One of the project’s outputs will be an online database containing the main lemmata identified by the project as relevant to the study of the terminology of peace in each language, as well as an analysis of their referents, illustrated by examples of their usage drawn from key texts. This database will be fully searchable, allowing the user to explore the concept of peace by language, referent, cultural tradition, date, geographical space, and so on. This integrated, multilingual database will allow the generation of new insights and hypotheses about the development, transmission and boundaries of culturally specific concepts of peace.
The database is divided into two connected tables, each containing its own series of entries. The first, lemmata, is a list of the principal lexemes identified by the team as relevant to the study of the terminology of peace. Each lemma will contain its dictionary form in both its native script and transliterated into Latin characters. This table will function as the basis of a future dictionary, consisting of a definition, a brief discussion of its etymology and related terms, as well as a bibliography and notes on its role as a term for “peace” or related concepts.
The second, and larger, table will consist of attestations – extracts from texts containing the key lemmata. Alongside information on the text – the date of its writing and/or composition, its support (papyrus, parchment, stone inscription etc.), type of text (poetry, literary text, official declaration, administrative text, etc.), geographical context, and so on, it will contain the cotext in its original language and script, and a translation into English. Importantly for the study of the concepts underlying the terms for “peace” is the inclusion of a referent field. While a given lemmata might be translated in text simply as “peace”, it may nonetheless have different, even opposed, referents, thus “reconciliation”, in the context of a negotiation, or “pacification”, in the context of a colonial relationship of domination.
The two tables are connected in a dynamic relationship, through the tagging of entries by the lemmata they contain. This allows the database to automatically aggregate entered information to create brief summaries, facilitating swift overviews and analyses. In addition to information entered directly, the lemmata entries will also contain information from all their connected attestations: a count of entries, a list of the cotexts and translations of all related texts, and a summary of the referents and orthographies associated with each lemma. Links in both tables will allow both the research team and future users to explore entries in more depth.
Alongside the swift overview facilitated by the summaries in the lemmata table, the database format will allow more specialised searches of one or more fields, and this functionality will be retained once the database becomes available online to the general public. The inclusion of fields including date, cultural tradition (“Athenian”, “Spartan”, “Orthodox Christian”, “Muslim”, “Gnostic” etc.), referent, and so on, will allow users to look for patterns beyond those available in single-language databases. They might compare, for example, the terms for “peace” employed in the Bible in Hebrew, and in its translations in Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (St Jerome), or in 9th century documentary texts in Greek, Coptic, and Arabic. It will also be possible to compare the words in different languages for the referent “reconciliation”, “treaty”, or “pacification”, and so on. This is intended to be a dynamic, exploratory process, and at each stage, the list of attestations will provide a grounding to these more theoretical questions, providing attestations of the terms in use to clarify what is meant by each referent.
Once the database is sufficiently large, its text may be used as the basis for further analyses – collocation analyses of particular terms, tables of semantic networks, and so on. While the power of the database to address questions of interest depends on the number of texts entered in each language, even a modest number of representative texts will allow it to meet its basic requirements.
K. Doosoo, "Database", Les mots de la paix/The Terminology of Peace [en ligne], mis en ligne le 25 novembre 2015, consulté le