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Volume 4, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2042-8022
  • E-ISSN: 2042-8030



Proverbs are a fascinating genre of cultural expression that is studied by folklorists, linguists, philologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, philosophers, logicians, and cognitive psychologists (at least). This multitude of perspectives created in turn a multitude of approaches to how proverbial collections should be organized, classified, and used. These approaches may involve criteria based on alphabetical, chronological, ethnic, geographical, functional, lexicographical, metaphorical, thematic, or stylistic (a partial list) characteristics of proverbial performances. Consequences of this variety of approaches to the classification of subject matter ranged from inconvenience caused by heterogeneous resources to personal discrepancies between scholars.

It is exactly here that digital humanities have another edge on traditional humanities. Contemporary information technologies increasingly allow to store data without commiting in advance to how it is structured when used. If in traditional publishing the order of lexicographical entries and their content is predefined, digital publishers can use such technologies as relational databases, data warehouses, semantic ontologies, or faceted search, in order to implement flexible access to data that can satisfy even most exotic research demands.

In the proposed contribution I overview traditional challenges, suggest their domain-independent analysis in the perspective of ‘the big data challenge’, and describe some present achievements and future directions.


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