Archive for the ‘General’ Category

NEH High Performance Computing Awards

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Winners of the National Endowment for the Humanities/Department of Energy Humanities High Performance Computing program were reported on Arts-Humanities.Net by Brett Bobbley (originally at the ODH site). I note that two of the three awards have a strong classical connection:

** The Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University for its project Large-Scale Learning and the Automatic Analysis of Historical Texts. The Perseus project will be using advanced computational linguistic technologies to experiment with the analysis of ancient texts for the study of classics and other fields.

The Perseus Project has been a stellar classical resource for many years now, and has been at the forefront of applying cyberinfrastructure and large-scale computing resources to Greek and Latin.

** The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia for its project High Performance Computing for Processing and Analysis of Digitized 3-D Models of Cultural Heritage. IATH will process previously-acquired raw datasets of culturally valuable objects such as artistic statuary, archaeological artifacts, and historical architecture in order to create highly accurate 3-D models for the study of art and architecture.

IATH have also been doing exciting work in Digital Classics, in particular the Rome Reborn project that is now integrated into Google Earth.

Is it just me, or are Digital Classicists getting a good slice of the DH pie these days? (Two out of three joint JISC/NEH awards last year were Classical too.)

Digital Classicist Occasional Seminars: Lamé on digital epigraphy

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

For those who are not subscribed to the Digital Classicist podcast RSS, I’d like to call attention to the latest “occasional seminar” audio and slides online: Marion Lamé spoke about “Epigraphical encoding: from the Stone to Digital Edition” in the internation video-conference series European Culture and Technology. Marion talked about her PhD project which is to use an XML-encoded edition of the Res Gestae Diui Augusti as an exercise in digital recording and presentation of an extremely important and rich historical text and encoding historical features in the markup.

We shall occasionally record and upload (with permission) presentations of interest to digital classicists that are presented in other venues and series. If you would be interested in contributing a presentation to this series, please contact me or someone else at the Digital Classicist.

Workshop in Computational Linguistics and Latin Philology

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Posted on behalf of David Bamman:

Place: University of Innsbruck, 15. International Colloquium on Latin Linguistics
Date: April 6, 2009

Workshop organizers: David Bamman (Perseus Project, Tufts University), Dag Haug (University of Oslo), Marco Passarotti (Catholic University of Milan)
Invited speaker: Roberto Busa, S.J.

Classical Studies has long had a history of driving pioneering research in linguistics and literary studies. The great Classical philologists and lexicographers of the 19th century are arguably some of the world’s earliest and finest corpus linguists – but we find ourselves now lagging behind the achievements of other languages due in large part to the absence of structured digital resources on which to base our research. While the TLG and the Packard Humanities Institute each released their respective Greek and Latin corpus in the 1970s (only shortly after the release of the Brown Corpus of English in 1967), they remain today – almost 40 years later – two of our most widely used electronic resources. Those ensuing 40 years have seen the rise and widespread development of structured knowledge bases, such as huge treebanks to encode syntactic information in English, Czech, Arabic and over twenty other languages, lexical ontologies such as WordNet, and new corpora being annotated not just with their semantics and syntax disambiguated, but their named entities and propositional data made explicit as well.

We are, however, now beginning to see these same resources being developed for Latin, along with the automatic tools that can exploit them (such as automatic syntactic parsers and morphological taggers) and a new interest in quantitative research that can only exist as a result. As we enter this new era, we must take care to work together as a community going forward – the three organizers, for instance, are each leading the development of independent treebank projects for different eras of Latin (Classical, Biblical and Thomistic) and we recognize that the value of each project is exponentially greater when compatible with the others. This workshop aims to bring together scholars working in the field – both those developing such resources and those conducting linguistic research using them – to share such work and experience.

We invite presentations including the following:
* Electronic resources for Latin in development
* Corpus linguistic research
* Application and evaluation of NLP tools on Latin texts
* Development of corpus driven lexica
* Standards and standardization of annotation styles on different linguistic layers (e.g.,
morphological, syntactic, semantic, propositional)

Please submit abstracts of up to two a4 pages to Dag Haug at before December 1, 2008. Notifications will be sent before January 1, 2009.

