Aims and goals

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The main goal of GATE is to take advantage of the possibilities offered by a simple and ready to use software like MediaWiki[1], in order to publish unedited sources owned by APUG. Sources like those that will be published, usually require years of scholarly work and consistent funding, especially for digitization and the development and design of web platforms. Sometimes these preliminary requirements discourage the start of such projects, especially by institutions with limited resources.

Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University manuscripts

The use of MediaWiki to transcribe sources has a first example in the Wikisource project[2], where thousands of printed books have been transcribed without interruption since 2003. Later, several projects started to use MediaWiki to transcribe manuscript sources too. The main goal of these initiatives was to involve many people in a crowdsourced transcription activity, usually related to huge corpora of manuscripts otherwise difficult to transcribe only through the work of few scholars. Today, projects such as Transcribe Bentham[3] and Scripto[4] are the testimonials of successful experiences that have involved thousands of people in the transcription of millions of manuscript words, sometimes bringing to the world previously unknown facts and writings.

The GATE project intends to follow and continue these experiences, involving not only a specialized public but specifically the youngest generations. It is possible to annotate the texts, finding entities such as Names, Works, Places, Terms and Objects, thanks to the implementation of the Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) extension[5]. SMW is used for different purposes:

  • to perform semantic annotation on the texts;
  • to make ‘semantic’ the letters metadata;
  • to empower the results of general search queries.

Thanks to the specific architecture of Mediawiki which fosters discussion among users, students and users can also argue about the correct interpretation of single words or work together on the identification of a cited work.