Working to define “factoid prosopography”

The Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) (previously the Centre for Computing in the Humanities) at King’s College London first developed the idea of factoid prosopography back in about 1995. It grew out of a need then to think about how to do prosopography in a structured data (database) environment.  Since these early days, CCH/DDH has been involved in 6 prosopographical projects (latest finished in 2016) that consciously took up the factoid approach.  Furthermore, the idea of a factoid prosopography has generated interest from historians around the world who wish to do their own projects independently from DDH.

Although papers have been published on the idea of the factoid in prosopography (see Bradley and Short 2005 and Pasin and Bradley 2015), they provide only a rather high level overview of what the structural implications for a factoid prosopography might be.  Hence, this new site, developed by me, at:

entitled Factoids: A site that introduces Factoid Prosopography.

Why have I created this site? I was not the originator of the idea of the factoid (this was developed by Gordon Gallacher and Dion Smyth in 1995, before I was at KCL).  However, I am the only one at DDH to have been involved in work (ranging from junior developer in the early days, to senior developer and then co-investigator more recently) in all six of the prosopographical projects that took a factoid approach and that involved DDH.  Based on this sense of continuity alone, it seemed natural for me to be the right person to describe the factoid approach as we have developed it at DDH.

The Factoids site contains three sections:

  1. a brief document that describes what I think factoid prosopography is all about,
  2. links to the various projects that CCH/DDH (and in particular, I) have been involved in that describe themselves as factoid prosopographies (along with two prosopographies done with the participation of CCH/DDH and myself that do not!), and
  3. a first attempt at a formal ontology (called the “Factoid Prosopography Ontology”: FPO) that is meant to capture what seems to me to be some of the important formalisms that have underpinned the CCH/DDH factoid prosopographies.

Item 3 deserves a brief explanation. This formal ontology is expressed as an RDFS/OWL ontology (and is, in fact, distributed through GITHub).  Why is this useful? Well, as one of the earliest thinkers about computer ontologies put it, an ontology is “an explicit specification of a conceptualization” (Gruber 1995, p. 908), and through it, as Noy and McGuinnes say, allows one:

  • To share common understanding of the structure of information among people or software agents
  • To enable reuse of domain knowledge
  • To make domain assumptions explicit
  • To separate domain knowledge from operational knowledge
  • To analyze domain knowledge (Noy and McGuinness, undated)

Prosopography data from different projects, by its very nature, is likely to gradually link together.  A structured data prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England is likely to connect through common persons and places with prosopographies for, say, Scandinavia that explore material of the same time period.  The more consistent the structure that they share, the more straightforward and stronger the connection that can be made between them.  As Gruber says, “[w]e use common ontologies to describe ontological commitments for a set of agents so that they can communicate about a domain of discourse without necessarily operating on a globally shared theory.  We say that an agent commits to an ontology if its observable actions are consistent with the definitions in the ontology.” (p 908)

By proposing FPO in the languages of the Semantic Web, RDFS and OWL, I was able to think of FPO as formulation of a formal core for factoid prosopography, a core that could be naturally expanded using the range of techniques that RDFS and OWL enable to meet the differing needs of various projects that implement it.

I think of FPO as still being rather preliminary, and as the title of this blog suggests, FPO should be most definitely thought of as work in progress. Indeed, for this reason I have assigned it a version number of 0.2 to it! Furthermore, although other projects can choose to commit to the view of factoid prosopography that FPO represents, DDH’s view of what formal structure enables and constitutes factoid prosopography, as presented in FPO, needn’t be the only possible view, of course.  Others are most definitely free to take up some part of the idea of factoid to suit the needs of their own project and yet implement a quite different approach to modelling their prosopography.  However, I think it fair to say that DDH has had perhaps the longest, and the most, experience with working successfully on the factoid approach, and for that reason alone it is worthwhile presenting, in some detail, what DDH’s views on these matters might be.  This is what the new Factoids site and the FPO prototype ontology are aiming to achieve.


Bradley, John and Harold Short (2005). “Texts into databases: the Evolving Field of New-style Prosopography” in Literary and Linguistic Computing Vol. 20 Suppl. 1:3-24.

Gruber, Thomas R. (1995). “Toward principles for the design of ontologies used for knowledge sharing?” In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Vol. 43, No. 5–6, November 1995, pp. 907-928.

Noy, Natalya F. and Deborah L. McGuinness (undated). “Ontology Development 101: A Guide to Creating Your First Ontology”. Online

Pasin, Michele and John Bradley (2015). “Factoid-based prosopography and computer ontologies: Towards an integrated approach”. In Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. Vol 30 No. 1, pp. 86-97.  published online June 29, 2013 doi:10.1093/llc/fqt037.

Digital Classics Training: Structuring and visualising data

Digital Classics Workshop:
Structuring and visualising data

Thursday November 5, 10:30 – 17:30
Institute of Classical Studies
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

51_357ba541-ff3d-4ad1-8884-72279ac0b1e0The Institute of Classical Studies is offering a one-day training workshop for postgraduate students and researchers on structuring and visualising historical data. The workshop will offer a basic introduction to issues around tabular data, database design and linked open data, and tools for visualisation for both presentational and analytical purposes. Participants will gain hands-on experience of creating database tables (in Google Spreadsheets), cleaning and enhancing their data, and building visualisations based on it using a variety of free sites and tools. We shall suggest and discuss how these methods can be applicable to your research.

No previous digital experience is required, but participants should bring their own laptop and have an account on Google Drive and be prepared to download some free software in advance of the workshop. The workshop will be taught by Silke Vanbeselaere (KU Leuven) and Gabriel Bodard (ICS). This workshop has been made possible by the generous support of the LAHP and AHRC.

Registration is free.
To book a place on the workshop, please contact
Valerie James (

Workshop: 3D cultural heritage and landscape

Digital Classics Workshop
3D approaches to cultural heritage and landscape

Thursday, September 24
Institute of Classical Studies
Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

The Institute of Classical Studies is offering a training workshop for postgraduate students and researchers on the use of 3D approaches in the study of cultural heritage artefacts and landscapes. The workshop will offer a basic introduction to the principles behind 3D imaging, modelling and representation of terrain and elevation, and how these can be used in research as well as visualisation. It will also give participants hands-on experience using simple and free software packages to produce complete 3D models and visualisations, with methods easily transferable to their own research.

No previous digital experience is required, but participants should bring a laptop and a digital camera or smartphone and be prepared to install some free software in advance of the workshop. This workshop has been made possible by the generous support of the LAHP and AHRC, and staff from KCL.

Registration is free.
To book a place on the workshop, please contact Valerie James (

Registration Opens for DigiPal V: Wednesday 2nd September 2015

Dear all,

It is with great delight that the DigiPal team at the Department of Digital Humanities (King’s College London) invite you to attend the fifth DigiPal Symposium at King’s on Wednesday 2nd September 2015.

As usual, the focus of the Symposium will be the computer-assisted study of medieval handwriting and manuscripts. Papers will cover on-line learning resources for palaeography, crowdsourcing Ælfric, image processing techniques for  studying manuscripts, codicology, the Exon Domesday book and medieval Scottish charters.

Speakers will include:

  •  Ben Albritton (Stanford): “Digital Abundance, or: What Do We Do with All this Stuff?”
  • Francisco J. Álvarez López (Exeter/King’s College London): “Scribal Collaboration and Interaction in Exon Domesday: A DigiPal Approach”
  • Stewart Brookes (King’s College London): “Charters, Text and Cursivity: Extending DigiPal’s Framework for Models of Authority”
  • Ainoa Castro Correa (King’s College London): “VisigothicPal: The Quest Against Nonsense”
  • Orietta Da Rold (Cambridge): “‘I pray you that I may have paupir, penne, and inke’: Writing on Paper in the Late Medieval Period”
  • Christina Duffy (British Library): “Effortless Image Processing: How to Get the Most Out of your Digital Assets with ImageJ”
  • Kathryn Lowe (Glasgow)
  • Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet (Bar-Ilan University) and Gila Prebor (Bar-Ilan University): “Towards an Ontopedia for Hebrew Manuscripts”
  • Leonor Zozaya: “Educational Innovation: New Digital Games to Complement the Learning of Palaeography”
  • Plus a roundtable with Arianna Ciula (Roehampton), Peter Stokes (King’s College London) and Dominique Stutzmann (Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes).