Digital Humanities from the horse’s mouth…

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

L’Observatoire Critique have posted a series of interviews recorded at the recent Digital Humanities conference in Oulu, Finland. Two questions were posed of each respondent:

First Question. What are your colleagues (in your department, in your university, or in your disciplinary specialty) thinking of your involvement in Digital Humanities and of your interest for technology and the new digital tools?
Second Question. Do you think that the Digital Humanities represent a new and distinct disciplinary area?

Several of the respondents are classicists or archaeologists with some connection to the Digital Classicist. All of the answers contribute to the ongoing discussion on the topic of our (inter-)disciplinarity and role within the academy.

9th International Art Conference on Non-destructive Investigation and Analysis, Jerusalem, May 25-30

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

From the Chairman’s Letter:

The main objective of Art2008 is to bring together experts in non-destructive evaluation and material analysis with professionals from the fields of preservation of cultural heritage, archeology, art history and architectural researchers of ancient structures.

Non-destructive methods of analysis have become a routine in many areas of technology, engineering and medicine. With a growing number of application areas, non-destructive analysis found its way into the world of art and archeology. Its advantage over sampling is obvious in the cases of unique objects of cultural heritage. Continuous improvement of sensitivity and reliability has caused non-destructive investigations to become a preferred approach even in cases where microanalysis sampling is permitted.

Many non-destructive techniques and evaluation methods applied in the natural sciences offer advantages to cultural heritage preservation. The synergy between experts will lead to the continuous development and adjustments of new scientific methods and their application in the fields of preservation, reconstruction and diagnostics of museum and archaeological objects.

Conference website:

Whither scholarly digitization efforts?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

One of the authors at Thoughts on Antiquity has posted a provocative reflection on a long-standing effort to digitize an out-of-copyright translation of Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke. In light of technological change, the big book-scanning projects and the continued operation of APh, the author expresses uncertainty about how or whether to proceed.

What is the role of the humanist scholar (and his home institution, and her professional society) in the era of big digitization? Readers of this blog know about the on-going Million Books discussions. I’ve opined elsewhere that the creation of stable, sustainable, massively interlinked scholarly reference works is a critical contribution. The issue also surfaces regularly in attempts to define “digital scholarship in the humanities” and to organize funding for it. Yet, clearly the questions are arising spontaneously in many quarters and there is not yet a field-wide dialog on the subject.

We may agree with Steven Wheatley that:

The day will come, not that far off, when modifying humanities with ‘digital’ will make no more sense than modifying humanities with ‘print.’ (in A. Guess, “Rise of the Digital NEH,” Inside Higher Ed, 3 April 2008).

Ask your colleagues: what is your role in getting there and how will you work when we’ve arrived? Comments welcome.

DHI Now Known as Office of Digital Humanities (ODH)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Not specifically classics, but this news from the National Endowment for the Humanities should be of interest, at least to those of us in the US: The Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI) has been made permanent, and is now the Office of Digital Humanities (ODH)
From the ODH Webpage:

The Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) is an office within the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Our primary mission is to help coordinate the NEH’s efforts in the area of digital scholarship. As in the sciences, digital technology has changed the way scholars perform their work. It allows new questions to be raised and has radically changed the ways in which materials can be searched, mined, displayed, taught, and analyzed. Technology has also had an enormous impact on how scholarly materials are preserved and accessed, which brings with it many challenging issues related to sustainability, copyright, and authenticity. The ODH works not only with NEH staff and members of the scholarly community, but also facilitates conversations with other funding bodies both in the United States and abroad so that we can work towards meeting these challenges.

Digital Classicist seminars update

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

To bring you all up to date with what is going on with the Digital Classicist seminar series:

Some papers from the DC seminar series held at the Institute of Classical Studies in London in the summer of 2006 have been published as a special issue of the Digital Medievalist (4:2008).


The dedication reads: In honour of Ross Scaife (1960-2008), without whose fine example of collaborative spirit, scrupulous scholarship, and warm friendship none of the work in this volume would be what it is.

Gabriel and I are putting together a collection of papers from the DC summer series of 2007 and working on the programme for the coming summer (2008). With the continued support of the Institute of Classical Studies (London) and the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London it is anticipated that this seminar series will continue to be an annual event.  

Ross Scaife Memorial Services

Friday, March 21st, 2008

There will be two memorial services held in honor of Ross Scaife. The first will be held at Belmont (the home and studio of Fredericksburg artist Gari Melchers) in Fredericksburg, Virginia on Wednesday, April 2, at 2 pm ( The second service will be held in Memorial Hall on the University of Kentucky Campus in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, April 12, at 1pm ( Feel free to contact me if you’d like more information (Dot Porter,

Ross Scaife (1960-2008)

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Allen Ross Scaife, 47, Professor of Classics at the University of Kentucky and founding editor of the Stoa Consortium for Electronic Publication in the Humanities, died of cancer on March 15, at his home in Lexington, Kentucky.

Photo of Ross Scaife taken in January 2007
Ross was born in Fredericksburg, VA on March 31, 1960. He graduated from the Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire in 1978 and from the College of William and Mary in 1982 with a major in Classics and Philosophy. He earned a PhD in 1990 in Classical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1988 he participated in the summer program at the American Academy in Rome, and in 1985 was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for a year of study at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece.

From 1991 to the time of his death, Ross was on the faculty at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literature, and Cultures where he taught courses on women in the ancient world, Greek art, Aristophanes, and the Greek historians, as well as Greek and Latin language courses.

A pioneer in using computer technology to advance scholarship in the humanities, Ross is perhaps best known as the founding editor of the Stoa Consortium for Electronic Publication in the Humanities. The Stoa, established in 1997, set the standard for Open Access publication of digital humanities work in the classics, serving as an umbrella project for many diverse projects that provide functionality, and have requirements, not supported by traditional (print) publishers. In addition to providing Open Access publication for the work of other scholars, Ross strived to make his own work (and the raw materials behind that work) available freely to others. He was the co-creator of Diotima: Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World and of the Neo-Latin Colloquia collection, both of which are published on The Stoa.

According to his principled belief in Open Access, Ross was always a stern critic of models of scholarship that were needlessly exclusionary in their presentation or implementation. He firmly believed in the potential afforded by technology to bring the highest levels of scholarship to the widest possible audience, and in the obligation of learned societies to make their work freely available to all interested readers.

Ross’s influence is most noticeable in his long-standing belief in the power of collaborative work. With humor, generosity, and a keen editor’s discretion, he worked throughout his career to build working relationships among an international circle of collaborators, for his own projects, as well as for others. As a founding editor of the Suda On Line, a web accessible database for work on Byzantine Greek lexicography, Ross helped to build a framework that allowed a large number of people to work together on a single edition. SOL was founded in 1998 at a time when such large-scale collaborative editing was rare, if not unheard of. The influence of the SOL is still being felt as the next generation of collaborative editing tools are being developed. Ross had long-term associations with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, the Perseus Project, and more recently with the Digital Classicist. Those who knew him will remember him for his generosity and willingness to offer advice, and for his ability to see connections and build bridges between projects and people.

Most recently, Ross was instrumental in forging the collaboration that resulted in the high resolution digital imaging of the Venetus A, a 10th century manuscript of the Iliad located at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, and was a co-Principal Investigator of project EDUCE, which aims to use non-invasive, volumetric scanning technologies for virtually “unwrapping” and visualizing ancient papyrus scrolls. Since July, 2005 Ross has been the director of the Collaboratory for Research in Computing for Humanities, a research unit at the University of Kentucky which provides technical assistance to faculty who wish to undertake humanities computing projects, and to encourage and support interdisciplinary partnerships between faculty at UKY and researchers around the world.

His many interests included sailing in the Northern Neck of Virginia, hunting, cooking, woodworking, and photography.

Ross was the proud father of three sons, Lincoln (16), Adrian (13), and Russell (9). In addition, Ross is survived by his wife, Cathy Edwards Scaife, his parents, William and Sylvia Scaife, and three siblings, Bill Scaife, Susan Duerksen, and John Scaife, as well as their spouses and children.

Two memorial services are planned. The first will be held at Belmont (home and studio of Fredericksburg artist Gari Melchers) in Fredericksburg, Virginia on Wednesday, April 2, at 2 pm. The second service will be held in Memorial Hall on the University of Kentucky Campus in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, April 12, at 1pm.

Memorial donations may be made to the Swift/Longacre Scholarship Fund which provides support for students of classical studies at the University of Kentucky. Please make checks payable to the University of Kentucky and send in care of Dr. Jane Phillips, Department of MCLLC, 1055 Patterson Office Tower, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0027.

Palaeographic Image Markup Tools

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Does anyone know of any prior work in the area of image markup tools, to enable scholars to markup letterforms (and their constituent strokes) on images of texts?
There is the UVic Image Markup tool:
and the Edition Production and PresentantionTechnology tool:
Dot Porter did a good roundup of the various work going on in this area here:
which also points to Digital Incunabula: and juxta:
as more simple tools to link images and text.
Is there is anyone out there on Stoa using an image markup tool (other than PhotoShop) to trace letter forms over images of text? Any good tools out there that we should know about?

Post-doctoral positions and PhD fellowships

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Seen and copied from Humanist:

Post-doctoral positions and PhD fellowships in Text
Classification and Automatic Labelling

The Department of Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin is
looking for applications for ONE Postdoctoral positions and TWO PhD
positions in the areas of text classification and automatic labelling
of text streams.

The positions are part of a large research project “Next Generation
Localisation” involving a consortium of leading Irish Universities
(DCU, TCD, UCD and UL) and Industry Partners, funded by the Science
Foundation Ireland (SFI). The project focuses on Language Technology
and Digital Content Management in Localisation. Localisation is the
industrial-scale adaptation of digital content to domain, culture and
language. Successful candidates will join a team of Postdoctoral
researchers, PhD students and research advisors from academia and
industry. Details of the advertised posts are as follows:

– POSTDOCSF32: Postdoctoral Position in “Text Categorisation”

o Description: The successful candidate will research and develop
algorithms for automatic annotation of localisation metadata, and
multilingual text type and genre classification. Candidates must
have a strong background and research record in machine learning
and data-intensive natural language processing, as well as good
programming skills.

o Starting date: 3rd quarter 2008

o Salary: Approx. 38,000-44,000 Euro per annum depending on
experience and qualifications.

For further details, please contact Dr Saturnino Luz
( or Dr Carl Vogel ( To apply,
please email a CV and contact details for two references by March 1,
2008 to Please include the job reference
(“POSTDOCILT32″) in the subject line of all email correspondence.


– PHDILT33: PhD Fellowship in “Multilingual Text Type and Genre

o Description: Candidates must have a strong interest and some
experience in Computational Linguistics and Machine Learning, and
good programming skills.  Experience with syntactic, semantic
and discourse analysis is desirable.

o Starting date: September 2008

o Stipend: Approx. 16,000 Euro per annum (tax exempt) + University
fees (approx. 5,000 Euro per annum) + equipment allowance and a
generous conference travel allowance.

For further details, please contact Dr Carl Vogel
( To apply, please email a CV and contact
details for two references by March 1, 2008 to Please include the job reference
(“PHDILT33″) in the subject line of all email correspondence.


– PHDILT32: PhD Fellowship in “Automatic Annotation of

o Description: Candidates must have a strong interest and
experience in Computational Linguistics or Machine Learning,
good programming skills.

o Starting date: September

o Stipend: Approx. 16,000 Euro per annum (tax exempt) + University
fees (approx. 5,000 Euro per annum) + equipment allowance and a
generous conference travel

For further details, please contact Dr Saturnino Luz
( To apply, please email a CV and contact
details for two references by March 1, 2008 to Please include the job reference
(“PHDILT32″) in the subject line of all email correspondence.

While the deadline is March 1, 2008, applications will be
considered until the position is filled.

Archaeoinformatics Survey: Current Conditions and Needs in the Field

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Noticed by way of Antiquist:

As part of its initiative to develop a cyberinfrastructure, is interested in obtaining input on the current conditions and needs in the field. To that end the consortium, working with the SAA Digital Archaeology Interest Group and others, has developed an online survey. We invite you to participate in this important study. As a small token of our appreciation we will offer 10 individuals who complete the survey a Starbucks gift certificate.

Technology Collaboration Awards

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

An announcement from Mellow (via the CHE):

Five universities were among the 10 winners of the Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration, announced this week. They will share $650,000 in prize money for “leadership in the collaborative development of open-source software tools with application to scholarship in the arts and humanities.” The university winners were:

  • Duke University for the OpenCroquet open-source 3-D virtual worlds environment
  • Open Polytechnic of New Zealand for several projects, including the New Zealand Open Source Virtual Learning Environment
  • Middlebury College for the Segue interactive-learning management system
  • University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for two projects: the Firefox Accessibility Extension and the OpenEAI enterprise application integration project
  • University of Toronto for the ATutor learning content-management system.

Other winners included the American Museum of the Moving Image for a collections-management system, and the Participatory Culture Foundation for the Miro media player. The winners were announced at the fall task-force meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information, and awards were presented by the World Wide Web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. –Josh Fischman

Tinctoris Updates

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Ron Woodley of the Birmingham Conservatoire at Birmingham City University has updated his site on the Renaissance music theorist Tinctoris published here on the Stoa:

Two new treatise texts by Tinctoris are added, relating to technical aspects of late medieval mensural notation: (1) the Tractatus alterationum; and (2) the Liber imperfectionum notarum musicalium. For each of these a newly edited Latin text is provided, along with the first English translations to be published. The complex music examples in both treatises are presented in original notation embedded in the Latin texts, using special fonts designed by the editor to be historically and typographically more accurate than those of other commercially available notation packages. The examples of the Tractatus alterationum have been transcribed into conventional modern notation, within the translation texts, and technical commentary notes are presented which explicate the notational intricacies discussed. Similar transcriptions and commentary notes for the Liber imperfectionum will be available in due course. This update to the site also makes available archive versions in PDF format of two journal articles on Tinctoris published by Ron Woodley in Early Music History in the 1980s, which discuss other historical material related to Tinctoris’s life; these sit alongside more recent articles and papers on the theorist that have been mounted on the site to provide further context to the theorist’s output and reception.


Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Just awful.  More here:

…the bottom line is that Facebook is materially misrepresenting the privacy impact of their Beacon program, and presenting users with the appearance of control over their information when in fact they have almost none.


Monday, November 19th, 2007

Can Amazon succeed where others have found little traction so far?  I already spend so much time reading freely available materials (journal articles, blogs, magazines, reviews) with my trusty Macbook Pro that I feel no need at all for a special-purpose e-text reader.

Perseus code goes Open Source!

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

From Greg Crane comes the much-anticipated word that all of the hopper code and much of the content in Perseus is now officially open sourced:

November 9, 2007: o *Install Perseus 4.0 on your computer*:

All of the source code for the Perseus Java Hopper and much of the content in Perseus is now available under an open source license. You can download the code, compile it, and run it on your own system. This requires more labor and a certain level of expertise for which we can only provide minimal support. However, since it will be running on your own machine, it can be much faster than our website, especially during peak usage times. You also have the option to install only certain collections or texts on your version, making it as specialized as you wish. Also, if you want to use a different system to make the content available, you can do so within the terms of the Creative Commons license. This is the first step in open sourcing the code: you can modify the code as much as you want, but at this time, we cannot integrate your changes back into our system. That is our ultimate goal, so keep a look out for that!

Download source code here

Download text data here

“loathed by every professor I know”

Monday, November 5th, 2007

You got that right, brother.  Amen!

