Archive for March, 2005

David Perry’s Unicode survey

Monday, March 28th, 2005

I have put on my website a draft of a document that surveys the current “state of the art” in font and application software. If you want to know which programs support Unicode well and which ones offer support for advanced font technologies such as OpenType and AAT, you will find it helpful. There is also a section that explains exactly what these technologies do, for those who need that info. I prepared this document because much of the information is not easy to come by, certainly not in one place. All platforms (Mac, Unix, and Windows) are covered. It is written with the needs of scholars in mind. This is a work in progress, so please send me any corrections or additional information. I am particularly interested in finding out if there is any good Unicode-based concordance/wordlist software out there.

The impetus for writing this file came from a discussion on the email list of the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative. This is a small but very energetic group of medievalists who have worked to define what special characters they need and are now in the process of preparing proposals for Unicode. We classicists probably should get our act together in the same way! Of course the TLG did a lot of work for us with their Greek proposals, but there are still things missing. Gabriel Bodard has recently raised the issue of the denarius (to which I would add the sestertius–might as well do all the monetary units at once!).


CC search at Yahoo

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

Via Lawrence Lessig’s blog comes news of a beta search engine for CC content at Yahoo. Some Stoa CC content shows up (City of Athens, Demos) but not all (SOL, Erasmus), so I’ll have to look into that.

Much more here. Peter Suber is right, surely: “As copyright locks down more content more tightly, searchers will want reuse rights almost as much as relevance. Search engines that find both will have an advantage.”

Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Great news!

This is to announce the publication of Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity, revised second edition.

You will find details of how to cite the material on the Home page. You will also find a very full Help page, if you have problems – for example with the Greek.

The site is free, and stable: we have even given it an ISBN, so please encourage your library to catalogue it.

We look forward to your comments.

Charlotte Roueché

Two especially helpful and encouraging aspects of this extremely impressive site are the substantial Technical Preface explaining how things were done, and the fact that users can download the entire set of inscriptions marked up in TEI-Epidoc-conformant XML files. But the very best news of all, I think, is the strategy for intellectual property: “The academic content of this site is registered under the Creative Commons copyright licence: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0.” What does that mean?

This is thrilling stuff.

Electronic Textual Editing

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

The complete text of the forthcoming MLA volume, Electronic Textual Editing, funded by the Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Text Encoding Initiative and the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Scholarly Editions, is now freely available at The volume’s contents include:

A. Prefatory material

1. Foreword: G. Thomas Tanselle (Columbia University & John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation)
2. Editors’ introduction: Lou Burnard (Oxford University & Text Encoding Initiative); Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe (Notre Dame University & Committee on Scholarly Editions); John Unsworth (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign & Committee on Scholarly Editions & Text Encoding Initiative).

B. Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions

1. Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions: From the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Scholarly Editions
2. Guiding Questions for Vettors of Print and Electronic Editions : Committee on Scholarly Editions, Modern Language Association
3. Annotated Bibliography: Key Works in the Theory of Textual Editing: Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp, Belgium)

C. Principles

1. Principles: Burnard, O’Keeffe, Unsworth

D. Sources and Orientations

1. Critical Editing in a Digital Horizon: Dino Buzzetti (Universita di Bologna) and Jerome McGann (University of Virginia)
2. The Canterbury Tales and other Medieval Texts: Peter Robinson, De Montfort University
3. Documentary Editing: Bob Rosenberg (Edison Papers Project, Rutgers University)
4. The Poem and the Network: Editing Poetry Electronically: Neil Fraistat (University of Maryland) and Steven Jones (Loyola University, Chicago) (Romantic Circles)
5. Drama Case Study: The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson: David Gants (University of New Brunswick)
6. The Women Writers Project: A Digital Anthology: Julia Flanders (Women Writers Project, Brown University)
7. Authorial Translation: The Case of Samuel Beckett’s Stirrings Still / Soubresauts: Dirk Van Hulle, University of Antwerp, Belgium
8. Prose Fiction and Modern Manuscripts: Limitations and Possibilities of Text-Encoding for Electronic Editions: Edward Vanhoutte (Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie(Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies): Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, Belgium)
9. Philosophy Case Study: Claus Huitfeldt, Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen
10. Electronic religious texts: the Gospel of John: D.C. Parker (Centre for the Editing of Texts in Religion, University of Birmingham, UK)
11. Multimedia Body Plans: A Self-Assessment: Morris Eaves (University of Rochester)
12. Epigraphy: Anne Mahoney, Perseus Project & Stoa Consortium Tufts University

E. Practices and Procedures

1. Effective Methods of Producing Machine-Readable Text from Manuscript and Print Sources: Eileen Gifford Fenton (JSTOR) and Hoyt N. Duggan (University of Virginia)
2. Levels of transcription: M. J. Driscoll (University of Copenhagen)
3. Digital Facsimiles in Editing: Kevin Kiernan (Electronic Beowulf, University of Kentucky)
4. Authenticating electronic editions: Phill Berrie, Paul Eggert, Chris Tiffin, and Graham Barwell (Australian Scholarly Editions Centre, Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales; University of Queensland; University of Woollongong)
5. Document Management and File Naming: Greg Crane (Perseus Project, Tufts University)
6. Writing Systems and Character Representation: Christian Wittern (Kyoto University)
7. How and Why to Formalize your Markup: Patrick Durusau (Society of Biblical Literature and Emory University)
8. Storage, Retrieval, and Rendering: Sebastian Rahtz (Research Technologies Service, Oxford University)
9. When not to use TEI: John Lavagnino (King’s College, London)
10. Moving a Print-Based Editorial Project into Electronic Form: Hans-Walter Gabler (Institut fuer Englische Philologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen)
11. Rights and Permissions in an Electronic Edition: Mary Case (Office of Scholarly Communication, Association of Research Libraries) and David Green (National Initiative of Networked Cultural Heritage)
12. Collection and Preservation of an Electronic Edition: Marilyn Deegan (King’s College London)

Never again.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Professor Lessig takes the pledge. Good on him.


