Teuchos: An Online Knowledge-based Platform for Classical Philology

Cristina Vertan (Hamburg)

Digital Classicist/ICS Work in Progress Seminar, Summer 2009

Friday 10th July at 16:30, in room STB3/6, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The Teuchos Center for Manuscript and Text Research was set-up in 2007 by the Institute for Greek and Latin Philology of the University of Hamburg in cooperation with the Aristoteles-Archive at the Free University Berlin. Teuchos is a long-term infrastructure project, which is financed in its starting phase (until mid-2010) by the German Research Foundation according to the funding scheme "Thematic Information networks" in the framework of the Scientific Library Services and Information Systems programme; cf. http://www.dfg.de/forschungsfoerderung/wissenschaftliche_infrastruktur/lis/projektfoerderung/foerderziele/informationsnetze.html).

In its final form Teuchos is to provide a web-based knowledge portal suited for manuscript and textual studies, offering tools for capturing, exchange and collaborative editing of primary philological data. The data shall be made accessible to the scholarly community as primary or raw data in order to be reusable as source material for various individual or collaborative research projects. This objective entails a general open source policy regarding the content generated and published by means of the platform (Digitisations of manuscripts will of course be subject to licenses that have to be negotiated individually with the holding institutions). The software developed in the course of the project, will itself be made open source as a contribution to the evolving diversity of digital humanities tools and applications.

The following use cases are foreseen for the research infrastructure:

  • Provision of data facilitating the use of digitized manuscripts (created and shared by different user groups), ranging from structural information regarding the intellectual content of the manuscript to transcriptions containing indications of variant readings and eventually full-fledged digital editions.
  • Provision of digitized manuscripts accompanied by (partial) transcriptions both as a basis for further editorial work and to make core information on the content and the manuscript tradition available (and citable) to the scholarly community at the same early time. While in certain cases this first step may be the only one that will be taken, with a view to the other cases it may also be considered a methodological improvement for textual studies in general to render the separate stages of the editorial process verifiable.
  • Collaboration of networked researchers independent of time and space as a prerequisite for the analysis and use of special materials; this is relevant e.g. for domain-specific texts, and for fragmented and delicate material as may be found in palimpsests.
  • An evolving collection of manuscript descriptions gives access to detailed information on codicology, manuscript history and textual transmission. This material derives from a library studies and is thus often inherently sporadic and disjointed; on the other hand the collection is independent of library catalogisation projects and open to the collaboration of researchers worldwide who contribute according to their respective field of expertise and/or their serendipitous findings.
  • A flexible model allows for the integration of manuscript descriptions of varying depth. A substantial amount of material taken from both published and unpublished materials of the Aristoteles Graecus offers a model for comprehensive and highly structured descriptions. The complex relationships between manuscripts belonging to a coherent textual tradition, e.g. common sources, scribes, owners, annotators etc. offer multiple possibilities of inter-linkage, which may be used for the individual exploration and eventually for automated analysis of such a corpus.
  • Value is continuously added by way of cross-linking and data exchange with existing online resources relevant to manuscript and textual studies, especially library catalogues and manuscript bibliographies, but also archives of texts and digital libraries.

We intend to present the system architecture, functionality, as well as main considerations concerning the modeling and encoding of watermarks, manuscripts and manuscript descriptions.


The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

Audio recording of seminar (MP3)

Presentation (PDF)