EpiDoc: News and Views


Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

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January 12, 2015


EpiDoc Workshop, London, April 20-24, 2015

We invite applications for a 5-day training workshop on digital editing of epigraphic and papyrological texts, to be held in the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, April 20-24, 2015. The workshop will be taught by Gabriel Bodard (KCL), Simona Stoyanova (Leipzig) and Charlotte Tupman (KCL). There will be no charge for the workshop, but participants should arrange their own travel and accommodation.

EpiDoc (epidoc.sf.net) is a community of practice and guidance for using TEI XML for the encoding of inscriptions, papyri and other ancient texts. It has been used to publish digital projects including Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, Vindolanda Tablets Online, Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri and Digital Corpus of Literary Papyri, and is also being used by Perseus Digital Library and EAGLE Europeana Project. The workshop will introduce participants to the basics of XML markup and give hands-on experience of tagging textual features and object descriptions in TEI, identifying and linking to external person and place authorities, and use of the tags-free Papyrological Editor (papyri.info/editor).

No technical skills are required, but a working knowledge of Greek or Latin, epigraphy or papyrology, and the Leiden Conventions will be assumed. The workshop is open to participants of all levels, from graduate students to professors and professionals.

To apply for a place on this workshop please email simona.stoyanova@informatik.uni-leipzig.de with a brief description of your reason for interest and summarising your relevant background and experience, by Friday February 27th, 2015.

October 30, 2014

Current Epigraphy

EAGLE 2014 International Conference: The IGCyr | GVCyr corpora

The IGCyr | GVCyr demonstration site is now available.

The Inscriptions of Greek Cyrenaica (IGCyr) and the Greek Verse inscriptions of Cyrenaica (GVCyr) are two corpora, the first collecting all the inscriptions of Greek (VII-I centuries B.C.) Cyrenaica, the second gathering the Greek metrical texts of all periods. These new critical editions of inscriptions from Cyrenaica are part of the international project Inscriptions of Libya (InsLib), incorporating Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania (IRT, already online), the Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica project (IRCyr, in preparation), and the ostraka from Bu Ngem (already available on the website Papyri.info).

A comprehensive corpus of the inscriptions of Greek Cyrenaica is a longstanding desideratum among the scholars of the ancient world. Greek inscriptions from Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Cyrenaica are currently scattered among many different, sometimes outdated publications, while new texts have been recently discovered and edited. For the first time all the inscriptions known to us in 2014, coming from this area of the ancient Mediterranean world, will be assembled in a single online and open access publication. An essential addition to the IGCyr and GVCyr corpora, as well as a natural outcome of the study of the inscriptions, is the planned publication of the Prosopographia Cyrenaica.

Catherine Dobias-Lalou is the main epigraphy researcher working on these comprehensive epigraphic corpora in EpiDoc in cooperation with scholars from the University of Bologna, the University of Macerata, the University of Roma Tor Vergata, the University of Paris-Sorbonne and King’s College London. Although the edition of the inscriptions is still in progress, the team working on the project wish to share with others the structure of the publications and the research approach. For this reason three of the texts which will be published and a selected bibliography are included in the demonstration site. The website, hosted by the University of Bologna, has been developed and is maintained by the CRR-MM, Centro Risorse per la Ricerca Multimediale, University of Bologna.

October 09, 2014

Current Epigraphy

EAGLE 2014 International Conference: The inscription between text and object

What is an inscription? There are different ways to consider what an inscription is:

  • Signifiers on a physical support [linguistic perspective]
  • An artifact bearing text [archeological perspective]
  • A text carved or painted on a durable material to be posted [historical-literary perspective]

In the past, scholars opted for just one of these viewpoints and most of them approached inscriptions as texts. But now the new positive trend is to mix disciplines and see the inscription between text and object as a semantic system to describe, read and interpret by means of at least a threefold approach: archaeological, textual and historical.

The task we now have is to restructure the epigraphic edition, not just by switching from the paper to the web, but by relying on a model that combines the textual as well as the material dimensions of an artifact bearing text, and that helps to determine:

  • The arrangement of an inscription on the support;
  • The textual cuts made by epigraphers on the base of different criteria.

In this endeavor, we have to keep in mind a trivial but essential notion: editing an inscription is, from start to finish, an interpretation and a matter of personal choice.

In a digital representation, a distinct markup is utilised to encode the physical and textual dimensions. In order to combine them, we submit a definition of some epigraphic notions, which supports the theoretical model of an encoding schema compliant with the EpiDoc guidelines. This model is designed as a part of the IGLouvre project lead by Michèle Brunet (Professor of Greek Epigraphy, University Lumière-Lyon 2), which aims to publish a digital edition of the Louvre collection of Greek Inscriptions.

The project’s guidelines specify some recommendations for the representation of 3 base structures. In the <teiHeader> of the EpiDoc files, a text is represented with a <msItem> element while a physicals part will be described in a <msPart> element. The surface, which bears the inscribed words, is analysed as a physical feature, that is to say a non-detachable part. It must be explicitly represented using a texpart subdivision of the <div> containing the transcription (e.g. div[@type=’textpart’][subtype=’face’]). Texts, objects, physical features and transcriptions are related with a combination of correspondence attributes (@corresp) and milestones (<milestone unit=’block’/>) for the representation of physical and textual boundaries.

Our encoding strategy permits us to meet the following requirements:

  • The material and abstract dimensions of the items in the Louvre collection are taken into account in an EpiDoc markup, exploiting its capacity to provide fine grained identifiers and linking mechanisms that are required to build on an interface showing inscriptions not just as decontextualized texts;
  • The scientific editors keep full control on the editorial choices they made beyond the structure of the printed or digital publication;
  • The deconstruction of the notion of ‘inscription’ will also provide help for designing and implementing several extractions and data exports that will have to be developed in the near future to ensure the interoperability of the digital collection and its re-use for other projects.

You will find more information about this work in our paper:

Emmanuelle Morlock, Eleonora Santin, The inscription between text and object, in Silvia Orlandi, Raffaella Santucci, Vittore Casarosa, Pietro Maria Liuzzo eds., Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage Proceedings of the First EAGLE International Conference, Rome (forthcoming).


October 07, 2014

Current Epigraphy

Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian

Posted on behalf of Annamaria De Santis, Irene Rossi, Daniele Marotta

DASI-Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian inscriptions is an ERC project of the University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, directed by Prof. Alessandra Avanzini, aimed at digitizing the pre-Islamic inscriptions from Arabia.

The hybrid system, combining both the database and the XML approaches for archiving and displaying data, describes the inscribed artifacts taking into account their dual nature. Each item digitized in DASI is represented by a physical object linked to one or more epigraphs. Metadata of the “Epigraph” provide information on linguistic features, writing, chronology and type of text; in addition to the notes of apparatus, there are general and cultural notes. Texts are encoded in XML according to the EpiDoc standard and structural, grammatical, transcription phenomena and onomastics, as well as editorial interventions, are marked.

