Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Googlian hegemony?

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Stuart Weibel blogged Mike Keller’s OCLC presentation entitled “Mass Digitization in Google Book Search: Effects on Scholarship.” Weibel says:

For those unsettled by the rapidity of Googlian hegemony in library spaces, Mike constructs a vivid and compelling argument for embracing the revolution … Google Book Search (GBS) is likely to revolutionize access to books more than any single factor in the library world … Could we (the library community) have marshalled either the vision or the resources to accomplish the task on our own?  It is unlikely.

Read more, including his comments about digitization competion and the cows from the dark side.

By way of

Pleiades: Beyond the Barrington Atlas

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

I’ve just posted to the Pleiades wiki the prepared text portion of the presentation I gave last Saturday during a session of the annual meeting of the American Philological Association.

It introduces the project with a Google Earth use case, and goes on to touch on the following themes:

  • project goals
  • project phases (some new stuff here for discussion in this forum — we’re thinking seriously about the character and activities of phase 2, beyond the current NEH grant)
  • obsolescence and the functions of humanities reference works in the dawning era of millions of digital books
  • what that means for Pleiades

The text breaks off at the point the demonstration portion began; that part was done extemporaneously.

Archimedes, again

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Yet another piece on the the Archimedes palimpsest, this one in the L. A. Times.

“The team made progress on a few pages, but it may take decades — or longer — before technologies are developed that can unveil all the texts.”

Grassroots book-scanning for uncompromising OA

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

As complaints multiply about quality control in the Google book scanning initiative, this sort of approach begun by Nicholas Hodson looks increasingly promising to me.  (Had to laugh about the blue and the pink coding, though!)

Mass digitization of books

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

From Current Cites:

Coyle, Karen. “Mass Digitization of Books” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 32(6)(November 2006): 641-645. – A very well done overview of mass and near-mass digitization of books by Google, the Open Content Alliance, Microsoft, Project Gutenberg, and many library-based projects. Coyle touches on issues such as workflow, output and book structure, user interface, standards, preservation, and scoping the project. If you’re interested in this topic, this is the single best overview currently available. Highly recommended.

Semantic Web podcasts

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Keith Alexander at Semantic Humanities is compiling a list of podcasts on the theme of the Semantic Web.

Call for examples from “TEI by Example”

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

The Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) of the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH) of King’s College London, and the School for Library, Archive, and Information Studies (SLAIS) of University College London, are involved in the joint project “TEI by Example”.

Featuring freely available online tutorials walking individuals through the different stages in marking up a document in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative, these online tutorials will provide examples for users of all levels. Examples will be provided of different document types, with varying degrees in the granularity of markup, to provide a useful teaching and reference aid for those involved in the marking up of texts.

Eight tutorial modules will address a wide range of issues in text encoding with TEI:

1. Introduction to text encoding with TEI
2. The TEI header
3. Prose
4. Poetry
5. Drama
6. Manuscript Transcription
7. Scholarly Editing
8. Customizing TEI, ODD, Roma

To build as much as possible on available sources of existing practice in the field and to be able to present a broad view on the wide variety of encoding practices, we warmly welcome you to contribute TEI-encoded examples (either fragments or complete texts) that are applicable to any of these subjects. Examples are preferably encoded as TEI P5 XML texts, but also texts encoded in TEI P4 XML, other XML formats, or other (documented) electronic formats are of interest. Even examples of less-ideal encoding practices are welcome, since the idea of learning by error is a valuable didactic principle. Please do provide some indication of the errors or controversies in such examples when appropriate. After selection and editing, the example fragments will be incorporated in the freely available online deliverables, which will be issued under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license (see All contributors will be credited.

The examples can be sent (preferably compressed in .zip format and with an indication of applicability and credits due) to Please do not hesitate to contact us for any inquiries regarding copyright issues or any more general issues.

Kind regards,

The project team:

Ron Van den Branden, Melissa Terras, Edward Vanhoutte

Grumentum: latest from Troels Myrup

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Troels Myrup has added new images to the Stoa Image Gallery:

I’ve added photos from Grumentum in Lucania (Southern Italy) to the Stoa Gallery. Charming place but fairly remote. It’s kind of hard to think that tourists will ever come here in hordes as the local council seems to believe. Recently, a new project has excavated the baths and parts of the forum, shedding new light on the city’s late antique development. The project’s website is currently offline.

