This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.
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The Brown University Local Bamboo Group met and discussed various actual scenarios for research and scenarios. The participants in this discussion were two faculty members and 4 CIS staff members from the Academic Services Group.
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Scenario: Doing research with inscriptions is much easier with a digital corpus. Using print editions a scholar has to read through many volumes, as the material has been published over many years - some corpora have been in continuous publication for over 100 years.
The Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine [http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/Inscriptions/s a project that is gathering inscriptions from the geographic area of historic Israel/Palestine, from 500BCE to 500CE into one digital corpus. It is designed to avoid the shortcomings of print corpora, as well as to highlight areas of interest of the researcher who is leading the project.
A particular inscription may be in one of several large print corpora, or it may be published in a journal article. In the first case, the inscription will be organized according to geographical location (museum or findspot) or will be listed in a print index. In the latter case, the inscription may be hard to locate without skimming epigraphical journals.
Digital corpora allow searching on both content and metadata for relevant information. The print indices aren't as rich.
The Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine tries to remedy this problem. It's relatively easy, and very worthwhile to add as much metadata as possible as part of the encoding of an inscription. For example, an inscription may be marked as written in Greek, containing a Hebrew name, in red letters. This is already more information than the print index can contain. Since the researcher who is building a digital corpus doesn't know what uses it will serve for other scholars, it is important to capture metadata of general interest as well as information that refects the researcher's own interests.
The other significant improvement that a digital corpus can offer are high quality images of the inscriptions.
Ability to annotate text and images.
Ability to play with things, chart density of Greek inscriptions on a map, for example.
These are useful both as playful, exploratory activities and as more teleological, hypothesis testing activities.
Simpler, more controlled versions of the scholarly activities described above can also be turned into assignments for students. They have to be more carefully planned, so that the students may find some results in a reasonable amount of time, and with the context that they have available to them. The goal of these activities is to introduct the students to scholarly research methods for this type of text.
A sample assignment may be to look at languages and names, so that they have to think about the meaning of a Hebrew inscription that refers to Abraham, the son of Theodorus. (It might reflect a religious revival, for example.)