Collectio: a software especially designed for creating dynamic libraries for fluid and multilingual text traditions


  • Britt Dahlman



relational database, dynamic library, TEI/XML, fluid text, multilingual text tradition, fixed-content miscellanies


This contribution presents a new software, Collectio, which can be used for creating highly complex relational MySQL databases, or more accurately, dynamic libraries. These libraries prove particularly well-suited for texts where the material has been organized in different ways and thus represents a ‘fluid’ textual tradition, or in traditions transmitted in many languages. So far, two libraries have been created using Collectio: APDB (the Apophthegmata Patrum Database) and HIPPO, which contains pre-modern hippiatric material. The sources included in the libraries are mainly in the form of manuscripts, editions and modern translations. Collectio employs a unique input model, built upon .txt and .csv files stored in an archive in the folder of the library. The contents of the database tables in the master database are generated from these documents. Since not only texts are registered but also the detailed structure and parallel text segments in other sources, both texts and structures can be systematically compared and analysed within and across language boundaries. In addition to the advanced research tools for comparing texts and structures, the application contains search options, indexes of names, places and concepts, metadata on the sources, pre-written SQL commands and more. A new way of encoding text, which can be converted into TEI/XML, is also introduced.