The Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams project : principles, challenges, opportunities

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Ricceri, R., Bentein, K., Bernard, F., Bronselaer, A., De Paermentier, E., De Potter, P., De Tré, G., De Vos, I., Deforche, M., Demoen, K., Lefever, E., Rouckhout, A., & Swaelens, C.
Issue title
On the Way to the Future of Digital Manuscript Studies
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This paper presents an overview of the history, conceptualization, and development of the Database of Byzantine Book Epigrams, an ongoing research project hosted at Ghent University. It also offers a glimpse into current and future research threads carried out within the project, with an eye on long-term sustainability. The first part of the paper pinpoints the position of DBBE within the broad field of Digital Humanities and addresses the question of how and why Byzantine metrical paratexts have been collected in an open-access online database. In the second part of the article, we describe the main features of the relational database currently available, both from the perspective of its users and from a technical point of view. The third section of the paper includes the description of four subprojects connected to DBBE, which at present involve the development of a graph database complementary to the relational one, the implementation of natural language pre-processing applied to the DBBE corpus, the linguistic analysis of formulaicity in book epigrams, and the exploration of the broad implications of the study of book epigrams for a better understanding of Byzantine book culture.