Registration is free and includes refreshments and sandwiches.
It’s easy: just sign-up with Eventbrite:

For further details, please visit

And, in case that wasn’t enough palaeography for one early September, the following day there’s also the  “The Image of Cursive Handwriting: A One Day Workshop”, with David Ganz, Teresa Webber, Irene Ceccherini, David Rundle and Marc Smith. To register, visit

Very much looking forward to seeing you in September, at one or both events,

Stewart Brookes and Peter Stokes

Dr Stewart J Brookes
Department of Digital Humanities
King’s College London

Digital Classicist seminar by MA DH students (Friday July 3)

The Pedagogical Value of Postgraduate Involvement in Digital Humanities Departmental Projects

Francesca Giovannetti, Asmita Jain, Ethan Jean-Marie, Paul Kasay, Emma King, Theologis Strikos, Argula Rublack, Kaijie Ying (King’s College London)

Digital Classicist London & Institute of Classical Studies seminar 2015

Friday July 3rd at 16:30, in Room 212, 26-29 Drury Lane, King’s College London, WC2B 5RL

The SNAP (Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies) Project at King’s College London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Digital Transformations big data scheme, seeks to act as a centralized portal for the study of ancient prosopographies. It links together dispersed, heterogeneous prosopographical datasets into a single collection. It will model a simple structure using Web and Linked data technologies to represent relationships between databases and to link from references in primary texts to authoritative lists of persons and names. By doing so it particularly addresses the issue of overlapping data between different prosopographical indexes. It has used as its starting point three large datasets from the classical world – the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, Trismegistos, and the Prosopographia Imperii Romani – and aims to eventually be a comprehensive focal point for prosopographical information about the ancient world.

A team of voluntary postgraduate students from the department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London has been involved in the further development of certain parts of the project, which build upon the skills learnt in the offered Masters Degrees. These include coding tasks with Python, RDF, SPARQL queries and improvements to the final HTML pages as well as administrative tasks such as communicating and negotiating with potential contributors for the expansion of the dataset.

This initiative provides the students with the opportunity to apply these skills to a large scale project beyond the usual scope of the assignments related to the Masters Degrees. It gives the opportunity to experience how a team of digital humanists work towards a common objective. This offers a more well-rounded perspective of how the different components involved in a digital humanities project interact with and mutually support each other. The talk will be analysing the pedagogical value of these initiatives for postgraduate students approaching the work world or continued academic study.


The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

DH/Classics seminar: Perseus, Open Philology and Greco-Roman studies for the 21st century

Digital Humanities and Classics Research Seminar

Wednesday June 24th, 18:00
Room K3.11, Strand Campus, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS

Professor Gregory Crane
Universität Leipzig and Tufts University
Perseus, Open Philology and Greco-Roman studies for the 21st century


Professor Crane is the Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities at Leipzig, and the Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship and Professor of Classics at Tufts University. He completed his doctorate in classical philology at Harvard University. From 1985, he was involved in planning the Perseus Project as a co-director and is now its Editor-in-Chief. He has received, among others, the Google Digital Humanities Award 2010 for his work in the field.

Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire (PBE) comes back to life

One of King’s oldest digital prosopographical project has recently returned to life, and is now freely available online at

The Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire (PBE) began as a project back in the late 1980s to produce a prosopography of individuals who appear in sources from the early Byzantine Empire (641-867 AD).

The principal compiler and editor for PBE was John Robert Martindale with Dr Dion Smythe as Research Associate and Dr Mary Whitby as Research Assistant to the project. PBE was supported by the British Academy from the beginning (and, indeed, the Academy has generously continued to support work in this area up to the present day), with a scholarly committee formed of prominent scholars including Professor Robert Browning (chair of the project until his death in 1997), Professor Averil Cameron (chair), Professor A.A.M. Bryer, Dr Larry Conrad, Professor Donald Nicol, Sir Dimitri Obolensky, Professor Charlotte Roueché, Professor John Haldon, Professor Judith Herrin (deputy chair), Dr James Howard-Johnston, Professor Paul Magdalino, Mr John Robert Martindale, Dr Rosemary Morris, Professor Margaret Mullett, Mr Harold Short, Dr Dion Smythe and Dr Mary Whitby. An agreement of collaboration was signed in 1993 between the British Academy (for PBE) and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (for PmbZ).

