Digital Projects for the Gaelic World
The aim of ATG is to create an open access virtual learning environment populated with resources on medieval Irish language and literature which can be used in Irish medium second level education. Project members are working in conjunction with second level teachers to discuss the types of resources best suited to their classroom needs. Examples of resource types are workshopped on an ongoing basis and input from teachers is sought as to how these and other resources should be developed. Particular emphasis is placed on online teaching materials for transition year Irish and Irish History oriented material for class room-based assessment pupil projects in the context of the reformed junior certificate curriculum.
Archetype (formerly known as 'The DigiPal Framework') is freely-available Open Source software for the online presentation of images with structured annotations and data which allows users to search for, view, and organise detailed characteristics of handwriting or other material in both verbal and visual form. Designed primarily for the palaeographical analysis of handwriting, it was first developed for the Digital Resource and Database for Palaeography, Manuscript Studies and Diplomatic (DigiPal) project, funded by the European Research Council, and has since been extended particularly through the Models of Authority and Exon Domesday projects. Examples of its use include the following:
- Writing in Old English from the eleventh century (DigiPal)
- The palaeography and codicology of the Exon Domesday Book (Exon Domesday/The Conqueror's Commissioners)
- Twelfth-century cursive charters from Scotland (Models of Authority)
- Medieval manuscripts from Visigothic Spain (VisigothicPal)
- Fragments of manuscripts from Scandinavia written in the eleventh century (ScandiPal)
- The decoration and script of fifteenth-century manuscripts in Hebrew from the Iberian Peninsula (SephardiPal)
- Inscriptions in Greek, Latin and both from the province of Thracia (InsPal)
- Inscriptions on medieval coins in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (PIM)
Experiments also exist for the use in Egyptian hieroglyphs, Renaissance painting, Buddhist sculpture, Arabic and Chinese, among others.
BILL is an on-line reference tool for scholars and students of Irish language and literature. It offers a comprehensive bibliographical catalogue of the published research in the field.
The currently active project covers publications dating from 1972 onwards, while all the research published down to the end of 1971 is covered by the three volumes appeared previously in 1913 (Dublin: National Library of Ireland), 1942 (Dublin: DIAS) and 1986 (Dublin: DIAS). Thus, the current project is the continuation of the work of Richard Best (1872–1959) and Rolf Baumgarten (1936–2012). Together, all four bibliographies cover everything printed from the earliest times to the present day.
Works listed here relate to Irish philology understood in the broadest sense of the term. All linguistic disciplines are considered, from phonetics and phonology to syntax, dialectology or computational linguistics, and all periods of the history of the language are included, from Proto-Irish to the modern day dialects, with the inclusion of Scottish Gaelic and Manx. The literature comprises all that has come down to us in all genres from the earliest times down to the late-nineteenth-century Gaelic Revival, preserved for the most part in manuscript form. Gaelic literature from Scotland is also included here, although the upper limit is fixed by the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Contemporary Irish language literature is considered beyond the scope of this bibliography.
All types of academic publications are referenced: journals, monographs, honorary volumes, congress proceedings, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and so forth. Their reviews are also included in BILL.
BILL is currently offered as a browsable database. Plans are currently being made to upgrade it to a fully-searchable on-line database.
The digital replication of cultural objects is a rapidly developing field all over the world, and Ireland is no exception. Through 3D-visualisation techniques, virtual reality and 3D printing, advanced 3D technologies are increasingly being used in museums and cultural institutions to share collections, educate the public, preserve works of art and inform research agendas. While many cultural institutions in Ireland are engaging with this type of technology, we do not fully understand its implications for research in the long term. This project aims to investigate its benefits and challenges in relation to the Irish replica collections.
Through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, like the rest of Europe and other parts of the world, Ireland was fascinated by reproductions of cultural objects. A number of Irish institutions formed collections of replicas, particularly for instruction in the history of art. As elsewhere, these replicas fell out of fashion in the twentieth century and the Irish reproductions were substantially reduced in number. There are, however, a number of important collections of historic replicas left in Ireland today.
