Paolo Monella, An ontology for digital graphematics and philology

The euristic potential of hyperdiplomatic transcription can be fully developed only if the latter is based on a well-designed and shared data model. To make only one example, algorithms for statistics or structured queries should consume data in which the distinction between objects such as "grapheme" and "alphabeme" is clearly modelled, since in Latin "vi" we have two graphemes that may represent the corresponding alphabemes ("vi", "with force"), or may represent a number. Similar issues arise, for instance, when dealing with transliterations, abbreviations, non-alphabetic (e.g. alphasyllabic) scripts. Thus, the modelling of concepts such as glyph, allograph, grapheme, grapheme type (alphabetic, diacritic, punctuation etc.), alphabeme, abbreviation, phoneme, word impacts data, algorithms and their euristic value alike. Since TEI aims to be theory-agnostic, it does not provide a shared model for the concepts listed above (glyph, allograph etc.), but instead suggests a Unicode-based pragmatic approach to the representation of ancient ("non-standard") graphemes. As a consequence, each project produces transcriptional data following its own editorial conventions and, therefore, based on its own data model. The consequent reduction of interoperability is dramatic if we want to step up from mere data visualization for human reading to machine analysis. Ontologies are one of the best current DH practices to formalize a data model, and Linked Open Data are the best way to share those formalizations as open, reusable and modular objects. In my talk, I will discuss my data model for digital graphematics, oriented towards digital transcription and editing of pre-modern handwritten textual sources. My current project at the Venice Centre for Digital and Public Humanities aims to formalizing that model into a LOD ontology and to implementing it in classes of an object-oriented programming language. My use case for the hackathon will be my edition of Ursus Beneventanus, built upon that model (http://www.paolomonella.it/ursus).

Paolo Monella Curriculum
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