We are very pleased to announce the publication of the latest Digital Classicist volume, The Digital Classicist 2013, published by the Institute of Classical Studies, London as part of their BICS series.
Please ask your library to order a copy.
We are very pleased to announce the publication of the latest Digital Classicist volume, The Digital Classicist 2013, published by the Institute of Classical Studies, London as part of their BICS series.
Please ask your library to order a copy.
From Lisa Cerrato via the Digital Classicist List:
The Perseus Catalog is an attempt to provide systematic catalog access to at least one online edition of every major Greek and Latin author (both surviving and fragmentary) from antiquity to 600 CE. Still a work in progress, the catalog currently includes 3,679 individual works (2,522 Greek and 1,247 Latin), with over 11,000 links to online versions of these works (6,419 in Google Books, 5,098 to the Internet Archive, 593 to the Hathi Trust). The Perseus interface now includes links to the Perseus Catalog from the main navigation bar, and also from within the majority of texts in the Greco-Roman collection.
The metadata contained within the catalog has utilized the MODS and MADS standards developed by the Library of Congress as well as the Canonical Text Services and CTS-URN protocols developed by the Homer Multitext Project. The Perseus catalog interface uses the open source Blacklight Project interface and Apache Solr. Stable, linkable canonical URIs have been provided for all textgroups, works, editions and translations in the Catalog for both HTML and ATOM output formats. The ATOM output format provides access to the source CTS, MODS and MADS metadata for the catalog records. Subsequent releases will make all catalog data available as RDF triples.
Other major plans for the future of the catalog include not only the addition of more authors and works as well as links to online versions but also to open up the catalog to contributions from users. Currently the catalog does not include any user contribution or social features other than standard email contact information but the goal is to soon support the creation of user accounts and the contribution of recommendations, corrections and or new metadata.
The Perseus Digital Library Team
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
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.
Forwarded for Sabine Arnaud-Thuillier:
The members of the Diccionario Griego-Español project (DGE, CSIC, Madrid) are pleased to announce the release of DGE online (http://dge.cchs.csic.es/xdge/), first digital edition of the published section (α-ἔξαυος) of our Lexicon. Although still in progress, the DGE, written under the direction of Prof. F.R. Adrados, is currently becoming the largest bilingual dictionary of ancient Greek: it already includes about 60,000 entries and 370,000 citations of ancient authors and texts. Simultaneously, we are releasing the edition of LMPG online(http://dge.cchs.csic.es/lmpg/), the digital version of the Lexicon of Magic and Religion in the Greek Magical Papyri, written by Luis Muñoz Delgado (Supplement V of DGE). The digitization of this smaller Lexicon is considered as a successful prototype of this ambitious digitization initiative: further on DGE online will be improved with similar advanced features, such as the implementation of a customized search engine. Any critics and suggestions on that matter will be very welcome. We hope these new open access dictionaries will be of your interest and will become, to some extent, valuable tools for Ancient Greek studies.
Lecture announcement: http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/news/index.html#sep27
September 27, 2012
Lecture: “Chasing Krüger’s Dream: Studying the Transmission of Classical and Medieval Manuscripts Using Lattice Theory and Information Entropy.” John W. Hessler, Kluge Staff Fellow.
4:00 – 5:00 p.m., LJ-119, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Reception to follow.
How accurately have culturally fundamental texts from literature, law, science, geography, and philosophy been handed down from ancient Rome and Greece to the present by way of scribal copying in the Middle Ages? This fundamental question of how various manuscripts from a textual tradition have been transmitted through space and time has been the concern of scholars since at least the founding of the great Library of Alexandria in the third century BC.
Early Medieval scribes recognized that in the process of copying ancient texts mistakes were made, and that these errors became part of the textual tradition, to be passed on through history. They also realized that this process of copying error had a random or chaotic nature, and so they invented the demon Tutivillus, whom they considered to be the error’s source. Throughout the Renaissance scholars, like Erasmus, battled this demon in their attempts to re-construct important Latin and Greek manuscripts descended from antiquity. Later in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries scholars, like Karl Lachmann and Paul Krüger, tried to systematize a method in order to determine which parts of medieval manuscripts were errors, and which were the real readings descended from the original authors.
This paper will highlight a new computational technique to show how modern digital philology is changing the way we think of the transmission of medieval manuscripts through space and time, and is also helping to solve this seemingly simple, but unfortunately, rather complicated problem. Using the notes of the classical philologist Paul Krüger, whose manuscripts were recently rediscovered in the Law Library of Congress, complex three dimensional visualization techniques will be used to show how the medieval manuscripts making up the Codex of Justinian are spatially and temporally related to each other. This talk will also highlight how these new techniques give scholars the tools to postulate what the structure of missing and destroyed manuscripts might have been. Using these methods, based in lattice theory and information entropy, this paper can be seen as a case study in how digital and computational algorithms are changing the face of even the most traditional of the humanities, classical philology.
The results of this study and my year long Kluge Fellowship will be published in the book called, Roman Law in Ruins: a Computational Study of the Medieval Transmission of Justinian’s Codex“. This has been made possible through a generous grant from the American Academy in Rome and it will be published copyright free both in hardcover and on the web by Franz-Steiner Verlag (Berlin) in February, 2014 as part of their Alte Geschichte Monograph Series.
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.
(For a more complete experience, read the Guide on a browser other than Internet Explorer.)
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**
A web only publication by Alison Babeu with good coverage of the Stoa and the Digital Classicist. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The author provides a summative and recent overview of the use of digital technologies in classical studies, focusing on classical Greece, Rome, and the ancient Middle and Near East, and generally on the period up to about 600 AD. The report explores what projects exist and how they are used, examines the infrastructure that currently exists to support digital classics as a discipline, and investigates larger humanities cyberinfrastructure projects and existing tools or services that might be repurposed for the digital classics.
(Council on Library and Information Resources)
In BMCR 2011-02-24 last week, Alexandra Trachsel reviews:
Monica Berti, Virgilio Costa, La Biblioteca di Alessandria: storia di un paradiso perduto. Ricerche di filologia, letteratura e storia 10. Roma: Edizioni Tored, 2010. Pp. xvi, 279. ISBN 9788888617343. €30.00 (pb).
Of particular interest to Stoans and Digital Classicists is the final section on massive digital libraries such as Google Books and Europeana, and lessons both draw (and should learn) from the ancient Library of Alexandria.
I’m delighted to see that the proceedings of last month’s conference on Digital Imaging of Ancient Textual Heritage are now online as an open access PDF.
There was an impressive line-up at this important conference, and I was sorry not to be able to attend. This collection of papers will be incredibly useful to anyone working in the imaging of manuscripts and other textual objects. (Now if only I could also have a hardcopy for my bookshelf!)
(Thanks to Melissa for pointing this out on Twitter)
A recent study published in the Public Library of Science has tested the relationship between Open Access self-archiving of peer-reviewed articles and improved citation impact.
The correlation between publications that are freely available online and high citation metrics has been established many times before and is unarguable, but some have questioned (in what strikes me as a stretch of reasoning) whether this correlation can be taken to imply causation. (In other words, they argue, “Yeah but, maybe those open access papers are cited more because people would only upload their really good papers to the Web that would be cited a lot anyway!”) Harnad and co. demonstrate pretty conclusively using controlled and tested methods that both voluntarily self-archived papers, and those that are required by funding bodies or institutions to be openly archived, have the same beneficial impact on citation, *and* that this benefit is proportionally even greater for the most high-impact publications.
Like I say, we kind of knew this, but we now have a scientific publication we can cite to demonstrate it even to the skeptics.
The following is a lightly edited version of a talk that I delivered at the 26th Congress of the International Association of Papyrologists, 19 August 2010, in Geneva (program), posted here upon nudging of G. Bodard.
