Annotation as a New Paradigm in Research Archiving. Two Case Studies: Republic of Letters- Hebrew Text Database

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We outline a paradigm to preserve results of digital scholarship, whether they are query results, feature values, or topic assignments. This paradigm is characterized by using annotations as multifunctional carriers and making them portable. The testing grounds we have chosen are two significant enterprises, one in the history of science, and one in Hebrew scholarship. The first one (CKCC) focuses on the results of a project where a Dutch consortium of universities, research institutes, and cultural heritage institutions experimented for 4 years with language techniques and topic modeling methods with the aim to analyze the emergence of scholarly debates. The data: a complex set of about 20.000 letters. The second one (DTHB) is a multi-year effort to express the linguistic features of the Hebrew bible in a text database, which is still growing in detail and sophistication. Versions of this database are packaged in commercial bible study software. We state that the results of these forms of scholarship require new knowledge management and archive practices. Only when researchers can build efficiently on each other's (intermediate) results, they can achieve the aggregations of quality data by which new questions can be answered, and hidden patterns visualized. Archives are required to find a balance between preserving authoritative versions of sources and supporting collaborative efforts in digital scholarship. Annotations are promising vehicles for preserving and reusing research results. Keywords annotation, portability, archiving, queries, features, topics, keywords, Republic of Letters, Hebrew text databases
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication75th annual Meeting ASIS&T2012
PublisherAmerican Society for Information Science & Technology
Number of pages11
VolumeVolume 49
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • digital libraries; annotation


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    van Peursen, W. T. & Roorda, D.


    Project: Research

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