Using the Scholastic Commentaries and Text Archive (http://scta.info) as a case study, this talk will focus first on the power and potential of open data for the future of humanities research, particularly for our understanding of text corpora and text traditions. Open and collaborative textual data allows us to offer scholars re-usable data. Such data can then be manipulated for a variety of purposes. It can be used to allow scholars fine-tuned access to every aspect of the corpora (on-demand collation, manuscript consultation, and faceted searching). It can be used for various forms of web publication and traditional print publication. Finally, it can also be used for large corpus-wide analysis on a scale never before thought possible.
Second, this talk will argue that these possibilities only emerge when we begin to think about texts differently, namely as open distributed networks of data rather than isolated documents. The focus will turn here to the problems and challenges of creating this kind of paradigm shift. In particular we will highlight two challenges: the challenge of developing common data models and shared ontologies for our texts and the challenge of developing community adoption of these models, ontologies, and open standards.