This research is exploring the parallels between the historic replication of objects, especially in the period from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, and the current digital replication techniques being applied to the same objects. Although the means of creation of historic replicas and digital ones are different (e.g. plaster casts vs 3D models), many of the reasons for making them are the same. These reasons include their use as educational tools, their commercial possibilities (i.e. as souvenirs for sale) and, in the case of the historic replicas, their status as artefacts in their own right. The now-historic replicas went out of fashion due to changing tastes and trends, and many collections were devalued and destroyed during the twentieth century. Is it possible that the same will happen to today’s digital replicas, or can they be made genuinely sustainable and integrated into modern exhibition spaces?
The research asks a number of key questions, including: Why do we feel the need to replicate objects of cultural significance? With (digital) replicas all around us, do we still value ‘authentic’, ‘real’ objects above copies that can be mass-produced? How can cultural institutions like museums and galleries, and the general public, benefit from the use of new technologies and their collections of replicas? What is the long-term, intrinsic value of digital replicas, and what will happen to this data in the future?
Ireland’s historic replicas form one of the best, and yet least understood, collections in Europe. This project aims to reveal these valuable collections in a contemporary manner. It ties Ireland’s history of re-creating culturally significant objects into modern developments in technology and cultural studies and investigates the benefits and long-term implications of advanced 3D-replication technologies to cultural institutions in Ireland. It will achieve this through a study of the parallels between historic replicas and the current surge in digital replication.
The aim of the CELTIC DIGITAL INITIATIVE project is to make scarce resources available in an electronic format to students and scholars. There are four major sections: Images (digitised pictures of interest to Celticists), Text Archive (links to PDF files of rare material), Celtic Noticeboard (an area devoted to announcements of forthcoming conferences, events, vacancies, publications etc.) and Celtic Journals (tables of contents of Celtic Studies journals). However, CDI primarily functions as a portal site linking to relevant materials found in various online locations. In the field of Celtic Studies, we are particularly fortunate in having good digital textual resources on various websites. However, the standard editions of many of the texts available on these sites, along with detailed studies of them, are often only preserved in hard-to-access books and journals, many of which are out of print. Providing this material in electronic format adds to the suite of digital tools necessary for a thorough examination of our medieval literary culture in the Irish language; the case is similar for sources in the other Celtic languages.
Chronologicon Hibernicum - A Probabilistic Chronological Framework for Dating Early Irish Language Developments and Literature
ChronHib aims at refining the methodology for formalising the description of Early Medieval Irish language variation and change from the late 6th to the mid 10th century A.D. The project combines philological and linguistic analysis with computational and statistical methods in order to build a chronological framework of the changes in phonology, morphology and syntax that transformed the Irish language in that period. A key factor in this is the linguistic profiling of externally dated texts, especially historically anchored sources such as annalistic writing, and serialising the emerging linguistic and chronological data. The resulting framework can then be used to more precisely position hitherto undated literary texts in the Early Irish period.
A key output of ChronHib is Corpus PalaeoHibernicum (CorPH), a lexical database and corpus of key Early Irish texts. In addition to annotation for POS, morphological and syntactic information, the ChronHib team developed an additional layer of annotation for CorPH, namely ‘Variation Tagging’, i.e. a tagset that numerically encodes synchronic language variation during the Early Irish period, thus allowing for much improved research on the chronological variation among the material. Another novel method of studying linguistic variation is ‘Bayesian Language Variation Analysis’ (BLaVA), which addresses the challenge that ‘not-so-big data’ poses to statistical corpus methods. Instead of reflecting feature frequencies, BLaVA models language variation as probabilities of variation. This can be useful where data is too sparse, fuzzy or messy to allow straightforward frequentative analyses, as is commonly the case in underrepresented, historical languages. Employed in conjunction with Variation Tagging, BLaVA is a powerful tool to model the historical development of languages such as Old Irish and to make progress in a more precise understanding of their chronology.
