Dr Catherine Smith

Dr Catherine Smith

Department of Theology and Religion
Research Fellow and Technical Officer
Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing

Contact details

Dept. of Theology and Religion
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a Research Fellow and Technical Officer in the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE). I support the online editing tools used within ITSEE and by our collaborators to transcribe texts and produce critical editions. I am also the primary developer of the collation editor, one of the key tools in our workflow. I am interested in the use of computers for text processing and analysis and in the history of humanities computing. I have a particular specialism in XML and related technologies and do most of my development in Python and Javascript.

In 2019 I became a fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute.


  • MSc in Computer Science (Birmingham)
  • PhD in Biblical Studies (Birmingham)
  • MA in Biblical and Theological Studies (Roehampton)
  • BA in Biblical and Theological Studies with Psychology (Roehampton)


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. 


I have taught an MA module on the Electronic Book and co-organised and taught a number of workshops on Python for corpus linguistics I have also been an instructor at a collateX workshop.

I will complete my software carpentry instructor training and join the pool of instructors teaching programming skills at the University.

Postgraduate supervision

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.

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


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:

Other activities

  • Software Sustainability Institute Fellow 2019
  • Fellow of the Centre for Biblical Linguistics, Translation and Exegesis (McMaster divinity College)
  • Editorial board member of Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics.


Highlight publications

Smith, C 2019, 'Old wine, new wineskins: digital tools for editing the New Testament', Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament , vol. 417, pp. 407-434.

Houghton, HAG, Kreinecker, C, MacLachlan, R & Smith, C 2018, The Principal Pauline Epistles: A Collation of Old Latin Witnesses. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents, vol. 59, Brill, Leiden. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004390492

Smith, C & O'Donnell, MB 2016, Computer-Aided Linguistic Analysis for a Single Manuscript Witness: Preparing to Map the Opentext.org annotation. in L Dow, C Evans & A Pitts (eds), The Language and Literature of the New Testament: Essays in Honour of Stanley E. Porter's 60th Birthday. Biblical Interpretation Series, vol. 150, Brill, pp. 106-137. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004335936_005

Houghton, HAG & Smith, CJ 2016, Digital Editing and the Greek New Testament. in C Clivaz, P Dilley & D Hamidović (eds), Ancient Worlds in Digital Culture. Digital Biblical Studies, vol. 1, Brill, Leiden. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004325234_007

Mahlberg, M, Stockwell, P, De Joode, J, Smith, C & O'Donnell, MB 2016, 'CLiC Dickens: novel uses of concordances for the integration of corpus stylistics and cognitive poetics', Corpora, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 433-463. https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2016.0102

Recent publications


Adolphs, S, Knight, D, Smith, C & Price, D 2020, 'Crowdsourcing formulaic phrases: towards a new type of spoken corpus', Corpora, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 141-168.

Mullany, L, Smith, C, Harvey, K & Adolphs, S 2016, '‘Am I anorexic?’ Weight, eating and discourses of the body in online adolescent health communication', Communication and Medicine, vol. 12, no. 2-3, pp. 211-223. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.16692

Smith, C, Adolphs, S, Harvey, K & Mullany, L 2014, 'Spelling errors and keywords in born-digital data: a case study using the Teenage Health Freak Corpus', Corpora, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 137-154. https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2014.0055

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Smith, C 2020, Introducing the ITSEE Patristic Citations Database. in HAG Houghton, ML Davies & M Vinzent (eds), Studia Patristica Vol. C: Including Papers Presented at the Sixth British Patristics Conference, Birmingham, 5-7 September 2016.. vol. 100, Peeters Publishers and Booksellers, Leuven, Leuven, pp. 375-387.

Data set/Database

Ward, A & Smith, C, estoriadigital/Transcriptions 1.0.0, 2019, Data set/Database, Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2593588

Other contribution

Ghumra, A (ed.), Acil, N, Barker, J, Baziotis, C, Beltran Hernandez, A, Dai, D, Deakin, J, Dettmer, S, Fentham, D, Fontrodona-Bach, A, Hart-Villamil, R, Jenkins, B, Jia, X, Jones, AM, Morris, A, Murakami, A, Seymour, R, Da Silva Xavier, G, Smith, C, Tashev, S, Turner, J, Uche, EO, Xia, X & Zhong, J 2023, Birmingham Environment for Academic Research: Case studies volume 3. University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00004303

Houghton, HAG & Smith, C 2023, IGNTP guidelines for XML transcriptions of New Testament manuscripts (version 1.6). University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00004301

Scholarly edition

Houghton, HAG, Myshrall, A & Smith, C (eds) 2024, A Collation of the Greek Manuscripts Selected for the Editio Critica Maior of the Epistle to the Ephesians. University of Birmingham. <http://www.epistulae.org/apparatus/ephesians/>

Houghton, HAG, Myshrall, A & Smith, C (eds) 2024, A Collation of the Greek Manuscripts Selected for the Editio Critica Maior of the Epistle to the Romans. University of Birmingham. <http://www.epistulae.org/apparatus/romans/>

Houghton, HAG, Myshrall, A & Smith, C 2021, A collation of the Greek manuscripts selected for the Editio Critica Maior of the Epistle to the Galatians. <http://itseeweb.bham.ac.uk/epistulae/apparatus/galatians/>


Smith, C, collation_editor_core, 2019, Software. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2563273

Branford, S, Ward, A & Smith, C, estoriadigital/Estoria-Admin 1.0.0, 2019, Software, Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2593580

Smith, C & Ward, A, estoriadigital/Estoria-de-Espanna-Digital 1.0.0, 2019, Software, Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2593583

Smith, C, standalone_collation_editor, 2019, Software. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2566014

Smith, C, transcription_reconciler, 2019, Software. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2587973

View all publications in research portal