Information about the object is not embedded in the “Epigraph”, but has its own autonomy. The entity “Object” includes attributes regarding: type of support, materials and dimensions, provenance and archaeological context, and the detailed description of its decorative elements. Several contextual entities record translations, geographical information, bibliography and iconographic documentation. For instance “Site” supplies not only the information needed to contextualize artefacts, such as provenance or place of production, but also ancient and modern toponyms, geographical coordinates, country, region, ancient kingdoms, archaeological information about the sites, such as monuments, history of studies, archaeological missions and so on.

The archive that presently counts nearly 6500 inscriptions, allows to browse through filters on metadata. Moreover it is provided with sophisticated tools for studying languages of the ancient Arabia, such as the list of words and the textual search that allows to perform queries also on textual variants. Lexica of the south Arabian languages will be shortly available.

October 06, 2014

Horothesia (Tom Elliott)

Eighteen Years of EpiDoc. Now what?

Transcript of my keynote address, delivered to the EAGLE 2014 International Conference on Monday, September 29, 2014, at the École normale supérieure in Paris:

Thank you.

Allow me to begin by thanking the organizers of this conference. The conference chairs: Silvia Orlandi, Francois Berard, and John Scheid. Members of the Steering Committee: Vittore Casarosa, Pietro Liuzzo, and Raffaella Santucci. The local organizing committee: Elizabeth Le Bunetel and Philippe Martineau. Members of the EAGLE 2014 General Committee -- you are too numerous to mention, but no less appreciated. To the sponsors of EAGLE Europeana: the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme of the European Commission. Europeana. Wikimedia Italia. To the presenters and poster-authors and their collaborators. To those who have made time out of busy schedules to prepare for, support, or attend this event. Colleagues and friends. Thank you for the invitation to speak and to be part of this important conference.

OK. Please get out your laptops and start up the Oxygen XML Editor. If you actually read the syllabus for the course, you'd have already downloaded the latest copy of the EpiDoc schema...

Just kidding.

I have perhaps misled you with my title. This talk will not just be about EpiDoc. Instead, I'd like to use EpiDoc as an entrance point into some thoughts I've had about what we are doing here. About where we are going. I'd like to take EpiDoc as an example -- and the EAGLE 2014 Conference as a metaphor -- for something much larger: the whole disparate, polyvalent, heterarchical thing that we sometimes call "Épigraphie et électronique". Digital epigraphy. Res epigraphica digitalis.

Before we try to unpack how we got here and where we're going, I'd like to ask for your help in trying to illuminate who we are. I'd like you to join me in a little exercise in public self-identification. Not only is this an excellent way to help fill the generous block of time that the conference organizers have given me for this talk, it's also much less awkward than trooping out to the Place de la Sorbonne and doing trust falls on the edge of the fountain. ... Right?

Seriously. This conference brings together a range of people and projects that really have had no specific venue to meet, and so we are in some important ways unknown to each other. It's my hypothesis that, if we learn a bit about each other up front, we prime the pump of collaboration and exchange for the rest of the conference. After all, why do we travel to conferences at all if it is not for the richness of interacting with each other, both during sessions and outside them. OK, and as Charlotte Roueché is ever vigilant to remind us, for the museums.

OK then, are you ready?

Independent of any formal position or any academic or professional credential, raise your hand if you would answer "yes" to this question: "Are you an epigraphist?"

What about "are you an information scientist?"


Oh, yes, you can be more than one of these -- you'll recall I rolled out the word "heterarchy" in my introduction!

How about "Wikipedian?" "Cultural Heritage Professional?" "Programmer?" "Philologist?" "Computer Scientist?" "Archivist?" "Museologist?" "Linguist?" "Archaeologist?" "Librarian?" "Physicist?" "Engineer?" "Journalist?" "Clergy?"

Phooey! No clergy!

Let's get at another distinction. How many of you would identify yourselves as teachers?

What about students?

Researchers? Administrators? Technicians? Interested lay persons?

OK, now that we have your arms warmed up, let's move on to voices.

If you can read, speak, or understand a reasonable amount of the English language, please join me in saying "I understand English."

Ready? "I understand English."

OK. Now, if we can read, speak, or understand a reasonable amount of French, shall we say "Je comprends le français?"

"Je comprends le français."

What about Arabic?

Bulgarian? Catalan? Flemish? German? Of course there are many more represented here, but I think you get my point.

OK. Now let's build this rhetorical construct one step higher.

This one involves standing up if that's physically appropriate for you, so get yourselves ready! If cannot stand, by all means choose some other, more appropriate form of participation.
Independent of any formal position or any academic credential, I want you to stand up if you consider yourself a "scholar".

Now, please stay standing -- or join those standing -- if you consider yourself a "student".

Yes, I did it. I reintroduced the word "student" from another category of our exercise. I am not only a champion of heterarchy, but also of recursive redefinition.

And now, please stay standing -- or join those standing -- if you consider yourself an "enthusiast."

If you're not standing, please stand if you can.

Now, pick out some one near you that you have not met. Shake their hand and introduce yourself. Ask them what they are so enthusiastic about that they were compelled to come to this conference!

Alright. Please resume your seats.

I think we're warmed up.

Let me encourage you to adopt a particular mindset while you are here at this conference. I hope that you will find it to be both amenable and familiar. It's the active recognition of the valuable traits we all share: intelligence, inquisitiveness, inventiveness, incisiveness, interdependence. Skill. Stamina. Uniqueness. Respect for the past. Congeniality.

I am here, in part, because I have a deep, inescapable interest in the study of ancient documents and in the application of computational methods and new media to their resurrection, preservation, and contemplation, and to their reintegration into the active cultural memory of the human people.
I have looked over the programme for this conference, and I have the distinct impression that your reasons for being here are somewhat similar to mine. I am delighted to have this opportunity to visit with old friends and fellow laborers. And to make the acquaintance of so many new ones. I expect to be dazzled by the posters and presentations to come. Are you as excited as I am?

My title did promise some EpiDoc.

How many of you know EpiDoc?

How many of you know what EpiDoc is?

How many of you have heard of EpiDoc?

The word "EpiDoc" is a portmanteau, composed of the abbreviated word "epigraphy" and the abbreviated word "document" or "documentation" (I can't remember which). It has become a misnomer, as EpiDoc is used for much more than epigraphic documents and documentation. It has found a home in papyrology and in the study of texts transmitted to us from antiquity via the literary and book-copying cultures of the intervening ages. It has at least informed, if not been directly used, in other allied subfields like numismatics and sigillography. It's quite possible I'll learn this week of even broader usages.

