Archive for November, 2004

The Digital Encyclopedia blog gets “Suber’d”

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Says Chris Blackall of the welcome new blog Digital Encyclopedia (about pay-for-view and open-access digital encyclopedias):


* Definition: To be blogged in Peter Suber’s Open Access News; the open access equivalent of being slashdotted, that is, mentioned in
* Usage: “Heavens, I’ve been Suber’d!”

I’ve only had this blog going for day or so and Peter Suber has already spotted it. The man has mystical powers for finding stuff.

Another eagle-eyed reader picked up a silly error I made in one of my first posts. And I just thought I was having a conversation with myself.

The Web is an amazing place—really.

new from Edward Ayers: The Academic Culture and the IT Culture

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

The Academic Culture and the IT Culture: Their Effect on Teaching and Scholarship

A year ago, my colleague Charles Grisham and I wrote an EDUCAUSE Review article entitled “Why IT Has Not Paid Off As We Hoped (Yet).” In short, we argued that information technology has not yet transformed higher education because the areas of teaching and scholarship, the “heart” of colleges and universities, have remained relatively untouched by the new technologies. In this article, I’d like to continue the discussion and also go further, exploring not only why these two areas continue to be, for the most part, resistant to the changes but also how technology can successfully address these core missions of higher education.

Inscriptions from the land of Israel

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

I am writing to announce a new web site, “Inscriptions from the Land of Israel.” The primary goal of this site is to create a searchable database of inscriptions, along with their contextual information (e.g., images and geographical data), of published inscriptions that are roughly within the geographical boundaries of the modern State of Israel and that date from between 500 BCE – 640 CE. The database can be searched according to a broad range of criteria, and the text of the inscriptions can be searched in both the original language (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic) and English translation. The site also includes bibliographies and research and teaching resources connected to these inscriptions.

Presently in the database are only some inscriptions from Caeserea and Hammat Gader (none in Hebrew). It will be regularly updated.

The site can be found at:

Your comments are welcome and can be sent to

a new TEI publishing infrastructure

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Here’s an e-mail to the TEI-L list from Eric Lease Morgan of Notre Dame:

In my copious spare time, I wrote a set of object oriented Perl scripts to manage TEI files — my TEI publisher:

The system is really a relational database application with a Web front-end. There are tables for authors, subjects, TEI templates, XSL stylesheets, and texts. I use these tables to manage authority lists, controlled vocabulary terms, TEI skeletons, transformation files, the various TEI meta data, and of course the content of my writings such as articles, conference presentations, software, and travel logs.

Once data entry for a particular work has been done, I use the system to build the work, save it to the file system, and then transform the work into something readable for the Web. The underlying CSS files make the collection easily navigable as well as nicely printable. I also take advantage of an indexer (swish-e) to enable robust searching. Because everything is in a database, it is easy to create reports against the content. I create on-the-fly reports for subject lists, title indexes, lists of texts by date, as well as sets of static OAI files for harvesting. Here is the process I used to create a work:

  1. Have an idea.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Mark it up in TEI.
  4. Assign subject terms
  5. Make sure they are in the database.
  6. Add the TEI to the database — do data entry.
  7. Build the file.
  8. Check it for validity.
  9. Transform it into XHTML.
  10. Check it for validity.
  11. Index the entire corpus.
  12. Create OAI reports.
  13. Go to Step #1.

The system is NOT a TEI/XML editor. I use my text editor (BBEdit plus a locally created “glossary”) to mark up the body of my TEI files. Everything is placed into fields of XHTML forms and thus into fields of the database. The system took me about three weeks of very hard and very concentrated work to create, but now I can pump out a rich, consistently formatted, valid TEI and XHTML file in about thirty minutes or less.

Through the process of creating the publisher I had to decide what TEI elements to incorporate and to what degree. I believe one of the challenges of using TEI is deciding on these issues. All of my TEI files are available directly from each page.

Google Scholar

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

UPDATE: Here’s a valuable overview and critique of this new service.

from Peter Suber’s indispensable Open Access News blog:

Tomorrow Google will launch the beta version of Google Scholar, although it is online today for use. From the press release: ‘[W]e are excited to announce Google Scholar, a free search service that helps users find scholarly literature such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts, and technical reports. This service will be available tomorrow morning….Like Google Web Search, Google Scholar orders search results by relevancy to ensure the most useful references appear at the top of the page. This ranking takes into account the full text of each article as well as the article’s author, the publication in which the article appeared, and how often it has been cited in scholarly literature….Whenever possible, Google searches across the full text of a paper, not just the abstract….Google Scholar offers relevant results for a wide range of scholarly materials including research that isn’t yet online. For instance much of Einstein’s work isn’t online, but it is heavily cited by other researchers. Google Scholar leverages these citations to make users aware of important papers or books that are not online, yet may be available in their local library.’

(PS: This is an important development. It will make OA literature even more visible and retrievable than it already is. It will give authors new incentives to make their work OA. It will help readers find what they need. Because it indexes work that is not online, even non-OA publishers will have an incentive to participate, making it more and comprehensive and useful. When you run a search, Google Search labels each hit by the number of citations it has, presumably from other works in the index. It also lets you click through to a new page showing just those citing works. Authors and publishers: see the FAQ for instructions on how to make sure that your work is included.)

Two new collections in the Stoa Image Gallery

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

The Ancient World Mappping Center has begun to archive its collection of digital images on, at And Mark Lehman has begun The Ruth and Louise McCollum Memorial Collection of Ancient Coins at

Science Commons

Monday, November 15th, 2004

Neel Smith just alerted me to Science Commons, a new project of Creative Commons set to launch on January 1, 2005:

The mission of Science Commons is to encourage scientific innovation by making it easier for scientists, universities, and industries to use literature, data, and other scientific intellectual property and to share their knowledge with others. Science Commons works within current copyright and patent law to promote legal and technical mechanisms that remove barriers to sharing.

