Participatory Philology: Computational Linguistics and the Future of Historical Language Education

Gregory Crane, Stella Rose Dee, Anna Krohn


This brief contributes to the proceedings of the Citizen Cyberscience Summit 2014 with a summary of the presentation given by the Open Philology Project on its goals, work, and collaborators. With a focus on the interface between 21st-century philology and citizen science, this paper reviews the data we collect, why we gather that data, and the cohort that we engage for assistance with data production. The paper presents the work of the Historical Languages eLearning Project and the incorporation of pedagogy into resources for participatory philology, as well as briefly reviews a case study of a class at Tufts University that supports the viability of our approach. Above all, we seek to demonstrate the deep similarities of technical infrastructure and research processes between participatory philology and citizen science, despite fundamental differences in a humanistic versus a scientific approach to the subject matter. In so doing, we hope to help lay the foundation for increasing contribution by the humanities to the fields of  citizen science and human computation. 


Applications, Participation, Society, Modalities, Infrastructure

Full Text:



Almas, B., Beaulieu M. (2013). “Developing a New Integrated Editing Platform for Source

Documents in Classics.” In Literary and Linguistic Computing; doi: 10.1093/llc/fqt046.

Bamman, D., Babeu, A., and Crane, G. (2010). Transferring structural markup across translations using multilingual alignment and projection. In JCDL '10: Proceedings of the 10th annual joint conference on Digital libraries, pages 11-20, New York, NY, USA. ACM.

Bamman, D. and Crane, G. (2011). Measuring historical word sense variation. In JCDL ‘11: Proceedings of the 11th annual international ACM/IEEE joint conference on digital libraries, pages 1-10, New York, NY, USA. ACM.

Bamman, D. and Crane, G. (2011). The Ancient Greek and Latin Dependency Treebanks . In Language Technology for Cultural Heritage: Selected Papers from the LaTeCH Workshop Series, pages 79-98, Berlin Heidelberg. Available at :

Crane, G., B. Almas, A. Babeu, L. Cerrato, M. Harrington, D. Bamman, H. Diakoff (2012). Student Researchers, Citizen Scholars and the Trillion Word Library. In Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital libraries, pages 213-222, Washington, D.C. : ACM Digital Library. Available at:

Franzini,E. (2014). CALL FOR COLLABORATION: Could you help us quantify the total number of students studying Latin and Ancient Greek in the World? Digital Humanities, Universität Leipzig Blog. Available at:

Majidi, S. and G. Crane (2013). “Committee-Based Active Learning for Dependency Parsing.” in Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries: Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 8092: pp. 442-445.

Mambrini, Francesco. (2013) “Thucydides 1.89-118: A Multi-layer Treebank.” CHS Research Bulletin 1, no. 2 .

Romanov, M. (2013). Computational Reading of Arabic Biographical Collections with Special Reference to Preaching in the Sunni World (661-13000 CE)(Doctoral dissertation). Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan.

Smith, N. (2009) Citation in Classical Studies. Digital Humanities Quarterly: Changing the Center of Gravity: Transforming Classical Studies through Cyberinfrastructure 3(1). Available at:

Smith, D.A. and Crane, G. (2001). Disambiguating geographic names in a historical digital library. ECDL 2001: Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, pages 127-136, Darmstadt.



  • There are currently no refbacks.