Home » Uncategorized » 4/23/2013 : Presentation “Identity and Identification in the Digital Humanities” at Princeton University

4/23/2013 : Presentation “Identity and Identification in the Digital Humanities” at Princeton University

Posted by on Thursday, March 28, 2013 in Uncategorized.

On Saturday, March 23, 2013, Thomas Carlson, postdoctoral fellow, presented a paper at the “Identity and Authenticity” Symposium of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence in Princeton, NJ.  The full title of the talk was “Identity and Identification in the Digital Humanities: The Challenges and Experience of Syriaca.org.”  Here is the abstract:

The growing field of digital humanities seeks to bring together research problems defined in the humanities with the amazing surge of computational power developed in recent technology.  The result is a constellation of new tools being developed to enable humanistic research, while grappling with the theoretical issues distinctive to the humanities which resist the tidy definition of problems and answers in terms of mathematical formulae and computational precision.  One such tool is the Syriac Reference Portal (Syriaca.org), a reference website for Syriac Studies currently being developed jointly by researchers at six institutions including Vanderbilt University, Princeton University, and the Beth Mardutho Research Library.  This talk will present an overview and partial demo of Syriaca.org which is collecting data about Syriac authors, saints, people mentioned in Syriac texts, and places, while enabling automatic linking of our data with existing tools such as online manuscript catalogs.  The talk will consider challenges of “identity” and “identification” in relation to digitization. The problem of the identity of past persons, places, and objects (such as manuscripts) includes the question of how to represent multiple and/or ambiguous identification within the constraints of databases.  The Syriac reference portal has worked to overcome these issues through collaboration between technical experts and humanities researchers, in order to develop tools useful for complex data discovery, authority control and context-independent identifiers for computational use.

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