From CODECS: Online Database and e-Resources for Celtic Studies

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 27 Oct 2016

Rob Meens was the plenary speaker for the 29th Irish Conference of Medievalists in 2015, which marked the 1400th anniversary of Columbanus’s death. The recordings of his paper have been made available online.

tags: Columbanus

Introducing the text itemiser

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 17 Apr 2016

Did you ever had to work your way through a sizeable corpus of texts and wished you had a digital toolset to hand that allowed you not only to store annotations (such as tags and references to scholarly discussions), but to go about it in a more systematic, semantically structured and data-driven fashion? Better still, one which allowed you to perform such actions within a team/community whose members may be physically far removed from one another? You or your group may have been focussing on particular figures in history or literary characters, places real and imagined, literary and learned motifs or themes, legal topics, lexical items of interest, linguistic features, narrative devices, metrical forms, evidence of intertextuality, or dates and recurring events, etc. Having assembled the data, you want automated queries to present your data in conveniently arranged lists, tables, filtered views, maps and what not.

It may seem a bit much to ask for, at least if one were aiming for the ultimate ‘chef’s knife’ that can do anything with equal success, but it is not an idle hope. In fact, such a multi-purpose tool is precisely what has been the focus of preparations here at CODECS. Why? Behind the scenes, I had already experimented with tailor-made solutions to specific projects, but in the end, a more centralised effort seemed both more productive and more feasible than building/maintaining separate tools for many different specialised needs.

Enter the text itemiser, for lack of a more adequate, catchier or established term. The challenge has been to develop a set of tools and methods that is at once simple and accessible enough to be easily taught and used, and can be used to assist a wide agenda of research questions with which one may approach a text or corpus of texts. Broadly speaking, the process involves three main areas of activity.

1. Editing items

A special editing form allows editors to do two things: (1) single out an item of source information, or multiple items under a shared heading, and (2) add semantic annotations about each item. Typically, such selections focus on manageably small sections of text that are relatively coherent in themselves, but there are other possibilities. In lieu of a full presentation, here is a screenshot to give you a rough impression:

Screenshot (2 December 2015)

Screenshot of an earlier draft of Source:Commentary on Félire Óengusso/09/14 (page accessible to editors)

2. Controlled vocabularies

The use of controlled vocabularies is not new to this site, but work in this area has certainly improved and accelerated with the coming of a new data tool that takes full advantage of their possibilities. It involves setting up a thesaurus of predefined terms that provide reliable anchor points for semantic tagging (no. 1 above), but which are also structured and organised themselves in order to assist data queries (no 3. below).

3. Queries

Semantic queries can act upon the available data and produce convenient overviews, for instance by rendering lists and tables, maps, filtered search and custom views. Some of these facilities are already available from this site, although they come with a soft warning.

A simple example:

1. An editor opens the form to edit a page about the introductory part of Aislinge Meic Con Glinne. At the point where this text makes a parody of the ‘four conditions of every composition’, the editor can add an appropriate tag to the ‘subject’ field. But which one?
2. The thesaurus includes a relevant term called four elements of composition (time, place, person and cause) (a variant of the six elementa narrationis in rhetorics), which is occasionally attested as a learned motif in Hiberno-Latin and Middle Irish writing. This term is indexed as a subclass of ‘numerical motifs’.
1. If the term is present (which it is), the editor can select the value from the autocomplete box. If it isn't, the term can still be defined later on, or a value can be added to the ‘keywords’ field: this is a field for non-standardised tags so that decisions can be deferred to a later, more convenient time, or referred to for consultation by other editors.
3. If we were to look for ‘numerical motifs’ in vernacular Irish writing and built a query to that effect, this example would turn up in our query results.

Of course, I have greatly simplified the process, for the sake of clarity if at the expense of ignoring some intricacies, but the general idea stands. For now, these outlines are all I have time for, but hopefully, I can dedicate the next series of posts to elucidating each of these areas in some detail and to offering some concrete examples.

tags: Site news Project:Texts

Upgrade (16 April 2016)

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 16 Apr 2016

Yes, the site has had an upgrade, all data have been rebuilt and I am looking forward to investigating some new opportunities.

tags: Site news

ICU collation

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 12 Apr 2016
Update (Dec 2016): I'm happy to know that this issue is now being targeted by ticket #2065 (GitHub).

CODECS needs coders! This website is in need of an appropriate ICU collation(demo) with which to sort its semantic query results in a more satisfactory alphanumeric order. While MW (MediaWiki) supports various such collations (e.g. uca-default and uca-ga) for page listings in categories and has even begun to take tailorings for natural number sorting more seriously(link), SMW (Semantic MediaWiki) has not yet caught up with these developments. Fortunately, SMW has an open community and an open-source repository at GitHub. If you are a programmer with relevant skills and experience in this field, you are very much encouraged to contribute a fix and help out CODECS as well as many others around the globe! Please see the report in this link.

