Call for Papers – On the Way to the Future of Digital Manuscript Studies

On the Way to the Future of Digital Manuscript Studies
Nijmegen, 27-29 October 2021

Over the last decades, the ability to exploit digital potential has radically impacted research in the field of manuscript studies. From the most basic facilities, such as the increasing availability of digitized images and documents, to sophisticated attempts at automatizing the entire process of critical editing, the development of digital tools is extraordinary: it has created unprecedented opportunities to mine the data, achieve innovative results, and display them, in ways which previously could only be imagined. In such a dynamic context, the number of valuable enterprises continues to grow: the time is ripe for a consideration of the achievements already obtained, and of the foundations that our current work is laying for long-term development of the field. Through the organization of this workshop, the ERC Project PASSIM seeks to provide an occasion to pursue this goal.

Scientific Committee: Mariken Teeuwen (Utrecht Universiteit – Huygens ING-KNAW), Olivier Hekster (Radboud Universiteit – KNAW), Shari Boodts (Radboud Universiteit), Gleb Schmidt (Radboud Universiteit), Riccardo Macchioro (Radboud Universiteit).

Confirmed Speakers: Marjorie Burghart, Mike Kestemont, Thomas Köntges, Inka Moilanen, Elena Pierazzo, Matthieu Pignot, Philipp Roelli, Dominique Stutzmann, Mariken Teeuwen, Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk, Martin Wallraff.

Venue. The workshop will be held on 27-29 October 2021, either on location in Nijmegen (ideally), in a hybrid form, or online depending on the development of the Covid-emergency. Board and lodging expenses will be borne by the Organization; unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee coverage of travel costs at this time.
Proceedings. We plan to publish the Proceedings as quickly as possible after the workshop as a volume or special issue of a relevant journal.

We are glad to announce the opening of the Call for Papers for 25 minutes long presentations.

Abstract Submission
If you would like to present a lecture at the Workshop, please send an application consisting of a short abstract (ca. 350 words) and concise CV (max. 1 pag.) to:
Riccardo Macchioro ( and Gleb Schmidt (
Abstract submission deadline: 10 May 2021. Acceptance will be communicated shortly after, by 15 May 2021.
Early career scientists and scholars (Ph.D., Post-Doc) are especially encouraged to apply.

Three key areas are crucial for the advancement of digital manuscript studies: 1) the contribution of research projects with a specific goal to the field as a whole; 2) the capacity to expand their (web)application(s) to other disciplines rooted in textual source-material (such as history, philology, cultural studies, and more), and vice-versa; 3) the challenges entailed in developing and implementing common/universal standards and data models (e.g. for data structuring, storage, and interoperability). Taking into account this overall framework, the main focus of the contributions can be on the scholarly problems, as well as on the technical issues involved.
Possible topics include (without being limited to):

Digital approaches to historical phenomena: evaluation of the social impact of a given literary corpus; the reconstruction of disintegrated manuscripts; the digital restoration of dispersed medieval libraries; how digital frameworks enhance the study of the interaction between the materiality of manuscript objects and intellectual concepts like content and organization.

Data management, sustainability, interoperability: construction of big repositories of searchable metadata; the building of shared standards to encode metadata on manuscripts; networking, sustainability of structuring standards, interoperability and reusability of the data accumulated.

Digital stemmatology: translation of stemmatic principles into reception studies; approaches to stemmatology from a digital point of view; automatic grouping of manuscripts; approaches to overabundant manuscript traditions by means of automatic collation tools.

Computational approaches: deep learning and/or machine learning techniques for computational analysis (script identification, full-text analysis, authorship attribution, …); search for a balance between accuracy, exhaustivity, and serendipity, while programming and processing computational-statistical analysis; development and employment of OCR transcription tools.

Interaction between the machine and the human scholar: harmonization of (digital) phylogenetics with the exigency of a not (too) mechanic evaluation of the data; strategies to evaluate and classify the results obtained by launching queries on huge amounts of data.

Visualization strategies and tools: interpretation of the results of overarching queries; representation of connections between complex objects such as collections of texts; innovative digital editions.

For any questions or further information, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Riccardo Macchioro:; Gleb Schmidt:

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