Open Humanities Awards: FinderApp WITTFind

This is the final in a series of posts from Dr Maximilian Hadersbeck, the recipient of the DM2E Open Humanities Awards – DM2E track. You can read the final research paper here (in German).

The research group “Wittgenstein in Co-Text” worked on extending the FinderApp WiTTFind tool, which is currently used for exploring and researching Wittgenstein’s Big Typescript TS-213 (BT), to the rest of the 5000 pages of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass that are made freely available by the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen and are used as linked data software from the DM2E project. Our work in January focused on finishing the final milestone of our project, finalizing the device and browser independent multidoc web frontend, successful placing a publication of our project. We close off our blogging series with some final remarks and a look in the future

Delivering the final milestone
We finished our gitlab and docker environment to produce a high quality FinderApp for Digital Humanity projects running under different operating systems. The git-server site is developed and offers all software modules. After extensive working and testing the development server we finalized and transferred the new FinderApp WiTTFind to our master-server, reachable under the permalink http://wittfind.cis.uni-muenchen.de.

To present our extensive work during our git-server based program development, we show in figure 1 a small excerpt of our issue management and branching concept at our git-server. There you see around 20 features, which where finished within the final milestone.

Finalizing the device and browser independent multidoc web-frontend
After finishing the development work of our bootstrap based FinderApp, we finalized our new multidoc web frontend and will also transfer it to our WiTTFind master server.

Starting in February, we will offer a browser- and device-independent web frontend which works with the same look & feel on mobile devices, tablet computers and arbitrary browsers. In figure 2 you see a screenshot of our new bootstrap driven webpage, reachable under our permalink address: http://wittfind.cis.uni-muenchen.de.

Successful placing a publication
One aim in our project was to place a publication of our work at an important congress. We followed the call for papers of the conference Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum – DhD 2015 (23-27 February 2015, Graz, Austria) and sent a paper and a poster to the conference committee. Both were evaluated well and accepted. In Graz, we will be presenting the paper “Wittgensteins Nachlass: Erkenntnisse und Weiterentwicklung der FinderApp WiTTFind“. The speaker will be Maximilian Hadersbeck. Co-authors to the text are Alois Pichler, Florian Fink, Daniel Bruder and Ina Arends. The poster which will be presented gives a demo of our project and has the title “Wittgensteins Nachlass: Aufbau und Demonstration der FinderApp WiTTFind und ihrer Komponenten.” The authors of the poster are Yuliya Kalasouskaya, Matthias Lindinger, Stefan Schweter and Roman Capsamun. Both presentations can be found in the programme of the conference: https://www.conftool.pro/dhd2015/sessions.php

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PhiloSURFical

What
Tool for browsing a philosophical text, taking advantage of a map of the concepts relevant to the text.

PhiloSURFical is a prototype application built to experiment some functionalities which are enabled by the growing Semantic Web: data are distributed, but can be coherently recollected by means of their semantic description. It’s like if the whole Web could be treated as a giant database: we can query it in interesting ways, so to dynamically reorganize it depending on the context we are looking from.

The PhiloSURFical application is being prototyped with Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus and it allows the navigation of a semantically enhanced version of the text. By relying on an ontology created to describe the philosophical domain at various levels of abstraction, users can benefit from multiple perspectives on the text and on related resources. For example, they can reorganize the same text according to the relevance of a single metadata, e.g. the concept of “logical-independence” ; they can query the knowledge base or other repositories in the Semantic Web, such as the DBpedia, by choosing an object of interest (i.e. a topic) and using it to trigger a theoretical narrative (i.e. meta-historical), a historical narrative , or a geographical one . This is achieved by using simultaneously the knowledge encoded in the ontology, an initial knowledge base of resources and metadata built by a philosophy teacher, and the SPARQL query language to gather information from other sources in the Semantic Web.

Corpus
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Who
Michele Pasin

Where
http://philosurfical.open.ac.uk/

WiTTFind

 

What
Rule-based, linguistic search interface for Wittgenstein primary sources.

This project is a cooperation between the Centrum für Informations- und Sprachverarbeitung (CIS) at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität München  and the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (WAB). The task of the project is to develop a FinderApp containing several computational tools which make Wittgenstein’s Nachlass better researchable.

CIS Resources include CIS’ electronic lexicon CISLEX, one of the biggest electronic lexicon for the German language. CIS software tools include an own developed search/concordance tool WiTTFind based on “Local Grammars”. CIS software and resources can be accessed on the CisServers with every Internetbrowser.