EpiDoc is a digital format and method for the encoding of both transcribed and descriptive information about ancient texts and the objects that supported and transmitted them. Formally, it is a wholly conformant customization of the Text Encoding Initiative's standard for the representation of texts in digital form. It is serialized in XML -- the Extensible Markup Language -- a specification developed and maintained by the World-Wide Web Consortium.

EpiDoc is more than format and method. It is a community of practice. The term embraces all the people who learn, use, critique, and talk about EpiDoc. It also takes in the Guidelines, tools, and other helps that have been created and curated by those people. All of them are volunteers, scraping together the time to work on EpiDoc out of their personal time, their academic time, and out of the occasional grant. There has never been formal funding devoted to the development or maintenance of the EpiDoc guidelines or software. If you are a participant in the EpiDoc community, you are a hero.

EpiDoc was born in the late 1990s in a weird little room in the northwest corner of the third floor of Murphey Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The room is no longer there. It was consumed in a much-needed and long-promised renovation in 2003 or so. It was the old Classics Department computer lab: a narrow space with a sturdy, home-made, built-in counter along two walls and a derelict bookshelf. It was part of a suite of three rooms, the most spacious of which was normally granted as an office to that year's graduate fellow.

The room had been appropriated by Classics graduate students Noel Fiser and Hugh Cayless, together with classical archaeology graduate student Kathryn McDonnell, and myself (an interloper from the History Department). The Classics department -- motivated and led by these graduate students with I-forget-which-faculty-member serving as figurehead -- had secured internal university funding to digitize the department's collection of 35 millimeter slides and build a website for searching and displaying the resulting images. They bought a server with part of the grant. It soon earned the name Alecto after one of the Furies in Greek mythology. I've searched in vain for a picture of the lab, which at some point we sponge-painted in bright colors evocative of the frescoes from Minoan Santorini. The world-wide web was less than a decade old.

I was unconscious then of the history of computing and the classics at Chapel Hill. To this day, I don't know if that suite of rooms had anything to do with David Packard and his time at Chapel Hill. At the Epigraphic Congress in Oxford, John Bodel pointed to Packard's Livy concordance as one of the seminal moments in the history of computing and the classics, and thus the history of digital epigraphy. I'd like to think that we intersected that heritage not just in method, but in geography.

I had entered the graduate program in ancient history in the fall of 1995. I had what I would later come to understand to have been a spectacular slate of courses for my first term: Richard Talbert on the Roman Republic, Jerzy Linderski on Roman Law, and George Houston on Latin Epigraphy.
Epigraphy was new to me. I had seen and even tried my hand at reading the odd Latin or Greek inscription, but I had no knowledge of the history or methods of discipline, and very little skill. As George taught it, the Latin Epigraphy course was focused on the research use of the published apparatus of Latin epigraphy. The CIL. The journals. The regional and local corpora. What you could do with them.

If I remember correctly, the Epigraphic Database Heidelberg was not yet online, nor were the Packard Greek inscriptions (though you could search them on CDROM). Yes, the same Packard. Incidentally, I think we'll hear something very exciting about the Packard Greek Inscriptions in tomorrow's Linked Ancient World Data panel.

Anyway, at some point I came across the early version of what is now called the Epigraphische Datenbank Clauss - Slaby, which was online. Back then it was a simple search engine for digital transcripts of the texts in the L'Annee Epigraphique up from 1888 through 1993. Crucially, one could also download all the content in plain text files. If I understand it correctly, these texts were also destined for publication via the Heidelberg database (and eventually Rome too) after verification by autopsy or inspection of photographs or squeezes.

At some point, I got interested in abbreviations. My paper for George's class was focused on "the epigraphy of water" in Roman North Africa. I kept running across abbreviations in the inscriptions that didn't appear in any of the otherwise helpful lists one finds in Cagnat or one of the other handbooks.  In retrospect, the reasons are obvious: the handbook author tailors the list of abbreviations to the texts and types of texts featured in the handbook itself. Selected for importance and range, the statistical distribution of textual types and language, and of features like abbreviation, are not the same as those for the entire corpus. So, what is a former programmer to do? Why not download the texts from Clauss' site and write a program to hunt for parentheses. The Leiden Conventions make parentheses a strong indicator of abbreviations that have been expanded by an editor, so the logic for the program seemed relatively straightforward.

Mercifully, the hacktastical code that I wrote to do this task has, I think, perished from the face of the earth. The results, which I serialized into HTML form, may still be consulted on the website of the American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy.

As useful as the results were, I was dissatisfied with the experience. The programming language I had used -- called "C" -- was not a very good fit for the kind of text processing involved. Moreover, as good as the Leiden Conventions are, parentheses are used for things other than abbreviations. So, there was manual post-processing to be done. And then there were the edge cases, like abbreviations that stand alone in one document, but are incorporated into longer abbreviations in others. And then there were expanded use cases: searching for text in one inscription that was abbreviated in another. Searching for abbreviations or other strings in text that was transcribed from the original, rather than in editorial supplement or restoration. And I wanted a format and software tools that was a better fit for textual data and this class of problems.

XML and the associated Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) -- both then fairly new -- seemed like a good alternative approach. So I found myself confronted with a choice: should I take XML and invent my own schema for epigraphic texts, or should I adopt and adapt something someone else had already created? This consideration -- to make or to take -- is still of critical importance not only for XML, but for any format specification or standards definition process. It's important too for most digital projects. What will you build and on what will you build it?

There are pros and cons. By adopting an existing standard or tool, you can realize a number of benefits. You don't reinvent the wheel. You build on the strengths and the lessons of others. You can discuss problems and approaches with others who are using the same method. You probably make it easier to share and exchange your tools and any data you create. It's possible that many of the logic problems that aren't obvious to you at the beginning have already been encountered by the pioneers.
But standards and specifications can also be walled gardens in which decisions and expert knowledge are hoarded by the founders or another elite group. They can undermine openness and innovation. They can present a significant learning curve. You can use a complex standard and find that you've built a submarine to cross the Seine. Something simpler might have worked better.

Back then, there was a strong narrative around warning people off the cavalier creation of new XML schemas. The injunction was articulated in a harsh metaphor: "every time someone creates a new schema, a kitten dies." Behind this ugly metaphor was the recognition of another potential pitfall: building an empty cathedral. Your data format -- your personal or parochial specification -- might embody everything you imagined or needed, but be largely useless to, or unused by, anyone else.
So, being a cat lover, and being lazy (all the best programmers are lazy), I went looking for an existing schema. I found it in the Text Encoding Initiative. Whether the TEI (and EpiDoc) fit your particular use case is something only you can decide. For me, at that time and since, it was a good fit. I was particularly attracted to a core concept of the TEI: one should encode the intent behind the formatting and structure in a document -- the semantics of the authorial and editorial tasks -- rather than just the specifics of the formatting. So, where the Leiden Conventions would have us use parentheses to mark the editorial expansion of an abbreviation, the TEI gives us XML elements that mean "abbreviation" and "expansion." Where a modern Latin epigraphic edition would use a subscript dot to indicate that the identity of a character is ambiguous without reference to context, the TEI gives us the "unclear" element.

