From my diary

I’ve just finished translating BHL 6170, a rather pointless miracle story by St Nicholas, published in 1889 by the Bollandists as part of the second volume of their catalogue of the Latin manuscripts of the Royal Belgian Library.  The Bollandists were very busy at the end of the 19th century, and for each manuscript they tended to print first a list of contents, and then, as an appendix to the entry, one or more previously unpublished pieces in it.  This was a very useful habit, which conveniently gives us access to a great deal of hagiographical material.

Completing BHL 6170 means that I have now got a MSWord file with BHL 6130-6170 in it.  Without checking, I presume that’s 40 pieces of text.  The file has the Latin text, then the Google Translate of it, suitably cleaned up by me.  Actually it’s not in one single file yet, but in several, but that’s just a cut and paste job.

I’m toying with just making available what I have, and then doing a “version 2” etc as I add more.  There’s still a fair way to go.  I’m not bothering with the longer texts, but rather the miracle stories.

The reason for doing this job is to make a tool for those working with the manuscripts of the Latin St Nicholas material.  There’s such a lot of it, and so many miracle stories, that you find yourself getting lost while paging through the PDFs.  A file with the Latin text means that you can just type in a few words from the manuscript, press Ctrl-F (find), and discover what on earth you’re looking at.  The translation is relatively easy to produce, and so is worth including.

Next on  my list is BHL 6171, printed by Falconius in 1751 on pp.127-9, “Ex iisdem codicibus membranaceis Vaticanis, num. 1194 & 5696, a pag.15 a tergo, ad 17”, from the same parchment Vatican mss, 1194 and 5696, from p.15 verso to 17.  Ms. Vat. lat. 1194 is not online, annoyingly, but 5696 is.  Let’s hope Falconius didn’t get too creative with the text.

The first task is to OCR that part of Falconius.  I wish Finereader would cope with the long-s better.


4 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. If you’re not getting satisfactory results from Finereader, have you tried PERO ? This seems to be just the sort of thing it was designed for.

  2. I’ve had a try of Pero using a page of Falconius’ Latin text, but it is not as good as Finereader. It’s mainly oriented for Czech documents.

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