Resources from WAB include 5000 pages of the Wittgenstein Nachlass in facsimile, text editions and transcriptions, an ontology file with metadata for these 5000 pages, including detailed records for Wittgenstein’s references to other works or persons.

The Research group is directed by Maximilian Hadersbeck (CIS) and Alois Pichler (WAB). Other participants include Florian Fink (CIS), Øyvind Liland Gjesdal (WAB),  Daniel Bruder (CIS)  and  Stefan Schweter (CIS).

Corpus
The Big Typescript

Who
CIS / WAB

Where
http://wittfind.cis.uni-muenchen.de/

DM2E

What
As part of the Digitised Manuscripts to Europeana (DM2E) project, a group of scholars will begin working on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Brown Book in early 2013. This document will be made available to Europeana by the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (WAB).

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. In 1999, his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations (1953) was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy by the Baruch Poll, standing out as ‘…the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specialisations and philosophical orientations’.

In 2009, WAB created the online platform Wittgenstein Source which gives open access to 5,000 pages of manuscripts and typescripts from the Wittgenstein nachlass, including the Brown Book corpus. The Brown Book was dictated by Wittgenstein to students in Cambridge in 1934-35 as a summary of his philosophy at that time. One aspect of the book is the introduction of ‘language games’ which shed light on the complexity of our language. The Brown Book was revised several times; Wittgensteinsource includes both the typewritten dictation and the last revision in Wittgenstein’s own hand, which led to the Philosophical Investigations.

A group of scholars will gather around Wittgenstein Source in order to address their questions to the Brown Book. In order to achieve this, they will make use of the Pundit platform, which is being developed within the DM2E project. The platform allows scholars to access the Brown Book easily and to create semantic annotations of particular relevance. Through the platform, they will also be able to interact and comment on each other’s views and questions.

WAB will provide the texts as well as an ontology which can be used as the backbone for scholarly annotation and interaction on these texts. This ontology will include names for the single texts (on a remarks level), the persons and works referred to, text-genetical relations, but also terms for subject entries, and, moreover, properties which allow scholars to express argumentative relations between single annotation statements.

The Wittgenstein pilot has an important experimental aspect as it will demonstrate to what extent humanities scholars are willing to migrate research and argumentation activities to a digital environment, and highlight the challenges and limitations they experience as well as the new opportunities this kind of working makes available to them.

Corpus
Brown Book

Who
DM2E project

Where
http://dm2e.eu/dm2e-to-start-work-on-wittgensteins-brown-book/

Digital Wittgenstein projects

Wittgenstein Source (includes the “Nachlass”)
Wittgenstein Source provides free access to Wittgenstein primary sources. This includes facsimiles and text editions of Wittgenstein’s philosophical manuscripts (his “Nachlass”).

Agora
In AGORA’s semantic linking experiment carried out by CNR-ILIESI and UIB-WAB a subset of the content (scholarly articles, monographs) will be linked to related data sets (editions of texts, manuscripts) most of which are already available in the Philosource Federation.

WiTTFind
This project is a cooperation between the Centrum für Informations- und Sprachverarbeitung (CIS) at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität München  and the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (WAB). The task of the project is to develop a FinderApp containing several computational tools which make Wittgenstein’s Nachlass better researchable.

Wittgenstein Ontology
A first version of WAB’s Wittgenstein ontology, exemplifying some of its basic concepts and functions (e.g. interlinking of primary source class instances on the one hand and philosophical subject class instances on the other), was produced by WAB in cooperation with Christian Morbidoni (Philospace/SwickyNotes) and the consortium of the EU funded DISCOVERY project in the period 2006-09.

HyperWittgenstein
With this interactive site, users can filter and present WAB’s transcriptions of 5000 pages of the Wittgenstein Nachlass according to more specific research needs, and thus prepare Nachlass editions which may be more suited for their research than the editorial outputs pre-produced by WAB (such as the editions available from HyperWittgenstein, Wittgenstein Source or the Bergen Electronic Edition).

WAB 5000
WAB 5000 is a corpus of 5000 manually transcribed pages composed of various manuscripts and typescripts from Wittgensteins Nachlass in XML (TEI-P5) and HTML output (different versions) formats, XSLT stylesheets, Web interface.

PhiloSURFical
PhiloSURFical is a prototype application built to experiment some functionalities which are enabled by the growing Semantic Web: data are distributed, but can be coherently recollected by means of their semantic description. It’s like if the whole Web could be treated as a giant database: we can query it in interesting ways, so to dynamically reorganize it depending on the context we are looking from.