Digital Humanities and Hindu Studies: Building a Śākta Manuscript Database (HT23)

Location: Campion Hall, Brewer St, Oxford, OX1 1QS
Speaker: Dr Ulrik Lyngs, Michael Elison
Date: February 28, 2023
Time: 11.15am – 12.00am

New tools from the digital humanities hold considerable promise to augment traditional scholarly analysis in Hindu Studies. Compared to traditional workflows in which scholars manually collate, compare and critically edit manuscripts into edited volumes, computational methods allow many time-consuming tasks to be automated, and new understandings and insights based on the analysis of large volumes of text can be obtained that would previously have been impossible.
In this talk, I present our work-in-progress on an OCHS Manuscript Database using the Netra Tantra as an example. This database will make thousands of manuscripts available, drawn from the OCHS Kathmandu digitisation project, the National Archives of Nepal, the ASA archives, and more. Compared to existing major manuscript databases such as the Cambridge Digital Library, our database will offer a more advanced interface which, for example, allow users to see transliterated and translated texts side-by-side with images of the original manuscripts. Over time, the database will include computational tools that allow easy textual analysis and concordance, and automatic generating of formatted PDFs or Word files with customised content of specific manuscripts.

Ulrik Lyngs is a Carlsberg Foundation Oxford Visiting at the University of Oxford’s Human Centred Computing group, and a Junior Research Fellow of Linacre College. He has a highly interdisciplinary background, with a PhD in Computer Science (University of Oxford), an MA in the study of religion and cognitive psychology (Aarhus University), and an MSc in evolutionary anthropology (University of Oxford). His PhD research on attention and self-regulation in human-computer interactions received the Doctoral Prize from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He has previously been a producer at HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival.