Learning About Digital Resources for Slavonic-Byzantine Studies

The recently held ReIReS DH Course in Sofia attracted several scholars from all over Europe. One of the participants, Martin Lüstraeten of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz shared his experiences with us.

Martin Lüstraeten:

“The ReIReS DH course in November 2019 in Sofia was dedicated to the topic of “Digital Resources for Slavonic-Byzantine Studies”. Anna-Maria Totomanova, Maria Totomanova-Paneva, Gergana Ganeva and Ivan Christov hosted the course and introduced the participants to the Historical Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language and its several features.

The database was developed by the institute for the History of Bulgarian and comprises several existing dictionaries of Old Church Slavonic that were digitalized or especially compiled for this project. An especially designed unicode font for Old Church Slavonic warrants the correct display of the results and an embedded virtual keyboard helps people without Slavonic keyboard to type entries in Old Church Slavonic. Also embedded is a database containing all possible and all documented inflections and variants of words, thus making it possible to search also for inflected forms in Old Church Slavonic. The dictionary also gives access to the corpus of texts, which is at the base of the dictionary and which is displayed in a way that makes commentaries and variant readings easily accessible. Part of the programme was also a look behind the scenes on apps and add-ins that facilitate generating entries.

At several times during the course, the documentation and practica on the respective features of the Historical Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language gave rise to inspiring and fruitful discussions about the efforts to collect and convert the data, the problems of funding, and the typical problems in maintaining such a system after it has once been set up.”