norm has spent more than twenty years developing commercial and open source software.