Archive for the ‘Open Access’ Category

Reflecting on our (first ever) Digital Classicist Wiki Sprint

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

From (Print) Encyclopedia to (Digital) Wiki

According to Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert the purpose of an encyclopedia in the 18th century was ‘to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the people with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come’.  Encyclopedias have existed for around 2,000 years; the oldest is in fact a classical text, Naturalis Historia, written ca 77 CE by Pliny the Elder.

Following the (recent) digitalization of raw data, new, digital forms of encyclopedia have emerged. In our very own, digital era, a Wiki is a wider, electronic encyclopedia that is open to contributions and edits by interesting parties. It contains concept analyses, images, media, and so on, and it is freely available, thus making the creation, recording, and dissemination of knowledge a democratised process, open to everyone who wishes to contribute.

 

A Sprint for Digital Classicists

For us, Digital Classicists, scholars and students interested in the application of humanities computing to research in the ancient and Byzantine worlds, the Digital Classicist Wiki is composed and edited by a hub for scholars and students. This wiki collects guidelines and suggestions of major technical issues, and catalogues digital projects and tools of relevance to classicists. The wiki also lists events, bibliographies and publications (print and electronic), and other developments in the field. A discussion group serves as grist for a list of FAQs. As members of the community provide answers and other suggestions, some of these may evolve into independent wiki articles providing work-in-progress guidelines and reports. The scope of the Wiki follows the interests and expertise of collaborators, in general, and of the editors, in particular. The Digital Classicist is hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, and the Stoa Consortium, University of Kentucky.

So how did we end up editing this massive piece of work? On Tuesday July 1, 2014 and around 16:00 GMT (or 17:00 CET) a group of interested parties gathered up in several digital platforms. The idea was that most of the action will take place in the DigiClass chatroom on IRC, our very own channel called #digiclass. Alongside the traditional chat window, there was also a Skype voice call to get us started and discuss approaches before editing. On the side, we had a GoogleDoc where people simultaneously added what they thought should be improved or created. I was very excited to interact with old members and new. It was a fun break during my mini trip to the Netherlands, and as it proved, very focused on the general attitude of the Digital Classicists team; knowledge is open to everyone who wishes to learn and can be the outcome of a joyful collaborative process.

 

The Technology Factor

As a researcher of digital history, and I suppose most information system scholars would agree, technology is never neutral in the process of ‘making’. The magic of the Wiki consists on the fact that it is a rather simple platform that can be easily tweaked. All users were invited to edit any page to create new pages within the wiki Web site, using only a regular web browser without any extra add-ons. Wiki makes page link creation easy by showing whether an intended target page exists or not. A wiki enables communities to write documents collaboratively, using a simple markup language and a web browser. A single page in a wiki website is referred to as a wiki page, while the entire collection of pages, which are usually well interconnected by hyperlinks, is ‘the wiki’. A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information. A wiki allows non-linear, evolving, complex and networked text, argument and interaction. Edits can be made in real time and appear almost instantly online. This can facilitate abuse of the system. Private wiki servers (such as the Digital Classicist one) require user identification to edit pages, thus making the process somewhat mildly controlled. Most importantly, as researchers of the digital we understood in practice that a wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the visitor in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the Web site landscape.

 

Where Technology Shapes the Future of Humanities

In terms of Human resources some with little involvement in the Digital Classicist community before this, got themselves involved in several tasks including correcting pages, suggesting new projects, adding pages to the wiki, helping others with information and background, approaching project-owners and leaders in order to suggest adding or improving information. Collaboration, a practice usually reserved for science scholars, made the process easier and intellectually stimulating.  Moreover, within these overt cyber-spaces of ubiquitous interaction one could identify a strong sense of productive diversity within our own scholarly community; it was visible both in the IRC chat channel as well as over skype. Several different accents and spellings, British, American English, and several continental scholars were gathering up to expand this incredibly fast-pacing process. There was a need to address research projects, categories, and tools found in non-english speaking academic cultures.  As a consequence of this multivocal procedure, more interesting questions arose, not lest methodological. ‘What projects are defined as digital, really’, ‘Isn’t everything a database?’ ‘What is a prototype?’. ‘Shouldn’t there be a special category for dissertations, or visualisations?’.  The beauty of collaboration in all its glory, plus expanding our horizons with technology! And so much fun!

MediaWiki recorded almost 250 changes made in the 1st of July 2014!

The best news, however is that this, first ever wiki sprint was not the last.  In the words of the Organisers, Gabriel Boddard and Simon Mahony,

‘We have recently started a programme of short intensive work-sprints to
improve the content of the Digital Classicist Wiki
(http://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/). A small group of us this week made
about 250 edits in a couple of hours in the afternoon, and added dozens
of new projects, tools, and other information pages.

We would like to invite other members of the Digital Classicist community to
join us for future “sprints” of this kind, which will be held on the
first Tuesday of every month, at 16h00 London time (usually =17:00
Central Europe; =11:00 Eastern US).

To take part in a sprint:

1. Join us in the DigiClass chatroom (instructions at
<http://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/DigiClass_IRC_Channel>) during the
scheduled slot, and we’ll decide what to do there;

2. You will need an account on the Wiki–if you don’t already have one,
please email one of the admins to be invited;

3. You do not need to have taken part before, or to come along every
month; occasional contributors are most welcome!’

The next few sprints are scheduled for:
* August 5th
* September 2nd
* October 7th
* November 4th
* December 2nd

Please, do join us, whenever you can!

 

 

Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS)

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig is pleased to announce a new effort within the Open Philology Project: the Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS).

The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series is a new effort to establish open editions of ancient works that survive only through quotations and text re-uses in later texts (i.e., those pieces of information that humanists call “fragments”).

As a first step in this process, the Humboldt Chair announces the Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (DFHG) Project, whose goal is to produce a digital edition of the five volumes of Karl Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (FHG) (1841-1870), which is the first big collection of fragments of Greek historians ever realized.

For further information, please visit the project website at: http://www.dh.uni-leipzig.de/wo/open-philology-project/the-leipzig-open-fragmentary-texts-series-lofts/

Volunteers with excellent Latin sought

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Ostrakon from Bu Njem

A few volunteers have started gathering for an interesting project, and it occurs to me that others may like to join us. This might be especially appropriate to someone with excellent Latin, a love for the subject, but no current involvement with the classics, and some spare time on their hands. A retired Latin teacher might fit the bill, or someone who completed an advanced classics degree some years ago, but now works in an unrelated field and misses working with ancient texts. Current students and scholars are also more than welcome to participate.

The Papyri.info site includes some 52,000 transcribed texts, of which about 2,000 in Latin, very few translated into English or any other modern language. The collaborative editing tool SoSOL (deployed at papyri.info/editor) allows users to add to or improve existing editions of papyrological texts, for example by adding new translations.

If you think you might like to take part in this exercise, take a look for instance at O. Bu Njem, a corpus of 150 ostraka from the Roman military base at Golas in Libya. The Latin texts (often fragmentary) are already transcribed; do you think you could produce an English translation of a few of these texts, which will be credited to you? Would you like a brief introduction to the SoSOL interface to enable you to add the translations yourself (pending approval by the editorial board)?

Publishing Text for a Digital Age

Friday, December 6th, 2013

March 27-30, 2014
Tufts University
Medford MA
perseus_neh (at) tufts.edu
http://sites.tufts.edu/digitalagetext/2014-workshop/

Call for contributions!

As a follow-on to Working with Text in a Digital Age, an NEH-funded Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Digital Humanities and in collaboration with the Open Philology Project at the University of Leipzig, Tufts University announces a two-day workshop on publishing textual data that is available under an open license, that is structured for machine analysis as well as human inspection, and that is in a format that can be preserved over time. The purpose of this workshop is to establish specific guidelines for digital publications that publish and/or annotate textual sources from the human record. The registration for the workshop will be free but space will be limited. Some support for travel and expenses will be available. We particularly encourage contributions from students and early-career researchers.

Textual data can include digital versions of traditional critical editions and translations but such data also includes annotations that make traditional tasks (such as looking up or quoting a primary source) machine-actionable, annotations that may build upon print antecedents (e.g., dynamic indexes of places that can be used to generate maps and geospatial visualizations), and annotations that are only feasible in a digital space (such as alignments between source text and translation or exhaustive markup of morphology, syntax, and other linguistic features).

Contributions can be of two kinds:

  1. Collections of textual data that conform to existing guidelines listed below. These collections must include a narrative description of their contents, how they were produced and what audiences and purposes they were designed to serve.
  2. Contributions about formats for publication. These contributions must contain sufficient data to illustrate their advantages and to allow third parties to develop new materials.

All textual data must be submitted under a Creative Commons license. Where documents reflect a particular point of view by a particular author and where the original expression should for that reason not be changed, they may be distributed under a CC-BY-ND license. All other contributions must be distributed under a CC-BY-SA license. Most publications may contain data represented under both categories: the introduction to an edition or a data set, reflecting the reasons why one or more authors made a particular set of decisions, can be distributed under a CC-BY-ND license. All data sets (such as geospatial annotation, morphosyntactic analyses, reconstructed texts with textual notes, diplomatic editions, translations) should be published under a CC-BY-SA license.

Contributors should submit abstracts of up to 500 words to EasyChair. We particularly welcome abstracts that describe data already available under a Creative Commons license. 

Dates:

January 1, 2014:  Submissions are due. Please submit via EasyChair.

January 20, 2014:  Notification.

Digital Classicist London Videocasts

Friday, August 16th, 2013

The videocasts for all the 2013 Digital Classicist London summer seminars are now available online at the Seminar Programme page. Each presentation is available as a downloadable or streamable video (MP4), or, for those who prefer audio, as MP3. Slideshows have also been made available in PDF format, although these are generally included in the video as well. Users can receive updates to the series, including videos from the London, Berlin, and occasional other seminars, by subscribing to the Seminar RSS Feed, or following @Stoaorg on Twitter.

Many thanks to our excellent videographer Wilma Stefani for filming and editing the videos, and to all our speakers for permission to share their presentations and slides.

(Thanks also to Christina Kamposiori, Simona Stoyanova and Valeria Vitale who helped with the organization and management of the seminars every week.)

Getty Joins Open Content Movement

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

The Getty Museum and research institute have just announced the launch of their Open Content Program, under which they intend to publish as many of their digital resources as they are legally able. In the first instance, they are release high quality digital images of all the public domain works in their collections: 4,600 photographs so far, including a few hundred of their classical sculptures, vases, and other artefacts. (A search for “Greek” within the open content images returns 261 results, and “Roman” 231.)

There is no specific common license attached to these images, but the text says they are re-usable “for any purpose” and without restriction; the objects are in the public domain, and the Getty does not assert copyright on the photographs. (I’ve only found a small number of photographs of inscriptions so far, but I’ll keep hunting!) And I very much hope many more images get added to this collection as the copyright status of further objects is resolved.

I look forward to hearing about innovative, open, and unrestricted projects, mashups, and publications that arise from this.

Open Book Digital Humanities Series

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Via Roberto Rosselli Del Turco on the Digital Classicist list:

Open Book Publishers is proud to announce the launch of a Digital Humanities Series. The series is overseen by an international board of experts and its books subjected to rigorous peer review. Its objective is to encourage and support the development of experimental monographs, edited volumes and collections that extend the boundaries of the field and help to strengthen its interrelations with the other disciplines of the arts, humanities and beyond. We are also interested in introductory guides for non-specialists, best practices guides for practitioners and “state of the art” surveys. The Series will offer digital humanists a dedicated venue for high-quality, Open Access publication.

Proposals in any area of the Digital Humanities are invited. For further details and instructions on how to submit please see
http://www.openbookpublishers.com/section/29/1/digital-humanities

Editorial Board

Paul Arthur, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Julia Flanders, Gary Hall, Brett
Hirsch, Matthew, L. Jockers, John Lavagnino, Willard McCarty, Roberto
Rosselli Del Turco and Elke Teich.

Open Book Publishers

Open Book is an independent academic publisher, run by scholars who are committed to making high-quality research available to readers around the world. We publish monographs and textbooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and offer the academic excellence of a traditional press, with the speed, convenience and accessibility of digital publishing. All our books are available to read for free online. To date we have 30 books in print, over 215,000 visits to these books via the Web and readers from over 125 countries. See http://www.openbookpublishers.com/ for more information.

Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing (DC3)

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Colleagues:

We are very pleased to announce the creation of the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing (DC3), a new Digital Classics R&D unit embedded in the Duke University Libraries, whose start-up has been generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Duke University’s Dean of Arts & Sciences and Office of the Provost.

The DC3 goes live 1 July 2013, continuing a long tradition of collaboration between the Duke University Libraries and papyrologists in Duke’s Department of Classical Studies. The late Professors William H. Willis and John F. Oates began the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (DDbDP) more than 30 years ago, and in 1996 Duke was among the founding members of the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS). In recent years, Duke led the Mellon-funded Integrating Digital Papyrology effort, which brought together the DDbDP, Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis der Griechischen Papyrusurkunden Ägyptens (HGV), and APIS in a common search and collaborative curation environment (papyri.info), and which collaborates with other partners, including Trismegistos, Bibliographie Papyrologique, Brussels Coptic Database, and the Arabic Papyrology Database.

The DC3 team will see to the maintenance and enhancement of papyri.info data and tooling, cultivate new partnerships in the papyrological domain, experiment in the development of new complementary resources, and engage in teaching and outreach at Duke and beyond.

The team’s first push will be in the area of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, where it plans to leverage its papyrological experience to serve a much larger community. The team brings a wealth of experience in fields like image processing, text engineering, scholarly data modeling, and building scalable web services. It aims to help create a system in which the many worldwide digital epigraphy projects can interoperate by linking into the graph of scholarly relationships while maintaining the full force of their individuality.

The DC3 team is:

Ryan BAUMANN: Has worked on a wide range of Digital Humanities projects, from applying advanced imaging and visualization techniques to ancient artifacts, to developing systems for scholarly editing and collaboration.

Hugh CAYLESS: Has over a decade of software engineering expertise in both academic and industrial settings. He also holds a Ph.D. in Classics and a Master’s in Information Science. He is one of the founders of the EpiDoc collaborative and currently serves on the Technical Council of the Text Encoding Initiative.

Josh SOSIN: Associate Professor of Classical Studies and History, Co-Director of the DDbDP, Associate editor of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies; an epigraphist and papyrologist interested in the intersection of ancient law, religion, and the economy.

 

Report on e-learning panel, Classical Association 2013

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

(Report by Bartolo Natoli on the e-learning panel, April 5, 2013.)

Earlier today, the Classical Association’s Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Reading, presented two panels on ‘New Approaches to e-Learning’, a topic of growing interest in Classical Studies. The two panels boasted papers full of insights and suggestions for incorporating educational technology into both Latin and Classical Civilization classes. The first panel, consisting of papers by Jonathan Eaton and Alex Smith, focused more on how technology could be employed in classroom instruction on a macro-level. Eaton’s talk provided examples of how Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) could be used to enhance student learning and touched on the controversial topic of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Eaton suggested that VLEs be used to offer resources to students asynchronically, whereas evaluation and direct instruction be employed in a f2f setting: blended learning was a key means of maximizing learning potential. An example of such blended learning was Alex Smith’s discussion of using technology to provide students with collaborative and higher-level learning activities based on synthesis through the creation of a website in eXeLearning that was based on set lines of Latin. Students worked through both Latin content and 21st century, real-world skills such as collaboration and web design. Technology provided the medium, but was not the goal. (more…)

Workshop on Canonical Text Services: Furman May 19-22, 2013

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Posted for Christopher Blackwell:

What · With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Furman University’s Department of Classics is offering a workshop on the Canonical Text Services Protocol.

When · May 19 – 22, 2013.

Where · Greenville, South Carolina, (Wikipedia); Furman University.

Who · Applications will be accepted from anyone interested in learning about exposing canonically cited texts online with CTS. We have funds to pay for travel and lodging for six participants.

How · Apply by e-mail to christopher.blackwell@furman.edu by January 31, 2013.

For more information, see http://folio.furman.edu/workshop.html or contact christopher.blackwell@furman.edu

“Europeana’s Huge Dataset Opens for Re-use”

Friday, September 14th, 2012

According to this press-release from Europeana Professional, the massive European Union-funded project has released 20 million records on cultural heritage items under a Creative Commons Zero (Public Domain) license.

The massive dataset is the descriptive information about Europe’s digitised treasures. For the first time, the metadata is released under the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication, meaning that anyone can use the data for any purpose – creative, educational, commercial – with no restrictions. This release, which is by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0 offers a new boost to the digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs with opportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals.

Upon registering for access to the Europeana API, developers can build tools or interfaces on this data, download metadata into new platforms for novel purposes, make money off it, perform new research, create artistic works, or anything.

It’s important to note that it’s only the metadata that is being freely released here: I did a search for some Greek inscriptions, and also photographs and transcriptions are available, these are all fiercely copyrighted to the Greek Ministry of Culture: ” As for all monuments of cultural heritage, permission from the Greek Ministry of Culture is required for the reproduction of photographs of the inscriptions.” (According to this same license statement, even the metadata are licensed: “Copyright for all data in the collection belongs to the Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. These data may be used freely, provided that there is explicit reference to their provenance. ” Which seems slightly at odds with the CC0 claim of the Europeana site; no doubt closer examination of the legal terms would reveal which claim supercedes in this case.)

(It was lovely to be reminded that inscriptions provided by the Pandektis project [like this funerary monument for Neikagoras] have text made available in EpiDoc XML as well as Leiden-formatted edition.)

It would be really good to hear about any implementations, tools or demos built on top of this data, especially if that had a classics component. Any pointers yet? Or do we need to organize a hackfest to get it started….?

OAPEN-UK focus groups, first report

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The JISC-funded OAPEN-UK (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) project have published a report on the first round of focus groups, held in the British Library late last year. Various groups of stakeholders (in this case academics who author research material) were brought together to discuss issues surrounding open access monograph publication. The conclusions and recommendations are perhaps less radical (or more practical?) than some discussions of open publication in this venue, but the report still raises some valuable issues. (Full disclosure, I participated in this session.)

The report can be found at: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/research-findings/y1-initial-focus-groups/authors-readers/

Guide to Evagrius Ponticus

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

This just in from Joel Kalvesmaki:

I am pleased to announce the appearance of the Guide to Evagrius Ponticus, a digital-only, peer-reviewed reference work about the fourth-century monastic theologian. Updated quarterly, it provides definitive, integrated lists of Evagrius’s works, of editions and translations of those works, and of studies related to his life and thought. The Guide also includes a sourcebook of key ancient testimonies to Evagrius and his reception, in English translation, as well as a checklist of images from the ancient world.

The Guide takes relatively new approaches to open-access academic publishing in the digital humanities [ed: cc-nc-sa], and so is anticipated to develop over the coming years. Future editions will include a manuscript checklist, images of manuscripts, transcriptions of those manuscripts, and open-source critical editions of Evagrius’s writings.

http://evagriusponticus.net/

(For a more complete experience, read the Guide on a browser other than Internet Explorer.)

Working with Text in a Digital Age, RFP

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Tufts University invites applications to “Working with Text in a Digital Age”, a three-week NEH Institute for Advanced Technology in the Digital Humanities (July 23-August 10, 2012) that combines traditional topics such as TEI Markup with training in methods from Information Retrieval, Visualization, and Corpus and Computational Linguistics. Faculty, graduate students, and library professionals are encouraged to apply. Applicants should submit proposals by February 15, 2012. Participant proposals must include CVs and statements of purpose (no more than 1,000 words) describing how they will be able to use participation in the Institute to advance their subsequent careers. Participants must be committed to collaborative work and to publication of results from this Institute under a Creative Commons license. Participants should identify source materials with which they propose to work during the Institute and which must be in the public domain or available under a suitable license. In an ideal case, source materials would include both texts for intensive analysis and annotation and one or more larger corpora to be mined and analyzed more broadly. Statements of purpose must describe initial goals for the Institute. For more information or to submit applications, please contact lcerrato@perseus.tufts.edu.

We particularly encourage participants who are committed to developing research agendas that integrate contributions and research by undergraduates, that expand the global presence of the Humanities, and that, in general, broaden access to and participation in the Humanities. Preference will be given to participants who are best prepared not only to apply new technologies but to do so as a means to transform their teaching and research and the relationship of their work to society beyond academia.

Open Book Publishers: Cicero

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

The Open Access academic publishing house Open Book Publishers is about to publish, on November 18th, their first Classics title, Ingo Gildenhard’s edition of Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53–86. This title, as all OBP books, will soon thereafter be available free to read online in Google Books, and for a reasonable price in PDF or print versions. The press are seeking scholars who would be willing to review this title—either online or for a classical journal.

This is the first I’ve come across this press, but from what I can see it’s a nice example of the academic model—all the peer review etc. carried out by academic volunteers, as usual, but without the traditional publisher sucking cash out of the process of getting the publication back into the hands of the scholarly community who fed the research in the first place.

**Edited November 3 at 16:22 to correct nature of Open Access publication**