what is the eSAD Project?

ancient_text
(The magnifying glass is perhaps a form of ‘Interpretation Support System’.

The eSAD project is another ambitious and well-conceptualised project from AHRC-EPSRC-JISC Arts and Humanities e-Science Initiative (sorry, an overly complicated set of acronyms here…my acronym is bigger than your acronym!)

Anyhow what particularly attracts me to this project is its use of the concept of a Interpretation Support System.  What I think this means is that the systems is designed to help researchers make decisions about what is presented to them on the screen and feed it back into the system. I like this a lot as it put the researcher’s tacit knowledge at the centre of the task because after all, the digital humanists are also tools in the digital humanities.

The Image, Text, Interpretation: e-Science, Technology and Documents project (also known as eSAD: e-Science and Ancient Documents) aims to use computing technologies to aid experts in reading ancient documents in their complex task. The four year project, being undertaken at the University of Oxford with input from University College London, is funded under the AHRC-EPSRC-JISC Arts and Humanities e-Science Initiative, and will run until the end of 2011.

The project will work on creating tools which can aid the reading of damaged texts like the stilus tablets from Vindolanda. Furthermore, the project will explore how an Interpretation Support System (ISS) can be used in the day-to-day reading of ancient documents and keep track of how the documents are interpreted and read. A combination of image processing tools and an ontology based support system will be developed to facilitate experts by tracking their developing hypotheses.

The system will also suggest alternative readings (based on linguistic and palaeographic data) as they undertake the complex reading process, aiming to speed the process of understanding a text. The project also aims to investigate how the resulting images, image tools, and data sets can be shared between scholars.

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