CODECS is an online platform published by the A. G. van Hamel Foundation for Celtic Studies, which is based in the Netherlands. It presents an ongoing attempt at building a comprehensive descriptive catalogue of sources of interest to Celtic studies, including every text and manuscript ever written, together with a bibliography which currently holds over 20,000 publications. In addition, to enrich ways in which users can discover and explore these resources of the past, it provides structured information about the contents as well as contexts or provenances of the sources described. This includes making semantic links to persons, places, topics and other entities, which allows for different points of entry to users navigating the site. The focus is on pre-modern sources and current coverage is ‘biased’ towards Irish and Hiberno-Latin material. The software used for data storage and querying is Semantic MediaWiki, which was found to be robust, flexible and pluggable. CODECS plays host to complementary projects such as Tionscadal na Nod, a resource for getting to grips with scribal abbreviations in Irish manuscripts. The website is designed to be collaborative and open to scholars looking to set up new projects within its infrastructure and ecosystem.
Cardamom is an IRC Laureate-funded project (principal investigator Dr John McCrae) with the aim of developing a variety of Natural Language Processing tools and resources to deal with under-resourced languages, both historical and modern. Insights from comparative linguistics and data gathered from the web are used to bolster NLP techniques and applications such as word embeddings and polylingual lexicons as applied to minority and historical languages.
CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts, is Ireland's longest running Humanities Computing project. It brings the wealth of Irish literary and historical culture to you on the Internet, for the use and benefit of everyone worldwide. Its searchable online text corpus consists of over 19 million words, in 1636 contemporary and historical documents from many areas, including literature, medicine, travel, and the other arts.
The LexiChron project is exploring the potential of computer-assisted document dating to provide an absolute chronology for large numbers of ancient or medieval texts – what we call chronometrics. Quite apart from the increased capacity and speed of these methods, electronic dating can provide scholars with testable levels of confidence in the dates supplied. Our experiments have been run on a corpus of medieval Irish texts drawn primarily from the CELT corpus but the method is applicable across a wide range of ancient and medieval languages. We have developed algorithms to refine and test a range of methods and we conducted experiments on both modern English and medieval Gaelic (Irish) texts. The method that we have developed aims to overcome several problems associated with pre-Modern texts, notably their preservation in non-contemporary manuscripts and long periods of transmission which can lead to corrupted, modernized and stratified texts. If a text contains multiple strata, how do we distinguish between those and the original composition layer? How can documents be dated when no contemporary copies survive? How can dating be carried out efficiently in the absence of tagged or parsed corpora, and how can an algorithm deal with non-standard orthography and a high level of grammatical inflection? The methods explored here not only handle high levels of irregularity and unpredictability, but also prove better at dating modern English texts than existing methods. Experiments on the Irish annals have demonstrated accuracy rates of 76% for a tolerance of +/- 25 years, well in excess of previous best methods. The model that we constructed from our training set can be applied to other texts and genres and we have tested it on a corpus of 36 narrative texts of known date spanning 700 years with compelling results. Rather than ‘ranking’ texts relative to each other, this method enables full chronometric dating. We describe the principles of building a robust training set and various problems that scholars are likely to encounter, as well as a method for addressing bias in the training data.
The goal of this project is to encode the contents of the medieval Irish genealogies as a database. To achieve this goal, and due to the nature of the source material, the curators chose the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to represent the material as a graph. Because this is a human-curated database, a human readable representation of RDF was needed. The curators chose the TRiG concrete representation of RDF. These files can be taken and ingested into any database system which accepts TRiG as a file format then queried using SPARQL. Results can be returned as text, tabulated, or visualized using a number of different visualization techniques. The intent is to make the medieval Irish genealogies easier to search and navigate for researchers who, while conversant in medieval Irish literature, may not consult the genealogies due to their bulk. Recent specialists in the genealogical tradition, such as Nollaig Ó Muraíle and Matthew Holmberg, have commented that the materials’ bulk and complexity call for a digital solution. IrishGen endeavours to offer that.
