Part of the make: series, this session looks at how humanities researchers can build a digital environment for their own projects. It examines some of the database and programming tools that are available, and most importantly, how a purpose built digital environment can enhance the process of understanding texts.
The session will show how two DPhil projects in History applied various digital tools (text encoding, data visualisation, corpus linguistics, semantic web) to analyse medieval texts.
Case 1: The Florentine merchant
In 1457, a Florentine merchant decided to transmit his experience and knowledge to his sons. He created a manuscript which covers all aspects of human existence. The goal of this project is to analyse the thinking and knowledge of this merchant as it is represented in the text. The manuscript was transcribed and encoded in TEI XML. The transcription was then transformed into a semantically and linguistically annotated corpus. Finally, an ontology is being built to reconstruct and visualise the knowledge of the merchant.
Case 2: English family charters
The project uses eXist for an XML ‘native’ database of an English family’s twelfth and thirteenth century charters and related material. A TEI marked up copy of the text allows publication either on the web or as pdf as well as the normal database query, listing and tabulation functions. Bibliography is fully incorporated using Zotero. The data relating to social and text networks can be extracted and passed to programmes such as NodeXL to enable it to be visualized graphically.
Book online at http://courses.it.ox.ac.uk/detail/TM13E