Do.M.En.I.: Dongba Manuscripts Encoding Initiative
UNESCO recognized to Lijiang's scenery and city, Naxi people and culture, Dongba tradition and pictograph manuscripts literature as a part of the Human World Heritage.
According to UNESCO pictograph writing system and manuscripts pictograph art is one of peculiar CULTURAL EXPRESSION and ARTISTIC MANIFESTATION OF NAXI PEOPLE.
Pictograph writing system and Dongba literature are then Human Wold Heritage too, thus World Wide Web technology appears as one of the powerful instrument to render such human kind treasure enjoyable and available in whole world.
Diffusion of Dongba pictograph manuscript tradition is acculturation to Naxi people cultural richness and China ethnic variety.
Do.M.En.I. Research project targets
- defining and building a codify schema for encoding Dongba pictograph manuscripts according to TEI recommendetions
- implementing Corpora of encoded Dongba manuscripts according to TEI recommendetions
- creation a global index as convergence of available resources for Dongba manuscripts litterature
Do.M.En.I. - Dongba Manuscript Encoding Initiative project originates and takes by applying to Dongba pictograph manuscript tradition study some digital humanities techonologies, and is focused about implementing an on-line resources enjoyable for Dongba manuscripts and Naxi pictograph literature.
Do.M.En.I. project target is thus focused about implementation of a growing and up-to-date open on-line archive of Dongba texts as annotated corpus, following L.C. and W3C standards recommendations.
Making up of Do.M.En.I. means also to struggle against some difficult factors as:
- Peculiarity of Dongba manuscript, wrote in pictograph and Geba syllable-graphic writing systems
- Few just-implemented and available digital reproduction of Dongba manuscripts
- Etherogeneity of such few available digital reources
- Objective difficult in retrieving original manuscripts for making new digital resources
- Mis-information of available manuscript in Europe and Western world
I feel just listed problems as incentive in hard-working for Do.M.En.I. implementation and realization.
Why Do.M.En.I. ?
World Wide web technology at today should be seen as the wider library to be consulted for information retrieval and documents browsing, especially in Academic world for exchanging of material and up-to-date information which run faster then every paper-publication or review.
Many digital humanities application is dedicated to texts browsing and documents retrieving, and cover large range of kind of information: from daily newspapers to linguistic annotated corpora or more specialized archives.
Plenty of digital texts and their extreme heterogeneity pushed W3C consortium (among other questions) to define some basic guidelines for digital encoding of texts: at today W3C recommends TEI standard for digital texts encoding.
Do.M.En.I. is a project of diffusion and acculturation about Dongba pictograph manuscript tradition and Naxi people culture, and in its intention of opening such cultural and artistic treasures both to all members of human kind and to academic world for further and deeper investigations, needs to accords with W3C standards.
Do.M.En.I. thus operates in double direction:
- retrieving of just-available on-line resources re-organizing them in a TEI groups and corpra and manuscripts encoding
- production of new online available resources by encoding of paper-manuscripts
At today two are the only available on-line resources for Naxi pictograph manuscripts tradition, both displaying some tens of digital reproduction of manuscripts pages:
- Library of Congress, a selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection: http://memory.loc.gov/intldl/naxihtml/naxihome.html ? 24/06/2009, with stored in, available as images.
- Naxi manuscripts archives of Harvard University Library O.A.S.I.S. project (on-line Archival Search Information System): http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/deepLink?_collection=oasis&uniqueId=hyl00002 ? 24/06/2009, with manuscripts stored in, available as images
they both have heterogeneous standards for digital reproduction of manuscripts gathered by ceremony and/or by titles.
Moreover both corpora's manuscripts encoding stops to just to "0 level" of texts encoding (Lenci et al., 2005: 57), alias some sequences of images without any annotation.
Do.M.En.I. projects if focused about integration of such available sources, at first by making of:
- manuscripts digital facsimiles of just available digital images according to TEI standard
- implementing parallels and related groups of encoded manuscripts facsimiles (by group and teiCorpus modules) gathering them by common characteristics
- creation of a generl Do.M.En.I. index for sub-corpora and groups resources retrieving
making Do.M.En.I. an open for up-to-dating initiatives (other encoding levels, other reources integrations, manuscripts and group of manuscripts adding, etc...) playing for:
- safeguard and conservation of Dongba manuscripts and Naxi pictograph
- conservation of Dongba manuscripts as non-perishable documents
- standard files records (easyer storage, easyer exchanging, implementation of standard-based applications, etc...)
- availability of virtual facsimiles for academic study
- diffusing and enjoying Dongba tradition and Naxi pictograph
- acculturation to Dongba tradition
- acculturation to Naxi culture and history
- acculturation to China ethnic variety
- convergence and unification of just-existing online resources
- preventing dispersion of resources by making of a general index
- preventing heterogeneity of material by applying W3C standards (TEI)
- linking of different institution for more easy cooperation
- implementation of new resources according to W3C standards
- Dongba manuscripts census in world libraries (I mean census of world libraries Dongba manuscripts papers collections: see below - Dongba manuscripts corpus - for details)
- upgrading of Do.M.En.I. general index, preventing new resources to be spread out
- proposing digital encoding initiative for "just-paper" Dongba manuscripts collections
- programming of more mirated initiatives, aimed to compensate what's at today is worse done about Dongba culture and Naxi literature
- study of Dongba pictograph writing system
- as the only alive pictograph writing system
- relationing to others death pictographic and hieroglyphic writing system
- relationing to modern multimedia and iconic communication
- study of Naxi language
- definition, according to Naxi people authorities, of a definitive standardized pinyin system for latinization of Naxi and transliteration of Dongba pictographs and Geba syllable-graphs
- creation of equivalence latinization plates with previous main works about Naxi, Dongba and Geba
- implementation of an ancient Naxi lexicon with linguistic annotation
- implementation of a modern Naxi lexicon with linguistic annotation
- implementation of cross ancient <-> modern Naxi language applications for studying and patterns identification
How to Do.M.En.I. ?
As introduced before Do.M.En.I. project consists in defining and implementing an encoding schema according to TEI and it work should be resumed in two focal targets:
- encoding Dongba pictograph manuscripts by TEI calibrated elements from TEI modules:
- text structure
- representation of Non-standard Characters and Glyphs
- manuscript Description
- tables - formulae and Graphics
- gathering Dongba manuscripts into corpora by:
- group element
- teiCorpus modules
For TEI standard recommendations please cfr official guideline: TEI – Text Encoding Initiative: http://www.tei-c.org
For a more detailed presentation and explanation of DOMENI project, please consult the dedicated introduction page.