TEI 2019

What is text, really? TEI and beyond


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Annotating Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages for semantic analysis and visualisation

Christian Steiner, Helmut W. Klug, Astrid Böhm, Elisabeth Raunig, Bruno Laurioux, Denise Ardesi, Corentin Poirier

Keywords: cooking recipes, middle ages, annotation
Permalink: https://gams.uni-graz.at/o:tei2019.130

Annotating Cooking Recipes of the Middle Ages for semantic analysis and visualisation

The TEI mainly provides structural elements. Semantic annotation is primarily seen in names, dates and places and in metadata modules as, for example, the msDesc. Most of the projects include semantic information in attribute values. However, this approach generates a greater workload, annotated text that is more difficult to read for humans and most notably the interchangeability is reduced.

The analysis of our material will be based on Semantic Web technologies. By using concepts in the sense of a notion, an idea rather than a term, we are trying to overcome historical and language constraints. Once the entities of each recipe are equipped with concepts, the project’s analysis can reveal concurring or deviating eating habits, text migration as well as the influence of neighboring countries on their respective cuisine. The vast implementation of ontologies in the natural sciences allows us to establish connections from historical eating habits to modern concepts of food and generate new knowledge for the domain of food history. The research data will also be the basis for spatial and temporal visualization and statistical evaluation.

However, to do so we developed our own schema for the systematical semantic annotation of cooking recipes’ contents like ingredients, preparation instructions and time, tools, serving suggestions and medicinal, cultural as well as religious implications in the texts. Nonetheless, our goal was to use TEI elements wherever possible. Introducing semantically charged elements improved the workflow considerably and a mapping of these elements back to standard TEI could close the circle. It should be discussed, though, whether the use of a namespace for a foreign schema within a TEI capsule would provide a greater chance of exchangeability.