Concordance Liberation

Concordance Liberated: Apuleius

Chris Francese No Comments

About a year ago Bret Mulligan and I started on a project to liberate the data contained in concordances of classical authors, by digitizing the concordance, then unscrambling it to produce a fully lemmatized text. This lemmatized text was then to be combined with dictionary head words and definitions to create a full lexicon. The idea is that those who want to read the author could create full, accurate vocabulary lists based on this data, using The Bridge.

In April 2018 we received a Pedagogy Grant from the Society for Classical Studies (see “Flight of the Concordances“) to begin with the Index Apuleianus by William Abbott Oldfather et. al. (published in 1934 by the American Philological Association). Today I am proud to report on the  successful completion of that part of the project.

A website describing the broader Concordance Liberation Project is now live. 
The Gituhub repository contains the plain text of the concordance and the lemmatized text with full dictionary forms and definitions.
The searchable interface at The Bridge makes this data available to teachers and others who want to create vocabulary lists for works of Apuleius.

The digitization was performed by NewGen Knowledge Works. Chris Francese and Bret Mulligan performed the data analysis prefatory to processing and conversion. Michael Skalak wrote the code and transformed the plain text to a spreadsheet. Post-processing involved creating equivalencies between the lemmas used by Oldfather and his team and the lemmas or “titles” used by The Bridge; making sure that dictionary forms or display lemmas matched those; and then equipping the dictionary headwords with appropriate definitions. This difficult and meticulous work was carried out by Eli Goings (Dickinson ’18) and John Burgess (Haverford ’19), with funding from Dickinson and Haverford Colleges. As those who know Apuleius are aware, his vocabulary is immense. This work effectively creates a full lexicon of his works with definitions for even the most obscure words.

“Concordance Liberation” is now an ongoing project, and the SCS grant gave it an important impetus, for which we are very grateful. The next author we are tackling is Eutropius, and we have many others in the queue. Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.