Colleagues. It is a great honor and a privilege to be able to speak with you today. An honor and a privilege that, I hasten to add, I did not seek, but which a number of our colleagues insisted some months back the members of this research team must try to live up to. If I approach this distinguished body with some trepidation it is perhaps because my training as an epigraphist has conditioned me to a tone less attuned to collegiality than that which informs the papyrologists’ discipline. I should add also that am here not to present my own work, but the fruits of a team whose members are in Heidelberg, London, New York, North Carolina, Alabama, and Kentucky, and who have been working heroically for more than three years now.
I shall aim to speak for no more than 40 minutes so that we may at least start discussions, which I know the rest of the team and I will be more than happy to carry on via email, Skype, phone, and separate face to face meetings. I will add also that, since the matters arising from this talk are highly technical in nature, we shall be more than happy to field questions as a team (I and my colleagues Rodney Ast, James Cowey, Tom Elliott, and Paul Heilporn) and in any of the languages within our competence.
First some background. I don’t need to tell you very much about the history of the Duke Data Bank of Documentary Papyri. It was founded in 1983, as a collaboration between William Willis and John Oates of Duke University, and the Packard Humanities Institute. A decade and a half later, around the time, as it happens, that APIS was also starting, the DDbDP decided to migrate from the old CD platform and to the web. John in particular was committed to making the data available for free, to anyone who wanted access. The Perseus Project, from Tufts University, very kindly agreed to host the new online DDbDP, to develop a search interface, to convert the data from old Beta code to a markup language called SGML–all at no cost to us. The DDbDP added a few thousand texts after switching from the Packard CD ROM to Perseus. But the landscape changed dramatically from this point onward, and the DDbDP began to fall behind. The end of the CD ROM meant the end of regular revenues to support data entry and proofreading. And of course, ongoing development of the search interface was not without cost to Perseus, whose generous efforts on our behalf were, as I mention, unremunerated. Within a few years the DDbDP was behind in data entry and the search interface was not able to grow and mature in the ways that papyrologists wanted.
[Note: this is part of a paper written after a conference on Digital Lexicography at the University of Cambridge in 2002, and was scheduled to appear in the print publication of the proceedings. As the publication never took place, and the paper is now rather too out of date to publish by traditional means without a lot more work, I'm posting here under a Creative Commons Attribution license that part of it (a little more than a third of the length) that might still be of some small interest. No significant changes have been made to this material since 2003 (e.g. code examples use TEI P4).]
In this paper I discuss the digital markup of epigraphic texts, using the Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity 2004 electronic publication as an example corpus. I shall consider some of the uses to which the original electronic source code can be put, which includes the compiling of (or contributing to) indices and databases external to the original, limited project. Such external uses might include an onomastic database, a gazetteer of place names, or a digital lexicon, to suggest only three.
As part of my PhD in Digital Humanities I’m working on a literature review of publications related to the theme “Classics and Computers”.
I’m looking specifically at general surveys, studies and discussions about the history of the relationship between classics and computers, a disciplinary field that has recently emerged as Digital Classics.
However, as Tom Elliott pointed me out Alison Babeu (Perseus project) has recently published on CiteULike a much broader bibliography as “as part of an IMLS-funded planning project that’s looking a digital infrastructure needs for Classics (Perseus and CLIR are the co-recipients of the grant)”.
For the time being, in order to allow anyone with any interest in this to contribute I created a group on Zotero called digitalclassics. The group is open (i.e. my authorisation is not needed to join) so please join it and start contributing your entries to the list. I’m thinking in particular of publications that I have unintentionally neglected and/or publications in other languages that I was not aware of.
Currently, the entries in the Zotero Library are divided into two main categories: general studies and applications, where the latter is meant to host publications concerning specific applications Digital Classics-related. More subcategories may be added as long as we go further or members of the list can even add new ones by themselves.As soon as the bibliography will reach a reasonably stable shape I will update the page I have already created on the DigitalClassicist wiki.