After the PBE work was done funding was acquired (initially from the precursor to the current AHRC, the AHRB) to begin prosopographical work on a third period of the Byzantine Empire – a project that came to be called the Prosopography for the Byzantine World (1025-1150); available at

PBE has an interesting story to tell to Digital Humanists, since, unusually for its day, the project was conceived of from its very beginning as a digital project to be published in some kind of electronic form. It was taken up by what was then King’s College London Computer Centre’s Research Unit in Humanities Computing (which eventually became what is now the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s). Thus, staff within the RUHC were actively involved in the conception and development of PBE as a digital product: initially Gordon Gallacher, Mark Stewart, and (when he joined the department in 1997) John Bradley. Throughout, the work was planned and coordinated by Harold Short (who was technical director). Indeed, in the mid and late 1990s there emerged a then highly original vision for prosopography when Gallacher, Stewart and Smythe developed a model to represent prosopography as a structured data project based around a relational database for storage.

In the 1990s it was not at all obvious in what form a digital publication that would be accessible to Byzantine scholars should be published, especially since the data itself was held on a centralised relational database held at King’s. Furthermore, at the time many Byzantine scholars did not have ready access to the internet and were not yet familiar with the World Wide Web. Thus, the publication was originally conceived of in terms of a Digital CD disk that would hold the materials, and could be purchased and then used by scholars on their own personal computers. Even when, in the later 1990s, the CD medium still seemed the way to go, it was still not clear what software would be used to make a PBE CD usable on any computer Byzantinists would be likely to have. After some early prototyping by John Bradley, it became evident that the database data could be expressed in terms of a set of HTML web pages, and after approval of the PBE committee, he developed the procedures that extracted the data and generated the materials that were put onto the CD as a set of highly interlinked HTML pages (approx 13,000 pages). The original disk even included a version of the early web browser NetScape that could be installed from the disk itself if the CD user did not already have a web browser on their computer.

Web technology was not as mature in the late 1990s as it is today. First, the PBE materials contained some amount of ancient Greek text, and although today Unicode support on pretty well any contemporary computer provides for the display of Greek as a matter of course, in the 1990s there was yet no adequate support to display Greek text on most computers. Thus, a Greek font was located (SPIONIC was used), and technical work was carried out to translate the Greek representation as it was in the database (extended Greek Beta-Code) into a representation that would work with this font. The font itself was also provided on the CD. Next, some degree of interactivity was thought desirable for this material. Thus, a small set of Javascript programs were hand-crafted and weaved into the CD materials to support facet-like filtering of data. In the late 1990s JavaScript was a much more limited creature than it is today (there was then no mechanism to get at the actual HTML of web pages, for example), and this use of Javascript to support enriched browser-based user interaction on humanities data was a very new and innovative development at the time. Finally, page layout technologies such as CSS were only in the earliest phases of development, so richer layout and navigation was created by the use of HTML frame technology.

Even by the time the PBE CD was published by Ashgate Publishing Ltd in 2001, it was becoming evident that an online version of PBE, served over the WWW, was becoming an appropriate way to make PBE available.  However, as it turned out, publishing PBE on the WWW had to wait many years. At last, due to the kind permission of Ashgate Publishing and a bit of work recently by John Bradley and Ginestra Ferraro (DDH), the full set of materials that were originally available via the CD have been at last been made available online for free at After being presented with a few modern-looking front pages, the user quickly finds him/herself being presented with web pages as they were designed in 1998-2001. However, not all of the technical design is exactly as it was on the CD, and a few features behind the scenes have been updated to reflect more modern browser standards. The special Greek font is no longer needed because the Greek text has been translated into Unicode for the online PBE version, and the Javascript interactive component has been updated to take advantage of more recent, and more satisfactory, components and practices.

