Digital Approaches to Early Modern History: Frameworks, Tools and Resources (Workshop)

Textual sources from the early modern period pose specific challenges with regards to their digital acquisition, analysis, and representation. First, the full-text digitization of sources is elaborate and time-consuming, and it still is far away from being fully automatable in a way sufficient to the needs of scholarly researchers. Second, the digital analysis of such data relies on specific historical and textual data models and ontologies and needs to be conducted, on the one hand, through time-consuming scholarly studying and manual annotation of the texts; automatic applications, on the other side, face a significant shortage of natural language processing tools applicable to “low-resourced” languages such as early modern Spanish or Latin, or of linguistic and semantic resources appropriate for these specific periods and languages. Finally, while discussions about (textual) data representations and visualizations lie at the very heart of current digital humanities endeavours, there still is only rudimentary consensus about best practices in representing early modern texts and data in all their (multimedial/multimodal) variety in digital forms, as well as about their versioning, forms of readerly participation, underlying software architectures, etc.

Some methods and infrastructures that address these challenges are well-known: For instance, the acquisition of historical (text) data may be enhanced through forms of crowdsourcing and collaborative digital editing and technically facilitated by collaborative annotation tools; linked open data models and related infrastructures aim to provide means for annotating data in a way conforming to interoperable, semantic web standards. But also, there is an ever-increasing amount of specific linguistic and geographic resources as well as tools tailored by and for individual early modern research projects – projects that could potentially benefit through communicating and exchanging their resources and tools. In order to strengthen the community-driven use of already existing frameworks and tools, and to communicate methods and tools that were hitherto unknown outside specific use cases, an exchange of theoretical as well as methodological and practical knowledge about digital approaches to early modern historical questions seems crucial.

With the aim of enabling such an exchange on an interdisciplinary and, in a way, also intercultural scale, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and the project “The School of Salamanca: A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language” organize a workshop with digital humanities experts from Latin America and Europe. The workshop will comprise a small number of individual project presentations as a common ground for in-depth, hands-on discussions about technical tools, methods and frameworks as well as about (linguistic, geographical, ontological, etc.) resources for the study of early modern sources and contexts.

Date: 23 October 2018
Place: Instituto Max Planck Argentina – Instituto de Investigación en Biomedicina de Buenos Aires, C1425FQD, Godoy Cruz 2390, Buenos Aires
The workshop will be held in Spanish, although contributions may be in English as well.

For registration, please contact us until 15 October 2018 at: salamanca@rg.mpg.de.

Program
14:00 Thomas Duve: Welcome
14:05 Andreas Wagner / David Glück: Introduction
14:15 Andreas Wagner: Digital Humanities Research Related to Ibero-America at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
14:45 David Glück: Methods, Frameworks, and Linguistic Resources in the Digital Edition of “The School of Salamanca”
15:15 Discussion
15:30 Hands-On Session: Frameworks, Methods and Tools for Digital Early Modern History
16:30-17:00 Coffee Break
17:00 Gimena del Rio Riande, Romina De León, Nidia Hernández (HD CAICYT Lab, CONICET): Integrating annotation, digital edition tools and GIS resources: Practical experiences from the LatAm project (project presentation and hands on session)
18:00 Discussion
18:30 Closing of the Workshop and Farewell

Presentation of the Digital Edition Platform of the Project “The School of Salamanca”: Francisco de Vitoria’s “Confessionario”

As a result of several years of working on the digital edition of texts of the School of Salamanca, and although the edition still is (and will remain) a ‘work in progress’, the School of Salamanca project will officially release its digital edition as an online portal for research on the texts of the School of Salamanca on 9 May 2018.

The release of the digital edition will take place within the scope of a workshop on the Confessionario Útil y Provechoso by Francisco de Vitoria, one of the texts in the central group of works of the digital edition, and a work that is already edited to a great extent following the project’s extensive text preparation and annotation processes.

Following the discussion of Vitoria’s ‘Confessionario’, the project will present the web application of the digital edition by means of a small ‘tech demo’, during which the web application’s functionalities shall be explained by taking the example of the previously discussed work.

Organization: The ‘School of Salamanca’ Project
Place: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Date & time: 9 May 2017, 18.00-19.30

Programme:
– Christiane Birr: Introduction
– José Luis Egío Garcia: Epitomisation Processes and the Historiography on Vitoria’s “Confesionario”
– Manuela Bragagnolo: Epitomizing Knowledge between Portugal and Spain. On Martin de Azpilcueta’s “Manual de Confessores”
– David Glück / Andreas Wagner: The Online Edition of The School of Salamanca as a Digital Research Platform
(The papers will be complemented by further discussions involving the audience.)

Code Release and Open-Source Development of the ‘School of Salamanca’ Web Application

On 1 March 2018, we have released the code of the web application of the ‘School of Salamanca’ project’s digital edition (https://salamanca.school) as free and open source software (under the MIT license) on GitHub: https://github.com/digicademy/svsal, where the development process and the versioning of our web application takes place exclusively from this date onward. The publication of our web application’s code represents the first major code release of the project; other parts of our digital infrastructure and the research data will be published separately.

The web application, now having reached version 1.0, has been developed since 2014 and, more precisely, consists of an eXist-db application package. While this package can be downloaded and deployed in any eXist-db (version 3.6+) instance, it must be mentioned that, in order to function correctly, the web application draws upon the integration with further, external services: for example, an iiif-conformant image server (image and presentation APIs) allowing for the incorporation of facsimile images in the reading views of our works, or a SphinxSearch server providing lemmatized and cross-language search results for the texts. Notwithstanding these current caveats in portability of the application package, and although there still remains much to be achieved with regards to the functionality of our web application, the code underlying central features of the application (such as the endless-scrolling segmentation of texts in the reading view, the content negotiation-based URI-linking of texts and text segments, and others) is fully available now and can be utilized or serve as an example for similar projects, for instance. For a more extensive and detailed description of current features, caveats, and provisos of the application please refer to: https://github.com/digicademy/svsal.

The software is tagged with a DOI so that it can be cited: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1186521

(Deutsch) Hessischer Kulturpreis für SvSal-Projektleiter Matthias Lutz-Bachmann

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Wir freuen uns sehr, dass unser Projektleiter Prof. Dr. Dr. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann den Hessischen Kulturpreis 2017 erhält und gratulieren herzlich!

Die Preisverleihung findet am 27. Oktober in Frankfurt statt. Geplant ist unter anderem eine Ansprache des hessischen Ministerpräsidenten Volker Bouffier; Laudator wird der Präsident der DFG, Prof. Dr. Peter Strohschneider, sein. Der Hessische Kulturpreis wird seit 1982 jährlich für besondere Leistungen in Kunst, Wissenschaft und Kulturvermittlung vergeben. Er ist der höchst dotierte Kulturpreis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.