I want to thank in advance the DigitalClassicist community for the support they have shown me on the list and for the entries they have started already contributing.
We are happy to announce the publication of the Digital Classicist volume:
Digital Research in the Study of Classical Antiquity
Digital Research in the Study of Classical Antiquity, edited by Gabriel Bodard (King’s College London, UK) and Simon Mahony (University College London, UK), Ashgate 2010, ISBN 978-0-7546-7773-4 £ 55.00
For full details and the publishers blurb, see:
A copy of the publishers’ promotional flyer can be downloaded here, email it to your friends and libraries.
Note: there is a 20% discount until 31st August if you order online and quote the reference on the flyer.
It used to be said, especially by the Internet’s nay-sayers, that the insuperable barrier to publishing and citing online is that links are never stable. The number of pages that appear and disappear every day means that even a year-old list of sites is likely to contain significant link rot. There is a significant movement to promote both stable and cool URLs (see for example [van Kesteren 2004] and [Berners-Lee 1998]), and most of those of us who publish online take great pains to have URLs that are both predictable and will not need to change.
For example, we recently published The Inscritions of Roman Tripolitania, a digital edition based very closely on the 1952 printed volume by Reynolds and Ward-Perkins, at:
Because this is largely a reprint, there is obviously more work to be done, and we hope to add a new edition fairly soon (incorporating, for example, Arabic translation and new digital photographs). When we do so, the new site will be labeled “irt2011″ or similar, all internal links will include this date, and the old site will not need to be removed or renamed. No links will be broken in this process.
Similarly, good electronic journals have URLs that reflect date and/or issue number in the directory structure:
Again we can see that they don’t need to change when new issues come along or the site is restructured. Additionally, you can guess from these URLs what the address of DM issue 5, or DHQ issue 4.2, would be. Additionally, I can remember (or guess) the URLs of individual papers within DM by their authors’ surnames. I strongly suspect that in a year and in ten years, these URLs will still work.
All of which makes is especially surprising that an institution like the Center for Hellenic Studies, which is in so many ways a field-leader and standard-setter in Digital Humanities matters, has a website whose URLs seem to be generated by a content management system. These URLs (including that of their flagship online journal Classics@, and of the magisterial Homer Multitext) are ungainly, arbitrary, and almost certainly not stable. Even worse, many individual pages within the site have URLs that contain a session-specific hash, and so cannot be cited at all:
One might argue that these pages should be cited as if they were paper publications, and readers are then left to their own devices to track them down, but surely that isn’t good enough? Are there any solutions to citing electronically, and linking to, a page whose URL is likely to be itinerant? A persistent redirect? A Zotero biblio URL that you can update if you notice it’s broken?
As Gregg Schwendner pointed out a few weeks ago on the What’s New in Papyrology blog, Brill have brought out a new CD-ROM version of the Berichtigungsliste der Griechischen Papyrusurkunden aus Ägypten (vol I-XI). From the publisher’s website:
With the advent of the CD-ROM edition of the great Berichtigungsliste der Griechisen Papyruskunden aus Ägypten, all the scholarship in the field, meticulously assembled over eighty years, is instantly accessible using a wide range of quick-search criteria. There is no better, faster, more satisfactory way to ensure a solid grounding in the corrections of readings and datings, as well as supplementary information, as this work has appeared in a wide spectrum of publications.
A license for the CD-Rom costs €149.00 / US$209.00 for an individual user; €395.00 / US$549.00 for an institutional license (1-3 users). I’m not entirely clear whether the purchase of one license lasts for life, or whether it needs to be renewed periodically as with the TLG (if the former, then presumably updated CD-ROMs would need to be purchased anew in future).
I’m curious to know, from anyone who has seen this resource, or who has access to it in their institutional library, what sorts of research question one can ask of the BL database that could not also be answered by Open Access resources such the Papyrological Navigator, for example (or the various other papyrological metadata databases at Heidelberg, Leuven, etc.). The Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri includes some readings and corrections from BL, although presumably not all. I’d be interested if any papyrologist could give us a brief review of the value of this new resource.
Recently circulated by Joshua Sosin:
Volume 49 (2009) will be the last volume of GRBS printed on paper. Beginning with volume 50, issues will be published quarterly on-line on the GRBS website, on terms of free access. We undertake this transformation in the hope of affording our authors a wider readership; out of concern for the financial state of our libraries; and in the belief that the dissemination of knowledge should be free.
The current process of submission and peer-review of papers will continue unchanged. The on-line format will be identical with our pages as now printed, and so articles will continue to be cited by volume, year, and page numbers.
Our hope is that both authors and readers will judge this new medium to be to their advantage, and that such open access will be of benefit to continuing scholarship on Greece.
– The editors
(I for one think this is great news: we know that online publications are read and cited some orders of magnitude more widely than dead tree volumes; we also know that many academic journals are largely edited, administered, peer-reviewed and proof-read by a volunteer staff of academics who see none of the profit for expensive volumes–so why not cut out the middleman and publish these high-quality products directly to the audience?)
copied from Humanist:
From: Julia Flanders
Subject: DHQ issue 3.1 now available
We’re very happy to announce the publication of the new issue of DHQ:
DHQ 3.1 (Winter 2009)
A special issue in honor of Ross Scaife: “Changing the Center of
Gravity: Transforming Classical Studies Through Cyberinfrastructure”
Guest editors: Melissa Terras and Gregory Crane
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements and Dedications
Gregory Crane, Tufts University; Brent Seales, University of
Kentucky; Melissa Terras, University College London
Ross Scaife (1960-2008)
Dot Porter, Digital Humanities Observatory
Cyberinfrastructure for Classical Philology
Gregory Crane, Tufts University; Brent Seales, University of
Kentucky; Melissa Terras, University College London
Technology, Collaboration, and Undergraduate Research
Christopher Blackwell, Furman University; Thomas R. Martin, College
of the Holy Cross
Tachypaedia Byzantina: The Suda On Line as Collaborative Encyclopedia
Anne Mahoney, Tufts University
Exploring Historical RDF with Heml
Bruce Robertson, Mount Allison University
Digitizing Latin Incunabula: Challenges, Methods, and Possibilities
Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Citation in Classical Studies
Neel Smith, College of the Holy Cross
Digital Criticism: Editorial Standards for the Homer Multitext
Casey Dué, University of Houston, Texas; Mary Ebbott, College of the
Epigraphy in 2017
Hugh Cayless, University of North Carolina; Charlotte Roueché, King’s
College London; Tom Elliott, New York University; Gabriel Bodard,
King’s College London
Digital Geography and Classics
Tom Elliott, New York University; Sean Gillies, New York University
What Your Teacher Told You is True: Latin Verbs Have Four Principal
Raphael Finkel, University of Kentucky; Gregory Stump, University of
Computational Linguistics and Classical Lexicography
Gregory Crane, Tufts University; David Bamman, Tufts University
Classics in the Million Book Library
Gregory Crane, Tufts University; Alison Babeu, Tufts University;
David Bamman, Tufts University; Thomas Breuel, Technical University of
Kaiserslautern; Lisa Cerrato, Tufts University; Daniel Deckers,
Hamburg University; Anke Lüdeling, Humboldt-University, Berlin; David
Mimno, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Rashmi Singhal, Tufts
University; David A. Smith, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Amir
Zeldes, Humboldt-University, Berlin
Conclusion: Cyberinfrastructure, the Scaife Digital Library and
Classics in a Digital age
Christopher Blackwell, Furman University; Gregory Crane, Tufts
Best wishes from the DHQ editorial team
At the request suggestion one of our translators, Nick Nicholas, I have added a link to the SOL front page called “Entire list of entries”. If you go there, you will find a list of the entire Suda entries, whether translated or not. Each is a link that gets you to the current translation; if there is none (as with phi,849 for instance), you get to the source text.
