[Mirrored from: http://www.ukc.ac.uk/library/ICCC/calab.htm]

ICCC/IFIP Conference: Electronic Publishing '97
New Models and Opportunities

14-16 April 1997 - University of Kent at Canterbury

Conference Paper Abstract

Modelling a Medieval Manuscript Database with HyTime

Sylvie Calabretto and Jean-Marie Pinon, LISI-INSA de Lyon

The transfer of texts and images to digital media presents an interesting series of possibilities for those who, in various capacities, are concerned with the conservation of written documents, such as members of library staff, as well as for anyone carrying out studies in the field of philology. While in the recent past it was impossible to establish a link between these two spheres owing to the lack of suitable technology , there are real prospects for the emergence of concrete products today, thanks to the reliability and capacity of optical memories, on the one hand, and to the use of object programming and hypermedia standard, on the other.

The European Libraries project BAMBI (Better Access to Manuscripts and Browsing of Image) fits into this context and is aimed at two categories of users: the first is represented by the general users of a library who wish to examine manuscript sources; the second category of users envisaged by BAMBI is made up of professional students of texts. In other words, to use the term in its broadest sense, it is aimed at philologists or, to be more specific, critical editors of classical or medieval works that are hand-written on material supports of various types (paper, papyrus, stone), It includes, therefore, students of ancient texts, such as papyrologists, epigraphists, palaeolographers, and codicologists: all those, in short, who are interested in studying, annotating, or transcribing the text contained in digitized and accessible manuscript documents.

Thus, the BAMBI project aims to provide a "Philological workstation" for European Libraries. Its kernel is therefore a software tool which allows historians to enter information (or critical apparatus, or notes) on manuscripts linked to images and transcriptions of individual pages of those manuscripts, with especially close linkage of image and transcription. For achieving this aim, we have chosen to use the International Standard HyTime.

HyTime (Hypermedia/Time based Structured Language) defines the structure of multimedia and hypermedia documents. HyTime is an extension of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) mainly addressing the problems of locating data (of any type) by using a standard notation that is independent of the processing system and the data itself, describing links within and between documents, and describing relations between temporal and spatial events occurring in documents. HyTime is characterized by its meta definition capabilities. It consists of a Document Type Definition (DTD) which defines a set of SGML element types each having a semantic meaning. The elements are called architectural forms, and can be compared to abstract classes in object-oriented programming. Their specification is expressed by a narrative text combined with a formal definition and associated programmes. An element inherited from this architectural form can then be used in any DTD. These architectural forms are then linked by relations like generalization/specialization analogous to those encountered in object models.

In this paper, we elaborate on the usage of HyTime for ancient manuscript database modelling. We derive requirements for modelling and show how HyTime can be used for such purposes: we show the relevant part of the HyTime code. In order to prove that the model can also serve as a basis for implementation, we develop a prototype.

Keywords: Modelling, Ancient Manuscripts, Hypermedia, HyTime, Philological workstation

Return to the Advanced Programme
Return to ICCC/IFIP EP'97 Index