Catherine Smith

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My research interests focus on the use of electronic tools to analyse texts: I have been involved in writing software and applying these methods to texts as diverse as the New Testament, the writings of Charles Dickens and email communications. I have a particular specialism in XML and related technologies and do most of my development in Python and Javascript.

I am currently a member of the research teams for the following projects:

  • CATENA - a five-year project on Greek New Testament commentary manuscripts funded by the European Research Council.
  • Codex Zacynthius - a new edition, transcription and translation of the earliest New Testament catena manuscript using multispectral images.
  • MUYA - a project examining the performance and written transmission of the core ritual of the Zoroastrian tradition, the Yasna.

As a member of ITSEE I have contributed to the following research projects:

  • COMPAUL - a five-year project investigating the earliest Latin and Greek commentaries on the Pauline Epistles as sources for the biblical text funded by the European Research Council. The project examined the commentators' treatment of the biblical text, the manuscript transmission of these works and the re-use of these texts in later writings.
  • The Workspace for Collaborative Editing - an online environment for editing evidence for the text of the New Testament,  developed in Birmingham and Germany.
  • The International Greek New Testament Project - working towards the Editio Critica Maior, the fullest presentation of the evidence for the Greek New Testament.
  • Estoria de Espanna Digital - an AHRC funded project to make a digital edition of Alfonso el Sabio’s most renowned chronicle the Estoria de Espanna.
  • The CLiC Dickens Project - a collaborative project which demonstrates through corpus stylistics how computer-assisted methods can be used to study literary texts and lead to new insights into how readers perceive fictional characters.

Previously I have also contributed to:

Biography

I was introduced to linguistics as a theology undergraduate and specialised in the linguistic analysis of the Greek New Testament in my postgraduate studies. In my PhD thesis I examined the synoptic problem using a model from systemic-functional linguistics. After my PhD I completed an MSc conversion course in Computer Science specialising in language analysis and my career has made the most of these two areas of interest.

I have held several postdoc positions include working on metaphor detection in Computer Science at the University of Birmingham, software development for the Incunabula Short Titles Catalogue, the Archive Hub and Cheshire3 for Corpus Linguistics at the University of Liverpool, and Health communication research, and corpus stylistic analysis of Dickens at the University of Nottingham. In 2011 I came back to Birmingham to work in ITSEE and have been involved in many projects since then. Further details of the projects I have worked on in ITSEE can be found in the research section. 

Willingness to take PhD students

Yes

PhD projects

Dr Smith is interested in supervising research in the following areas:

Digital Humanities (particularly digital editing)
Computer tools and the New Testament

I co-supervise a number of students working with digital tools or techniques as part of their research. Most of the students are based in ITSEE but I also co-supervise students with members of staff in the wider theology department and in other departments at Birmingham.