Archive for August, 2005


Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

From Mark Goodacre’s blog, notice of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing, led by Peter Robinson and David Parker. Interesting web site, with descriptions of several meaty-sounding projects.


Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

John Langford and Martin Pool have a worthwhile post on the Machine Learning (Theory) blog on “(Dis)similarities between academia and open source programmers.” (Hat tip Peter Suber.)

Virtual Agora from FHW

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

(Yahoo press release; seen on Rogueclassicism)

Late next year, Foundation of the Hellenic World’s ( innovative cultural center/museum, Hellenic Cosmos, will feature an immersive virtual tour of Agora, the heart of ancient Athens. For the development of this stunning virtual reality (VR) presentation in advance of the 2006 opening of a state-of-the-art immersive 128-seat domed theater, the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW), a not-for-profit cultural institution in Athens, Greece, selected visualization technology from Silicon Graphics (NYSE: SGI – News). FHW will use the SGI® system to add more animations and much more realistic graphics to the Agora presentation than its previous VR datasets. The final implementation solution will be decided at a later date.

(Full story)

BMCR on two digital dictionaries

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

The Bryn Mawr Classical Review has posted a review by Gerald Verbrugghe (Rutgers University) on two digital dictionaries:

Libronix Digital Library System, H.G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (rev. H.S. Jones and R. McKenzie, rev. supp. by P.G.W. Glare) Oxford 1996. Bellingham: Logos Bible Software, 2003.
$145.00. (link)

Wilhelm Pape, Electronic Edition of Griechisch-Deutsch: Handwo+rterbuch der griechischen Sprache, 3te Auflage (1914). Berlin: Digitale Bibliothek, 2005. ISBN 3-89853-517-7. EUR 45.00.

While overall positive, Verbrugghe points out some problematic issues (e.g. incorrect reproduction of lemmata in LSJ). He also offers some interesting comparisons between print and digital as well as between online and CD ROM versions.

Atlas of Europe

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

The Atlas of Europe website now includes several interactive physical maps; for example the clickable map showing European rivers (, and mountain ranges ( Some nice effects.

(Euratlas also features maps of Ancient Rome, historical atlases, and other resources. And as far as I can see, it’s all free.)

BMCR review of Jacoby CD Rom

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. CD-Rom Edition. Leiden: Brill, 2004. ISBN 90-04-14137-5. €1,500.00.

Reviewed by John Marincola, The Florida State University (

The review includes some good comments on the limitations of such an edition which is not a whole lot more than a page-based scan of the printed volumes (and incredibly expensive…), without denying that the indices and search facility make it invaluable to the historian.


Monday, August 22nd, 2005

The Stoa now mirrors the Digital Incunabula site from the Center for Hellenic Studies.

Academic Commons

Thursday, August 18th, 2005

The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College has launched Academic Commons, “a forum for investigating and defining the role that technology can play in liberal arts education”. The site offers essays, reviews, and interviews, as well as reports on innovatively used technology in research and teaching. Its aim is to foster an open community that shares and collaborates in the design and development of digital tools. Publishing its contributions in editions (the latest edition is for August 2005), it also offers a newsletter to which members can subscribe.

(seen at Humanist)

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship program

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

With great pleasure we accede to Saul Fisher’s request for posting of the following announcement from ACLS:


The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to announce its new Digital Innovation Fellowship program, in support of digitally based research projects in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. These fellowships, created with the generous help of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are intended to support an academic year dedicated to work on a major scholarly project of a digital character that advances humanistic studies and best exemplifies the integration of such research with use of computing, networking, and other information technology-based tools. The online application for the fellowship program is located at; applications must be completed by November 10, 2005 (decisions to be announced in late March 2006).

This is the first national fellowship program to recognize and reward humanistic scholarship in the digital sphere, and to help establish standards for judging the quality, innovation, and utility of such research. Many scholars have been working in the humanities for years with such tools as digital research archives, new media representations of extant data, and innovative databases-and now the ACLS sees an important opportunity to start identifying and providing incentive for distinctive work, on a national basis. (more…)

Okus — reading environment for Classical Greek texts

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

from the mailbag this morning:

Dear Member of Classics Department or Classical Organization:

As the academic year approaches, I am writing to inform you about a new computer application, Okus, that is available for studying ancient Greek texts. Okus incorporates new methods for reading ancient Greek, including color-coordination of words based on tense or case and fast morphology parsing / dictionary-entry retrieval.

