Studi umanistici-Antichistica Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage Proceedings of the First EAGLE International Conference

Silvia Orlandi, Vittore Casarosa, Raffaella Santucci, Pietro Liuzzo
In den Flüssen nördlich der Zukunft / werf ich das Netz aus, das du / zögernd beschwerst / mit von Steinen geschriebenen / Schatten. (Paul Celan) Foreward Information Technologies have made possible many important changes in the field of cultural heritage and continue to provide dynamic and exciting media platforms through which new possibilities perpetually emerge. This wave of change has had particularly significant consequences in the field of epigraphy, where a vast array of possibilities
more » ... r digital content fruition continues to reveal itself, constantly opening doors to new and as-yet-unexplored synergies. Many technological developments concerning digital libraries, media entertainment and education are now fully developed and ready to be exported, applied, utilised and cultivated by the public. EAGLE is a best practice network co-funded through the ICT Policy Support Programme of the European Commission. EAGLE's goal is to enable digital access to epigraphic resources, while providing guidelines and using metadata standards for searching and browsing. By creating a seamless and centralised online database, EAGLE is providing access to the epigraphic collections and archives of its project partners, amongst which are many of the leading institutions in the field. An ever-growing part of these resources is becoming accessible through a common, multilingual, easy-to-use portal. The EAGLE metadata will become part of Europeana, the European portal of millions of digitized items from museums, libraries, archives and multimedia collections. The EAGLE 2014 conference aims to function as a forum in which progress-oriented individuals and institutions find a place to collaborate and present results. It also aims to provide an overview of the state of the art for epigraphic digital collections within the framework 2 Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage of the following best-practice themes: digital library tools, education and research facilities, IPR issues, cultural heritage and technologies. The event featured a variety of workshops, sessions and panels that conform to our standard of quality. We hosted a keynote speaker lineup consisting of two of the most salient voices in the field, both He is a founding member of the EpiDoc consortium, a pivotal group for the revolution in digital epigraphy that has taken place in recent decades. 2 An international committee [p.506] evaluated with a double peer review the proposals gathered from the event's Call for Papers. EAGLE 2014 features more than 30 presentations delivered by specialists from several European and overseas countries. 3 Our work on EAGLE has shown us that an interdisciplinary approach to the application of IT to epigraphy is a challenge that must be addressed. It is difficult to meaningfully study all the ramifications of the sometimes troublesome marriage of IT with classical studies. On the one hand, the risk is that humanities scholars may ignore, overlook or oversimplify technical issues; on the other hand, IT people are not necessarily aware of the problems and the needs that are unique to epigraphy and classical studies. As "a digital bridge to the ancient world", the present volume (based on proceedings from the First International conference of the EAGLE BPN in Paris, October 2014) gathers a very wide range of projects in the field of digital epigraphy. Many epigraphies of different periods and contexts are representedand not only in Greek and Latin. Many 1 The keynote address presentation can be seen here: eagle2014/index.html 2 The transcript of his keynote address can be found in horothesia ( 10sghm). 3 See C for details on each contributor's affiliation, and the network page on the EAGLE website 3 tools are presented to improve research possibilities in several areas of interest; interaction and exploration of new possibilities is in many ways the rule of these proceedings. This conference and this volume bear witness to a sort of revolution in its young age; it immortalizes a moment in which aims become clear, enthusiasm is still high, and the full range of possibilities has not yet revealed itself. Although our presentation of these proceedings is organized according to thematic blocks, it is not the only path the reader might take through the various contributions. In part I, Epigraphic Data: Model, Vocabularies and Interactions, the reader will find contributions related to technical data management for epigraphs; their harmonization, modeling, search and research. Chapter 1 describes the efforts needed to map different epigraphic databases into a single model undertaken for the EAGLE project it self. Chapter 2 looks instead at ways to interrogate the data to make the search results interesting for a researcher, starting from the experience of Epigraphic Database Bari. These two chapters deal thus with the two fundamentals of data, encoding and querying to make it usable for research. Chapter 3 deals with the third most issue facing epigraphic data harmonization: the establishment of controlled vocabularies of terms. The perspective given is in this chapter come from a non-strictly-Epigraphic project, LIMC-France's Thea. This initiative shares the challenges and objectives with projects like EAGLE. Chapter 4 uses the DASI project to demonstrate the interactive use of properly articulated vocabularies in a modern digital edition of an epigraphic corpus. This chapter also evinces that the powerful research opportunities offered by digital approaches are not only for Greek and Latin epigraphy. When the variables at play are understood and the community of participants is open, the possibilities are vast. The achievements presented in chapter 5 are of no less importance to understand promise of interactions between traditional epigraphy and modern technologies. The Domitilla Project, already well known in the field, has in fact brought back to life in a spectacular 3D mapping an entire catacomb, allowing (in cooperation with EDB), us to put texts back in their context. Achievements realized thanks to interdisciplinary cooperation are epitomized in chapter 6 , which examines the study of Visual Recognition processes carried out by CNR-ISTI. This exciting 4 Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage work allows machines to help us in research tasks such as the recognition and identification of inscriptions, while providing an extremely useful service to any end user in the field. The last two contributions of this section focus specifically on the text of inscriptions. Chapter 7 shows how readings can be radically improved through the application of the Morphological Residual Model. Chapter 8 looks at a similar possibility; it looks not to the help of sophisticated algorithms, but a simple image editing tool applied to an inscription from Luna. This section of the conference proceeding gives an overarching view on developments in epigraphic study that digital tools can bring to the researcher at the levels of data, functions, content enrichment, project structure, contextualization, ease of use and recognition, and rediscovery of texts. The need for translations of epigraphic documents both for didactic and research purposes as well as for user engagement has become patent in the latest years. A series of extremely