Firefox 1.0 and live feeds

Friday, November 12th, 2004

The Scout Report today notes that Firefox is now out of beta, below, but they miss what I like the most about it: the ability to set up RSS feeds as live bookmarks right in your toolbar. Great feature for the information-addicted!

New Web browsers are released all the time, but Mozilla’s Firefox is one that is worth taking a closer look at. Firefox’s features include a built in pop-up blocker, a tab-browsing mode that allows users to open several pages in a single window, and integrated Google searching. This latest edition of Firefox includes enhanced security, a redesigned toolbar, and improved compatibility with Internet Explorer.

The Messina Event

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Sounds like a new blockbuster movie, but it’s a report from the BOAI-forum newsletter:

On November 4th-5th 2004 a very successful Open Access event was held in Italy: thirty-two institutions (31 Italian Universities and 1 research centre) gathered in Messina, Sicily, to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, during the first national workshop on Open Access in Italian Universities, promoted by CRUI (the Council of Rectors of Italian Universities):

On the web site there are several materials about the event: the “Messina Declaration”, the list of signatories, a press release (very soon also in English), the list of participants (over 250, mainly university professors, librarians and IT people). Last but not least, OA presentations (some in English). A national committee worked to achieve this: Benedetta Alosi and Nunzio Femmino’ (and their staff at the University of Messina), Paolo Bellini (Trento), Valentina Comba (Bologna), Patrizia Cotoneschi (Firenze), Antonella De Robbio (Padova), Paola Gargiulo (CASPUR), Ezio Tarantino (Rome), with me (CILEA). Thanks to OSI and SPARC Europe to have supported the event through the participation of Fred Friend, Jean-Claude Guedon and David Prosser.

The impressive amount of signatories (31 out of 77 Italian universities) will have a significant impact on the promotion of Open Access in Italy and probably also abroad. We are confident that the Rectors’ committment will involve our scholarly community. Now there is the necessary support to work at tools and strategies to make OA happen in our country.

Susanna Mornati
Project Leader AEPIC (Academic E-Publishing Infrastructures)
CILEA – Inter-Academic Consortium for ICT
Via R. Sanzio 4, I-20090 SEGRATE (MILANO) – ITALY
mobile +39 348 7090 226, office +39 02 2699 5322,

new aggregator: Web Watch

Monday, November 8th, 2004

The ever-resourceful Tom Elliott of the AWMC has put together his own new aggregator of various blogs that focus on Classsics and Classical Archaeology, called Web Watch. Explains Tom:

(1) It only sucks a feed when I tell it to, so even if you update, it won’t catch it until the next time I tell it to go check on you.

(2) Once it’s inhaled a feed and indexed the articles, it rates each article based on the occurrence of pre-defined keywords (mine). All new results are placed in a queue, sorted by rating, in order for me to review. I make a conscious decision about the relevance of each such article to our audience and set a “gloss-or-not-to-gloss” flag. Once I’m done reviewing, I punch a button and it spews out an XML file (containing a TEI div), which waits around for the next time I spin the website, at which time it gets picked up and incorporated.

Male Suicides in Classical Mythology

Monday, November 8th, 2004

Professor Elise Garrison has added an essay on male suicides to her study of ancient suicides in Diotima. Now her set of materials includes:

  1. Suicide in Classical Mythology: An Essay
  2. Suicidal Females in Greek and Roman Mythology: A Catalogue
  3. Suicidal Males in Greek and Roman Mythology: A Catalogue

Consumer Reports touts Macs …

Monday, November 8th, 2004


The December issue of Consumer Reports magazine features Apple’s new iMac G5 on the front cover along with the caption, “Unspectacular results for Intel’s new processor. Plus 59,940 reasons to reconsider Macs. “Inside the issue, Consumer Reports writes, ” In this atmosphere of low expectations, Apple Computer has actually raised its support satisfaction for desktop computers over the past three years to levels well above all competitors, while offering the most reliable desktop hardware. […] Another factor working in Apple’s favor: Macs are vulnerable to few viruses and little spyware because both target mostly Windows-based users. Symantec, maker of Norton AntiVirus, says approximately 60,000 viruses aim at Windows-based PCs, but about 60 target Macs.” Consumer Reports, arguably the most respected consumer ratings publication, recommends the new iMac G5 for “reliability and support.”


New version of (free) Cardo Unicode font

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

From David Perry:

A major update to Cardo, a Unicode font designed for scholars, is now available at Version .98 adds over 1400 new characters, including all the Greek characters proposed for Unicode by the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, variants of Greek letters for epigraphy and numismatics, and all the characters recommended by the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative. This version also supports glyph variants through OpenType features and provides other typographic refinements such as small capitals. Please pass the word to any colleagues who might be interested. Cardo works under Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Version .98 will be in beta testing until January 31, 2005, after which it will be replaced by version 1.0. Please send any corrections or suggestions to me by that date.

TEI-customization of Knoppix CD now ready

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

from Sebastian Rahtz:

The customization of Knoppix made for the recent TEI members meeting can now be downloaded from

This is an ISO CD image, which most burning software will understand. You need a 700 mbyte blank CD.

Usage: burn the CD, pop it in your Intel PC (sorry…) and reboot. It should come back up running Linux, with TEI-useful software and material all working.

History of Ideas

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

The Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, edited by Philip P. Wiener, was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, in 1973-74, and now it’s freely available on-line at The Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia Library. (It has been up for a while but I just noticed, thanks to the Classics in Contemporary Culture blog.)