What should happen
What actually happens


  • de
  • De
  • di
  • Di


  • Ed
  • Éd
  • Érainn
  • Erc


  • Fiachu
  • Fíachu
  • Fróech


  • Z 2
  • Z 10


  • De
  • Di


  • Ed
  • Erc


  • Fiachu
  • Fróech
  • Fíachu


  • Z 10
  • Z 2


  • Éd
  • Érainn


  • de
  • di

This call for help is long overdue. In layman’s terms, collation is about comparing different character strings and putting them in a normalised order. Notoriously, default sort behaviour does not always follow the logic that most of us might expect to see and so may seem rather counterintuitive and unnatural. In that respect, SMW and most earlier versions of MW are no different: the uppercase and identity collations dictate a simple binary comparison of values but make insufficient linguistic or strategic – ‘natural’ – sense.

Consider the comparison on the left, which painfully demonstrates at least three key issues:

1.    As shown by the values under [D] / [d], uppercase starts with uppercase A–Z and then proceeds with lowercase a–z. Especially in the case of lengthy lists of lexical items, the distance between results under [D] and those under [d] is unhelpful.

2.    As shown by the values under [E] / [É] and [F], characters with diacritics (accented letters) do not quite end up where you would want them to be. Results beginning with É, for instance, are relegated to a position after [Z]. Again, the problem worsens when the list gets to a certain length. Those familiar with orthographic variation in Irish would not be too pleased to discover that Fiachu and Fíachu, which represent the same name, are now living miles apart.

3.    As shown by the values under [Z], natural numerical sorting is another tricky affair.

For a long time, MediaWiki’s answer to this conundrum has been to tinker with the sortkey of each page: for instance, to add the sortkey Eriu for a page with the title Ériu. This approach has also been adopted here for quite a large number of pages and probably remains a convenient workaround for idiosyncratic cases, but the work is tedious and time-consuming. That is not all. Even if I could muster the number of volunteer forces necessary to take on such work, which is doubtful, I have not even covered the even larger number of page-type values
that is, values of a semantic property that has been declared as having the datatype Page
for which no dedicated page is available.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Because languages and writing systems have different needs, there is no single sort order which can satisfy them all at the same time. As a basis for our mixed, multilingual indexes, however, UCA (Unicode Collation Algorithm) – or its open-source implementation ICU, to be precise – is comfortably adequate: it solves #1 and #2 and offers a tailoring for #3. I have already switched to uca-xx collation in MediaWiki core, but need SMW to follow suit.

tags: Site news

KB web archive

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 1 Feb 2016

Some good and admittedly, flattering news. The National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) in The Hague has selected our websites in the domain to be added to its web archive. This is part of a strategy begun in 2007 to build a digital archive of what it calls “the most significant websites of The Netherlands”. Its goal is to ensure their long-term availability in order that researchers and students may still be able to access them in the future.

tags: Site news National Library of the Netherlands


by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 27 May 2015
Welcome to the beta version of CODECS: Online Database and e-Resources for Celtic Studies.
or simply prepend ‘Collaborative’ if you happen to dislike recursive acronyms
While its name and design are indeed new, this website continues the collection of digital resources, including the selgā catalogue and Tionscadal na Nod, which was formerly accommodated on the main website of the A. G. van Hamel Foundation for Celtic Studies (itself now at The project is still published by the Foundation and directed by board member Dennis Groenewegen.

As you may have read over at, this part of the website needed to be taken offline while a major transition was in force. This was not so much a technical issue as a matter of insufficient resources at our disposal (remember that the project has carried on without any outside funding). A combination of unfortunate circumstances, however, led to a considerably longer period of delay than anticipated. It was in the middle of a series of scheduled activities when I had to devote more of my time and energy to a grievous personal situation. At this time, my father, who had been suffering from malignant mesothelioma, was becoming increasingly weaker every day. He sadly passed away on the 29th of April.

The release of a beta version might seem premature, but I found myself a little overwhelmed by the many messages that have reached me lately. Many visitors, in fact, seem to have been relying on the availability of the website. I have, therefore, decided to reopen it even in its unfinished, somewhat unsteady state. Obviously, this comes with a hefty disclaimer, but most of you should be able to find your way around these parts as you used to.

tags: Site news

A new design (brief announcement)

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 15 Aug 2014

Within a couple of days, we will begin rolling out a thoroughly renewed design for the website. As this design will need to be tested live, there will be a brief liminal period in which you may witness mysterious (dis)appearances, unfamiliar code, elements floating astray, and other unsettling behaviour. So please bear with us while we restore things to order.

tags: Site news

Upgrade (16 May 2014)

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 20 May 2014

Here is a very brief announcement to inform you that a key component of the software used to run this website has been upgraded. In addition to the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, there are also a number of new features and feature improvements that hold promises for the future. For now I should just like to point out two temporary issues that have come about as a result of the upgrade. First, it's no longer possible to have custom search forms embedded inside other pages, at least not until a fix has been provided. It will take you an extra mouse click to go to the search form, so I hope you can manage the effort. Second, the calendar and list of events will be temporarily out of business, because the underlying data structure is now in need of revision. We will return with a spanking new calendar. Please bear with us while work is underway.

tags: Site news

Het woordenboek Bretons/Nederlands en Nederlands/Bretons van Jan Deloof (2014) staat online!