Monday, March 14th, 2005

On the Aegeanet list, Christos Galanis is asking insightful questions about the TLG. I’d be glad to know the answers, myself.


Thursday, March 10th, 2005

José M. Ciordia emailed today with word of Pompilo: Diario esporádico de un profesor de griego:

Hello, I am the author of a blog for teachers of Ancient Greek in Secondary Schools of Spain.

Its name is “Pompilo” and its adress:

Thanks for the Stoa pages.

It looks good, José — thank you.

e-pub accounting

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Thanks to Chuck Jones for an alert concerning a paper by Denise Nitterhouse, “Digital Production Strategies for Scholarly Publishers.” By “scholarly publishers” Nitterhouse means traditional university presses, and her paper is about strategies for avoiding their extinction. From the conclusion:

University presses and their scholarly book publishing programs must evolve in response to the many pressures they face, or the costs of supporting them will be viewed as prohibitive in an age when the academy is questioning many of their traditional practices.


Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Via Rogueclassicism, an interesting piece on the LIFEPLUS immersive reality technologies being applied to Pompeii.

We are, for the first time, able to run this combination of software processes to create walking, talking people with believable clothing, skin and hair in real-time.

The Open Access Bibliography

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Just received an alert from Charles Bailey regarding his monumental effort, available in book form or as a free PDF:

The Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals presents over 1,300 selected English-language books, conference papers (including some digital video presentations), debates, editorials, e-prints, journal and magazine articles, news articles, technical reports, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding the open access movement’s efforts to provide free access to and unfettered use of scholarly literature. Most sources have been published between 1999 and August 31, 2004; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1999 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet (approximately 78 percent of the bibliography’s references have such links).

This bibliography has been published as a printed book (ISBN 1-59407-670-7) by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

ARL and the author have made the above PDF version of the bibliography freely available. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

The Book Stops Here

Friday, March 4th, 2005

From an article in Wired on Wikipedia (hat tip to Peter Suber):

In the beginning, encyclopedias relied on the One Smart Guy model. In ancient Greece, Aristotle put pen to papyrus and single-handedly tried to record all the knowledge of his time. Four hundred years later, the Roman nobleman Pliny the Elder cranked out a 37-volume set of the day’s knowledge. The Chinese scholar Tu Yu wrote an encyclopedia in the ninth century. And in the 1700s, Diderot and a few pals (including Voltaire and Rousseau) took 29 years to create the Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers.

With the Industrial Revolution, the One Smart Guy approach gradually gave way to the One Best Way model, which borrowed the principles of scien­tific management and the lessons of assembly lines. Encyclopædia Britannica pioneered this approach in Scotland and honed it to perfection. Large groups of experts, each performing a task on a detailed work chart under the direction of a manager, produced encyclopedias of enormous breadth. Late in the 20th century, computers changed encyclopedias – and the Internet changed them more. Today, Britannica and World Book still sell some 130-pound, $1,100, multivolume sets, but they earn most of their money from Internet subscriptions. Yet while the medium has shifted from atoms to bits, the production model – and therefore the product itself – has remained the same.

Now Wales has brought forth a third model – call it One for All. Instead of one really smart guy, Wikipedia draws on thousands of fairly smart guys and gals – because in the metamathematics of encyclopedias, 500 Kvarans equals one Pliny the Elder.

Instead of clearly delineated lines of authority, Wikipedia depends on radical decentralization and self-organization – open source in its purest form. Most encyclopedias start to fossilize the moment they’re printed on a page. But add Wiki software and some helping hands and you get something self-repairing and almost alive. A different production model creates a product that’s fluid, fast, fixable, and free.

Scholarly Communications in a Digital World

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

Among the talks delivered for a recent convocation on Scholarly Communications in a Digital World at UNC there are several of interest:

  • Copyright Issues and Scholarly Communications, Laura N. Gasaway, Director, Law Library (“Perhaps those of us within academia are the enemy. Our own behavior in evaluating publication sources for faculty work often forces our colleagues to publish in a source that requires transfer of the entire copyright which hurts both the author and other faculty members and students who want to use the work. Faculty retention of the copyright benefits the individual author, other faculty, the institution and the research community.”
  • Open Access Is a Necessity to Preserve Knowledge and Make It Freely Available, Bradley Hemminger, School of Information and Library Science (“Faculty will need to have the courage to rebel from the existing monopolistic commercial publishers and to embrace, wholeheartedly, open access for all.”)
  • Valuing Non-Traditional Vehicles of Scholarship, Jeffrey Pomerantz, School of Information and Library Science, and Bob Blouin, School of Pharmacy (“As electronic and online forms of scholarly output come to take center stage in all aspects of scholarship, it is increasingly important for the university to be a favorable and nurturing environment for faculty who will be innovators in these areas. At the same time, it is increasingly important for faculty to innovate, to place high demands on the university for infrastructure to support non-traditional vehicles of scholarly output, and for recognition of the importance of this output.”)
  • Establishing the Academic Infrastructure for Scholarly Communication in the Humanities in a Digital World, Frank A. Dominguez, Department of Romance Languages (“Given limited time and funding, we will not be able to transfer all of the materials we need or want to use from manuscript or print to electronic format, nor will we be able to create all of the electronic reference tools, journals, and secondary publications that are becoming technologically feasible. We therefore need to engage humanities faculty at every level and in many disciplines in discussing these matters in order to set realistic priorities for the transition to the electronic universe. We must plan more deliberately… “)

(All freely available, of course, at the link.)