There are two things to note. First, the links are in the form http://www.stoa.org/sol-entries/alpha/3, which is new. I have introduced a URL-rewrite rule in the web server that converts this sort of URL to the less memorable
You can use this new form of URL if you wish to embed pointers to the SOL in other web pages.
Second, the real purpose of this list of entries is so that web crawlers like Google will find it and index the contents of the entire SOL. Within a short time, we should be able to use a search engine with a search like “aaron biography omicron kurion” and find this same entry. We’ll see if that works.
Posted on the Digital Classicist list by Melissa Terras.
Call for Papers: Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture
Editors Brent Nelson (University of Saskatchewan) and Melissa Terras
(University College London) invite submissions for a collection of
essays on “Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture” to
be published in the New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance
Studies Series edited by Ray Siemens and William Bowen.
This collection of essays will build on the accomplishments of recent
scholarship on materiality by bringing together innovative research
on the theory and praxis of digitizing material cultures from roughly
500 A.D. to 1700 A.D. Scholars of the medieval and early modern
periods have begun to pay more attention to the material world not
only as a means of cultural experience, but also as a shaping
influence upon culture and society, looking at the world of material
objects as both an area of study and a rich source of evidence for
interpreting the past. Digital media enable new ways of evoking,
representing, recovering, and simulating these materials in
non-traditional, non-textual (or para-textual) ways and present new
possibilities for recuperating and accumulating material from across
vast distances and time, enabling both preservation and comparative
analysis that is otherwise impossible or impractical. Digital
mediation also poses practical and theoretical challenges, both
logistical (such as gaining access to materials) and intellectual
(for example, the relationship between text and object). This volume
of essays will promote the deployment of digital technologies to the
study of material culture by bringing together expertise garnered
from complete and current digital projects, while looking forward to
new possibilities for digital applications; it will both take stock
of the current state of theory and practice and advance new
developments in digitization of material culture. The editors welcome
submissions from all disciplines on any research that addresses the
use of digital means for representing and investigating material
culture as expressed in such diverse areas as:
• travelers’ accounts, navigational charts and cartography
• collections and inventories
• numismatics, antiquarianism and early archaeology
• theatre and staging (props, costumes, stages, theatres)
• the visual arts of drawing, painting, sculpture, print making, and
• model making
• paper making and book printing, production, and binding
• manuscripts, emblems, and illustrations
• palimpsests and three-dimensional writing
• instruments (magic, alchemical, and scientific)
• arts and crafts
• the anatomical and cultural body
We welcome approaches that are practical and/or theoretical, general
in application or particular and project-based. Submissions should
present fresh advances in methodologies and applications of digital
technologies, including but not limited to:
• XML and databases and computational interpretation
• three-dimensional computer modeling, Second Life and virtual worlds
• virtual research environments
• mapping technology
• image capture, processing, and interpretation
• 3-D laser scanning, synchrotron, or X-ray imaging and analysis
• artificial intelligence, process modeling, and knowledge representation
Papers might address such topics and issues as:
• the value of inter-disciplinarity (as between technical and
• relationships between image and object; object and text; text and image
• the metadata of material culture
• curatorial and archival practice
• mediating the material object and its textual representations
• imaging and data gathering (databases and textbases)
• the relationship between the abstract and the material text
• haptic, visual, and auditory simulation
• tools and techniques for paleographic analysis
Enquiries and proposals should be sent to brent.nelson[at]usask.ca by
10 January 2009. Complete essays of 5,000-6,000 words in length will
be due on 1 May 2009.