Currently, IrishGen encodes the major genealogical collections from the Book of Leinster, Rawl. B.502, and Laud Misc. 610, as well as shorter items from elsewhere, such as the pedigrees of Cú Chulainn from Lebor na hUidre or the more genealogically focused poems from Dúanaire Finn. Material from each manuscript is encoded separately, even where there is a known textual relationship, and manuscript collections are further subdivided. This is so that areas of commonality and variance can be readily identified between and within manuscripts. The focus is currently on the Irish genealogical tradition, although Gaelic sources from Scotland or even sources in other medieval languages could be included without additional technical difficulty.
In terms of what is encoded, the curators prioritise genealogical information, which is often all that the source material offers anyway, while adding other information (e.g. titles) where it occurs and where its encoding is feasible in RDF. Only what is explicitly stated in the source material is encoded. A much larger dataset can then be inferred from the encoded statements (to give a simple example, if it is encoded that X is child of Y and Y is child of Z, it will be inferred that X is Z’s descendant), meaning that the curators can both render the source material accurately and generate a comprehensive account of the tradition’s testimony.
As well as general issues with textual comprehension and interpretation, certain project-specific challenges are faced by IrishGen’s curators. For example, all references to the same individual need to be linked to one another and determining whether the same individual being referenced in different contexts can be very difficult, given the mutability of the tradition and the limited information provided. In terms of querying, the inferencing that makes RDF so powerful can also make it difficult to trace results from queries back to sources, meaning that particularly complex queries sometimes have to be composed.
Dynamic Edition of the Declaration of Arbroath (part of 'Community of the Realm in Scotland 1249-1424' project)
The objective of the new edition is to show the 'Declaration of Arbroath' that was available to be read in medieval Scotland, insofar as this is revealed by the surviving manuscripts. The text is well known as a contemporary duplicate original single sheet; a copy of this (or a draft of it) was made in the 1420s. It also survives in copies of a dossier of documents relating to Scottish independence found in for MSS containing Fordun’s canonical telling of Scottish history, and in works derived from Fordun. The earliest of these later MSS dates to around 1430; in the following century or so there are 19 MSS altogether (five of them each contain two different versions of the text). The most recent edition (in 1970) aimed at reconstructing the ‘original’ text that was sent to the pope in 1320: this was based on a study of the duplicate original and five of the later copies. The new edition, by contrast, is exclusively concerned with making available the text as it was available to be read in medieval Scotland. This means editing the text in a way which gives equal weight to each scribe’s work—a task which requires new principles and procedures in editorial practice. The display enables the text in different witnesses and versions to be read side-by-side and the text in particular sentences to be compared. There is also a ‘heat map’ for visualising the occurrence of ‘unsettled’ text.
eDIL is a digitised and revised version of the the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language (1913-1976. There have been three main phases to the dictionary project, all funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Phase I: Digitisation (2003-2007). The text of the entire dictionary was captured by triple-keying and scanning. The text of this edition is identical to that of the Academy’s Dictionary, except that obvious errors were corrected and that the published Additions and Corrections for the letters A-C and F were incorporated. The original format of the Dictionary was preserved in this edition, and the original column and line numbers were retained so as to allow references given in this form to be located in the electronic version. The text was tagged in XML according to the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) for Print Dictionaries; data types tagged include headwords, definitions, internal cross-references, grammatical information (case, stem, number, etc.), citations and their translations, references, including title of work and page reference, language of the text, and lemmas. Parts of speech were added where they were missing.