A demonstration version of this program is available for download at At this time Okus is only available on Microsoft Windows (XP and 2000).

Questions or comments will be welcomed. Thank you very much for your time.


Projects 225

I’m not sure what to make of this line on the Projects 225 website: “due to the text operations this program is written in C++ for the windows OS.”

Latin inscriptions from Wales

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

This website, by Karel Jongeling (University of Leiden), aims to list the Latin epigraphic evidence surviving in Wales. The Latin inscriptions may be searched in a variety of ways, and are partly furnished with translations, drawings and photographs. Search options include searches by modern place-name and by number in R. A. S. MacDonald’s ‘Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum’, vols 1-2 (Dublin, 1945-9) or in V. E. Nash-Williams’ ‘The Early Christian Monuments in Wales’ (Cardiff, 1950). The inscriptions may also be listed by pre-1974 districts and by counties. The site also provides a bibliography. At the time of writing, this site was still under construction.


(seen at Humbul)

Digital Classicist blog on Stoa

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

This is probably self-evident by now, but I should like to announce that the Digital Classicist blog, formerly on eBlogger, has moved and merged with the Stoa blog. We intend to publish more news items on this site regarding events, projects, tools, publications, and job advertisements of interest to Classicists. (Much of the same as what Ross has been doing all of this time, just more of us now!)

To learn more about the Digital Classicist’s charter and agenda, or to get involved, please visit:

Dumezil Online (in DJVu)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

(Seen on Rogueclassicism)

AM over at Sauvage Noble points us to the existence of an amazing (potentially) site dedicated to the work of Georges Dumezil. Most (if not all) of GD’s scholarly papers are available online in DJVu format …

In addition to DM’s rant about the piecemeal way things like this are ‘published’, I wonder how much use to anyone this stuff really is in DJVu? The articles all seem to be bitmapped with no OCR, so not searchable, citeable, or repurposeable. Is this really any more ‘electronic publication’ than my making a bunch of photocopies and handing them out would be? (OK, exposure to a large audience is not negligible, of course. But still.)

Inaugural International Colloquium on Digital Heritage and Preservation 2005

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

University of Abertay Dundee
Thursday 10th November 2005

Colloquium announcement and call for papers

In November, the University of Abertay Dundee in conjunction with the Patrick Allan-Fraser of Hospitalfield Trust will host the Inaugural International Colloquium on Digital Heritage and Preservation in its newly-opened Cultural Centre.

The colloquium will run alongside an International Exhibition of Digital Heritage and Preservation, featuring exhibits from, amongst others, the Universities of Stanford and Venice. The event will provide stimulating presentations from a broad range of cultural sectors and will give delegates the opportunity to hear presentations from five leading figures in the field.

Call for Papers

Deadline for proposals: 31st August 2005

The colloquium committee invites proposals for papers on any area of digital heritage or preservation, and from all cultural sectors: museums, libraries, archives, archaeological monuments and sites, live performances, exhibitions and of course, the World Wide Web.

In particular we welcome proposals that seek to comment on applications of digital technology to the protection of heritage resources (including the virtual recreation of lost resources), or which apply cross-disciplinary thinking to heritage and preservation. Possible topics for consideration include, but are not restricted to:

Digitising cultural heritage
Augmented reality
Digital libraries and digital documents
Virtual architecture and construction
Applications of music technology to heritage preservation
3D modelling and animation
Digital photography
Web and audiovisual archiving
Haptic interfaces and blurring the real-virtual boundary
Displaying virtual and intangible exhibits
Digital technology and curatorship
Working models and case studies
Interdisciplinary perspectives

Individual presentations should be no more than twenty minutes in duration. Proposals should take the form of a title followed by an abstract of not more than 250 words. Deadline for submission is 31st August 2005. Decisions will be notified in early September 2005. Finished papers for inclusion in the on-line proceedings should be 3000-4000 words in length and should be received by 15th October 2005.