Very exciting news – the complete dataset of the Archimedes Palimpsest project (ten years in the making) has been released today. The official announcement is copied below, but I’d like to point out what I think it is that makes this project so special. It isn’t the object – the manuscript – or the content – although I’m sure the previously unknown texts are quite exciting for scholars. It isn’t even the technology, which includes multispectral imaging used to separate out the palimpsest from the overlying text and the XML transcriptions mapped to those images (although that’s a subject close to my heart).
What’s special about this project is its total dedication to open access principles, and an implied trust in the way it is being released that open access will work. There is no user interface. Instead, all project data is being released under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution license. Under this license, anyone can take this data and do whatever they want to with it (even sell it), as long as they attribute it to the Archimedes Palimpsest project. The thinking behind this is that, by making the complete project data available, others will step up and build interfaces… create searches… make visualizations… do all kinds of cool stuff with the data that the developers might not even consider.
To be fair, this isn’t the only project I know of that is operating like this; the complete high-resolution photographs and accompanying metadata for manuscripts digitized through the Homer Multitext project are available freely, as the other project data will be when it’s completed, although the HMT as far as I know will also have its own user interface. There may be others as well. But I’m impressed that the project developers are releasing just the data, and trusting that scholars and others will create user environments of their own.
The Stoa was founded on principles of open access. It’s validating to see a high-visibility project such as the Archimedes Palimpsest take those principles seriously.
Ten years ago today, a private American collector purchased the Archimedes Palimpsest. Since that time he has guided and funded the project to conserve, image, and study the manuscript. After ten years of work, involving the expertise and goodwill of an extraordinary number of people working around the world, the Archimedes Palimpsest Project has released its data. It is a historic dataset, revealing new texts from the ancient world. It is an integrated product, weaving registered images in many wavebands of light with XML transcriptions of the Archimedes and Hyperides texts that are spatially mapped to those images. It has pushed boundaries for the imaging of documents, and relied almost exclusively on current international standards. We hope that this dataset will be a persistent digital resource for the decades to come. We also hope it will be helpful as an example for others who are conducting similar work. It published under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution license, to ensure ease of access and the potential for widespread use. A complete facsimile of the revealed palimpsested texts is available on Googlebooks as “The Archimedes Palimpsest”. It is hoped that this is the first of many uses to which the data will be put.
For information on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, please visit: www.archimedespalimpsest.org
For the dataset, please visit: www.archimedespalimpsest.net
We have set up a discussion forum on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project. Any member can invite anybody else to join. If you want to become a member, please email:
I would be grateful if you would circulate this to your friends and colleagues.
Thank you very much
The Walters Art Museum
October 29th, 2008.
Charlotte Roueché pointed me to this transcript of a piece from ABC Radio’s Perspective slot: ‘Our Biblioclastic Century‘. The author, Robin Derricourt, an academic publisher with a background in archaeology and history, makes some well-observed points about online publication and the need for sustainability of publication and citation if we are to retain the intellectual and academic output of our culture. With none of this can I disagree. However, he then ends this short, pithy piece with the somewhat knee-jerk conclusion:
I know that my grandchildren will be able to go into a library and read an article by Einstein, a book by Newton, or a manuscript by Captain James Cook, and those by their minor contemporaries. I do not know that they will be able to access the reports, documents and articles that I can read today only on some present day institution’s website. In fact I can be pretty sure most of this will not survive.
And when our own civilisation finally ends, as each civilisation does, where will be the repository that maintains what we now have as knowledge, perhaps even through some future dark ages, for later societies to inherit? They will still have Aristotle, or Darwin, but they may not have the 21st century equivalents to read.
It is important to recognise that this is the well-thought out fear of an informed and intelligent person, and that those of us working for digital sustainability therefore need to communicate our aims and achievements more widely. I cannot help, however, but point out a logical fallacy in this argument: Derricourt assumes the existence of the physical library full of books (as well he might, the library is an institution that will not go away any time soon). But the library has not always existed, and it was by no means automatic or self-evident that the library would come into existence.