One could argue that the PBE project represented an important stage of development for the Digital Humanities, and certainly for DH at King’s.

  • It was the first at King’s of the kind of highly collaborative academic projects that blended academic and technical innovation, and that aimed to explore the potential of digital publication. This approach, proposed and developed originally by Harold Short, proved to be highly successful, and provided the model for more than 40 subsequent highly successful multi-year collaborative projects that have operated at DDH according to similar principles. The Clergy of the Church of England database, the Fine Rolls of Henry III, the People of Medieval Scotland, the Art of Making in Antiquity, and many others are the fruit of this approach.
  • PBE was the first project where the factoid approach to structured prosopography was developed and then used. The factoid approach, originally developed by Gordon Gallacher and Dion Smythe, has undergone further development from its form in PBE, but has been used very successfully in a good number of structured prosopography projects including the Prosopography of the Byzantine World, the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England, the Breaking of Britain project, the Making of Charlemagne’s Europe project, and has been taken up by other prosopographical projects worldwide.
  • The PBE CD represents a very early attempt to think about how to publish highly structured data over the WWW in a form that was effective for humanist use. Subsequent work on how this should be done can be traced over many years in the approaches used by several other long standing online research projects at DDH such as the Stellenbibliographie zum “Parzival” Wolframs von Eschenbach, Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland, Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Digitisation Project, British Printed Images to 1700 and Early Modern London Theatres.
  • Finally, PBE represents a very early attempt to use Javascript in a Digital Humanities project to enhance client/browser side interactivity for its users. Javascript has developed a very long way from what it was like in the late 1990s, and it is now capable of supporting very rich and complex user interaction. However, even under the limitations of what Javascript could do in the 1990s, PBE’s use of it revealed some of what Javascript’s potential was as a tool to provide enriched interaction in humanities scholarly resources.

PBE was originally published on CD with the conscious aim by its committee of keeping its cost as low as possible so that it would be affordable to as many researchers as possible. Since then, the WWW has made it possible to publish freely available complex resources to any scholar with access to the internet, and this development is clearly still in the process of transforming scholarship. We are very grateful to Ashgate publishers for agreeing to permit this material that was originally published by them on the CD to be now made freely available to an international scholarly community.

Digital Classicist London seminar 2015

Summer 2015 programme

Digital Classicist London & Institute of Classical Studies seminars

Meetings are on Fridays at 16:30 in room G21A*, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

(*except June 14 in Room 348; June 26 and July 3, not in ICS—see below)


Seminars will be followed by refreshments

Follow or discuss the seminars on Twitter at #DigiClass.

Jun 5 Jen Hicks (UCL) From lost archives to digital databases (abstract)
Jun 12 Leif Isaksen, Pau de Soto (Southampton), Elton Barker (Open University) and Rainer Simon (Vienna) Pelagios and Recogito: an annotation platform for joining a linked data world (abstract) Rm 348
Jun 19 Emma Payne (UCL) Digital comparison of 19th century plaster casts and original classical sculptures (abstract)
Jun 26 Various speakers (names and titles tba) (in UCL)
Jul 3 Francesca Giovannetti, Asmita Jain, Ethan Jean-Marie, Paul Kasay, Emma King, Theologis Strikos, Argula Rublack and Kaijie Ying (King’s College London) The Pedagogical Value of Postgraduate Involvement in Digital Humanities Departmental Projects (abstract tha) (in KCL)
Jul 10 Monica Berti, Gregory R. Crane (Leipzig), Kenny Morrell (Center for Hellenic Studies) Sunoikisis DC – An International Consortium of Digital Classics Programs (abstract)
Jul 17 Hugh Cayless (Duke) Integrating Digital Epigraphies (IDEs) (abstract)
Jul 24 Saskia Peels (Liège) A Collection of Greek Ritual Norms Project (CGRN) (abstract)
Jul 31 Federico Aurora (Oslo) DAMOS – Database of Mycenaean at Oslo (abstract)
Aug 7 Usama Gad (Heidelberg) Graecum-Arabicum-Latinum Encoded Corpus (GALEN©) (abstract)
Aug 14 Sarah Hendriks (Oxford) Digital technologies and the Herculaneum Papyri (abstract)

(Organised by Gabriel Bodard, Hugh Bowden, Stuart Dunn, Simon Mahony and Charlotte Tupman.)

