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Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

The Papyrological Publication Platform (P3): Innovative Data Exchange

It is increasingly the case that no matter where or in what format scientific information is published, people expect it to appear online. This is true not only for the sciences but also for the humanities. Electronic publications, however, are not limited to traditional scholarly papers and monographs; they also comprise basic scientific data, such as bibliographies, collection information, textual databases, atlases, etc., which is often organized in digital repositories. These two spheres (that of scholarship and scientific data) are intricately related but in practical terms still quite distinct: distilling core data from scholarship remains a largely manual task and is therefore quite resource-consuming.

The aim of this initiative, which is a joint undertaking of Heidelberg University’ Institute for Papyrology and University Library, is to take the first steps towards digitally bridging the world of traditional scholarly publications and scientific datasets. It takes as its core data ancient Greek, Latin, and Coptic documents dating between the 3rd c. BCE and the 8th c. CE. The texts are preserved on papyrus and other portable media, and come mainly from Egypt. Since the 1980s papyrologists have been exploiting different electronic methods and have developed a number of related tools. Some deal with metadata pertaining to the papyrus documents, and others with the texts. The content of these tools has been generated manually; that is, over the years paid staff and (more recently) unpaid volunteers have been entering the various kinds of information derived from scholarly publications into the relevant electronic resources by hand. With P3, we wish to align the publication and data extraction processes more closely. To do this, we intend to create a transformation schema that will convert word-processing files to XML-TEI/EpiDoc, the encoding standard now for major papyrological resources. This schema will be used on new editions of papyrological texts, which will be published digitally, and after a rigorous vetting procedure, on Heidelberg’s Propylaeum platform. In the process of publishing scholarly articles online, we will use the schema to extract information from these articles that will then feed our text and metadata repositories. The goal is to increase efficiency across the papyrological digital ecosystem, and the outcome should be 1) a robust transformation schema to be used in-house or by other papyrological publishers, 2) a peer-reviewed e-publication offering scholarly editions in both HTML and PDF, 3) a service for making core XML-TEI/EpiDoc data available to allied initiatives.

Zur Übersicht der Drittmittelprojekte

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