This encoding approach pays off. I'll give just one example. For a few years now, I've been helping Arlo Griffiths (who directs the Jakarta research center of the École française d'Extrême-Orient) to develop a corpus of the surviving inscriptions of the Campa Kingdoms. This is a small corpus, perhaps 400 extant inscriptions, from coastal Vietnam, that includes texts in both Sanskrit and the incompletely understood Old Cam language. The script involved has not yet made its way into the Unicode specification. The standard transliteration scheme for this script, as well as some of the other editorial conventions used in the publication of Cam inscriptions, overlaps and conflicts with the Leiden conventions. But with TEI/EpiDoc there is no confusion or ambiguity. The XML says what the editor means to say, and the conventions of transcription are preserved unchanged, perhaps someday to be converted programmatically to Unicode when Unicode is ready.

EpiDoc transitioned from a personal project to a public one when another potential use case came along. For some time, a committee commissioned by the Association Internationale d'Épigraphie Grecque et Latine had been working under the direction of Silvio Panciera, then the chair of Latin epigraphy at La Sapienza in Rome. Their goal was to establish a comprehensive database of Greek and Latin inscriptions, primarily for the purpose of searching the texts and associated descriptive information or metadata. It was Charles Crowther at Oxford's new Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents who put me in contact with the committee. And it was Charles who championed the eventual recommendation of the committee that the system they envisioned must be able to import and export structured documents governed by a standard schema. He was thinking of EpiDoc.

Many years have passed and many things have changed, and I'm forced to leave out the names of so many people whose hard work and acumen has brought about those changes. Here in Paris today Panciera's vision stands on the cusp of realization. It has also been transcended, for we are not here to talk about a standalone textual database or a federation of such, but about the incorporation of Greek and Latin epigraphy -- in all its historiographical variety and multiplicity of reception -- into the digital cultural heritage system of Europe (Europeana) and into the independent digital repository of a global people: Wikipedia and Wikidata. That EpiDoc can play a role in this grand project just blows me away.

And it's not just about EAGLE, Europeana, Wikipedia, and EpiDoc. It's about a myriad other databases, websites, images, techniques, projects, technologies, and tools. It's about you and the work that you do.

Even as we congratulate ourselves on our achievements and the importance of our mission, I hope you'll let me encourage you to keep thinking forward. We are doing an increasingly good job of bringing computational approaches into many aspects of the scholarly communication process. But plenty remains to be done. We are starting to make the transition from using computer hardware and software to make conventional books and digital imitations thereof; "born digital" is starting to mean something more than narrative forms in PDF and HTML, designed to be read directly by each single human user and, through them, digested into whatever database, notebook, or other research support system that person uses. We are now publishing data that is increasingly designed for harvesting and analyzing by automated agents and that is increasingly less encumbered by outdated and obstructive intellectual property regimes. Over time, our colleagues will begin to spend less time seeking and ingesting data, and more time analyzing, interpreting, and communicating results. We are also lowering the barriers to appreciation and participation in global heritage by a growing and more connected and more vulnerable global people.

Will we succeed in this experiment? Will we succeed in helping to build a mature and responsible global culture in which heritage is treasured, difference is honored, and a deep common cause embraced and protected? Will we say three years from now that building that database or encoding those texts in EpiDoc was the right choice? In a century, will our work be accessible and relevant to our successors and descendants? In 5? In 10?

I do not know. But I am thrilled, honored, and immensely encouraged to see you here, walking this ancient road and blazing this ambitious and hopeful new trail. This is our opportunity to help reunite the world's people and an important piece of their heritage. We are a force against the recasting of history into political rhetoric. We stand against the convenient ignorance of our past failures and their causes. We are the antidote to the destruction of ancient statues of the Buddha, to the burning of undocumented manuscripts, to papyri for sale on eBay, to fields of holes in satellite images where once there was an unexcavated ancient site.

Let's do this thing.

September 26, 2014

Horothesia (Tom Elliott)

New in Electra and Maia: I.Sicily

I have just added the following blog to the Maia and Electra Atlantides feed aggregators:

title = I.Sicily
url = http://isicily.wordpress.com/
creators = Jonathan Prag
license = None
description = Building a digital corpus of Sicilian inscriptions
keywords = None
feed = http://isicily.wordpress.com/feed/

July 30, 2014


Job: XML db developer for EpiDoc project

Exciting job opportunity for someone with experience in XML databases and EpiDoc projects (part-time, fixed-term, at Oxford but remote working an option):

Part-time XML Research Database Developer
Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles, Oxford
Grade 7: £29,837 – £36,661 p.a. (pro rata)


The Faculty of Classics seeks to appoint a part-time XML Research Database Developer. This is fixed-term for 12 months. We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a strong interest in Digital Humanities and classical text-editing to build an XML Database backed website for publication, analysis, and editing of EpiDoc TEI P5 XML documents for the I.Sicily project (0.4 FTE) and for the Ptolemaic Egypt project (0.1 FTE).
*We are happy to consider applications from those who would wish to work remotely.*

The postholder will design and implement a native XML Database application for the online publication, analysis, and editing of EpiDoc XML based on open source components; create a testing mechanism for the technical infrastructure for resilient deployment (and redeployment from backup) of the website; develop and maintain the project’s technical infrastructure including XML Database installation and basic Linux server systems administration; and work closely with the IT Consultant and project PI in strategically designing and developing the infrastructure to ensure both reliable behaviour and potential for future expansion of the project.

The successful candidate will have relevant experience of higher education research (preferably in Classics); demonstrable experience of native XML database development; significant experience with multiple web development languages (e.g. XSLT, XQuery, PHP, JavaScript, jQuery, Python, etc.); and experience in maintaining software deployed on Linux servers.

Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. You will be required to upload a CV and supporting statement as part of your online application and supply details of two referees who must be asked to send their references directly to the email address below by the closing date.

Only applications received before 12.00 noon on 18 August 2014 can be considered.
Contact Person: Mrs Brooke Martin-Garbutt
Vacancy ID: 114327
Contact Phone: 01865 288372
Closing Date: 18-Aug-2014
Contact Email: recruitment@classics.ox.ac.uk

Only applications received before 12.00 noon on 18 August 2014 can be considered.


