Digital Humanities in Papyrology (Vannini)

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Working title

The role of Digital Humanities in Papyrology: practices and user needs in papyrological research


This Digital Humanities project investigates the application of digital methods to Papyrology. My aim is to understand how papyrologists gather and organise information and how digital approaches have influenced their research practices. I will analyse the impact of Web and digital resources on papyrological research, and will address this topic from the perspective of the history of Papyrology.

The research questions that I will examine are the following. How do Web and digital technologies affect papyrologists’ research methods? In what ways do digital practitioners – both active (who develop innovative digital tools or approaches) and passive (whose work is improved by the digital tools produced by others) – do philological research? What are the characteristics of the generational divide between papyrologists?

My research will build both on primary sources such as digital papyrological projects, and on secondary sources such as studies about digital projects, papyrologists’ work method and the history of the discipline. I will collect other data through observation, placement and interviews, which will involve watching how papyrologists work and interact with each other when they are given electronic tools, and visiting centres to experience digital research practice and conduct interviews in their work places.


As part of my dissertation, I am preparing a review of digital papyrological collections and resources. The review aims to provide an as complete as possible list of the existing digital projects, tools and other resources, available for papyrological research. It will allow me to collect useful data for my investigation of the impact of the new technologies and methods on papyrologists' work. Any comment in the document (e.g., about additions to the list or a different categorisation) is welcome.

The first conclusions from the interviews I have been conducting so far are available here. I presented them at a seminar of the Digital Classicist, which has been broadcast.

I conducted some of my interviews on the creation and use of digital papyrological resources in study visits in Leuven and Heidelberg.