Registration Opens for “Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts” at KCL…


We are delighted to announce the programme for On the Same Page: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts at King’s College London. This two-day conference will explore the potential for the computer-assisted study of Hebrew manuscripts; discuss the intersection of Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities; and share methodologies. Amongst the topics covered will be Hebrew palaeography and codicology, the encoding and transcription of Hebrew texts, the practical and theoretical consequences of the use of digital surrogates and the visualisation of manuscript evidence and data. For the full programme and our Call for Posters, please see below.

Registration for the conference is free. As places are limited, we recommend registering at an early point to avoid disappointment. To register, please click on this link:

Refreshments will be provided, but attendees should make their own arrangements for lunch.

Very much looking forward to seeing you in May,

Stewart Brookes, Debora Matos, Andrea Schatz and Peter Stokes

Organised by the Departments of Digital Humanities and Theology & Religious Studies (Jewish Studies)
Co-sponsor: Centre for Late Antique & Medieval Studies (CLAMS), King’s College London

Call for Posters
Are you involved in an interesting project in the wider field of Jewish Studies? Would you like to have a presence at the conference even though you’re not giving a paper? If so, then you might like to consider submitting a poster which summarises the objectives, significance and outcomes of your research project. We’ll display posters throughout the conference and if you attend with your poster, then you can talk about your work with attendees during the lunch breaks. Display space is limited, so please send a brief summary (max. 100 words) of your research/project to The deadline for the receipt of submissions is Thursday 30th April 2015. Notice of acceptance will be sent as soon as possible after that date.

Conference Programme 

Monday 18th May 2015

8.45 – Coffee and registration

9.15 – Welcome

  • Stewart Brookes and Débora Matos (King’s College London)

9.30 – Keynote lecture

  • Chair: Andrea Schatz (King’s College London)
  • Colette Sirat (École Pratique des Hautes Études): The Study of Medieval Manuscripts in a Technological World

10.30 – Coffee/Tea

11.00 – Session 1: Digital Libraries: From Manuscripts to Images

  • Chair: tbc
  • Ilana Tahan (British Library): The Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project at the British Library: An Assessment
  • César Merchán-Hamann (Bodleian Library): The Polonsky Digitisation Project: Hebrew Materials
  • Emile Schrijver (Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana/University of Amsterdam): The Real Challenges of Mass Digitization for Hebrew Manuscript Research

12.30 – Lunch break

13.30 – Session 2: (Roundtable): Digital Images: Scale and Scope

  • Chair: Jonathan Stökl (King’s College London)
  • Rahel Fronda (University of Oxford): From Micrography to Macrography: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Script
  • Ilana Wartenberg (UCL): Digital Images in the Research of Medieval Hebrew Scientific Treatises
  • Estara Arrant (University of Oxford): Foundations, Errors, and Innovations: Jacob Mann’s Genizah Research and the Use of Digitised Images in Hebrew Manuscript Analysis
  • Dalia-Ruth Halperin (Talpiot College of Education, Holon): Choreography of the Micrography

15.00 – Coffee/Tea

15.30 – Session 3: Digital Space: Joins and Links

  • Chair: Paul Joyce (King’s College London)
  • Sacha Stern (UCL): The Calendar Dispute of 921/2: Assembling a Corpus of Manuscripts from the Friedberg Genizah Project
  • Israel Sandman (UCL): Manuscript Images: Revealing the History of Transmission and Use of Literary Works
  • Judith Kogel (CNRS, Paris): How to Use Internet and Digital Resources to Identify Hebrew Fragments

17.00 – Keynote lecture

  • Chair: Stewart Brookes (King’s College London)
  • Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (École Pratique des Hautes Études): The Books Within Books Database and Its Contribution to Hebrew Palaeography

Tuesday 19th May 2015

9.15 – Keynote lecture

  • Chair: Peter Stokes (King’s College London)
  • Malachi Beit-Arié (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): The SfarData Codicological Database: A Tool for Dating and Localizing Medieval Codices, Historical Research and the Study of Book Production – Methodology and Practice