Part 2: Revision I (2007-2013). The research team identified scholarship relevant to a revision of the dictionary through a comprehensive reading programme of major Celtic Studies and linguistics journals for the period 1932-2013. The aim of the revision was to ensure, as far as possible, the currency of the entries in the dictionary and to correct errors. New entries were added, along with new and revised definitions, additional or corrected citations, and additional or amended grammatical information. This resulted in revisions to/creation of 4000 entries. Headwords were amended where new evidence demanded a change. The work of this project was published as a revised edition (2013), along with a separate Supplement detailing the changes made. A superior search engine was built using Xbase and a new interface created.
Part 3: Revision II (2014-2019). This project focussed on scholarly editions published since 1932, particularly those dealing with the Old and Middle Irish periods, and which, therefore, may have been unavailable to the original compilers of the different fascicles. The texts were read in full to determine whether they contained any additional material which would add to the value of dictionary entries or improve their accuracy, including new definitions, new grammatical information, additional or corrected derivational hints, and new citations which clarified the meaning or use of a word. Ghost words were identified and marked where they appear in printed editions or removed where they were cited only from manuscripts. Unique IDs (PURLs) were added to enable persistent references. Bibliographical abbreviations, which had varied between fascicles, were standardised. Internal cross-references were validated and corrected where necessary. The year of revision was added to each revised entry and these now appear as a separate field in each entry. The revised Dictionary was published in 2019, and a Companion detailing the major changes was published in 2020.
eScriptorium is a fully free and open-source platform for the automatic transcription (OCR/HTR) of historical documents in almost any script or writing system. Based on the kraken software, it incorporates the latest techniques in machine learning and deep learning, it is different from comparable systems for two main reasons: one, that it is entirely free and open source, including not only the sofware itself but also the trained models can be exported and shared externally to the software, and because it is designed specifically to accommodate most of the world's writing systems and so is very highly customisable in this respect. The framework has already been used successfully for Latin, Greek, French, Arabic, Hebrew, Old Vietnamese and Old English. It allows import and export via international standards including ALTO XML, PageXML, IIIF and (shortly) TEI, as well as plain text, and can work with any characters in Unicode, or beyond using user-supplied mappings.
In the longer term, the ultimate purpose of eScriptorium is to provide as complete as possible a workflow for the production of digital editions. Transcription as the first block in the workflow is now functioning and being tested on a wide range of scripts, and soon we will also have the annotation of images along much the same principles as those of the Archetype project, and the annotation of texts according to the TEI standard for adding philological, historical, linguistic, palaeographical and other information.
Faclair na Gàidhlig is an internuniversity project invovling the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI. Its aim is to compile a dictionary of Scottish Gaelic on historical principles similar to those applied in the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST, www.dsl.ac.uk) and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED, www.oed.com) in order to provide Gaelic with a resource comparable to those already available for English and Scots. The dictionary will be freely available online at www.faclair.ac.uk and accessible through both Gaelic and English.
The Foundation Project (2003-18) focussed on investigation of lexicographical structures to meet the needs of Gaelic; the development of training materials to train the first historical lexicographers in Gaelic; and the creation of a corpus of around 30 million words of continuous text to provide the first-hand evidence on which to base the dictionary. The lexicographical foundation was an inter-disciplinary undertaking involving two lexicographers from the team which completed the editing of DOST in 2000 and two Gaelic scholars, Professor William Gillies and Professor Colm O Baoill, who acted as Language Consultants. The language corpus consists of evidence gleaned from manuscripts, printed text and oral material. The manuscripts section of the corpus currently contains approximately 158,000 words relating to around 7,100 headwords, transcribed from manuscripts from the 12th to the 18th centuries and covering a range of genres. The corpus of printed material currently consists of around 26 million words of continuous text and is being created under the auspices of the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG), directed by Professor Roibeard O Maolalaigh, at the University of Glasgow. This is already accessible to the public in the freely available resource at www.dasg.ac.uk launched in 2014. Transcription of oral material began last year in a collaborative project with Tobar an Dualchais / Kist o Riches (www.tobarandualchais.co.uk) and over 87,000 words have been transcribed from recordings digitised by the Tobar an Dualchais project. Eventually, lexicographers will access evidence from all three sources through a single corpus resource that will also be available to the public through DASG. All text is being marked up appropriately to facilitate this. Systems development is ongoing to enable full manipulation of the corpus for lexicographical purposes.
Faclair na Gàidhlig is supported by an international Advisory Board whose membership is drawn from the fields of lexicography, Celtic studies and computational linguistics. The core team of four lexicographers is now in training and compilation of the dictionary is underway. Publication is scheduled to begin in September 2021.
The Irish Script on Screen project was launched in 1999 and was one of the first specialist manuscript-digitization projects established in Ireland, and it is one of the longest-running in Europe. We are currently celebrating our 20th year this year. The ISOS project set's out to produce high-resolution digital images of Irish manuscripts and to make these available for educational and research purposes on the internet.
The potential for combining texts, either diplomatic or normalized, with images of the sources themselves and linking those images to manuscript catalogues has revolutionized the way in which scholar's and all academia now access manuscripts. Ancillary material, chiefly consisting of catalogue descriptions, is displayed with each digitized manuscript.
Irish Script On Screen aims to digitize a complete intellectual entity, rather than part of it, digitize an entire book rather than a chapter or a page. Provide free, worldwide access to research resources, creating an electronic source of scholarly, educational and cultural interest.
ISOS continues to be a very successful project. Its growth has been greatly facilitated by the development of institutional partnership agreements with all the major repositories of Irish manuscripts in Ireland, including the National Library of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy, Trinity College Dublin to name a few. But also has developed internationally with the likes of The National Library of Scotland, Chatsworth, The State Library of Victoria and our latest partners, KU Leuven, The Royal Library of Belgium and The British Library. Collaborations to date reach some 25 different institutions, here and aboard.
The ongoing need for primary access to these books by scholars has become an increasing concern to librarians, given the fragile nature and physical state of the documents. ISOS in addition to fulfilling its scholarly and cultural purposes, helps to preserve the manuscripts themselves by reducing greatly the need to handle them, therefore helping in their long-term preservation: thus, scholars today do the bulk of their work from ISOS images online, only consulting the manuscript itself when necessary, to examine a binding, for instance, or a particular ink, or watermark.
The Royal Irish Academy is one of Ireland’s largest repository of Irish Manuscripts. ISOS is now used as their first point of primary access for there manuscript collections.
There are now 425 Manuscripts on ISOS, upwards of 80,000 large-resolution images. There have been just over 5 million requests on the ISOS site last year, all images are free of charge. Standard images are on open access.
ISOS opens up some of the most important Gaelic Manuscripts to not just scholars but the widest possible audience, sharing treasured collections with the world.
Léamh: Learn Early Modern Irish aims to facilitate greater engagement with Early Modern and Classical Modern Irish sources (c. 1200-1650) by scholars across fields and disciplines, and amongst the general public. In the absence of readily-available learning materials – grammar, dedicated dictionary and learner’s guide – acquisition of Early Modern Irish has always been difficult. Léamh is intended to address that absence by offering guided translations of a wide range of texts and genres, a grammar with basic paradigms and descriptive summaries, and a searchable reference glossary. Its aim is not to produce translations for Anglophone consumption, but rather to use guided translation as one element in a broader strategy of fostering increased readership of Irish. To that end, the project team is currently completing two new features for the site: a ‘grammar game’ – in collaboration with Greenhouse Studios of the University of Connecticut – by which users can build their confidence in the language through graded practice sessions; and a paleography primer to assist those wishing to access primary sources.