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 9 Apr 2014

De meest up-to-date versie van het tweetalige woordenboek van Jan Deloof, Geriadurig Brezhoneg–Nederlandeg & Nederlandeg–Brezhoneg, is nu online beschikbaar! Het wordt aangeboden op de website van de Stichting op het volgende adres:

In 2004 verscheen de eerste editie van het ‘woordenboekje’ (Geriadurig), een wat bescheiden benaming voor een woordenboek dat zo'n 800 pagina's telt met meer dan 40.000 lemma's. Zie Kelten 26 voor een recensie door Dimitri Boekhoorn. Toen in 2008 de heer Deloof het woordenboek had voorzien van een GPL license, werd het door Kevin Donnelly geïndexeerd voor een digitale, doorzoekbare uitgave, die nog altijd te raadplegen is op (2008-2010). Ondertussen heeft Deloof niet stilgezeten, maar is hij nog gestaag in de weer geweest met het bijwerken van het woordenboek. Tussentijdse revisies konden worden ingezien op zijn persoonlijke website. De beoogde wijzigingen zijn inmiddels doorgevoerd en de Stichting heeft nu de eer gekregen om de vruchten van zijn werk online te mogen aanbieden.

Het veelzijdige oeuvre van Jan Deloof (geboren te Zwevegem in 1930) laat zich niet makkelijk in een hokje plaatsen, maar één van de constanten wordt gevormd door zijn verdiensten als vertaler van Bretonse literatuur. Een mooi voorbeeld hiervan is de tweetalige bloemlezing van twintigste-eeuwse Bretonse poëzie N'em eus lec'h all ebet / Ik heb geen ander land, Kruispunt 174 (Brugge, 1998). In 2007 ontving hij de Priz Roparz Hemon, een belangrijke onderscheiding voor zijn inspanningen en bijdragen aan de Bretonse taal en cultuur.

tags: Site news

Project *selgā is inviting contributors

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 15 Jul 2013

This announcement sums it up really:

(It may not be news to some of you, but more than once, we have heard from people that they were not aware of the opportunity being presented. Admittedly, some of the relevant information lies buried in the news archives, so to put the announcement more prominently on the website, and indeed on our agenda, seems to be the most sensible thing to do.)

Contributing in ways other than editing

In view of the above, this would be a good time to mention that participation should not be taken in the narrow sense only. If you are unable to commit yourself to editing or reviewing, but you have resources to offer that could well be of use to the project, we strongly encourage you to contact us at the customary address. We have had some positive experiences in this respect.

As previously announced, Karel Jongeling has made his personal bibliography of Welsh linguistics available for use by the bibliographical component of the project. Work on this is still continuing. Since Dr. Jongeling (now retired) has previously carried out research into the early, pre-scientific days of Welsh linguistics, it may not surprise you that this includes a list of early (i.e. pre-1880) works, especially Welsh grammars, dictionaries and comparative linguistic studies discussing the genetic status of the Welsh language. Since the catalogue will also cover printed works as part of our entries about texts, this should be a particularly valuable aid.

More recently, Rijcklof Hofman has donated a partial transcription of Calder's edition of Auraicept na n-éces, with the variants being conveniently tabulated side by side. Hofman has previously published on the Auraicept and thankfully, an article dating back to these years has finally appeared in print. These days, he is especially active in research on texts connected with the Modern Devotion movement (e.g. Geert Grootte).

We would also like to thank Steve Hewitt for sending in his bibliographical overview of Breton linguistics, his special area of expertise. It will be gratefully mined for the project. We are pleased to learn that he will be joining the *selgā team once his retirement releases him from his current obligations.

tags: *selgā Bibliography Texts Manuscripts

Oproep aan Nederlandse keltologen

by D. G.
last edited: 24 Apr 2013

Elk jaar wordt in het blad Kelten een alfabetisch overzicht opgenomen van de publicaties van Nederlandse keltologen die in het voorgaande jaar zijn verschenen. Daarmee hopen we een afspiegeling te kunnen geven van de levendige Nederlandse bijdrage aan de Keltistiek. De overzichten voor de periode 2003-2011 zijn bijgewerkt en kunnen online worden geraadpleegd op de pagina ‘Publicatieoverzicht van Nederlandse keltologen’.

Natuurlijk zal het overzicht ook dit jaar niet ontbreken. Wij zouden daarom alle Nederlandse keltologen willen verzoeken om vóór 1 september uw publicaties van 2012 aan ons door te geven via

Ook wetenschappelijke publicaties die niet door een keltoloog zijn geschreven, maar wel handelen over een Keltisch onderwerp, worden in het overzicht opgenomen. Als u hiervan de auteur bent of als op u op de hoogte bent van dergelijke publicaties, dan horen wij graag van u.

Het overzicht verschijnt in Kelten 60 (november 2013).

tags: Publicatieoverzicht van Nederlandse keltologen Kelten

A table of contents for ZCP

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 27 Mar 2013

It was only last week when we were able to report to you that a table of contents for the Revue Celtique has been compiled for selgā. Hot on the heels of this last effort, we have completed a table of contents for another giant among the Celtic journals and one that is very much alive today: Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie. This covers the first 59 volumes (volume 60 is still in the making), excluding reviews.

tags: *selgā Bibliography

A table of contents for Revue Celtique

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 21 Mar 2013

Founded by French scholar Henri Gaidoz in 1870, the Revue Celtique is the first journal to be dedicated exclusively to the broad field of Celtic studies. 51 volumes were published between 1870 and 1934, when it ceased publication and was continued by Études Celtiques. Regular contributors included such luminaries as Henri d'Arbois de Jubainville, Joseph Loth, Joseph Vendryes, Émile Ernault, Kuno Meyer and Whitley Stokes.

If you have been searching the web for a table of contents, to no avail, you'll probably be glad to know that all c. 1250 articles have now been indexed for the selgā catalogue and bibliography. A table of contents, including links to the scanned versions available from the Internet Archive and Gallica, can be viewed here and of course, our search facilities will return relevant results as usual. Note that this currently excludes the many short contributions in the sections Bibliographie, Chronique and Périodiques. We have tried to cover all additions and corrections that were published separately, either in the same volume or a subsequent one. As it is not unlikely though that such peripheral notes have been occasionally overlooked, we would like to encourage the eagle-eyed observers among you to send your corrections to the undersigned at selga <at>

tags: *selgā Bibliography

Previewing the previews (*selgā March 2013)

by D. G. (talk)
last edited: 8 Mar 2013
This is a blog post about the *selgā catalogue. For general information, see the project page »
Much of the work that has been lurking behind the scenes has been an exercise in preparation for improvements to the software (SMW) that have not yet been implemented in official versions of the product. One such improvement relates to the use of so-called ‘subobjects’: rather than having the page dictate the base unit for semantic annotation, so that semantic differentiation is primarily determined by the use of different properties, it will allow us to associate smaller chunks of information together. These smaller datasets then remain tied to the entry for which they are written but are otherwise treated as independent units in data querying. While this feature is already in place, the essential point is that the new software changes will make it a better fit for use in templates.
n. 1 If you are familiar with SMW and wondering about this, I’m referring here to better support for value arrays using delimiters.

Now do not worry if this pithy description manages to do little more than to raise your eyebrows, or bring them together in a confused frown. What this means in practice and why this is useful can be easily demonstrated. As you can see on the page for the composite Middle Irish text of Cath Maige Mucrama (‘The battle of Mag Mucrama’) or that of Aided Diarmata meic Cerbaill I, a separate tab is reserved for a summary of the text, subdivided into a number of episodes or at least, what appear to be relatively free-standing narrative units. In addition to a descriptive subheading and a synopsis, each of these can carry with it a variety of metadata, such as poems cited, ‘people’ (by which is actually meant any personified being), placenames, ‘events’ and other, miscellaneous keywords. A general section for comments is intended for more metadescriptive aspects, such as possible relationships with other texts and scholarly coverage.

So why is this worth having, apart from the convenience of layout? Whenever the corpus of available information on texts is queried, whether in a preformatted query or through a custom search facility where you (the user) can select or enter keywords, the use of subobjects will enable us to give you much more pertinent details than is possible using a generic page-based query. To get the context, you should always consult the main entry, i.e. the source page itself rather than a derivative item in a query. In the initial stages, however, when you have been given a large number of potentially relevant links, you do not want to have to do so for each one of them. In other words, it should be possible to retrieve better previews of what you might, and might not, be looking for.

Because this change in data structure comes with new requirements for querying, a new search facility is being developed. You can already try it here and use a keyword such as Áed to get a basic idea of what this means for searching the catalogue.

Another reason for adopting this section-based approach is that it allows us to refine our information about manuscript witnesses and coverage in secondary literature in a format which is easy to understand and use; especially when the manuscript texts are incomplete or far from uniform and when a published scholarly discussion centres only on a discrete part of a text. See, for instance, the work in progress for the legal tract Bretha nemed dédenach, where partial translations are noted where relevant.
n. 2 Like Bretha nemed toísech, this text is still awaiting a full translation.
Finally, there are also advantages to be gained for our workflow. Because this catalogue is a progressive effort, having at least a framework to fall back on will allow editors to pitch in and home in on small parts that they would like to focus their attention and energy on.

There is much more that can be said about this, but for now one final remark should suffice. There are cases when it is appropriate to extend the hierarchy by dedicating a separate entry/page to an individual text section. This may be true, for instance, when poems or other parts of a narrative are also independently attested in the manuscripts; when it could be argued that subnarratives in a larger textual framework merit separate attention (e.g. some of the stories in Bretha nemed dédenach); or simply when multiple pages are required to cover an extensive text or compilation (e.g. Táin bó Cúailnge). We have usually indicated this with a link to the page in question (such as » entry or a link to a poem included).

To be continued...

tags: Project:*selgā Texts

News:Moving on

*selgā (May–July 2012)

by D. G.
last edited: 18 Jul 2012

selgā has been in active progress now for a year and a half. In its short time of existence, the project has accumulated 784 entries for texts, 502 for manuscripts, and 5680 for the bibliography — so far with an emphasis on early Irish literature, but already extending across a wider spectrum of Celtic studies. Since this flurry of activity has carried on without much further comment or reflection from my part, it seemed to me high time (if not long overdue) to give you a small interim update on the process, on some of the decisions taken along the way and on plans for the future.

