Since October 2013, the conception of the digital tool has represented a major task, in particular to consider all wanted functionalities and different possible uses. Fundamental research on art theory books and conception of the tool have therefore advanced simultaneously and on a principle of constant interaction.
Once the constituent entities of the database defined – author, source / book , quotation, definition, term – and their relation established, a common reading method was developed enabling a systematic handling of each book, and a data structuration for their future import into the digital tool.
After this modelling phase of the database, a requirements specification describing the tool was been written. In connection with the project investigator, functionalities and research methods have been conceived to make the readability of data as clear as possible, while taking into account both the frame and the scientific objectives of the project, and the deadlines. In this context, questions such as the need to highlight the nuances of meanings for each term in the long time, but also between authors or sometimes in the same author’s work, and as well from one language to another, and such as avoiding misinterpretations or misuse of the digital tool by a too strict systematization, were also at the heart of concerns.
The addition of a digital library made possible by the establishment of partnerships with research institutes and major libraries (Getty Research Institute, BNF, INHA , etc.) will also allow users to view text’s excerpts chosen by the researchers while having the opportunity, if they wish, to pursue their reading directly into the books and studied editions.
To respond to the scale of such a tool and to specific emerging issues – such as the creation of semantic networks – the choice of a research collaboration with an experienced team capable of taking into account the project’s scientific issues and the constraints of a research in the humanities that imply shifting results, has gradually imposed. The choice of the team of the Trier Center for Digital Humanities (Germany), which brings together both researchers in linguistics and lexicography and computer engineers forming a team of experts in digital humanities, seems to be the best and more relevant option for the LexArt project.