HumaReC project: digital New Testament and continuous data publishing

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Sara Schulthess

    Vital-IT - Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

  2. 2. Anastasia Chasapi

    Vital-IT - Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

  3. 3. Ioannis Xenarios

    Vital-IT - Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

  4. 4. Martial Sankar

    Vital-IT - Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

  5. 5. Claire Clivaz

    Vital-IT - Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics

Work text
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HumaReC is a Vital-DH@Vital-IT project funded by the Swiss National Foundation that began on October 1 2016, and will run for two years. The research question of HumaReC is to investigate how Humanities research is reshaped and transformed by the digital rhythm of data production and publication. We use as test-case the edition and the study of a unique trilingual Greek, Latin and Arabic New Testament manuscript known as Marciana Gr. Z. 11 (379). This poster presents intermediate results of our research. For more project details, refer to our open research platform , where HumaReC’s research is published.

Change-of-Rhythm in Humanities Research
A two to three years’ research project in the humanities has traditionally been characterized by the writing, editing and publication of a printed book. This final step would often be postponed for a certain amount of time after the end of the project. The reasonably delayed publication of printed books has been perceived, in a certain way, as proof of authentic, well done research, certified by an established book series. Recently, however, the digital turn in the humanities is creating a completely new research paradigm by transforming the scheme and rhythm of research through digital writing material. Publishing formats

can be videos, draft papers, social media posts, short

syntheses of datasets in blogs - all before the research is even completed and peer-reviewed. Certified journals like the New Testament Studies now allow articles to reference blogs of individual scholars (Gather-cole, 2015). The peer-review process is becoming a continuous process, rather than a unique event, and is increasingly based on “community-based-filtering” (see Fitzpatrick, 2009) due to the spreading use of open repositories such as HAL for the SSH (Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe, 2016) or arXiv for the life sciences (Cornell University, 2016).

“Rhythm” is the key-concept through which we observe the changes happening in DH research. According to Henri Meschonnic's analysis, digital writing reminds one of the presence of orality embedded in any kind of written discourse. Meschonnic considered that writing is not opposite to orality but rather includes it, similarly as sense includes sound (Meschonnic, 1995). For him, orality remains inscribed in writing itself, and this relationship can be expressed by the word “rhythm”, since the subject who is speaking always remains related to a performance, to a social act. The speaking subject consists of a “body-social-language”, in writing as well as in speaking (Meschonnic, 1982). Thus, rhythm can be used as a key for the mapping of our analysis of the transformations happening in DH: the rhythms of data production, data mining, data editing and publishing; the rhythms of reading, peer-review, echoes and discussions about research.

Continuous publishing as new practice in
Influenced by the Meschonnic approach, we chose rhythm as a central notion in building the structure of HumaReC: a temporality, based on 24 months, which integrates the diverse levels and parts of the project. A new life sciences journal, Sciencematters, is driving a revolution and was a major inspiration. Led by Lawrence Rajendran (Zürich, CH), Sciencematters argues that “stories can wait, science cannot” (2016). This outlook allows for the publication of many kinds of data, and fosters the fast publication of small datasets before they are integrated into the “full story” of an article. Following this approach, data relating to our project are published continuously on our open research platform. We want to test two levels of publication in our website, on a small scale:

1) Continuous publishing of small datasets that can be corrected and discussed. This includes short blog articles on current research activities and the publication of new folios of the manuscript (part of HumaReC is a manuscript viewer that displays images and transcription of the three languages). In addition to traditional interactive tools as a forum, we are currently implementing an annotation tool that allows users to comment directly on the manuscript transcriptions.

2) Releases of peer-reviewed fixed data. At four stages that have been preset since the launch of HumaRec, the material will be peer-reviewed by an international board and expanded in a written form best described as a “webbook”, as well as an eTalk, a multimedia form of publication that has been developed in Vital-IT.

In addition, we will test different rhythms for transcribing and encoding the manuscript by combining methodologies via automated handwritten text recognition (HTR) using the Transkribus tool (Transkribus, 2016).

Our poster will present the data process of the project and the different sections of the platform, listing

the research methodologies and the IT challenges of

each, as well as their links to

Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe.

(2016) HAL. (Accessed:

20 September 2016)

Cornell University (2016) arXiv. (Accessed: 20 September 2016)

Gathercole, S. (2015), “The Gospel of Jesus' Wife: Constructing a Context.” New Testament Studies, 61(15): 292-313:


Meschonnic, H. (1982). Critique du rythme. Anthropologie historique du langage. Lagrasse: Verdier.

Meschonnic, H. (1995). Politique du rythme, politique du sujet. Lagrasse: Verdier.

Sciencematters. (2016) “Stories can wait. Science can't.” (Accessed: 20

September 2016)

Transkribus Team at the University of Innbruck. (2016). Transkribus. (Accessed: 20 September 2016)

Vital-DH@Vital-IT (2016) The eTalks: a new digital multimedia editing plaform. (Accessed: 20 September 2016)

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2017

Hosted at McGill University, Université de Montréal

Montréal, Canada

Aug. 8, 2017 - Aug. 11, 2017

438 works by 962 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (12)

Organizers: ADHO