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The objective of the Clavius on the Web project is to develop a Web platform for the works and the correspondence of Christophorus Clavius, using current technologies of computational linguistics, knowledge engineering, digital philology, Web of Data and information visualization. Through this interoperability a wealth of data will be made available to both scholars and students.


Digitization of the letters from the correspondence of Clavius, preserved by the Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University.


Interactive representations of volvelle, computing instruments used during the time of Clavius.


Examples of digital storytelling by students, showing some aspects of Clavius' life.


In the last few years the amount of manuscripts digitized and made available on the Web has been constantly increasing. However, there is still a considarable lack of results concerning both the explicitation of their content and the tools developed to make it available. In addition, the relationship between the physical nature of the documents and their digital format is often lost.This is why in the Clavius on the Web project the two manuscripts containing the correspondence were completely restored before the digitization process. The objective of the Clavius on the Web project is to develop a Web platform exposing a selection of Christophorus Clavius letters along with three different levels of analysis: linguistic, lexical and semantic. The multilayered annotation of the corpus involves a XML-TEI encoding followed by a tokenization step where each token is univocally identified through a CTS urn notation and then associated to a part-of-speech and a lemma. The text is lexically and semantically annotated on the basis of a lexicon and a domain ontology, the former structuring the most relevant terms occurring in the text and the latter representing the domain entities of interest (e.g. people, places, etc.). Moreover, each entity is connected to linked and non linked resources, including DBpedia and VIAF. Finally, the results of the three layers of analysis are gathered and shown through interactive visualization and storytelling techniques. At the end of the first two years of the project a workshop was organized, where high-school students tested the digital tools developed in Clavius on the web and had the opportunity of visiting the Archive and seeing the manuscripts there preserved.

The Project Workflow

Figure 1 shows the workflow for each research team involved in the project. Starting from the digitization of the APUG manuscripts, the workflow includes two other preliminary steps: the transcription of the letters written to or by Clavius and the translation of several texts from Latin into Italian and English.

Transcriptions and translations are marked up using TEI-XML P5 and then the texts are tokenized adopting a CTS compliant structure. This operation is the first step of the linguistic analysis, which includes both lemmatization (with morphological analysis as well) and lexical annotation. The latter is functional to an automatic semantic annotation and to the construction of a specific lexicon related to the Clavius' domain.

A deeper semantic annotation is carried out manually in order to enrich the texts by using a specifically developed ontology schema. As well as a visual manuscript and a knowledge graph browsing tool, the final user interface also includes a storytelling platform, in order to provide a better educational source. Together with this, a Linked dataset related to Clavius has also been built and integrated.


Some useful resources for the use of the tools and for the studies

The partners involved in the project are:

The people involved in the project are: