Archive for August, 2004

AWMC gets a face-lift

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Tom Elliott over at the Ancient World Mapping Center announces a redesign of the site. Crisp and clean.

new Nashville Parthenon pics, et cet.

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Ten days after it was begun, the Stoa Image Gallery at www.stoa.org offers 1023 publicly available images in 5 top-level albums (49 albums total).

Coverage includes:

Nashville Parthenon (83 new images)

Greece (Athens, Piraeus, sites on Crete and in the Cyclades)

Italy (Rome, Paestum, Anzio, Herculaneum, Pompeii)

England  (Chesters, Vindolanda, Bignor, Lullingstone, Rockbourne,
Silchester, Reading Museum, Littlecote, Dover, Pevensey, Chadworth,
Bath)

Tunisia (Carthage, Bardo Museum, Sousse Museum, Dougga, Thuburbo Majus, El Jem)

Turkey (Istanbul, Troy, Ephesus, Hierapolis, Miletos, Didyma,
Pergamum, Antakaya)

An early adopter!

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

There are over 130 digital photographs in Stephen Arnold’s new album on the Stoa Image Gallery, including a great many North African mosaics. And he’s got a lot more on the way. Stephen’s image of the Vergil Mosiac in the Bardo Museum is the best I’ve seen online; you can click on this picture for a larger size:

Vergil at the Bardo

APA and Electronic Publication

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

APA Vice President Barbara McManus sends along some thoughts on the current state of affairs at the APA regarding electronic publication.

Although the American Philological Association was a very early leader in the publication of “machine-readable” texts and has supported the development of electronic editions of a number of research tools in Classics, the association has not really addressed the issue of electronic publication of scholarship in the field. In fact, the long-standing APA Committee on Non-Print Publications has languished in a state of suspended animation for the last several years–still on the books, but with no members and no mandate. I was therefore very pleased to see how many candidates in the upcoming election of APA officers and committee members brought up this issue in their statements (9 candidates for 6 different positions); one even referred readers to the online papers of the panel on Electronic Publication and the Classics Profession that Ross Scaife and I organized for the 2004 APA convention. This is a positive sign that e-publication will attain more prominence on the association’s agenda and, I think, a tribute to grass-roots pressure from classicists and others in humanities disciplines. One of my last actions as Vice-President for Professional Matters will be to propose formation of a subcommittee with members from several APA divisions to actively address the issue.

I was somewhat troubled by one element in several of the candidates’ statements, reflecting the opinion that electronic editions of research tools have made access “democratic” or “available to all.” People at large research universities tend to forget that subscription-only services like the online edition of L’Année philologique or Project Muse are not available to scholars at the hundreds of smaller institutions that cannot afford such specialized services. When e-publication does get on the APA agenda, it is crucial that Open Access has a prominent place in the discussion, and I hope that continued grass-roots pressure from classicists will ensure that this does happen.

Barbara F. McManus

It’s wonderful to see Barbara supporting OA so forthrightly. Alas, the APA (and a fortiori CAMWS) still appear to me to be some distance away from coming to terms with this topic effectively. Nonetheless, it seems likely that the field of Classics is eventually subject to the same trends and phenomena as affect modern society generally: the internet ultimately routes around and thereby makes obsolete organizations and institutions (including much of the creaky apparatus of traditional 19th and 20th c. academic publication) that don’t always adequately serve people’s needs for information and communication. It’s just not a completely linear process (or easy).

Stoa Image Gallery

Friday, August 20th, 2004

Today we announce availability of the new Stoa Image Gallery, an Open Access repository for digital images and video related to Classics, Classical Archaeology, and the classical tradition. We have implemented this project on a dedicated server running Gallery image-management software, at http://www.stoa.org/. For much more information about the nature of this new site, please see its introductory page. Note that the Gallery includes an RSS feed (though I’m not sure it’s working very well yet). Anyone with Classics-related images to archive and publish is welcome to an account on www.stoa.org — don’t be shy!

“Blogging is for everyone.”

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

UBIQUITY: So should everybody in the world have his or her own blog?

ITO: A lot of it has to do with what the definition of a blog is, but to generalize what a blog is, you might think of it as a content management system for micro content and standardized syndication, filtering format and notification format. That includes everything from how to post pictures from PhotoShop, to Alzheimer’s patients talking to their families, to all kinds of things. If everyone is interested in sharing content with others, I think that everyone will end up, in some way, becoming a blogger, and part of what could be called the consumer publishing movement. A lot of it has to do with the fact that our computers and our phones are becoming so much more powerful that you can create and edit content, and you can post it and share it.

UBIQUITY: So it’s not just for pundits.

ITO: No. The people who are leading the way are people who like to have opinions and share opinions, and talk. But at the end of the day I think that everyone has something to say. Blogging is for everyone.

Open Audiobooks Project

Monday, August 16th, 2004

Ryan Gabbard has recently begun a new and interesting collaborative project:

The goal of the Open Audiobooks Project is for volunteers to work together to create audio books of public domain texts for people to freely download, distribute, and modify. While the results will probably not be a match for books read by professional readers, we hope they will nonetheless be enjoyable and useful.

The inspiration for this project was when a bunch of bloggers got together and made an audio book of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture in just a few days by having different people record different chapters.

…Our pilot project is to create an audiobook for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, since most people like it and it is divided into small chapters convenient for reading.

Online Research Centers

Friday, August 13th, 2004

From the CHE:

A glance at the July issue of The Americas: The scholar’s role in building online-resource collections

Scholars should embrace the chance to work with archivists to build online research centers, which can provide “resources that would be impossible or extremely expensive to assemble and make universally accessible by any other means,” says Rolena Adorno, a professor of Spanish at Yale University.

Ms. Adorno helped prepare a digital facsimile edition of an important manuscript from the early 1600s, El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, by the Andean native Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, as part of a project by the Royal Library of Denmark’s rare-books department to make its most precious documents available electronically.

The scholar’s role in such a project is essential, Ms. Adorno says, if the result is to be useful to other scholars. In compiling a list of the nearly 400 illustrations in Guaman Poma’s manuscript, for instance, a technician could have transcribed a list of titles and captions, but only a scholar familiar with the work could provide a descriptive menu to help other scholars more quickly identify illustrations tied to particular themes.

Electronic-resource collections can give unprecedented access to texts, she says, not only by making available documents that are rare and fragile, but by allowing scholars to reorganize texts and put them in context with related materials that are also available in digital form.

Such online collections will not replace traditional books and libraries, she says, but will enhance their usefulness. Digital resources, she writes, “can be as effective in advancing historical scholarship as the efforts of scholars, librarians, technicians, and institutions are prepared and willing to make them.”

The article, “The Archive and the Internet,” is available to subscribers of Project Muse. Information about the journal is available at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/the_americas/

–Kellie Bartlett