If these cultural and academic institutions had not come into being at several points in history (often associated with the courts of kings or religious communities), then books would be in no better shape that websites are now (or rather websites in the world that still exists in Derricourt’s imagination, which was the world of the early Web of the 1990s). Individual copies would have circulated in private collection, some would occasionally have been copied, but not on the scale and with the rigour that we saw in Mediaeval monasteries, for example. The idea of the repository that holds a copy of everything published in a certain domain, whatever its perceived worth, would not exist. A private collection or library could easily be burned or thrown into the trash at the end of its owner’s life, or when moving residence (and not all trash-heaps are as future-friendly as the sand at Oxyrhynchus). The library changed all this, and thanks to the libraries and scriptoria, and later printing houses and repositories, copies were made and works were preserved in multiple places, on durable materials, and with rigorous standards.
On the Web, some might say, we do not have libraries to do this job for us, and so when one private collection (a privately registered web domain, say) disappears due to its owner moving residence or losing interest or failing to keep up payments on the domain registration or service provision, all will be lost. Irrevocably and permanently. (No great loss, others would argue.) However this is not true. There are libraries in the online world. There are digital archives and repositories; the Internet Archive and various search engine caches (among other entities) may be able to recover the lost website from 1998 that Derricourt mourns. Digital libraries set out to make multiple, well-archived, backed-up copies, in open standards and formats and registered with Digital Object Identifiers, of all works in their purview. In short, there are libraries on the web. And it is not therefore true that, as Derricourt argues:
Let’s be realistic – all [sc. online content] will disappear, because no web site is permanent. Only a physical library can maintain and transmit to future generations our heritage of ideas, knowledge, discovery, speculation, literature. I can more easily find an 1898 print article than a 1998 document published on the Web.
In fact, as the world becomes more connected and the Internet becomes the source and the repository for more and more of our information, libraries are going to come under increasing pressure to cut back their accessions, to digitize and archive (or even destroy) their paper collections, and to become custodians of digital rather than physical artefacts. (Don’t get me wrong: I will be in the front line of the fight to defend libraries against this offensive, but the pressure will be there.) It is by no means automatic that physical libraries will always be the best source of cultural and literary preservation in our grandchildren’s time. If no one has bothered to digitize even a 2008 print article, then the 1998 website will be easier to find in one hundred years time. I don’t fear for websites. I fear for paper archives that no one is digitizing.
Posted on behalf of Greg Crane. Link to the Treebank, which provides more information, at the very end of the post.
We are currently looking for advanced students of Greek and Latin to contribute syntactic analyses (via a web-based system) to our existing Latin Treebank (described below) and our emerging Greek Treebank as well (for which we have just received funding). We particularly encourage students at various levels to design research projects around this new tool. We are looking in particular for the following:
- Get paid to read Greek! We can have a limited number of research assistantships for advanced students of the languages who can work for the project from their home institutions. We particularly encourage students who can use the analyses that they produce to support research projects of their own.
- We also encourage classes of Greek and Latin to contribute as well. Creating the syntactic analyses provides a new way to address the traditional task of parsing Greek and Latin. Your class work can then contribute to a foundational new resource for the study of Greek and Latin – both courses as a whole and individual contributors are acknowledged in the published data.
- Students and faculty interested in conducting their own original research based on treebank data will have the option to submit their work for editorial review to have it published as part of the emerging Scaife Digital Library.
The Institute for Classical Studies and Digital Classicist Summer seminar series is about half-way through, and the first several audio recordings of the proceedings are now available as part of the Digital Classicist podcast. You can find a list of all seminars in this series, along with links for those that have audio and/or presentations uploaded, at:
Or you can subscribe to the podcast feed itself by pointing your RSS aggregator, iTunes subscription, aut sim., at:
We should welcome ideas for further events to add to this podcast series, and/or partnerships to podcast the results of seminar series of interest to Digital Classicists in the future.