Illuminated charters with the computer
From the point of view of Digital Humanities the project addresses the following research questions:
Modern information technologies support multimedia representation and retrieval of information. The standards in Digital Humanities research have only recently started to consider these possibilities: only in 2010, for example, the TEI has published suggestions for encoding text in several production stages in the context of genetic edition11. The development of software linking the image of a text to its description has seen several suggestions (e.g. TILE, T-PEN). Image annotation is a common research area in web technologies, but databases of art history still focus on flat image databases with descriptive metadata.
By now the main focus in the application of semantic web technologies in the Digital Humanities lies on the reference to controlled vocabularies for persons and places. Attempts to link to other vocabularies (e.g. FinnOnto from the Semantic Computing Research Group [SeCo], University of Helsinki or the UK Archival Thesaurus) have not become main stream applications12. The potential for the description, indexing and retrieval of cultural heritage as objects of humanities research which is offered by knowledge organisation in classes, in transitive relations and the ability to distinguish between concepts and (multilingual) labels, has to be explored even further.
The project team has already created an extensive documentation of illuminated charters in the past. In a first step of the planned project this documentation has to be converted into a database accessible to all collaborators. This joint research instrument is preferably an online service granting easy access from different places. The project will use the Monasterium Collaborative Archive (MOM-CA).
MOM-CA supports a collaborative approach and will allow the creation of individual user collections by the end of 2013. These user collections may contain user specific additions to and modifications of the original descriptions published by the archives. MOM-CA already includes tools for the extraction and management of image zones, so it will offer all functionalities required if used as a virtual research environment for the proposed project.