July 16, 2014

Horothesia (Tom Elliott)

New in Electra: EpiDoc Workshop

I have just added the following blog to the Electra Atlantis feed aggregator:

title = EpiDoc workshop
url = http://epidocworkshop.blogspot.co.uk/
creators = Simona Stoyanova, et al.
description = Share markup examples; give and receive feedback
keywords = EpiDoc, epigraphy, inscriptions, XML, TEI
feed = http://epidocworkshop.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

May 16, 2014

Current Epigraphy

EpiDoc training, Lausanne, July 7

Introducing the EpiDoc Collaborative: TEI XML and tools for encoding classical source texts

Training workshop attached to the Digital Humanities annual conference in Lausanne, Switzerland
Monday, July 7, 2014

Gabriel Bodard, Charlotte Tupman (King’s College London) and Greta Franzini, Simona Stoyanova (University of Leipzig)

Information on the timing and venue of the DH 2014 workshops, and how to book can be found at the conference website.

The programme will begin with a short introduction the history and theoretical basis of EpiDoc, guidelines, schema and related tools for the encoding of epigraphic and other ancient text editions in TEI XML. We will give an overview of the structure of a traditional epigraphic edition, and show how TEI elements are mapped to the semantic distinctions and fields therein. We will continue with further discussion of the Leiden Conventions (rigorous and arbitrary sigla for encoding editorial features of transcribed text in use since 1931) and how we map TEI elements to the semantic features that they represent. The EpiDoc Guidelines and further examples will be shown. Some time will be given for practice throughout. As a self-checking mechanism, students will be shown how to transform their EpiDoc XML files into HTML resembling a conventional edition, using the EpiDoc Example XSLT.

The afternoon session will start with an introduction to the Papyrological Editor and the use of a tag-free interface. Participants will have the opportunity to enter a papyrological text into the database as an exercise. We will continue with a discussion on the principles of crosswalking; examples include EpiDoc to EDH and HGV to EpiDoc, as well as an example of EpiDoc’s applicability to non-epigraphic material with the ongoing conversion of the Perseus Digital Library. Finally, we will explore the ways in which EpiDoc data can be linked with other resources and shared using RDF, illustrate, using examples from resources such as Pelagios, SNAP:DRGN and the EAGLE Europeana project.

The audience for this workshop may include scholars at all levels, from students to professors, or professionals with an interest in epigraphic or classical texts and digital encoding. Participants who have a classical background but only relatively basic understanding of TEI and XML are welcome, as are scholars with more knowledge of TEI but a different disciplinary background, who might be interested in applying the experience EpiDoc to source texts of other languages and periods. We shall not expect to explain the principles of TEI or the use of an XML editor, but will make every effort to accommodate participants from a range of backgrounds and expertise. By the end of the tutorial, participants will be able to approach and analyse a text from an editorial and technical standpoint, have an understanding of the value of bringing together a richer and wider variety of texts, and take part in the EpiDoc community fora. Several students of past workshops over the years have actively become involved in supporting and even contributing to the teaching of EpiDoc tutorials.

April 10, 2014

Horothesia (Tom Elliott)

Batch XML validation at the command line

Against a RelaxNG schema. I had help figuring this out from Hugh and Ryan at DC3:

$ find {searchpath} -name "*.xml" -print | parallel --tag jing {relaxngpath}
The find command hunts down all files ending with ".xml" in the directory tree under searchpath. The parallel command takes that list of files and fires off (in parallel) a jing validation run for each of them. The --tag option passed to jing ensures we get the name of the file passed through with each error message. This turns out (in general terms as seen by me) to be much faster than running each jing call in sequence, e.g. with the --exec primary in find.

As I'm running on a Mac, I had to install GNU Parallel and the Jing RelaxNG Validator. That's what Homebrew is for:
$ brew install jing
$ brew install parallel
 What's the context, you ask? I have lots of reasons to want to be able to do this. The proximal cause was batch-validating all the EpiDoc XML files for the inscriptions that are included in the Corpus of Campā Inscriptions before regenerating the site for an update today. I wanted to see quickly if there were any encoding errors in the XML that might blow up the XSL transforms we use to generate the site. So, what I actually ran was:
$ curl -O http://www.stoa.org/epidoc/schema/latest/tei-epidoc.rng
$ find ./texts/xml -name '*.xml' -print | parallel --tag jing tei-epidoc.rng
 Thanks to everybody who built all these tools!


Ontologies for Prosopography: workshop at DH 2014, Lausanne (July 8)

Digital Humanities 2014: Workshop
Lausanne, Switzerland
8th July, 2014

To register, go to the Digital Humanities 2014 website.

Ontologies for Prosopography: Who’s Who? or, Who was Who?

Linked data has become an increasingly popular fixture in digital humanities research because it offers a way to break out of the data silos that are constantly being created, and provides a framework for new ways of approaching research questions. Tim Berners-Lee’s four principles of linked data, however, remind us that global identifiers for entities – URIs – provide only a part of what is needed if linked data is to fulfil its promise.  As much as possible, we also need common semantic frameworks to better tie the data together – what are called “ontologies”.

In a seminal paper way back in 1993 Thomas Gruber defined an ontology as an “explicit specification of a shared conceptualisation”. We will be focusing on possibilities for an ontology for prosopography because, for historical data at least, people, places and textual sources are likely to be the three pillars upon which a structure of linked data can be constructed, and these three things are likely to be the primary entry point for a collection of linked historical data. While methodologies for dealing with textual sources are being continually refined, the success of the Pelagios project has demonstrated how historical geographic information, in this case classical, can be used to bring together a wide variety of projects. This workshop will address the issues of bringing linked data to the description of historical persons with the morning session devoted to exploring the question of whether there are sufficient common concepts – a shared conceptualisation – to enable for the practical and useful development of an ontology for historical persons, and the afternoon addressing the challenges of linking these descriptions together to create a shared resource.

In the morning we will be following up on Gruber’s recognition that the best way to define an ontology is to look for shared conceptualisations  by examining the practices of a range of existing, or emerging, projects that attempt to capture information about historical persons using structured models that are compatible with semantic web thinking.  We will present a detailed introduction to a number of the significant models currently in use including the data model behind the University of Virginia’s People of the Founding Era, the factoid model used for a number of prosopographical projects from King’s College London, the SNAP:DRGN relationship model, the prosopographical components in the well-known CIDOC-CRM and FRBRoo, and will explore the developing standards for archive data, starting with University of Virginia’s Social Network and Archival Context (SNAC) model (and its prototype site), to the standards emerging from the International Council on Archives Experts Group on Archival Description. Additionally, workshop participants will be encouraged to share any models they have used for digital prosopography, and their views about the models we present. This session aims to give those attendees who are new to question of linked data and prosopography an introduction to the subject while offering the opportunity for those with existing data to discuss and compare the approaches with a view towards identifying best practice and whether a standard model for describing historical persons is possible.

