Topic Maps and MVD for the representations of interpretative variants

  1. 1. Alida Isolani

    Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

  2. 2. Claudia Lorito

    Signum, Centro di ricerche informatiche per le discipline umanistiche - Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

  3. 3. Chiara Genovesi

    Signum, Centro di ricerche informatiche per le discipline umanistiche - Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

  4. 4. Daniele Marotta

    Signum, Centro di ricerche informatiche per le discipline umanistiche - Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

  5. 5. Marco Matteoli

    Signum, Centro di ricerche informatiche per le discipline umanistiche - Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

  6. 6. Cinzia Tozzinni

    Signum, Centro di ricerche informatiche per le discipline umanistiche - Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

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1. Introduction and aims Signum, in collaboration with the Istituto Nazionale
di Studi sul Rinascimento, gained a remarkable experience
in analysing and processing humanistic texts,
which resulted in the development of a search engine for
XML documents: TauRo-core.
In this research field a demand has emerged for a system
aimed at developing semantic research and aids for the
reading and interpretation of texts.
The fundamental assumptions of our work have been
proven consistent with the research project carried out
by Prof. Dino Buzzetti about the connection between
expression and meaning in texts [BUZ, 2002]. This perspective
prompted us to reach a further objective, i.e.
testing — through an algorithmic approach — the links
which exist between different interpretations of the same
text, in order to create an output format which is analogous
to the rendering of textual variants.
2. The application
Our research focused on the analysis of De gli eroici furori
— a Renaissance Italian text written by Giordano
Bruno in 1585 — and achieved two results:
• the creation of a system for facilitating semantic research
and text reading [BUZ, 2004];
• the creation of a graph of interpretative variants in
MVD format.
2.1. The system for facilitating reading and
semantic search
We accomplished an online system that allows a guided
reading and a semantic search of De gli eroici furori.
This text has been chosen, firstly, because of its philosophical nature, which allows the outlining of complex
and articulated conceptual structures. Moreover, the subdivision
of the text into various dialogues enables the
reader to follow the diachronic development of concepts.
Therefore, De gli eroici furori is the ideal subject for our
case study (as previously shown by Bassi et al. project
[BDEL, 2007]).
In order to realise our prototype, we decided to delineate
three interpretative variants concerning a single conceptual
unity (intellect) in three dialogues: I, 1; I, 4; II, 5
(this selection is aimed at showing the development of
this conceptual unity across the text). A representative
example concerns the relation between love and intellect:
love enlightens intellect (I, 1); intellect is metaphorically
defined as the faculty of sight (I, 4), so it leads to
the vision of the highest good (II, 5), the true object of
love (I, 4).
I, 1 - p. 792: ... l’amore non è cieco in sé, e per sé
non rende ciechi alcuni amanti... l’amore illustra,
chiarisce, apre l’intelletto...
I, 4 - p. 819: ... l’amor eroico per quanto tende al
proprio oggetto ch’è il sommo bene; e l’eroico intelletto
che gionger si studia al proprio oggetto che è il
primo vero o la verità absoluta...
I, 4 - p. 827: ...perché o significa la potenza visiva,
cioè la vista, che è l’intelletto...
II, 5 - p. 956: ...nove ciechi... sentiro aspergere
dell’acqui bramate, aprîro gli occhi e veddero...[la
luce] che sola possea mostrargli l’imagine del sommo
bene... To represent the semantic dimension of De gli eroici furori
topic maps have been chosen, whose features are
similar to those pertaining to the natural process of text
interpretation; in particular, the standard language adopted
to write topic maps is XTM. This system allows a
guided reading by means of a schematic visualisation of
the topic maps relating to the conceptual unity in question.
Semantic search is carried out by the TauRo-core
search engine. When a query is submitted, TauRo-core
searches in Eroici furori text encoded in TEI format and
searches in topic map files encoded in XTM format. The
two results are then conveyed into a single visualisation,
in order to make available to the user textual occurrences
as well as “conceptual constellations” that are related to
the query (Fig. 1).
2.2. The graph of interpretative variants
Many Digital Humanities IT applications focused on
textual variants, leaving aside interpretative variants.
Our aim is to contribute to overcome this discrepancy
by the adoption of a unified format consistent with both
types of variants, i.e. MVD.
This attempt is made possible by the fact that different
interpretations are described through a XTM standard,
which — being a XML language — is itself a text. Consequently,
Desmond-Schmidt’s algorithm can be applied
to represent any textual interpretation as a path spanning
from the first to the last node in an oriented MVD graph. 3. Conclusions
This project is in line with the theoretical view according
to which it is possible to pass, in the digital processing of
humanistic texts, from the expressive to the interpretative
level. It was carried out through the creation of a tool
for semantic search and guided reading, and through the
implementation of an algorithm to create a data structure
that we can visit with an analogous algorithm used for
textual variants (i. e. MVD).
In the future, our purpose is to use the representation of
interpretative variants by MVD graph to redefine the expressive
level of texts, in compliance with the scheme
suggested by Prof. Buzzetti.
4. Bibliography
[BDEL, 2007] S. Bassi, F. Dell’Orletta, D. Esposito,
A. Lenci. Computational linguistics meets philosophy:
a Latent Semantic Analysis of Giordano Bruno’s texts,
RINASCIMENTO XLVI, 2007, pp. 631 - 651.
[BUZ, 2002] D. Buzzetti. Digital Representation and
the Text Model. New Literary History 33(1), 2002, pp.
61 - 88.
[BUZ, 2004] D. Buzzetti, Diacritical Ambiguity and
Markup, in D. Buzzetti, G. Pancaldi, and H. Short (eds.),
Augmenting Comprehension: Digital Tools and the History
of Ideas, London-Oxford, Office for Humanities
Communication, 2004, pp. 175-188
[BM, 2006] D. Buzzetti, J. McGann. Critical Editing in
Table 1. The topic maps of the above-mentioned textual a Digital Horizon, in Electronic Textual Editing, ed. L. Burnard, K. O’Brien O’Keeffe, and J. Unsworth, New
York, The Modern Language Association of America,
2006, pp. 51 - 71.
[BUZ 2009] D. Buzzetti, Digital Editions and Text Processing,
in M. Deegan and K. Sutherland (eds.), Text Editing,
Print, and the Digital World, Aldershot, Ashgate,
2009, p. 45-62.
[MESC, 2005] F. Meschini, Le mappe topiche: come
imparai a non preoccuparmi e ad amare i metadati, Associazione
italiana biblioteche. Bollettino AIB, 2005, n.
1 p. 59 - 72.

Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None