Digital Classical Philology – A Review

A new guidebook for digital methods and tools in Classical Studies and Latin and Ancient Greek philology.

Image of books on a yellow background.

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

The anthology Digital Classical Philology collects a number of articles about the state of the art (2019) of the application of digital tools and methods to the study of Latin and Ancient Greek texts, seen in the broader context of Digital Humanities. The intent is to explain "what is reachable and analysable that was not before in terms of technology and accessibility," as Monica Berti puts in the "Introduction". Some articles focus on one or more projects or tools, while others are broader overviews. Throughout the contributions, however, general issues are addressed, such as the long-term sustainability of digital projects and the (partial) standardisation of processes, tools, infrastructures, and methodologies. The fact that technical terms and concepts are explained and made accessible to non-specialists and that possible concrete application of tools and methods are often shown through case studies allows the book to serve as an introduction to the field.

The first group of articles addresses advances, issues, and questions regarding creating open-access digital Latin and Ancient Greek text collections and how these can and should be accessed both through graphic interfaces online and as freely downloadable data sets. Other articles are concerned with the more specific task of designing critical digital editions of classical texts and the features that these should have to fully exploit the potentiality of a digital approach. Of particular interest are the reflections about the apparatus criticus, one of the defining features of a critical edition. A further group of contributions concentrate on the infrastructure which has been developed for cataloguing and coding Latin and Ancient Greek works and authors in such a way that both authors, works and smaller chunks of text (down to word-level) become easily citable in a machine-readable way. Of course, the latter enables the cited entities (authors, text passages, etc.) to be linked to, or incorporated in, other resources (e.g. articles in electronic format and databases). Reflections on the general issue of Linked Open Data (i.e. machine-readable data made freely available to other online resources) are also to be found in many of the contributions, together with examples of solutions and practices from various projects. Tools and methods for text-mining, thematic and linguistic analysis of Greek and Latin texts are presented, too, including an overview of available treebanks, i.e. text corpora annotated for sentence structure, where searches can be performed for morphological and syntactic data.

To conclude, I recommend this book as a handy source of information both for classicists wanting to get up-to-date with the field – especially before embarking on their own digital project – and for other philologists, literature scholars and linguists who share questions and challenges about digital tools and methods with their classicist colleagues.

Monica Berti: Digital Classical Philology: Ancient Greek and Latin in the Digital Revolution, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Saur, 2019.

Available online (open access) and at the University of Oslo Library.

Emneord: Digital Humanities, Classical Studies, Latin, Ancient Greek, Digital Research Methods Av Federico Aurora
Publisert 8. feb. 2022 12:32 - Sist endret 16. juni 2022 05:01

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