As outlined elsewhere, *selgā is an ongoing cataloguing project
n. 3 It is also the name for the online catalogue itself.
that aims to connect the dots: it makes the first infant steps towards offering a web-based gateway or compass to the written sources and scholary resources of Celtic studies — texts, manuscripts and publications — and whatever connects them. By increasing their visibility, it is hoped that it will be a valuable aid to research and teaching. An important prerequisite to making such content widely available is that it comes free of charge. The website will not be locked away behind a paywall.

The means to build the catalogue, and perhaps a commendable end in itself, is ultimately to create and foster a vibrant working environment in which scholars and students from around the world can collaborate within their fields of interest and at the intersections of their disciplines. Especially in view of financial and other uncertainties that universities are facing these days, a platform for international cooperation may be exactly what is needed.

The system

The collaborative editing platform that was chosen for our undertaking is MediaWiki (MW).
n. 4 If the very word ‘wiki’ leaves a bad taste, it may be because of the occasional misunderstanding (in no small part due to the best known example of a wiki, Wikipedia) that any internet user can edit a wiki, regardless of competence. Rest assured that this is true only if this is an intended function of the site, which it is not in our case.
Of the various modules added to the core package, the most important one is no doubt Semantic MediaWiki (SMW), whose annotation mechanisms bring many organisational advantages to the table. It is sometimes thought of as a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint, with a more easily adaptable structure to fit one’s needs.
n. 5 For a useful comparison between SMW and SharePoint from the perspective of a SMW developer, see Yaron Koren’s post on
Another forte is its usability: user forms courtesy of Semantic Forms allow editors to create entries and add or modify data, while the source text can still be edited in the traditional MW way. SMW is rapidly becoming recognised as a powerful and flexible tool for working with, presenting and sharing complex sets of data. While many wonderful initiatives may be ‘here today, gone tomorrow’, SMW enjoys an active support base with a dedicated team of developers in addition to reaping the benefits from the success of MW. MW/SMW is also beginning to gain a foothold in the burgeoning world of digital humanities, but more prestigious examples are needed that can showcase its true potential in terms of catering to the specialised needs of teaching and research. I hope, therefore, that selgā may be an instructive and inspiring prototype for other endeavours in the humanities.
n. 6 If you’re interested in pursuing such a project and need tips or advice, you are welcome to contact me at dennisgroenewegen[at]
Note in this regard that Tionscadal na Nod, also available from this site, works on the same premises and is linked to relevant components of selgā.


A first demand that had to be met was a sound and solid bibliographic system that could be used on its own right as well as serve the wider needs of *selgā. Our former reference repository *datlā was abandoned in favour of an on-board approach with more integrative and fuller indexing possibilities than was possible to date. In short, this means that the potential of MW/SMW was harnessed to build a fully customised system and data plan from scratch. Inevitably, the decision has entailed a good deal of work, but the result is well worthwhile.

All references are automatically placed in the category ‘References’ and can be searched through a special SMW-powered search facility: Special:RunQuery/Search_references. For easy reference, there are also ancillary pages for authors, journals and monograph series, although it should be pointed out that not all authors, journals or monograph series necessarily have their own page.

Many of the publications in our bibliography have been entered because they are considered necessary or useful readings for those with an interest in specific texts or manuscripts. Perhaps the majority is included by virtue of the general purpose of our bibliography (in which case their exact relevance may not (yet) be indicated). Here are some examples of other unifying principles that have been at work in its compilation:

Also worthy of note is that Dr. Karel Jongeling, who has taught Welsh and Hebrew at Leiden University, has kindly provided us with a CSV file that contains an extensive list of studies on the Welsh language, from the early modern days of scholarship right down to the present. Wholesale import is not possible at this stage, but work is underway to adapt the file for conversion. Meanwhile, the same bibliography can be consulted online from Dr. Jongeling’s personal homepage:


The focal area that has stood out thus far is the creation of many basic entries for ‘texts’, a term which is somewhat generously used to cover a wide variety of textual items: prose narratives, poems, compilations, anecdotes, treatises, homilies, glosses, charters, genealogical tracts, textual fragments, and so forth. Most of these texts are transmitted in manuscript form, but on the odd occasion, wax tablets and printed books are also taken into consideration. In selgā, a ‘text’ can also designate individual parts of a larger unit. In addition to the main entry for the Táin bó Cúailnge and in addition to separate pages for the three main recensions of this momentous epic tale, the various episodes are given separate attention. A template placed at the bottom of the page allows readers to catch the sequence of episodes at a glimpse. Poems, including the roscada (non-syllabic accentual verse), will be given their own entries and the well-known scribal memoranda at the end of the Book of Leinster version can be found at this location.

