Speaker presentation | Matthew Munson & Christopher Blackwell

We have the pleasure to announce the presence of Matthew Munson & Christopher Blackwell for the Winter School Session 04 Persistent identification



Matthew Munson received an MA from the University of Virginia in Religious Studies, his thesis studying the use of the Greek word for law (νόμος) in the letters of the Apostle Paul. Before joining the Digital Humanities Team, he worked at the Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia and in the DARIAH project at the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Göttingen, Germany. He is currently working on his PhD in Theology in Leipzig studying the automatic extraction of semantic data from biblical texts and the automatic tracking of semantic drift between corpora.

Christopher W. Blackwell holds a B.A, summa cum laude from Marlboro Collect in Vermont, USA. He holds a Ph.D. from Duke University, where he was the William H. Willis Fellow in Classics. Since 1995 he has been on the faculty of Classics at Furman University in South Carolina, USA. He served as Chair of the Classics Department for 14 years, until 2015, and is currently the Louis G. Forgione University Professor. Since 2001 he has been Project Architect, with Neel Smith, of the Homer Multitext, a project of the Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University under the editorship of Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott. With Smith, Blackwell is co-creator of the Canonical Text Services protocol and the CITE Architecture for identification and retrieval of scholarly resources by canonical citation in networked environments.

Blackwell has led digitization projects in the Italy (Biblioteca Marciana), Spain (Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial), and the United Kingdom (Natural History Museum, London). He has collaborated with scholars in the U.K., Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Croatia.

Blackwell has published two books on the history of Alexander the Great, and articles on topics in Classics, Computer Science, Intellectual Property Law, and Botany.



Canonical Text Services

Canonical Text Services (CTS) is a protocol for identification and retrieval of passages of text by means of machine-actionable citations in URN form. CTS is not bibliographic database or commentary framework, but a protocol intended to serve use-cases like those. CTS consists of a specification for URN citations, and a specification for a service-protocol. CTS was created for the Homer Multitext to address that project’s need to integrate (a) an open-ended diversity of texts, (b) many specific versions of the same text, some digital, some in print, and some in manuscript, many fragmentary, (c) at arbitrary levels of abstraction (“Iliad Book 2”) or specificity (“The third letter sigma at Iliad 1.2 on the Venetus A manuscript”), (d) with the assumption that technologies for storage, retrieval, and display will change completely during the project’s lifetime.

CTS and its abstract data-model

CTS is based on a model of “text” as “an ordered hierarchy of citation-objects” (OHCO2)[1], and an assumption that a canonically citable text exists in a bibliographic hierarchy of TextGroup >> Work >> Version >> Exemplar. Because it is based on an abstract model, CTS can be implemented in a variety of technologies. Current implementations use, as backends, relational databases, XML databases, and RDF databases. CTS texts can be implemented from, and delivered as, TEI-XML, JSON, Markdown, or plain texts in tabular (comma- or tab-delimited) form.

A CTS URN can identify a passage of text at any level of specificity, from the notional (e.g. “Iliad Book 2”, referring to Book 2 in any version of the Iliad), to the highly specific, pointing to individual characters in specific versions of a text, whether it is a digital text or not.

This presentation

This presentation will introduce CTS as a possible model for persistent identifiers in a large-scale, distributed digital library. The first part of the presentation will offer an overview of the protocol, the CTS URN citation scheme, and the CTS Service requests, with attention to applications and limitations of CTS. The second part will present how the Open Greek and Latin project of the University of Leipzig is implementing CTS and the tools it is making available for editors, publishers, and consumers of CTS texts.


You can find the full Winter School bibliography on Zotero.


[1] The original “OHCO” model was “an ordered hierarchy of content objects”, proposed by S. DeRose, D. Durand, E. Mylonas, and A. Renear, “What is Text, Really?,” Journal of Computing in Higher Education, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 3–26, Winter 1990. Neel Smith and Gabriel Weaver coined “OHCO2” based on early work with the Homer Multitext: D. N. Smith and G. Weaver, “Applying domain knowledge from structured citation formats to text and data mining: Examples using the CITE architecture,” Text Mining Services, p. 129, 2009.

Cite this blog post
Nathanaël Cretin (2016, September 9). Speaker presentation | Matthew Munson & Christopher Blackwell. Open Data Citation for Social Sciences and Humanities. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/ngzm

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