Chiron web: collaborative Classics

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

A very welcome announcement in the mail today:

I would like to communicate with you the birth of a new collaborative site, so that you can announce it at

Name: Chiron

The site is made by (and for) Spanish teachers of Greek and Latin in Secondary Schools. There are several similar sites ( and others), but the distinctiveness of this one is that it is focused to the easy collaboration that new tools (web 2.0) bring to all of us. We provide, with Creative Commons license (as possible):

– blogs aggregation,
– a list of web resources (in a wiki),
– a social tagger (blinklist),
– a repository of images (flickr),
– some courses in Moodle,
– a Google calendar.

The site was born 2 months ago and ints contents and users are rising. As an example, we have collected more than a thousand images with Creative Commons license ready to download. We are testing a Forum at: were you could see the “making of” of the site for the past two weeks, in Spanish of course.

Perhaps this new site could encourage other teachers to build some similar sites in other countries and languages.

José M. Ciordia

Open Access Pantheon

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

From Neel Smith comes word of The Pantheon Project – The Pilot Project of the Karman Center. Definitely worth a look, with very nice OA policies covering the core project data:

… many questions remain concerning the design, construction, statics, building logistics and the original purpose of this unique monument. The Karman Center’s Pantheon Project aims to resolve these questions with up-to-date technical means, new digital measurings of the entire building and new forms of web-based scientific collaboration … One of the new means of the Pantheon Project for scientific work is a 3D digital data model based on 540,000,000 points (= >9 gigabytes of numerical data) from a laser scanning operation executed in Rome during December 2005. The model not only contains the coordinates of all the points but also the colour value of the surface … The Pantheon Project, as all other future Karman Center projects, focuses on Open Access Scholarship, that is, not only the research results from the Pantheon Project and the Karman Center, but also all the basic data and discussion concerning them will be made freely accessible to all interested scholars for their own use. We also hope to convince archives and other institutions owning historical sources, such as drawings, photographs, prints, rare books, maps, etc., to help us make them available online for research. This would not only help to intensify scholarly work but would at the same time help to preserve the often very delicate or easily damaged originals.

A Directory of Academic Blogs, Wiki Style

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
from the CHE:
How many academic blogs are there? Too many for any one person to keep track of. The popular academic blog Crooked Timber has long maintained a lengthy list of academic blogs. The list had been maintained in part by Henry Farrell, an assistant professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, but the task was starting to seem overwhelming. “I’d come to the conclusion that one person just couldn’t keep track of this anymore,” he said in an interview this week. So why not open up the list and let anyone add to it? That’s just what the gang at Crooked Timber decided to do, using the same wiki software behind Wikipedia. The result is, which went online in September. Mr. Farrell said he doesn’t know how many blogs are now listed in the ever-growing collection because he hasn’t had time to count. We started to attempt a count ourselves, but we only made it through the first category: humanities. There are about 470 of those. The list is in no way a seal of approval, Mr. Farrell said, adding that he personally disagrees with many of the views expressed in blogs on the list. “The only policing is to make sure that anybody who’s there is an academic,” he said. There are other directories of academic blogs, such as BlogScholar. Do others out there know of other guides to the academic blogosphere worth checking out?–Jeffrey R. Young

Classics in the Million Book Library

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

A Mellon-funded working group that met immediately after the recent Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science ( has now issued a position paper, Classics in the Million Book Library.

The goal is to consider how the future of publication in Classics may relate to the massive book digitization projects now being undertaken by Google, the Open Content Alliance, and others.

For anyone interested, our position paper is available in pdf and doc formats from the link under “Pages” at the upper right corner of this blog.

Teaching and learning scenarios for Google Earth

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

EduCause has a two-pager, and Google has its own page for educators.


Friday, October 27th, 2006

Emphasis added:

For better or for worse, Wikipedia has become the first destination for many a student researcher. Does the site’s ubiquity mean that professors have a responsibility to contribute? “I feel I have an obligation to do so, at least within my field,” said Alexander M.C. Halavais, an assistant professor of communications at Quinnipiac University, during a live Chronicle chat yesterday. “Public scholarship…is an important part of being a professor,” Mr. Halavais said. “Since Wikipedia is probably the single most visible source of knowledge for many today, it strikes me as an important place to engage in that role. I would love to see universities and tenure committees embrace that role, but I am not holding my breath.” A complete transcript of the chat — in which Mr. Halavais discussed Wikipedia’s strengths and weaknesses, and the role of the encyclopedia as a research tool — is now available online.


Monday, October 23rd, 2006 comments on the newly announced Canadian digitization effort called AlouetteCanada. Some of the juicy bits:

Billed as an “open digitization initiative,” Alouette shares some common features with the Open Content Alliance (OCA) — not altogether surprising, since founding members of the Canadian project (including the Universities of Toronto and Alberta) are also contributing content to the OCA’s open library… What really sets Alouette apart from other large-scale efforts in the mass digitization arena, I think, is its commitment to enabling smaller, specialized research collections (like historical societies and museums) to participate in the virtual land-rush and secure a little habitat of their own… Will Alouette Canada generate the same kind of excitement and national pride as its space-age namesake? Will it achieve its vision of “harness[ing] the will and energy of every library, archive, gallery, museum, historical society or institute of record to create a comprehensive collection of digital resources for the benefit of its citizens�” Only time will tell…

Excellent suggestion: self-help

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

if:book discusses the progress Microsoft is making towards its book search portal, and sees a big risk:

But more important, we should get to work with OCR scanners and start extracting the texts to build our own databases. Even when they make the files available, as Google is starting to do, they’re giving them to us not as fully functioning digital texts (searchable, remixable), but as strings of snapshots of the scanned pages. That’s because they’re trying to keep control of the cultural DNA scanned from these books — that’s the value added to their search service.

But the public domain ought to be a public trust, a cultural infrastructure that is free to all. In the absence of some competing not-for-profit effort, we should at least start thinking about how we as stakeholders can demand better access to these public domain works. Microsoft and Google are free to scan them, and it’s good that someone has finally kickstarted a serious digitization campaign. It’s our job to hold them accountable, and to make sure that the public domain doesn’t get redefined as the semi-public domain.

“naturally more expressive digital object focus”

Friday, October 13th, 2006

This Object Reuse and Exchange initiative looks like a project to keep an eye on:

The Open Archives Initiative (OAI), with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, announces a new effort as part of its mission to develop and promote interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) will develop specifications that allow distributed repositories to exchange information about their constituent digital objects. These specifications will include approaches for representing digital objects and repository services that facilitate access and ingest of these representations. The specifications will enable a new generation of cross-repository services that leverage the intrinsic value of digital objects beyond the borders of hosting repositories.

The goals of ORE are inspired by advances in scholarly communication and the growth of scholarly material that is available in scholarly repositories including institutional repositories, discipline-oriented repositories, dataset warehouses, and online journal repositories. This growth is significant by itself. However, its real importance lies in the potential for these distributed repositories and their contained objects to act as the foundation of a new digitally-based scholarly communication framework. Such a framework would permit fluid reuse, refactoring, and aggregation of scholarly digital objects and their constituent parts – including text, images, data, and software. This framework would include new forms of citation, allow the creation of virtual collections of objects regardless of their location, and facilitate new workflows that add value to scholarly objects by distributed registration, certification, peer review, and preservation services. Although scholarly communication is the motivating application, we imagine that the specifications developed by ORE may extend to other domains.

ORE is funded by Mellon for two years beginning October 2006. It is coordinated by Carl Lagoze of Cornell University Information Science and Herbert Van de Sompel of the Los Alamos Research Library….

OAI-ORE will co-exist within the Open Archives Initiative with the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), the widely deployed standard for exchange of metadata. We expect that the naturally more expressive digital object focus of OAI-ORE will complement the narrower metadata focus of OAI-PMH….

British Museum site on Ancient Greece

Friday, October 13th, 2006

from The Scout Report:

5. Ancient Greece [Macromedia Flash Player]

Presented with a physical relief map of Greece and its many islands, visitors to the homepage of this site will then be treated to a range of material objects, ranging from masks, urns, and stone tablets. All of these items are part of the British Museum’s vast holdings of materials from ancient Greece, and brought together, they constitute the online website titled “Ancient Greece?. Previous online collections have presented material from other civilizations, and this assemblage is divided into traditional sections that include geography, time, war, and Athens. While many of the sections follow traditional online collection conventions, there are a number of splendid Flash-enabled features that present a day in the life of the city of Athens, and of course, Plato’s immortal cave. [KMG]

Alun Salt’s MuGeum Gateway to Ancient Greece

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

What I’m working on is a list of various Greek cities as a reference for the new first years who start lectures in Ancient Greek history this coming week. Hopefully they’ll know where Athens is, but working out which island is Samos can be more difficult. The solution is to use the MuGeum to create Google Earth files, along with Google maps. You can download what I’ve done so far here.

The Parthenon Frieze

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

from Dorothy King:

Columbia has a great new site about the Parthenon Frieze, where you can click on the plan and see either old photos (pre recent 20th century damage) or drawings based on Carrey and other sources.
The Parthenon Frieze, Columbia University

Zotero goes live

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Release notes.

20,000 entries for Suda On Line

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Progress Report (as of October 2, 2006):
Assigned: 20,385
Translated: 20,001
Vetted: 19,998

A message from Managing Editor Bill Hutton to contributors and potential contributors:

Dear contributors to the Suda On-Line:

Yesterday the 20,000th was submitted to the Suda On Line ( This means we are roughly 2/3 of the way toward having translations of every single entry in our database. Thanks to the work of our editors, particularly the indefatigables, David Whitehead and Catharine Roth, practically all of those 20,000 entries have received at least preliminary editorial review. Considering the fact that this is not anyone’s full-time job, and not even the number-one research/publication project for the vast majority of us, this is not an achievement to be sneezed at. It took us 5 years to get to 10,000 entries (1998-2003), and only three more years to get up to 20,000.

Thank you for helping us reach that goal, and if you have not contributed to the project recently, I hope you will consider doing so and helping us do the last 10,000 entries even more quickly. Remember that you can use the SOL’s facilities to perform word searches on the Greek text of the Suda, thereby finding untranslated entries that interest you. Alternatively, the managing editors will be happy to assign you blocks of random entries that need to be translated. Those of you with “editor” status: we also need you to take a look at entires in your areas of expertise and make any necessary changes.

Please also bring the project to the attention of other people you think might be interested in contributing. Those of you who teach Greek might consider the benefit of having your students work on translating and/or annotating entries. We have had people do that successfully both on the graduate and the undergraduate levels.

If you have questions or need help getting back into SOL, just let us know:

Pleiades Achieves First Major Development Milestone

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

The staff of the Ancient World Mapping Center’s Pleiades Project is pleased to report that it has met its “Geo Prime” milestone, effective 2 October 2006.

The “Geo Prime” milestone was structured to demonstrate, in a modified version of the Plone Content Management System, basic geographic capabilities needed by the Project. A demonstration version is running on a server supplied by the Stoa Consortium: The custom software we have developed in order to add these capabilities is being released to the public simultaneously under the rubric “Pleiades Software Release 0.6”

Pleiades is an international research network and associated web portal and content management system devoted to the study of ancient geography. Funding for the creation of this software was provided by a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.


New blog for Papyrology news

Monday, September 25th, 2006

A message from G. Schwendner (Wichita State University):

I am putting up a weblog to keep track of new publications, announcements etc. in papyrology (my field). We see these, for the most part, on the Papy-list, but the archives are resticted to list members, and so its news does not flow very far. Most important, it does not get into the seach engines. Anyway, below is the url; let me know what you think. I have not had the time to reformat the Greek that appears in the tables of contents, but the publishers’ pdf versions are linked, and few, I think, are searching the web for unicode Greek text at this point.

On-line Companion to the Worlds of Roman Women

Monday, September 25th, 2006

A message from Judith Lynn Sebesta (University of South Dakota):

Call for Collaborators to The On-line Companion to The Worlds of Roman Women

The On-Line Companion to the Focus Reader, The Worlds of Roman Women,1 expands the book’s wide representation of Latin texts by and about women dating from the earliest periods through the fourth century CE. The medium of a website, moreover, offers the opportunity to integrate visuals to texts, thus enabling users to make connections between language and material culture. The Companion has two major parts.

The Worlds section includes Class, Religion, Childhood, Learning, Marriage, Family, Body, State, Work, and Flirtation. Each World opens to reveal a thematic image of women in this world, a brief essay on this World, a list of on-line texts and hyperlinked images. The glossed on-line texts are hyperlinked as well. For example, the introduction to Gnome Pierinis (Work) Flavian ornatrix is hyperlinked to a Flavian woman’s bust with elaborate hairstyle.

The Instructional section contains: a Guide to Using the Site; an Annotated Bibliography; Activities for Classroom Use; Syllabi and Lesson Plans; and Credits and Contributors. The annotated bibliography is hyperlinked to materials such as downloadable theses, essays, articles, and more.

Future development of the Companion will extend the geographic reach of Companion to all the provinces. We will add essays on aspects of Roman culture and women’s lives.

This point leads to our call for collaborators from all Latin teachers on all levels. “Collaboration” includes suggestions for additional texts; correction, revision and expansion of glosses and vocabulary for readings; evaluation of the grammatical difficulty of a text; sharing of images (that are legally in free-use) and syllabi; submission of glossed texts, classroom activities and annotated bibliographical items; identifying useful links; writing essays for teachers and/or students; and continuing updating of knowledge in the field. To make suggestions or to volunteer as a Companion collaborator, contact either Ann Raia ( or Judith Sebesta (