Working with manuscripts has become a digital affair. But, are there downsides to digital photos? And how can you take advantage of the incredible computing power you have literally at your fingertips? Cornelis van Lit explains in detail what happens when manuscript studies meets digital humanities. In Among Digitized Manuscripts you will learn why it is important to include a note on the photo quality in your codicological description, how to draw, collect, and publish glyphs of paleographic interest, what standards (such as TEI and IIIF) to abide by when transcribing a text, how to write custom software for image recognition, and much more. The leading principle is that learning a little about computers will already be of great benefit.
Up to this point, most editions of Avestan texts have been concerned with interpreting the text. Although repetitions and abbreviations were known, they were often ignored since they did not offer new insight into the understanding of the meanings of words. The present study takes the opposite approach. Ignoring the meaning of the text (at first), it tries to detect the compositional structure of the Yasna ceremony by concentrating on formal matters such as specific closing sections, frames, etc. In a second step, the content is considered in order to offer interpretations for the compositional structure. In ReAF I (Jügel 2015), information on the technical and theoretical background of the tool “Repetition Analysis Function” (ReAF) was given and textual units were identified. In ReAF II, the results of the ReAF for the Yasna ceremony as it appears in the manuscript J2 will be presented in detail. Furthermore, I will offer an interpretation of how to transfer the structural results to an analysis of the compositional structure of the Yasna. This also allows for the formulation of assumptions on the ceremonial structure.
Thomas Jügel is a Research Fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Mondes iranien et indien (UMR 7528) in Paris.
Repetitions are relevant for several aspects of historical philology. With regard to Avestan, they may allow for the identification of ceremonial frames or opening and closing sections revealing the compositional structure of a ceremony. In case of manuscript comparison, the question arises whether a variant appears only once or in all of its repetitive passages. Furthermore, by analysing the compositional structure we may be able to detect ceremonial structures different to the practice of today. A secondary aspect relates to the interpretation of the grammaticality of Young Avestan passages. The repetition analysis provides evidence that passages which are hitherto considered ill-formed actually follow the rules of Avestan grammar. The scope of this study is to investigate computational means for detecting repetitive sequences. It represents a case study of the manuscript J2 by means of tools that were set up in the LOEWE priority programme Digital Humanities at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main: a digital lexicon, a letter discrimination matrix for Avestan, and the programme Repetition Analysis Function. The article ReAF I offers some basic observations on repetitive sequences in the manuscript J2 and lays the foundation for ReAF II (Jügel forthc.), where the results of the repetition analyses will be used to discuss the compositional structure of the Yasna.
The generative etymological dictionary of Indo-European languages
The current version, PIE Lexicon Pilot 1.1, presents digitally generated data of hundred most ancient Indo-European languages with three hundred new etymologies for Old Anatolian languages, Hitttite, Palaic, Cuneiform Luwian and Hieroglyphic Luwian, arranged under two hundred Indo-European roots.
The correspondences contain data of all fourteen sub-branches of the Indo-European languages, Albanian, Anatolian, Armenian, Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Italic, Old Balkan (Satem), Old Balkan (Centum), Slavic and Tocharian.
AWDL will identify, collect, curate, and provide access to a broad range of scholarly materials relevant to the study of the ancient world.
The digital library is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the ancient world and naturally contains material relevant to Iranian Studies such as the digitised copy of the second volume of Henning’s selected papers or Back’s Die sassanidischen Staatsinschriften. Why not head over and read up on the Middle Persian word for beer, the dates of Mani’s life, the term for coriander or on a grain of mustard, topics that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Henning’s scholarship.
The concept of text re-use in early Islamic historiography was first brought to my attention by François de Blois, whose courses were always so much more than just an introduction to a language such as Middle Persian. Recently, it has been Sarah Savant, who has drawn attention to text re-use and its application in the study of early Islamic literature. And now there is this very exciting Hackathon taking place in Göttingen in July 2015:
The Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities will host a Hackathon targeted at students and researchers with a humanities background who wish to improve their computer skills by working with their own data-set. Rather than teaching everything there is to know about algorithms, the Hackathon will assist participants with their specific data-related problem, so that they can take away the knowledge needed to tackle the issue(s) at hand. The focus of this Hackathon is automatic text re-use detection and aims at engaging participants in intensive collaboration. Participants will be introduced to technologies representing the state of the art in the field and shown the potential of text re-use detection. Participants will also be able to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to make sense of the output generated by algorithms detecting text re-use, and will gain an understanding of which algorithms best fit certain types of textual data. Finally, participants will be introduced to some text re-use visualisations.
The immediate objective of the Afghanistan Digital Library is to retrieve and restore the first sixty years of Afghanistan’s published cultural heritage. The project is collecting, cataloging, digitizing, and making available over the Internet as many Afghan publications from the period 1871–1930 as it is possible to identify and locate.
The British Library is holding a one-day symposium on the theme of digitisation and new research on its collection of Persian manuscripts, one of the most significant in the world in both size and importance.
British Library Persian Manuscripts: Collections and Research
British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Friday, 31 October 2014, 9.30-18.00
Booking will be available from Monday 22 September from British Library Events. Tickets include a light lunch and refreshments and are priced at £15 (£10 concessions).