Digital Humanities and Tense Logic - perspectives and applications within the project Primacy of Tense – University of Copenhagen

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Digital Humanities and Tense Logic - perspectives and applications within the project Primacy of Tense

"The Primacy of Tense: A.N. Prior Now and Then" is an externally funded, international but Denmark-based research project. Researchers who focus on the logic of time as founded by the New Zealand philosopher and logician Arthur Norman Prior work together with information and computer scientists affiliated with the Royal School of Library and Information Science at the University of Copenhagen.

The information science project group consists of Per Hasle, Henriette Roued-Cunliffe, Volkmar Engerer, and a Research Assistant employed for the project. The group has the task, among others, to develop the research infrastructure (websites, databases etc.) associated with the project (, enhance communication and collaboration between researchers in the project as well as Prior researchers worldwide and, last but not least, make Prior's unpublished manuscripts accessible in transcribed and digitised form (

The group's more theoretical research interests lie in the fields of information science, digital humanities, digital cultural heritage, digitizing of scientific/academic material and research communication. The group has presented its work for the first time on the international conference Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries, Gothenburg, March 14–16 2017 and partakes on a regular basis in the larger project group's international meetings and workshops.

Group members have authored a series of articles for international journals, both published and in preparation/submitted, which investigate the project's field of inquiry from the particular perspectives of digital humanities and information science (cf. the reading list below). In addition to these 'meta' perspectives on the project, the information science group contributes to Prior research proper. For example Per Hasle, in cooperation with project colleagues, is preparing a completely revised and thoroughly annotated edition of Prior's seminal work, Past, "Present and Future" (1967). (Oxford University Press, to appear 2018).

Focus areas in 2017-2018

  • Developing, reworking and modernising the Danish Prior websites
  • Developing the 'Virtual Lab' where researchers can access and request photographed hand-written manuscripts and letters by A. N. Prior for transcription
  • Developing and expanding the 'Nachlass', a searchable full text repository of Prior's transcribed manuscripts and letters
  • Clearing copyright issues connected to making accessible Prior's manuscripts in photographed and digitized form


Primacy of Tense: A. N. Prior – Now and Then

Read more about the project at the website about Prior-Studies or contact Per Hasle

Selected publications

Engerer, VolkmarAlbretsen, Jørgen: "The Prior Internet Resources 2017: information systems and development perspectives". Submitted October 1, 2017 for peer review.

Engerer, Volkmar: "What can information specialists do for science communication? With cases from the Prior project". Submitted October 12, 2017 for peer review (Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, draft article PDF).

Øhrstrøm, Peter; Jakobsen, David; Hasle, Per. "In Celebration of Arthur Prior’s 'Past, Present and Future'". Submitted September 25, 2017 for peer review.

Rybaříková, Zuzana; Hasle, Per Frederik VilhelmC. A. Meredith, A. N. Prior, and Possible Worlds. Paper presented at Workshop on Time and Modality, Skagen, Danmark. Submitted September 13, 2017, for peer review.

Engerer, Volkmar: "Information science knowledge in research, research communication and research communication research: Cases from the Prior project". Submitted September 5, 2017 for peer review (JASIST - Journal of the Association of Information Science and Technology, draft article PDF).

Engerer, Roued-Cunliffe, Albretsen, Hasle: "The Prior-project: From Archive Boxes to a Research Community" (long paper). Presented March 2017 at Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries, 2nd Conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Published in Book of Abstracts, ISBN: 978-91-88348-83-8 (PDF).

Special Issue of the periodical Synthese, Volume 193, Issue 11, November 2016, entitled The Logic and Philosophy of A.N. Prior (eds. Jørgen Albretsen, Per Hasle, and Peter Øhrstrøm), preface and 25 articles.  Springer Link to the Synthese Special Issue on The Logic and Philosophy of A.N. Prior. Articles from the Special Issue available through Springer Nature SharedIt (PDF):  Albretsen, Hasle, Øhrstrøm: Preface. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-016-1240-8

Hasle, Per; Øhrstrøm, Peter. 2016. 'Prior’s paradigm for the study of time and its methodological motivation'. In 'A Century of Time – Arthur Prior's Contribution to Logic and Philosophy and its Present-Day Impact'. Synthese Special Issue: Volume 192, Issue 4 (2016), Page 1-16. DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1161-6. (available at

Albretsen, Hasle, and Øhrstrøm: The Virtual Lab for Prior Studies: An Example of a Closed Collaborative Community. Working paper 2016 for the University of Copenhagen group within the research project "The Primacy of Tense: A.N. Prior Now and Then". (PDF).

Roued-Cunliffe, Henriette; Engerer, Volkmar: Digital Humanities research on the Prior Nachlass. Working paper 2016 for the University of Copenhagen group within the research project "The Primacy of Tense: A.N. Prior Now and Then". (PDF).

Hasle, Per; Øhrstrøm, Peter: 2014 – present date: Foundations of Temporal Logic – The WWW-site for (this website). The website was officially launched at the Arthur Prior Centenary Conference in 2014 and has since been expanded in a process of ongoing development. It is an official part (WP) of the project The Primacy of Tense: A.N. Prior Now and Then is based on app. 250 pages of text. To this comes the "Nachlass"  nachlass.prior.aau.dksound files and video footage.


Engerer, Volkmar PaulAssociate professor +45 353-21341E-mail
Hasle, Per Frederik VilhelmProfessor +45 53 53 66 88E-mail
Roued-Cunliffe, HenrietteAssociate professor +45 22 21 48 03E-mail