The afternoon portion of the workshop will focus on the publication and linkage of prosopographical data. The Quantified Authenticated Co-Reference (QuAC) data model being developed by the Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopography (SNAP) project for the sharing and linking of names, persons and person-like entities in historical data. The SNAP model is being tested with existing digital resources, including Prosopographia Imperii Romani, the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, and Trismegistos People, and working with a wide range of other projects. One of the key aims of SNAP is to model the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity inherent in true prosopography, in contrast to the sometimes simplistic approaches of modern social media. The aim of this session is to allow more indepth, directed discussion and the opportunity for hands-on data hacking sessions through the use of breakout groups. Attendees will have the opportunity to work with technical facilitators to apply the SNAP model to their own or example data. For those who are more interested in the theoretical framework, facilitators will lead discussions building on the mornings activities and standards for modelling historical persons and on developing specifications for what services, outcomes and requirements researchers would want in order to share and reuse historical person data.

This workshop is sponsored by two projects with different foci and covering very different historical periods:

People of the Founding Era (PFE), a Mellon-funded project at the University of Virginia, aims to apply a prosopographical approach to collecting and publishing the biographical content found in the correspondence of prominent and not-so-prominent individuals in the time of the founding of the United States. An important challenge in the project is identifying slaves who are not well represented in the documentary records. PFE is working with linked data as a means to establish identity and suggest connections between numerous anonymous or partially named people or for those who are known only by their occupation or owner.

SNAP.DRGN (Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies: Data and Relations in Greco-Roman Names), a project which aims to address the problem of linking together large collections of material (datasets) containing information about persons, names and person-like entities managed in heterogeneous systems and formats from the Ancient World.

What unites them is what unites many digital projects; the need to deal with historical data about people, their names, their attributes, and their relationships – one of the most common types of data to expose and one for which is falling behind other areas in the move to the digital data publication and exchange. The collaboration between these two projects clearly demonstrates the importance of this subject to a wide range of digital humanities researchers and we believe that this workshop will encourage vital cross-disciplinary discussion about prosopography that emerges from different periods and cultures.


Dr Gabriel Bodard (gabriel.bodard@kcl.ac.uk)

Bodard is the Principal Investigator of the SNAP:DRGN project. His research interests are in digital study, encoding and publication of classical texts, especially ancient Greek inscriptions. In 2004 he founded the Digital Classicist, a community of expertise in the application of Digital Humanities to the study of the ancient world, and is an administrator of the Stoa. He was on the steering committee of the British Epigraphy Society from 2007-2012, and was an elected member of the Technical Council of the TEI from 2008-2013, an academic group that makes decisions on guidelines and technical development. He is one of the lead authors of the EpiDoc Guidelines, and regularly organises and teaches training workshops in digital epigraphy and papyrology. He led the King’s team on the internationally collaborative Integrating Digital Papyrology project (2007-2011) to convert the DDbDP and other papyrological materials into EpiDoc XML in a new browse and editing platform.

John Bradley (john.bradley@kcl.ac.uk)

Bradley has for many years been involved in structured prosopography through seven prominent collaborative prosopographical projects including the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE) and the Peoples of Medieval Scotland (PoMS), and (although not its original inventor) has promoted the factoid model as a way to think about structuring prosopographical data.  Recently he has taken up thinking about the place of prosopography in the context of global, open, linked data, and has given presentations on the idea at DH2013 and at the Culturecloud, Co-reference and Archive Workshop given at the National Archives in Stockholm in June 2013.

Dr K Faith Lawrence (faith.lawrence@kcl.ac.uk)

Lawrence is a Research Associate at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London where she works as a researcher and developer on a number of projects. Technical lead on the SNAP:DRGN project her research background centred around online communities, narrative and the semantic web. Her thesis, ‘The Web of Community Trust – Amateur Fiction Online: A Case Study in Community-Focused Design for the Semantic Web’, investigated user-centred design for emergent technologies through the case study of online fiction archives and author communities. This work focused on fan fiction communities, both in terms of how they currently interact with technology, and how that interaction may evolve in the future with the development of Web 2.0 and the semantic web. One important facet of of this work was an investigation into the description of narrative and content elements within textual, visual, aural and multimedia works.

Prof. Susan Perdue (ssh8a@eservices.virginia.edu): (PFE)

Perdue is a documentary editor who has worked primarily in the American Early Republic. Her focus on name authority work began with print indexes and evolved to XML indexing and markup in historical documents. Begun in 2008, People of the Founding Era is a prosopographical project that aggregates content from hundreds of American Founding Era documentary volumes, supplemented with research. The project draws on the expertise of editors and museum professionals to centralize their longstanding research, especially that related to slavery in the Early Republic. For the past year, PFE has worked with Bob DuCharme to implement an RDF model that queries PFE data and other related data sources, called LDES.

Sebastian Rahtz (sebastian.rahtz@it.ox.ac.uk)

Rahtz is Director of Academic IT at University of  Oxford University IT Services, where he oversees the teams responsible for research support and open source.  He has been closely associated with the Text Encoding Initiative for the last decade as a member of its Technical Council, and architect of its meta-schema system. Since 2008 he has been part of the team developing CLAROS (“the world of ancient art on the semantic web”) at Oxford, for which he leads the Metamorphoses sub-project to manage its place and name linking. He has worked with the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names at Oxford for the last 30 years, and maintains its experimental online service and data export.

Daniel Pitti (dpitti@virginia.edu)

Pitti is Associate Director of IATH (University of Virginia) and the chief technical architect of both the EAD and EAC-CPF standards, as well as being project director of the NEH and Mellon funded (Social Networks and Archival Context) SNAC project (2010-2015). SNAC is exploring the feasibility of extracting the descriptions of people that archivists routinely create when describing archival resources in order to maintain the descriptions independently though in relation to the records that are the evidence of the lives and work of the people described. As the chair of the International Council on Archives Experts Group on Archival Description, charged with developing a conceptual model for archival description, Pitti is also interested in how the descriptions of people created by archivists can be formalized and structured in such a manner that they can be shared with allied cultural heritage communities and scholars.

Dr Christian-Emil Ore (c.e.s.ore@iln.uio.no)

Ore is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Oslo and is the head of their Unit for Digital Documentation.  He has taken a keen interest in digital humanities for many years.  He has been an active player in the CIDOC-CRM community, one of the four current editors of the CIDOC-CRM standard and has explored methods to combine TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) encoded documents with CIDOC-CRM models.

