Épigraphie et Informatique

AIEGL IT Commission Workshop, Rome May 28-29, 1999

At the end of May a Round Table meeting was held in Rome on the subject of "Epigraphy and Information Technology". The meeting was organised on behalf of the IT Commission of the AIEGL by its President (Silvio Panciera) with the support of the University of Rome La Sapienza and the French School at Rome. Participants in the Round Table included the members of the Commission (Géza Alföldy, Alain Bresson, Kevin Clinton, Charles Crowther, Manfred Hainzmann, Silvio Panciera) together with Carlo Carletti, Ivan Di Stefano Manzella, Marcus Dohnicht, Antonio Enrico Felle, John Jory, Jurgen Malitz, Claudio Zaccaria and the AIEGL President Werner Eck. John Bodel, Astrid Capoferro, Silvia Evangelisti, Luca Galli, Gian Luca Gregori, Claudia Lega, David Nonnis, and Emanuela Zappata, were also present as auditors.

The aim of the meeting, which had been preceded by a year long e-mail dialogue, was to examine whether (and in what form) it would be possible to create a new coordinated project for the digitisation of all surviving Greek and Latin epigraphical texts produced down to the end of Antiquity.

At the end of two days of intensive work and fruitful discussion participants in the Round Table agreed to recommend the creation, under the patronage of the AIEGL, of a text database in which all Greek and Latin inscriptions are to be entered according to the best available editions. Alongside the text data base of inscriptions a virtual databank of digitised images accessible through hyperlinks is to be created. Access to the epigraphical data base and to the linked image databases will be through the Internet and is to be completely free and unrestricted.

The AIEGL will nominate an Organising Committee to promote the new project which will include, in addition to the members of the IT Commission, other scholars from countries involved in the project but not already represented on the Commission.

A number of problems and practicalities remain. Some of these are technical. Creation and use of a large text database will be simplified by the implementation of common standards for text and font encoding - for that purpose a Document Type Definition (DTD) will be used and the Commission will also be lobbying for the representation in the Unicode standard of all the characters required for editing epigraphical texts. The major challenge faced by the project, however, will be to obtain sufficient funding to implement this important, but ambitious programme.

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Created on Sunday, 24 October, 1999: 19:38:19