Archive for October, 2015

Treebanking Ancient Greek in High School: what my students learned, what I learned

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Treebanking methodology has proven to be successful in the linguistic analysis of ancient Greek and Latin texts, and it has aroused a continuously increasing interest over the last few years. It is certainly one of the most exciting innovations in the field of Classics. Now it is time to see if it can also play a role in improving traditional education, leading didactics into the digital world.

In spring 2015, I was following a training in the Italian High School “Liceo Classico Socrate”, where I was allowed to lead a little experiment. The school has a solid tradition in Classical education, focused on Greek and Latin culture and language, so it was the ideal environment to test the potential impact of digital tools on the students’ learning process. The theoretical premise for this attempt was that the methodology of translating ancient Greek in Italian High School is similar to the process of dependency treebanking. The traditional method has a strong linguistic attitude: it requires complete analysis of the text divided into single sentences, according to a specific hierarchical structure, and the assignment of morphological and syntactic values to every single element according to traditional grammars. These tasks are performed with very limited use of the dictionary; then, a complete translation follows this established order, in order to ensure an easier conversion of the sentence into the new language. Treebanking seems to reproduce this process closely, but providing an alternative, aesthetically enjoyable and visually useful interface.

The experiment was performed with 22 students of 14 years of age, who were beginners in ancient Greek. These young cavies were involved in a four-days workshop of Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank, which took place in the School’s Informatics Lab. Their regular teacher was an additional and enthusiastic participant.

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CfP: Computer-Aided Processing of Intertextuality in Ancient Languages

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Call for Contribution: Special Issue on Computer-Aided Processing of Intertextuality in Ancient Languages

“Europe’s future is digital”. This was the headline of a speech given at the Hannover exhibition in April 2015 by Günther Oettinger, EU-Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. While businesses and industries have already made major advances in digital ecosystems, the digital transformation of texts stretching over a period of more than two millennia is far from complete. On the one hand, mass digitisation leads to an “information overload” of digitally available data; on the other, the “information poverty” embodied by the loss of books and the fragmentary state of ancient texts form an incomplete and biased view of our past. In a digital ecosystem, this coexistence of data overload and poverty adds considerable complexity to scholarly research.

With this special issue on Computer-Aided Processing of Intertextuality in Ancient Languages, the HiSoMA lab in Lyon,
France, and the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities in Germany, aim to create a collection of papers that discuss the state-of-the-art on intertextuality, linguistic preprocessing and the preservation of scholarly research results specifically applied to corpora in ancient languages and for which few online resources exist (Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, Ethiopic, etc.).

Relevant topics include:

  • Methods for the detection of intertexts and text reuse, manual (e.g. crowd-sourcing) or automatic (e.g. algorithms);
  • Infrastructure for the preservation of digital texts and quotations between different text passages; Linguistic preprocessing and data normalisation, such as lemmatisation of historical languages, root stemming, normalisation of variants, etc.;
  • Visualisation of intertextuality and text reuse;
  • Creation of, and research on, stemmata.

The special issue will be published by the Journal on Data Mining and Digital Humanities (http://jdmdh.episciences.org/), an online open access journal that will release the issue shortly after its submission in order to elicit feedback from readers while concurrently supervising the standard peer review process.

Interested authors are asked to:

  1. send a title, an author list and a one page (or shorter) abstract specifying the type of contribution (full paper or project presentation) to Laurence Mellerin [laurence.mellerin(at)mom(dot)fr] and Marco Büchler [mbuechler(at)gcdh(dot)de] by October 31st.
  2. send a paper (long: up to 40 pages OR short: 2 to 4 pages illustrating the scope and research of the project), following the guidelines of JDMDH by January 31st 2016.

For further questions, do not hesitate to contact Laurence and Marco.

Digital Classics Training: Structuring and visualising data

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Digital Classics Workshop:
Structuring and visualising data

Thursday November 5, 10:30 – 17:30
Institute of Classical Studies
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

 

51_357ba541-ff3d-4ad1-8884-72279ac0b1e0The Institute of Classical Studies is offering a one-day training workshop for postgraduate students and researchers on structuring and visualising historical data. The workshop will offer a basic introduction to issues around tabular data, database design and linked open data, and tools for visualisation for both presentational and analytical purposes. Participants will gain hands-on experience of creating database tables (in Google Spreadsheets), cleaning and enhancing their data, and building visualisations based on it using a variety of free sites and tools. We shall suggest and discuss how these methods can be applicable to your research.

No previous digital experience is required, but participants should bring their own laptop and have an account on Google Drive and be prepared to download some free software in advance of the workshop. The workshop will be taught by Silke Vanbeselaere (KU Leuven) and Gabriel Bodard (ICS). This workshop has been made possible by the generous support of the LAHP and AHRC.

Registration is free.
To book a place on the workshop, please contact
Valerie James (valerie.james@sas.ac.uk)