Information about individual texts usually includes (1) an overview of manuscripts in which they are preserved and (2) lists of publications such as editions, translations and secondary studies (again, see Táin bó Cúailnge for an example). Both (1) and (2) are linked to relevant entries in the catalogue, if available, and retrieve preformatted reference details from those pages. What is by meant by the latter is, for instance, that the full citation is stored only once, on its own reference page (e.g. Carey, J., “The uses of tradition in Serglige Con Culainn”, in Ulidia (1994)), and can be called wherever a citation is required. In this way, editors are spared a lot of unnecessary double work and consistency of formatting does not have to rely solely on the constant vigilance of copyeditors.

Not every text has had the fortune of a complete, critical edition and translation that can be called satisfactory by modern scholarly standards, and not every potentially significant text, even if edited, has attracted the attention it rightly deserves. A powerful use of a system like selgā is that it can be used to bring the state of research into sharper focus. For instance, a convenient way of keeping track of such desiderata is the use of annotation associated with the pages ‘Edition wanted’ and ‘Translation wanted’. Students who wish to undertake an edition and/or translation for their final thesis and are looking for a suitable choice of text are welcome to take a look. Please don't hesitate to contact me if a new edition/translation has been published, if we have overlooked anything, or if you're a scholar who is in the process of preparing an edition or translation and wish to leave a note that work is underway.

Categorisation is only rudimentary at present and what there is may not be consistent across the board. This is hardly a mechanical process because categorisation is itself a topic of ongoing debate and sometimes, heated controversy. The most convenient and neutral course of action seems to me, first of all, to allow for multiple possibilities based on what modern scholarship has to say on these matters. When, for example, the language of a poem is variously described as late Old Irish and early Middle Irish, or as transitional between Old and Middle Irish, the corresponding entry will be grouped together with both Old and Middle Irish texts. The catalogue entry itself should then explain this decision and if possible, provide references to further discussion. Second, basic criteria, such as language, subject matter and form, which underlie broader types of classification, such as ‘Cycles of the Kings’, must be taken firmly into account. In fact, such criteria are essential ingredients of any refined approach to indexing textual corpora. Once a more robust classification scheme is in place, we can finally begin improving the user interface and offer better ways to combine search criteria.


In the process of creating entries for manuscripts, the emphasis has been primarily on providing a dependable framework and adding references to essential resources, notably library catalogues, diplomatic editions and digital repositories like Early Manuscripts at Oxford University and Irish Script on Screen. The contents of each manuscript are described in two ways. A list of texts for which entries are available is automatically generated can be consulted. In addition, more detailed, manually entered descriptions will be offered on separate pages. Progress in this area is naturally slow and has been most apparent with regard to the following manuscripts:

While Irish and Welsh studies are no doubt served by a number of excellent catalogues that will remain an indispensable port of call for researchers for some time to come, there is also a need for something more readily accessible that stays on top of the ongoing flow. This need is felt to be particularly acute in the case of older works. Abbott and Gwynn's Catalogue of Irish manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin was published in 1921 and is now in serious need of an ‘update’ which is mindful of new research that has been piling up over the last 90 years. Further, work on individual manuscripts and particular collections tends to leave many loose ends that need to be tied up in a centralised manner. There is no cross-catalogue search, for instance, and the chances that textual material relevant to one's studies goes unnoticed remain very real today. It is hoped that ultimately, by addressing these concerns, the project will go some way to offering a solid platform for cooperation between manuscript-holding institutions. Needless to say, interested parties are strongly encouraged to contact us.


Above I’ve already touched upon several areas where there is room for improvement and areas where some form of partnership with selgā could be mutually beneficial. In conclusion, I would like to indicate some priorities, beginning with the most obvious one:

Participants wanted

Thus far, all contributions to selgā have been made by only a few volunteering editors and without any funding. For my part, most effort has been invested into getting to grips with the system as a content editor and using these learning experiences to improve the site's infrastructure as I went along. By now, the project is in a fit condition to take on board new contributors. In fact, interested scholars and students who are active in any branch of Celtic studies, or whose specialism borders on this field, are cordially invited to contact me at Some points of clarification:

  • Don't be alarmed by some of the technical terms and descriptions above. Editing pages is relatively easy and I can always give personal assistance if desired.
  • The current focus on Irish merely reflects the interests of a handful of editors and is not meant to be representative of the scope of the project. For example, editors who are willing to work on entries pertaining to Welsh literature, history and law are urgently needed.

There are, of course, many other ways (ways other than editing) in which individuals and institutions can help the project. For example, editors require adequate sources and may not always have access to university libraries. If there is a way that such access can be provided or if specific works can be lent or donated to our editors, we would be most grateful.

A dinnshenchas project?

