Computational Approaches to the Study of Early and Modern Slavic Languages and Texts (2003)

Computational Approaches to the Study of Early and Modern Slavic Languages and Texts (2003)

Computational Approaches to the Study of Early and Modern Slavic Languages and Texts (2003)

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From September 24 to 26, 2002 the Black Sea resort town of Pomorie was the site of an international conference and set of seminars entitled Electronic Description and Edition of Slavic Sources, undertaken as part of the activity of the Commission to the Executive Council of the International Committee of Slavists for the Computer-Supported Processing of Slavic Manuscripts and Early Printed Books. The Commission was founded during the 1998 Twelfth International Congress of Slavists in Krakow on the initiative of scholars from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, F. Y. R. Macedonia, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States in response to growing interest in the application of information technology to the humanities in general, and to the study of early Slavic manuscripts and printed books in particular. The Pomorie conference was organized and funded by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), St. Kliment Oxridski University in Sofia, the Austrian Institute for Eastern and Southeastern Europe in Sofia, and the Manuscripta Foundation, with primary sponsorship provided by UNESCO.

The Pomorie conference was attended by more than forty Bulgarian specialists (seventeen of whom delivered reports) and twenty-three scholars from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States. This working meeting was conceived as a continuation of the First International Conference on Problems of Computer Processing of Medieval Slavic Manuscripts, held in Blagoevgrad in 1995 within the framework of an academic project developed jointly by the Section of Old Bulgarian Literature of the BAS and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures of the University of Pittsburgh. In 1996-1997 the work begun by this project was continued in the form of a cooperative undertaking between a Bulgarian working team (including scholars from both BAS and Sofia University) and the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, and within this framework CEU hosted a seminar for experts on medieval manuscripts from eight countries. Other projects on the same subject were undertaken by Bulgarian scholars in the years 1997-2003 in collaboration with the Institute of Russian Language of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, the Odessa State Library in Ukraine, and other institutions. Future plans include a new Bulgarian-Swedish initiative entitled Computer Processing and Analysis of Late Medieval Slavonic Manuscripts (Section of Old Bulgarian Literature, BAS and the University of Goteborg, 2002-2005) and a cooperative venture involving Bulgarian scholars and the British Library, planned for 2003-2006.

The conference in Pomorie attracted the attention of a wide circle of specialists in the field of information technology and served to highlight Bulgarian activity both in the application of information technology to Slavic manuscript studies and in facilitating the exchange of international expertise in the study, preservation, and popularization of cultural heritage studies on the Internet. The fact that MA and PhD students participated in the conference and seminars testified to the interest of young specialists in this field and also furthered the educational objective of the conference concerning the integration of humanities computing into graduate-level studies of Slavic philology and related disciplines.
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