Coptic represents the last phase of the Egyptian language and is pivotal for a wide range of disciplines, such as linguistics, biblical studies, the history of Christianity, Egyptology, and ancient history. It was also essential for "cracking the code" of the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Although digital humanities has been hailed as distinctly interdisciplinary, enabling new forms of knowledge by combining multiple forms of disciplinary investigation, technical obtacles exist for creating a resource useful to both linguists and historians, for example. The nature of the language (outside of the Indo-European family) also requires its own approach. This paper will present some of the challenges -- both digital and material -- in creating an online, open source platform with a database and tools for digital research in Coptic. It will also propose standards and methodologies to move forward through those challenges. This paper should be of interest not only to scholars in Coptic but also others working on what are traditionally considered more "marginal" language groups in the pre-modern world, and researchers working with corpora that have been removed from their original ancient or medieval repositories and fragmented or dispersed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/caroline-schroeder/73/