Ancient Lives: Classics and Digital Humanities at Oxford
Since August 2011, Ancient Lives has recorded well over 1.5 million transcriptions of ancient Greek papyri (over 7 million characters), the work of over 250,00 online collaborators. The result was not simply the creation of big data, but the inception of an entirely different way of conceiving and interfacing ancient digital texts. Put simply, Ancient Lives has created something that has never existed before: a database of unedited Greek texts. We have strings of Greek characters without word division or any modern editorial convention. However, to access and make full use of that data, as texts actually read in antiquity, new algorithmic methods and digital tools that merge machine and human intelligence are required. The purpose of this lecture is to showcase, first, the Ancient Lives' method for data extraction, curating, and producing digital Greek texts from this unique crowd sourced dataset. Then, and perhaps more importantly, to introduce two new Ancient Lives grant funded projects, in which new tools are being developed for the digital editing, data mining, and researching Greek and Coptic fragments through an advanced online interface.