The project is driven by a collaborative ethos that is represented in its approach to knowledge creation and dissemination. It was begun by scholars whose formal training was not in Irish language and literature and who wished to help others like themselves gain confidence in reading original-language sources. As such, it is constructed to harness both the insights of learners and the expertise of specialists in the pursuit of optimal learning outcomes. To understand what newcomers to Early Modern Irish might find difficult or confusing, it is necessary to ask them. Thus, each sample text on the site is analyzed and translated by specialists and non-specialists alike. Specialists provide explanation, context, accurate translation, and learning tips and pointers; readers of ‘intermediate’ level work through the texts and identify questions and areas of confusion, which are shared with subject experts whose responses to those queries form part of the ‘General Guide’ and ‘Detailed Guide’ tabs.
In keeping with that ‘collaboration-first’ approach, Léamh is also an exercise in network creation. Critical to the project’s construction and growth is the input of people, at different career stages, representing a range of disciplines, skills and interests. Network-building, thus, operates at two levels: through the creation of multiple, task-specific ‘teams’ to tackle various aspects of the project, and the highlighting of participating scholars and practitioners throughout the site. It is hoped that over time Léamh may not only assist in linking scholars across disciplines interested in Early Modern Irish, but also increase the number of people wishing to engage with the language and its archive, whether their interest is scholarly or casual.
The standard historical reference-work on Irish placenames for over a century has been Fr Edmund Hogan’s "Onomasticon Goedelicum" (Dublin, 1910). The remit of the Locus Project is the provision of a new historical dictionary, essentially a revised, enlarged and updated version of Hogan’s "Onomasticon".
The Placenames Database of Ireland was created by Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge in collaboration with The Placenames Branch (Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media). It is a comprehensive management system for data, archival records and placenames research conducted by the State. It is a public resource for Irish people at home and abroad, and for all those who appreciate the rich heritage of Irish placenames.
This project has made available a searchable, morphologically-parsed database of all the Old Irish glosses found in Milan MS Ambr. C301 inf. (i.e. the Milan Glosses).
Resource for the study of the diplomatic, script and physical appearance of 700 Scottish single-sheet charters chiefly from the medieval archives of Durham Cathedral Priory and its cell Coldingham Priory, Holyrood Abbey, Melrose Abbey and St Andrews Cathedral Priory. Digital images of each charter are marked up to enable palaeographical features to be searched. The images, and the text and translation of each charter, are also marked up (compatible with TEI) to show the main sections of each document. These can be searches as Manuscript, Image, Text, Graph and Clause, using a faceted browser with search criteria grouped under ‘Text Date’, ‘Document Type’, ‘Repository’, ‘Beneficiary’, Palaeographical ‘Feature’ and ‘Component’. There are conventional ways of visualising results, and a new ‘barcode’ form that allows results to be visualised chronologically. There is also a ‘Lightbox’ for combining and manipulating images.
As the earliest written Irish and our earliest contemporary records containing the names of people and population groups from the 5th and 6th centuries AD, the aim of this project was to create a multidisciplinary, digital corpus of Ogham stones and their inscriptions for both researchers and the general public. Because of the three dimensional nature of Ogham inscriptions on stone, which generally wrap around the angle or edge, an additional aim of the project was to record in 3d as many as possible of the approximately four hundred surviving Ogham stones and to make the 3d models freely accessible online to allow for improved remote visualisation and re-use.
Database of all known people and institutions in Scotland, their names, roles, relationships and transactions between 1093 and 1314 mentioned in contemporary documents (extended to include royal charters to 1371). A total of 10,046 documents are included, referring to 22,544 people and institutions and 4,545 places. ‘Scotland’ is defined by the kingdom’s bounds on 19 March 1286, rather than by modern Scotland: as a result, Berwick and the Isle of Man were included (which are now within England), but not Orkney or Shetland (which were part of the kingdom of Norway until 1469). If a document relates to anywhere within these bounds, or is likely to have been produced there, it has been included.