Outline of Content:

Morning: Modelling the Person

Welcome and Introduction (15 mins)

Group Activity – Historical Speed Dating (30 mins)

Presentation and Discussion:

  • The conception of prosopography in the PFE project, and its representation in RDF (30 mins)
  • A Semantic Web understanding of the factoid prosopography model (30 mins)
  • Exploring prosopography in CIDOC-CRM/FRBRoo, SNAC, and in the emerging standards from the the International Council on Archives Experts Group on Archival Description (30 mins)
  • SNAP:DRGN: Going QuACers – the Qualified, Authenticated Co-reference model (30 mins)

Round up and open discussion (15 mins)

Afternoon: Linking the Person

Welcome Back (15 mins)

Breakout 1 (1 hour):

  • Breakout Group 1 – SNAP Services: Discussion and User Requirements
  • Breakout Group 2 – Data Exchange and Chop Shop: Data Preparation Tutorial
  • Breakout Group 3 – Data Exchange and Chop Shop: Data Hacking
  • Breakout Group 4 – The historical person model

Breakout 2 (1 hour):

  • Breakout Group 1 – SNAP Services: Discussion and User Requirements
  • Breakout Group 2 – Data Exchange and Chop Shop: Data Preparation Tutorial
  • Breakout Group 3 – Data Exchange and Chop Shop: Data Hacking
  • Breakout Group 4 – The historical person model

Reports and Discussion (30 mins)

Conclusion (15 mins)

To register, go to the Digital Humanities 2014 website.

April 03, 2014


Digital Classicist London seminars, 2014

Digital Classicist London & Institute of Classical Studies Seminar 2014

Fridays at 16:30 in room G37* Senate House
Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU
* Unless otherwise specified below

June 6* Ségolène Tarte (Oxford), On Cognition and the Digital in the Study of Ancient Textual Artefacts 103 (Holden Room)
June 13* Victoria Moul & Charlotte Tupman (King’s College London), Neo-Latin poetry in English manuscripts, 1550-1700 103 (Holden Room)
June 20 Lorna Richardson (University College London), Public Archaeology in a Digital Age
June 27 Monica Berti, Greta Franzini & Simona Stoyanova (Leipzig), The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series and Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum Projects
July 4* Pietro Liuzzo (Heidelberg), The Europeana network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy (EAGLE) and Linked Open Data 102 (Athlone Room)
July 11 Silke Vanbeselaere (Leuven), Retracing Theban Witness Networks in Demotic Contracts
July 18* Thibault Clérice (King’s College London), Clotho: Network Analysis and Distant Reading on Perseus Latin Corpus G34
July 25* Marja Vierros (Helsinki), Papyrology and Linguistic Annotation: How can we make TEI EpiDoc XML corpus and Treebanking work together? G35
Aug 1 Sebastian Rahtz (Oxford) & Gabriel Bodard (King’s College London), Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies: Data and Relations in Greco-Roman Names (SNAP:DRGN)
Aug 8 Dominic Oldman & Barry Norton (British Museum), A new approach to Digital Editions of Ancient Manuscripts using CIDOC-CRM, FRBRoo and RDFa
Aug 15 Various postgraduate speakers, Short presentations


The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

For more information please contact Gabriel.Bodard@kcl.ac.uk, Stuart.Dunn@kcl.ac.uk, S.Mahony@ucl.ac.uk or Charlotte.Tupman@kcl.ac.uk, or see the seminar website at http://www.digitalclassicist.org/wip/wip2014.html

February 25, 2014

Horothesia (Tom Elliott)

New in EpiDig: Digital Archive for the Study of Pre-Islamic Arabian Inscriptions

I've just added a reference for the following resource to the EpiDig Zotero library:

February 03, 2014

Current Epigraphy

Job vacancy: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Warwick/Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents, Oxford

A Postdoctoral Research Assistant post has arisen at the University of Warwick for the ‘Facilitating Access to Latin inscriptions in Britain’s Oldest Public Museum through Scholarship and Technology’ project, which explores the place of Latin literacy in Britain, the role of inscriptions in writing Roman social history, and the history of the collection and changing attitudes to epigraphy from 1683 to the modern day. Of equal importance is its objective to explore ways in which Latin inscriptions can be used to educate the general public, visitors, and children about the Roman world, using the Ashmolean as a case-study.

The job is 50%FTE, fixed Term Contract for 13 months, based at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents/Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

You will work on the AHRC funded project, Facilitating Access to Latin inscriptions in Britain’s Oldest Public Museum through Scholarship and Technology.

You will create an Epidoc corpus of the Latin inscriptions in the Ashmolean Museum, based upon research carried out by the project’s PI, customizing EpiDoc XSL stylesheets. You will create digital images of the collection of Latin inscriptions in the Ashmolean: to carry out digital photography and Reflectance Transformation Imaging of Latin inscriptions in the Ashmolean Museum; and to integrate these images into the online corpus. You will explore using EpiDoc tools to create resources for the visually impaired. You will help maintain the project’s website. You will assist in in recording and editing project vodcasts.

You will have a PhD or equivalent in a relevant area. You will have a good knowledge of Latin, particularly epigraphy. You will have experience in XML; EpiDoc conversion tools (Crosswalker) and EpiDoc XSL stylesheets. Experience in Reflectance Transformation Imaging and website editing is desirable.

For further details of the project see here.

For the job advertisement see here.

January 13, 2014

Current Epigraphy

EpiDoc Workshop, London, April 28-May 1, 2014

We invite applications for a 4-day training workshop on digital editing of epigraphic and papyrological texts, to be held in the Institute of Classical Studies, London, April 28-May 1, 2014. The workshop will be taught by Gabriel Bodard (KCL), Simona Stoyanova (Leipzig) and Charlotte Tupman (KCL). There will be no charge for the teaching, but participants will have to arrange their own travel and accommodation.

EpiDoc is a set of guidelines for using TEI XML for the encoding of inscriptions, papyri and other ancient documentary texts. It has been used to publish digital projects including the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, the US Epigraphy Project, Vindolanda Tablets Online and the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri. The workshop will introduce participants to the basics of XML markup and give hands-on experience of tagging textual features and object descriptions in TEI, as well as use of the tags-free Papyrological Editor.

No technical skills are required, but a working knowledge of Greek or Latin, epigraphy or papyrology and the Leiden Conventions will be assumed. The workshop is open to participants of all levels, from graduate students to professors or professionals.

To apply for a place on this workshop please email charlotte.tupman@kcl.ac.uk with a brief description of your reason for interest and summarising your relevant skills and background, by Friday, February 21st, 2014.


EpiDoc Workshop, London, April 28-May 1, 2014

We invite applications for a 4-day training workshop on digital editing of epigraphic and papyrological texts, to be held in the Institute of Classical Studies, London, April 28-May 1, 2014. The workshop will be taught by Gabriel Bodard (KCL), Simona Stoyanova (Leipzig) and Charlotte Tupman (KCL). There will be no charge for the teaching, but participants will have to arrange their own travel and accommodation.

EpiDoc (epidoc.sf.net) is a set of guidelines for using TEI XML (tei-c.org) for the encoding of inscriptions, papyri and other ancient documentary texts. It has been used to publish digital projects including the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, the US Epigraphy Project, Vindolanda Tablets Online and the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri. The workshop will introduce participants to the basics of XML markup and give hands-on experience of tagging textual features and object descriptions in TEI, as well as use of the tags-free Papyrological Editor (papyri.info/editor).