interesting projects has taken broached this issue and many questions (and answers) have emerged. The II part of these conference proceedings, Translating Epigraphy: Challenges and Research Outcome, looks at these emerging problems and at the pilot projects dealing with translations of inscriptions. Traditionally translations have been underestimated in their scientific and euristic value, but today the importance of this task for research is becoming clear, and not just because of the lower level of knowledge of the languages; on the contrary, it is because of the high level of interpretation involved and for the relevance this reality has to our understanding of the ancient world. The four contributions in the following section provide a first theorization for this sector of research and scholarly activity. Chapter 9 presents the results of the ongoing online project to publish English translations of Attic Inscriptions. It is the only project currently dedicated specifically to the online publication of a major regional corpus of translated inscriptions for both research and teaching purposes. Chapter 10 introduces a first practical and pragmatic theorization of the translation work, presenting problems and some guidelines for this task on the basis of the inscriptions of Lepcis Magna and Roman Tripolitania. Chapter 11 explores cases and considers the development of translation activity for epigraphists, complementing the propositions 5 of the previous chapter with attention to specific cases as specific lexicon and elliptical forms of expression. The section is then closed with the presentation in 12 partnership with Wikimedia Italia and the Perseids project. This collaboration seeks to bring together existing translations with Wikibase so that translation studies may be carried out more effectively. This contribution segues nicely into the following section, as it deals with the users of this content. Part III Users, Epigraphy and the social web deals substantially with user engagement. Against the common intuition that epigraphy is not a topic that can engage anyone besides researchers and specialised amateurs, the reader will find projects focusing on specific classes, museums and people; on many types of epigraphy, designed for all levels of education. In chapter 13 we look at epigraphy in a primary school in Slovenia. Chapter 14 looks at secondary schools in the British system within the Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions' project, while chapter 15 presents the results of a study conducted with university students in Romania. The picture is then completed in chapter 16 by a large survey directed to those who are considered the main users of digital epigraphy. If this set of contributions looks at the world of education and research, the following moves the focus to cultural institutions, especially museums. Chapter 17 explores the objectives and results of #svegliamuseo in bringing the use of social networks to cultural institutions. Chapter 18 reports the accomplishments of #digitalinvasions, a project that began with users' promotion of free knowledge 4 via social media. Chapter 19 presents the ArcheoWiki project and the many activities that it comprises. This initiative reaches out users, institutions and policymakers to advocate for free knowledge and its dissemination to the public. In the last paper in this section, chapter 20, attention is given to the procedure adopted by the British School at Rome for the resolution of intellectual property right issues. Having thus covered some of the various aspects of a digital epigraphy project, part IV, Digital Approaches to Cross-disciplinary Studies of Inscriptions, looks more directly at some digital epigraphy projects wherein interactions, methodologies and tools are exploited to bring research into this new era, despite skepticism and traditionalism. Among 4 Broadly intended as usable and freely accessible data about cultural heritage for machine and human readers. 6 Information Technologies for Epigraphy and Cultural Heritage these projects, special attention is given to the field of 3D modeling for archaeology (already seen in some of the previous contributions). This is the latest horizon of research interactions and thus deserves more careful scrutiny in the arch of our project. Chapter 21 introduces a project set on digitizing the Marmor Parium, thus bridging to the field of ancient Greek historiography. Chapter 22 problematizes a key point of the digital description of inscriptions: the need to harmonize the description of the text with the description of the text-bearing object (or monument). It presents a theoretical paradigm that throws light on many problems found also in other contributions to this volume. Chapter 23, presents activities and ideas behind the Inscriptions of Greek Cyrenaica project. It gives an example of how new methods bring new questions and approaches to the discipline of epigraphy, while keeping attention on long-term continuity in the needs of codification. Chapter 24 announces to the reader an initiative focusing on a very specific corpus of Latin epigraphic poetry from Hispania and Gallia. It exploits existing tools to bring forward ideas in full continuity with previous scholarship on the poems. Chapter 25 looks at the outcomes of an extremely accurate imaging project, presenting the results obtained for the datation of the inscriptions of Aquincum with deep paleographic analysis. The final contributions are related to 3D projects and methodologies. Chapter 26 looks at basic low cost possibilities like the Structure From Motion technology, while chapter 27 gives an overview of the potential of models and data used with a specific open access toolkit in the context of the Open-Access Epigraphy project. The direct impact on modeling and imaging research is presented in chapter 28, which complements the results presented in chapter 7 by applying the findings of the Morphological Residual Model to epigraphically relevant questions about objects and texts. Finally, the two last contributions look at projects from a multidisciplinary perspective. The EPNet project, in chapter 29, presents one possible way in which rich structured data can be deployed to understand wider controversial issues for the study of the economy of the Roman Empire with an otherwise impossible scientific base. The section is then concluded on a pleasant note in chapter 30 wherein an inscription is translated into real music by the Terpandros ensemble and accompanied by a 3-D modeling of the instrument which would have accompanied the text. 7 A list of the challenging and vibrant panels [A] held during the conference in Paris can then be found after the papers, followed also by a list of the posters [B]. 5 Our hope is that gatherings such as the EAGLE2014 Conference will further promote dialogue between specialists in different fields. We are confident that these efforts will lead to many fruitful future collaborations. The EAGLE2014 conference aims to become a place where institutions, industries, the European Commission and Europeana family projects in the areas of cultural heritage can find ample opportunity for networking, debating, sharing ideas as well as best practices. As editors of the volume and organizers of the conference, it is our pleasure to express our gratitude to the dedicated program cochairs, committee members and conference support staff who have contributed to making the EAGLE 2014 international conference a soldout event.