Any document which recorded or represented an interaction between individuals and/or institutions is included, such as a charter giving, granting or renewing property and/or privileges, or a document addressed by one or more people to named individuals (such as a brieve instructing them what to do or not do, or notifying them of something), or a record of an inquest into property or rights that had been in dispute between individuals. As a result, PoMS is not just a database of individuals and institutions, but also of their interactions (as parties to a transaction, or witnesses or participants in an inquest), and of the various ways that individuals might be identified in the context of interactions between others (for example, as neighbouring or previous landholders, or as beneficiaries of the prayers that would be offered in return for a gift of land to a monastery). As such, it represents a different kind of prosopography from the traditional focus on individual careers. Instead, the emphasis is on relationships, and how this was expressed and structured at the time through the medium of the documents themselves. Each individual and institution still has their ‘person page’, but this is a record not so much of their career but of how they appear in the context of interactions with others, or by others. The person page is but a small part of what PoMS has to offer the researcher. It is chiefly a prosopography of social interactions in a specific context, rather than of individuals on their own.
The structure of the database as a ‘factoid prosopography’ can be seen in the ontology class diagram here: https://www.poms.ac.uk/rdf/doc/images/ontology-diagram.png. Using the interface at www.poms.ac.uk, it can be searched under ‘People and Institutions’, ‘Factoids’, ‘Sources’ and ‘Places’, using a faceted browser with search criteria grouped under ‘Dates’, ‘People and Institutions’, ‘Sources’, ‘Relationships’, ‘Transactions’ and ‘Terms of Tenure’. Results are displayed in maps as well as text. There is also a facility to explore the database through SNA (https://www.poms.ac.uk/sna/) using gephi visualisations.
The Irish Foundations of Carolingian Europe - the case of calendrical science (computus)
The project lies at the heart of our understanding of the formation of Europe and the Irish intellectual contributions thereupon. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century and the rise of Islam in the 7th led to a shift from the Mediterranean as the focal point of the known world to a tripartite division with limited interactions (Latin West, Greek East, Arabic South). In the following four centuries, the Latin West developed from its Frankish center to Europe in the form and with the ethnicities and states that we know today. But was the intellectual formation of Europe a development that owed principally to the Carolingian Empire (and its ‘Renaissance’) around the pivotal figure of Charlemagne (†814)? Or were the intellectual achievements of the periphery of the previous century instrumental in shaping European history?
This project systematically analyses, for the first time, the Irish contribution to the intellectual formation of Europe on the basis of one subject, computus (calendrical science), making accessible still unknown key texts and conducting a comprehensive analysis of the computistical manuscript composed between c. 650 and 900 in key areas of Irish influence. There will be three main elements: (i) edition, translation, and commentary of the two most important texts, the Computus Einsidlensis (composed c.AD 700) and Dicuil’s Liber de astronomia (written in AD 814-6), with the aim of defining Irish diagnostic features (‘objects’); (ii) a newly developed digital ‘Object Based Catalogue’ of computistical manuscripts which will make it possible to trace the transmission of Irish ideas (the ‘objects’) and reconstruct continental networks of Irish thought; and (iii) a synthesis of the findings and defining the Irish contribution to every aspect of this discipline. Overall, the project will improve our understanding of the intellectual history of early medieval Europe, and will securely define and contextualise the achievements of the Irish ‘Golden Age’.
The digital aspect of this project consists of compiling and constructing a database of all computistical manuscripts in Carolingian Europe between the period 650 and 900 AD. This database currently has 300 entries. The Irish features in these manuscripts will be highlighted, in the form of ‘objects’. This will allow us the map the spread of computistical ideas over time and space, tracing the intellectual influence of Irish computistical ideas and the formation of intellectual networks in Carolingian Europe. The aim of this database and resulting visualisation is to serve as a trend-indicator or question generator, which in turn will inform research avenues and closer reading of specific material.