No technical skills are required, but a working knowledge of Greek or Latin, epigraphy or papyrology and the Leiden Conventions will be assumed. The workshop is open to participants of all levels, from graduate students to professors or professionals.

To apply for a place on this workshop please email charlotte.tupman@kcl.ac.uk with a brief description of your reason for interest and summarising your relevant skills and background, by Friday February 21st, 2014.

December 16, 2013


Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS)

The Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig is pleased to announce a new effort within the Open Philology Project: the Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS).

The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series is a new effort to establish open editions of ancient works that survive only through quotations and text re-uses in later texts (i.e., those pieces of information that humanists call “fragments”).

As a first step in this process, the Humboldt Chair announces the Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (DFHG) Project, whose goal is to produce a digital edition of the five volumes of Karl Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (FHG) (1841-1870), which is the first big collection of fragments of Greek historians ever realized.

For further information, please visit the project website at: http://www.dh.uni-leipzig.de/wo/open-philology-project/the-leipzig-open-fragmentary-texts-series-lofts/

October 29, 2013

Current Epigraphy

Current Practices and New Directions in Digital Epigraphy

Ljubljana (Slovenia) 19-20 February 2014 

Current Practices and New Directions in Digital Epigraphy is the first in a series of international events planned by EAGLE BPN. The event will feature presentations and hands-on workshops regarding themes of the EAGLE project, led by the project’s Working Groups.


Registration is free and open through December 15, 2013


The event will be held in English.

If you have any questions or need additional information,

Please contact:

Marjeta Šašel Kos mkos@zrc-sazu.si

Pietro Liuzzo pietro.liuzzo@zaw.uni-heidelberg.de


September 27, 2013

Current Epigraphy

Report on EpiDoc training, Sofia

Between the 3rd and 6th September 2013 we (Gabriel Bodard and Simona Stoyanova) taught an EpiDoc training workshop at the ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ University of Sofia, Bugaria. The workshop was funded by the university’s Departments of Classics and History, and the Centre of Excellence in the Humanities “Alma Mater”, and organised by Dimitar Iliev. This was the first EpiDoc workshop held in Eastern Europe. The participants came from Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia.

The programme of the workshop (see EpiDoc Summer School at the Digital Classicist wiki) involved a basic introduction to XML and TEI; the principles of EpiDoc markup, which are based on Leiden for the text transcription and the publication practices of epigraphers and papyrologists for descriptive, historical and supporting data. Most of the week involved hands-on experience for the participants in XML encoding and use of the Papyrological Editor tags-free interface (Leiden+), and ended with discussion of project management issues and the future of the EpiDoc community, and training possibilities in general.

We asked the participants to share their impressions of the workshop, and some of their responses are herebelow.

Mariya Doncheva, epigraphic consultant at the Regional Historical Musem of Vratza (Bulgaria), writes:

Since Information Technologies have become an integral part of our lives, science studies, research, etc., it is indispensable for epigraphers to keep pace with the modern approaches and latest technologies in this field. I was brought to the EpiDoc workshop driven by the interest in ways of cultural preservation. Strong incentive for taking part in it was the common undertakings with researchers and archaeologists from Regional Historical Museum at my native town focused on accessibility and preservation of cultural heritage.

My participation in the EpiDoc XML Workshop enriched my knowledge in the field of IT. I was introduced to digital processing of ancient epigraphical monuments with XML. Furthermore, I was taught to encode a great variety of textual peculiarities. I have acquired skills which I will use later on in developing the common initiatives with the aforementioned cultural institution. Such valuable experience will enable me to contribute to preserving cultural heritage through digitalization and make it easily accessible to a wide range of audiences.

Elena Dzukeska, lecturer at the Institute of Classical Studies, Faculty of Philosophy, University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Skopje (Macedonia), writes:

The EpiDoc Workshop in Sofia was unique experience. I applied in order to learn something basic about XML editors and encoding inscriptions and I expected practical work. What I did not expect is that just in few days I will already have on my computer couple of inscriptions and papyri encoded by myself with the help of the instructors. I got the picture about the process of encoding inscriptions and I think I know what do I have to do in order to start a project of my own. The workshop was great and inspiring. I wish it lasted longer.

Margarita Buzalkovska-Aleksova, also from “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, writes:

The EpiDoc Workshop in Sofia was a good opportunity to see how actually encoding works. It was a challenge being a philologist to get closer to the XML editors, especially useful to encode inscriptions and manuscripts. I thought it was impossible to manage to remember all the data needed for work, but the well -organized work – the presentations, immediate practice and useful suggestions, help and assistance enabled us to encode the documents by several approaches. It was also nice to work in such a busy and friendly atmosphere at the same time. I think several such workshops would be nice to have to upgrade my basic knowledge. The warm receipt by the organizers was also very helpful. Many ideas on new projects on encoding inscriptions appeared during the work and nice evening parties, as well as lot of friendship needed for further wok on inscriptions and manuscripts.

Alina Dimitrova, PhD student in Ancient history in Sofia, writes:

I work with epigraphic texts. My research topic is related mainly to the inscriptions from the West coast of the Black Sea in the Hellenistic period. Like everyone who has experience with ancient inscriptions, I know that often the main difficulty of the researcher is to find the different editions, photos and comments of a text. For this reason I think that the best way to go forward in epigraphy is to create database/s with searchable inscriptions, presented with their main characteristics and different readings.

So, I subscribed to the workshop in order to understand better the procedure of digitalizing and to contribute to this process, since I strongly believe that the only way to achieve fast result is to combine all our efforts. In my opinion, the workshop was very efficient and answered completely to my expectations. In addition, I met a group of great people and had a really good time. Many thanks to the organizing committee of the workshop.

Dragana Grbic, of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, writes:

I intend to start up a small digital epigraphic project in Serbia using EpiDoc as a pilot for a larger corpus. Thus, the training workshop in Sofia focused mainly on epigraphy and on the material from South-Eastern Europe, came at the perfect time. I was hoping to get some practice in marking up with EpiDoc and also to get acquainted with the principles of tagless editing. The event was a perfect opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with the colleagues working on a similar material, and to learn about ongoing and prospective projects. Overall, my impressions are great. The workshop exceeded my expectations.

We would only like to add our gratitude to the local organisers in Sofia, with whom we look forward to working again, and thanks to all the participants for making this a productive and enjoyable week for all of us.

August 08, 2013


EpiDoc Latest Release (8.17)

Scott Vanderbilt has just announced the latest release of the EpiDoc Guidelines, Schema, and Example Stylesheets.

Details are available on the Latest Release page of the EpiDoc wiki at SourceForge.