One specific goal that has set been for the future, and one extensive enough to be given the status of a subproject, is an index to the compilation known as the Dinnshenchas Érenn. A plan is in preparation on how to cover all prose and verse texts that are regarded as belonging to the Dinnshenchas Érenn and perhaps to give separate status to dinnshenchas texts that survive independently from this collection. Such an undertaking must show the correspondences in terms of subject matter, while taking into account the divergence of scholarly opinion on the complex relationships that exist between the various recensions and between the prose and verse texts. In addition, metadata will be supplied about the characters and place-names mentioned in these texts.


selgā has so far progressed without any outside funding. We hope to have demonstrated why it is a useful addition to the Celtic dimension of the so-called Digital Humanities, but it will be difficult to sustain its ongoing growth if no financial support is forthcoming. Disk storage, for instance, needs to be paid for. Because of its reliance on MW / SMW and a shared webserver, the website bears relatively low costs, but the latter also imposes certain constraints. It entails, for instance, that there is currently no support for adequate searching. The present options are a generic MW search as well as an external (Google) search for the whole site, and a property-based search for semantically stored data, but these are only imperfect attempts to make the best out of these limitations. We are, therefore, looking for private and/or corporate funding. If you are interested in showing such generosity, please send an e-mail to

If you have any further questions, suggestions or some other reason to contact us, do not hesitate to send an e-mail.

Dennis Groenewegen
A. G. van Hamel Foundation for Celtic Studies

tags: Project:*selgā Texts Manuscripts Bibliography

Publicaties van Frans Buisman (1942-2002)

by D. G.
last edited: 6 Sep 2011

Frans Buisman was een Nederlandse taalkundige, van huis uit een Sanskritist, die zich uiteindelijk ontpopte tot een toonaangevend onderzoeker op het gebied van zijn grote passie: de Piobaireachd, een muziekgenre uit de Schotse Hooglanden dat vooral met de doedelzak wordt beoefend. Veel van zijn publicaties zijn verschenen in het blad Piping Times en hij heeft meegewerkt aan het editeren van de composities in het zogeheten MacArthur-MacGregor handschrift (NLS) uit 1820. Helaas heeft hij zijn onderzoek niet meer kunnen voortzetten, want in 2002 kwam hij door een tragisch ongeval in Oostenrijk om het leven.

Met hulp van Paul Filling heeft Lauran Toorians een voorlopige lijst van publicaties samengesteld. Van zijn gegevens hebben wij dankbaar gebruik mogen maken en deze zijn dan ook op de relevante auteurspagina in onze catalogus verwerkt. Wij benadrukken dat de lijst mogelijk niet volledig is. Mocht u aanvullingen hebben, dan vernemen wij dat graag via

tags: Project:*selgā Publicatieoverzicht van Nederlandse keltologen Bibliography

A. G. van Hamel Foundation for Celtic Studies (main site)

News page
Events in Celtic studies


A small improvement: the text browser now also shows variant titles with cross-references.
10 December 2016 User:DG

Currently at SMWCon 2016 in Frankfurt; presented and "demo'd" a couple of aspects of CODECS yesterday. Sören Auer presenting an interesting keynote paper about Open Scholarly Communication. Encouraging to see digital humanities being represented more widely at this edition of SMWCon.
29 September 2016 User:DG

Another educational read on the web: Cameron Wachowich has used Memrise to provide Old Irish vocabularies based on David Stifter's Sengoídelc and Kim McCone's edition of Echtrae Chonnlai.
16 August 2016 User:DG

New online coursebook for Celtic Studies edited and maintained by Michael Newton: visit the website at
12 August 2016 User:DG

As some of you may know, the Celtic Digital Initiative has had a makeover and moved to a new address: What this means for CODECS is that links to that site need to be updated [edit: done].
22 April 2016 User:DG

Lato (Polish for ‘summer’) is an absolutely stunning and accessible font, but sadly did not meet some of the stringent requirements for this site (CODECS is a demanding customer!). I was lucky to find a suitable typeface to replace it with, Fira Sans.
16 April 2016 User:DG

Many, many corrections.
16 April 2016 User:DG

Summer holidays are at an end and I'm beginning to get back on track. Now working on some of the core ontological schemes, which has no immediate, visible effect but should contribute to providing a more solid basis for future work.
4 September 2015 User:DG

Thanks to Clodagh Downey (NUI Galway) for allowing me to see two of her articles on Conall Corc, these being “Purple reign: the naming of Conall Corc” and “Medieval literature about Conall Corc” - reading these will provide a welcome opportunity to flesh out some of our entries on the ‘Cycles of the Kings’.
23 July 2015 User:DG

Let's welcome on board Fangzhe Qiu! He is currently based in the School of Celtic Studies, DIAS, and has been looking critically at the functions of narratives in early Irish law texts, among other things.
23 July 2015 User:DG

Back and still recuperating from ICCS 2015 in Glasgow! It has been a great delight to meet some of you in person, attend a variety of thought-provoking sessions and much else besides.
23 July 2015 User:DG

Users of the excellent OLD-IRISH mailing list have been translating a variety of episodes and texts relating to or attributed to the legendary Irish prophet Becc mac Dé (whose name is interpreted in some genealogies as ‘son of fume’): including extracts from Aided Díarmata meic Cerbaill (first recension); a poem ascribed to him known as Cétbriathra Bic meic Dé (with prose prologue); and now another one beg. In mac ndíaid a athar a nArd Mauchai.
7 July 2015 User:DG

