Tag, You're It: Creating a Richly Annotated Coptic Digital Library

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Religious Studies

Conference Title

Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)


San Diego, CA

Conference Dates

November 22-25, 2014

Date of Presentation



The study of Coptic literature faces a number of challenges, even in the digital age. Pressing concerns even in 2014 include the fragmentation of manuscripts in libraries across the globe, the need for editions and translations of even classic texts, and our continued need for more knowledge about the language itself (its grammar and syntax but also its usage on a popular level), to name just three. Using a developing Coptic digital library known as Coptic SCRIPTORIUM, this presentation will discuss best practices for annotating (often called “tagging”) a Coptic digital library for research into these issues and will present sample research questions that will be studied using the corpus. By Fall of 2015, the Coptic SCRIPTORIUM digital library will have published select texts of Shenoute, Besa, the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, and the New Testament; it will be working on integrating Coptic papyri from the open-source papyrology digital collection at papyri.info, as well. The presentation will address part-of-speech, named entity, language of origin, and biblical citation tagging as well as metadata (including the challenges in using standards for repositories and Coptic manuscripts).

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