Invited Speaker: Gregory Crane

We are very honored that Gregory Crane accepted our invitation to give a talk at the workshop.

Invited Lecture: Linguistic annotation, the reunification of linguistics and philology, and the reinvention of the Humanities for a global age


This paper addresses the critical role that treebanks in particular and linguistic annotation in general must play if the Humanities are to advance the intellectual life of society as a whole. During the twentieth century we saw a rise in specialization that not only separated the practices of philology and linguistics among different researchers but wholly separate (and sometimes conflicting) departments. The reunification of linguistics with philology is an essential element in the evolution of the Humanities and serves three critical functions. First, linguistic annotation, both machine generated and human curated, is an essential element both for large scale analysis of topics that cross more languages than any research can study, much less master, and for the intensive analysis of individual source and topics. Second, the associated changes in the scale of research demand that we draw upon more cultural and linguistic expertise than the established universities of North America and Europe can offer -- we must enlist new collaborators in nations such as Egypt, India, and China, whom boundaries of language and of culture have often kept isolated. Third, even a global network of advanced scholars and library professionals is not sufficient to analyze sources in thousands of languages produced over thousands of years. We must develop student researchers and citizen scholars and a new participatory of scholarship. The potential consequences of these three changes are immense and each depends upon contributions by members of this workshop.

Prof. Crane's Research Interests

Gregory Crane's research interests are two-fold. On the one hand, he has published on a wide range of ancient Greek authors (including articles on Greek drama and Hellenistic poetry and a book on the Odyssey). At the same time, he has a long-standing interest in the relationship between the humanities and rapidly developing digital technology.

Crane is especially interested in helping the emerging Cyberinfrastructure serve the needs of the humanities in general and classical studies in particular. As part of this effort, Perseus Project has recently undertaken the creation of the first treebank of the ancient Greek and Classical Latin texts, under the direction of Gregory Crane and David Bamman. The treebank, supported by many foundations like National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Alpheios Projects, Mellon Foundation and others, was first released in 2007 (Latin) and 2009 (ancient Greek). Currently, it counts a total of 53,143 and 309,096 words for Latin and Ancient Greek respectively; the project aims at including all the extant literary productions of Greco-Roman world until the late Antiquity.

While actively promoting the work of annotation to the community of scholars and students in Classics, Crane is particularly engaged in showing how the inclusion of a treebank into the larger context of a cultural heritage library could benefit both the digital library and the annotated corpus itself.