Some good news and bad news. Bad news: there may not be an awful lot of activity on this website between 11 and 18 July. Good news: I'm attending the International Congress of Celtic Studies in Glasgow (12-17 July). Not as a speaker although it would be wonderful if I could somehow do a demonstration of CODECS if anyone is interested. Don't hesitate to approach me for any questions you may have.
3 July 2015 User:DG

While there are dedicated subpages for the ‘sections’ that comprise TCD 1318, better known as the Yellow Book of Lecan, this approach left us with a backlog for one particular kind of task: many of the entries on the texts that are contained in them were still linking to the main entry ‘Dublin, Trinity College, MS 1318’ rather than its subpages. Backlog has now been substantially reduced. The symbol indicates that we are dealing with such a section; see e.g. Scéla Colmáin meic Duach 7 Guairi meic Colmáin.
1 July 2015 User:DG

Sad news: Edgar M. Slotkin recently passed away.
23 June 2015 User:DG

Indexed: seven volumes published thus far in the Scriptores Celtigenae subseries
22 June 2015 User:DG

Corrections and additions to Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 N 27 (1714); entry for two texts, Mairg do-n duine carus duíne and Gabh mo chomhairle a mheic mhín, attr. to Giolla na Naomh mac Duinn Shléibhe mhic Aodhagáin;
22 June 2015 User:DG

Person index is being very actively worked on. For contributors to publications, here's a simple prototype, which however, fails to collect all contributors through autocompletion. To be continued...
21 June 2015 User:DG

Indexed this week: scores of publications in preparation for a better coverage of Hiberno-Latin writing and biblical commentaries at some point in the future; basic entry for the so-called Reference bible and Cambridge, University Library, MS Dd X 16; a number of manuscripts in Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria; Commentarius in Evangelium secundum Marcum (Pseudo-Jerome); also, more Early Irish glosses on biblical texts have been added;
20 June 2015 User:DG

Spotted a glitch: Journal of Medieval Latin redirects to The Journal of Medieval Latin, but the publications listed omit all results from this redirect. Update (22 June): should work again!
19 June 2015 User:DG

Ongoing efforts to index Celtica: volume 23 (1999)
15 June 2015 User:DG

Indexed: 102 articles in Transactions of the Philological Society (vols 1–113)
9 June 2015 User:DG

Indexed: articles in Peritia 24/25 (2013/2014)
8 June 2015 User:DG

recently modified


R. A. S. Macalister, ‘The ‘Fermoy’ copy of Lebor gabála’, Ériu 11 (1932) • Max Nettlau, ‘The Fer Diad episode of the Tain Bó Cuailnge (LL. 82 a 21 – 88 b 52) (suite)’, Revue Celtique 11 (1890) • Jenny Graver, ‘‘What’s in a name?’ About the syntax and philological functions of etymologies in the Táin’, Studia Celtica Fennica 4 (2007) • Frans Buisman, ‘MS. SRO 112/1/803. More evidence on the development of Campbell notation’, Piping Times 47 (1995) • R. Darcy, ‘Ptolemy’s map of Ireland: a modern decoding’, Irish Geography 41 (2008) • Robert Morton Nance, ‘Cornish words in the Tregear MS’, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 24 (1954) • Pádraig P. Ó Néill, ‘The Old-Irish words in Eriugena’s biblical glosses’ in Jean Scot écrivain... (1986)...


Críth gablachBethu PhátraicAnnála gearra as proibhinse Ard MachaCath Ruis na RígLánellach rigi rích ocus ruirechScéla Guairi meic Colmáin ocus Óenu moccu LoígseDígal fola CristSanas Cormaic/PrullAided Fergusa meic RoichTáin bó FlidaisTan bím eter mo shruitheEpilogue to Anbthine mór ar muig LirAnbthine mór ar muig LirCet mac Mágach roteilc in cloichDanklied einer erlösten SeeleTesmolta Cormaic ocus aided FinnAided Finn (Laud fragment)Adram in CoimdidCris finnáin dumimdegail imumCan a mbunadus na nGáedelDinnshenchas of GáirechCyfraith HywelAided Meic ConMairg duine cáines cléirechDe locis sanctis (Adomnán)...


Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 E 29Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 80Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 531Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 512/I (ff. 101-122, 1-36, 45-52)Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS E iv 3Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Llanstephan MS 116Chatsworth (Derbyshire), Book of LismoreDublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 7Klosterneuburg, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 587Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, Peniarth MS 10Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.7.1London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian E xiOxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 610Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 487Laon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 26...

Blogs and news sites elsewhere

Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic
bloga (fragments)
Celtic Digital Initiative
ChronHib on Twitter
A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe
Early Irish Manuscripts Project, Trinity College Dublin
eDIL on Facebook
Félire Óengusso Online
Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland (FMRSI)
Irish Archaeology
Mapping Miracles
Maynooth University, Department of Early Irish
Monastic Ireland
Nótaí Imill (Dennis King)
Penance, Penitential Tradition, and Pastoral Care in the Middle Ages
Peritia (also on Twitter)
School of Celtic Studies, DIAS

CODECS is published online by Stichting A. G. van Hamel voor Keltische Studies (A. G. van Hamel Foundation for Celtic Studies) under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) licence. Designed, directed and maintained by Dennis Groenewegen.