Aristotle and the internet

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

From Tim Madigan, “Aristotle’s Email – Or, Friendship In The Cyber Age” (Philosophy Now):

Often discussions of personal relationships in the Cyber Age dwell upon the negative ­– the superficial connections, the dangers of identity theft, and information overload. Aristotle does warn us that, at least where friendships of the good are concerned, there are limitations to just how many it is feasible to handle. He writes, “To be a friend to many people in the way of the perfect friendship is not possible.”

Still, it seems to me that email has made it possible for friendships of all three categories [for utility, pleasure, the good] to thrive and prosper in ways Aristotle could never have anticipated. Of course nothing beats personal proximity, but in our highly mobile society this is often not feasible. Email has given new opportunities for continuing friendly ties from a distance.

Dour old Arthur Schopenhauer once sarcastically wrote that if you really want to know how you feel about a person, take note of the impression an unexpected letter from him makes on you when you see it on your doormat. I would amend this by saying that an unexpected email from a friend from the past can brighten up one’s day tremendously. As Aristotle reiterated more than once, we humans are social creatures. Email has added to the social realities of our lives.

Open Library

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Adding this grandiose Open Library system to the Internet Archive strikes me as simply brilliant. In this case “fully open” is defined as “a product of the people: letting them create and curate its catalog, contribute to its content, participate in its governance, and have full, free access to its data. In an era where library data and Internet databases are being run by money-seeking companies behind closed doors, it’s more important than ever to be open.”

But simply building a new database wasn’t enough. We needed to build a new wiki to take advantage of it. So we built Infogami. Infogami is a cleaner, simpler wiki. But unlike other wikis, it has the flexibility to handle different classes of data. Most wikis only let you store unstructured pages — big blocks of text. Infogami lets you store semistructured data…

Each infogami page (i.e. something with a URL) has an associated type. Each type contains a schema that states what fields can be used with it and what format those fields are in. Those are used to generate view and edit templates which can then be further customized as a particular type requires.

The result, as you can see on the Open Library site, is that one wiki contains pages that represent books, pages that represent authors, and pages that are simply wiki pages, each with their own distinct look and edit templates and set of data.

Slowly, slowly

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

It’s a shame the JPEG 2000 bandwagon has been creeping along at such a slow pace, but this seems like good news from the LOC.


Friday, October 26th, 2007

Via DigitalKoans, a report on new open source OCR software.  Now — someone get busy and train it to read polytonic ancient Greek texts accurately …


Friday, October 26th, 2007

I hadn’t seen that word before, but these are videos associated with the Roman art exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, with an RSS feed for keeping up with the newest ones.

67 percent

Friday, October 26th, 2007

This topic has come up before and I imagine the trend will continue:

Colleges Leave E-Mail to Google and Microsoft

Seattle–“Should our university even be in the e-mail business?” Wendy Woodward King found herself asking last year. Her answer, the director of technology support services at Northwestern University told a session at the Educause technology meeting, was no. And that’s why Northwestern students get their e-mail “” which is hosted, free of charge, by Google Apps Education Edition. Bryant University, in Rhode Island, also decided to outsource, but went with another free service, Microsoft’s Windows Live@edu. And in both cases, a prime driver behind the decision was that students were already using one of these services when they came to campus. At Northwestern, Ms. Woodward King found, “90 percent of our students already had Google’s Gmail. When students forwarded their campus e-mail to a non-campus account, 67 percent of them did it to Gmail. Students told us they wanted Google.” By going with Google, she says, the university avoided costs in maintaining and upgrading an e-mail system, and took advantage of state-of-the-art technology that Northwestern could never supply. Bryant was particularly interested in staying in touch with alumni, and giving them one e-mail address for life, says Art Gloster, vice president for information services. “Many of our students already used Microsoft’s MSN Hotmail services,” he says. Moving to Live@edu, with an “” address, kept the transition from student to alumni easy and seamless. More than 50 percent of the 2007 graduating class signed up. –Josh Fischman