10.15 – Session 4: Digital Palaeography: Tools and Methods

  • Chair: Julia Crick (King’s College London)
  • Débora Matos (King’s College London): Building Digital Tools for Hebrew Palaeography: The SephardiPal Database
  • Stewart Brookes (King’s College London): A Test-Case for Extending SephardiPal: The Montefiore Mainz Mahzor

11.15 – Coffee/Tea

11.45 – Session 5: Digital Corpora: Analysis and Editing

  • Chair: Eyal Poleg (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Ben Outhwaite (Cambridge University Library): Beyond the Aleppo Codex: Why the Hebrew Bible Deserves a Better Internet
  • Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (École Pratique des Hautes Études), co-author Hayim Lapin (University of Maryland): A Digital Edition of the Mishna: From Images to Facsimile, Text and Grammatical Analysis
  • Nachum Dershowitz (Tel Aviv University), co-author Lior Wolf (Tel Aviv University): Computational Hebrew Manuscriptology

13.15 – Lunch break

14.30 – Keynote lecture

  • Chair: Débora Matos (King’s College London)
  • Edna Engel (The Hebrew Palaeography Project, Israel): Hebrew Palaeography in the Digital Age

15.30 – Session 6: Data and Metadata

  • Chair: tbc
  • Sinai Rusinek (The Polonsky Academy at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute): Digitally Reading from Right to Left
  • Yoed Kadary (Ben Gurion University): The Challenges of Metadata Mining in Digital Humanities Projects

16.30 – Concluding roundtable

17.00 – Refreshments

The conference convenors would like to thank the Departments of Digital Humanities and Theology & Religious Studies as well as the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at King’s College London for their generous support. With thanks to the Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department for permission to use the image from Lewis O 140 (The Masoretic Bible of Portugal). Photograph courtesy of Débora Matos.




MA in Digital Humanities at King’s College London

  • The MA in Digital Humanities is one of the leading programmes of its kind, housed in one of the field’s largest and most prestigious departments. A 180-credit postgraduate programme leading to a Master of Arts qualification, it combines theory and practice informed by a wide array of humanities subjects, focusing on their nexus with digital scholarship and research, and the new questions that arise as a result.
  • All the Department’s teaching is research-led. In 2014, King’s College London was ranked 16th in the world in the QS World University Rankings of the top 800 global Higher Education institutions. The Department of Digital Humanities in a joint submission with the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries performed very strongly in the 2014 Research Exercise Framework (REF), ranking 1st in the country according to the research ‘power’ metric under the ’36 – Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management’ unit of assessment. As a student, you will be part of a dynamic and world-leading research department.
  • DDH enjoys close links and collaborations with other faculties and departments in humanities domains such as English, History and Classics, Culture, Media and Creative Industries, and also with departments such as Informatics. DDH works closely with the King’s Cultural Institute to connect and partner with cultural institutions in London and elsewhere.
  • The Department is located in the heart of London’s historic West End, amid the UK’s leading galleries, museums and theatres. The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are within easy walking distance, as is the British Museum (all of which offer free general admission), the Petrie Museum, and the British Library, which students in the Department may apply to join as Readers free of charge.
  • Students may study for one year full-time or two years part-time. The degree is structured as an intensive process of preparation for further professional development, or for further postgraduate study. A compulsory core module provides a solid basis for understanding the field’s theory and practice: Introduction to Digital Humanities provides an overview of the intellectual and practical issues of applying digital methods to humanities material. Students choose four optional modules from a varied selection, spanning areas including Digital Arts and Culture, Cultural Heritage, Visualization and Web Technologies. Modules include Digital Publishing; Open Source, Open Access, Open Culture; Web Technologies; Communication and Consumption of Cultural Heritage; Maps, Apps and the GeoWeb: Introduction to the Spatial Humanities. No previous experience of coding or qualifications in computer science are necessary.​
  • Students will also undertake independent research via the dissertation with the supervision of leading practitioners from the Department.
  • King’s offers a range of funding opportunities, including Postgraduate Scholarships for UK/EU students and President’s Scholarships for Overseas students.