Proposals should be sent to:
Dr. Kenny McAlpine
University of Abertay Dundee
Kydd Building, Bell Street, Dundee, DD1 1HG, UK
Tel. +44 (0)1382 308600
Fax: +44 (0)1382 308627

Computers learn a new language

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

This story has implications for speech synthesis and language analysis. It would be great to see this applied to Latin or Greek via a corpus like the TLG.

(From New Scientist)

Computers learn a new language

• 06 August 2005

COMPUTER scientists have developed a program that can teach itself new languages. Feed it a piece of text, in any language, and the program analyses its structure and can then produce new, meaningful sentences.

Conventional translation software programs have all the rules of grammar coded into them. But the ADIOS (automatic distillation of structure) program, developed by researchers at Cornell University in New York and Tel Aviv University in Israel, infers the building blocks of a language using statistical and algebraic processes. The software learns the grammar of a new language by searching text for patterns. The researchers think the program will be useful in cognitive science and bioinformatics, as well as in applications such as voice recognition.

From issue 2511 of New Scientist magazine, 06 August 2005, page 23

Postdoc in Humanities Computing

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

Call for Applicants: Post-Doctoral Researcher in Humanities Computing (Victoria, BC)

The University of Victoria’s Humanities Computing and Media Centre is looking for a suitably-qualified Post-Doctoral Researcher to join its work as part of the Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR) Project for the 2005/6 academic year.

Candidates interested in this position will bring established academic research questions in an area or areas of Humanities Computing to the position, will have demonstrated capability in implementing solutions to those questions using the technologies supported by TAPoR at UVic, and will be prepared to work in a cooperative, collaborative environment toward achieving goals common to the UVic TAPoR group. This position may also involve teaching and participating in curriculum development.

Examples of technologies supported by TAPoR at UVic are: XML, XSLT, and XSL encoding languages; TEI P4 and P5; XQuery; and eXist XML databases. In addition, UVic TAPoR project members frequently work with XHTML, JavaScript and CSS, and web-based SQL database projects using PostgresSQL and mySQL.

Salary for this position is competitive, and will be commensurate with experience.

Applications including a brief cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information for three referees, may be sent electronically to
Ray Siemens
Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing
UVic TAPoR Principle Investigator

Applications will be received and reviewed until the position is filled.

(Seen on Humanist)

Open Access Translation (The OAT Bible)

Monday, August 8th, 2005

Thanks to Peter Suber for calling attention to Peter Kirby, Open Access Translation (The OAT Bible), Christian Origins, August 7, 2005. Excerpt:

TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) are popular for Bible translations, so I’ve come up with one. The “Open Access Translation” (OAT) Bible. It would be the first Bible to be translated with a Creative Commons license. The question is–which license? The question is whether we would want the translator to be able to add this to her CV, in which case we would have to go with a “No Derivatives-By Attribution” license, or whether we would want people to be able to modify the Bible for their own purposes. For the Open Scrolls Project, J. Davila suggested that I go with the “No Derivatives-By Attribution” license, and I agreed to this. This way, all the changes to be made to the Bible could be suggested on a single website, where they could be reviewed by the general editor(s) and the editor(s) for the particular biblical book. The main contributors to each book’s translation would get credit and could know that their work would not be mangled. Nonetheless, the translation could be freely copied and printed at no charge if kept intact. In order to make such a translation, three things are necessary, or at least desirable –volunteer translators, open access translation software, and some funding (to pay the general editor? to pay a modicum to all active translators? to promote the project and the result? to legitimate the effort?). Active volunteer translators, and even moreso competent ones and excellent editors for quality control, will be the hardest to come by. Funding, therefore, could be a way to solve that problem. But who would do the funding? The easiest part would be open access translation software –because I would be happy to write it.

Searching unstructured data

Monday, August 8th, 2005

from InformationWeek:

IBM plans to make its enterprise search middleware, designed to facilitate searches of unstructured data, available as open-source code. It’s called Unstructured Information Management Architecture, and IBM says more than 15 knowledge-management companies intend to support it as a standard framework.

The company also is wedding the latest iteration of its WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition with UIMA. Its goal is to make enterprise search results more relevant and make it easier to apply third-party analytics software.

UIMA is a software infrastructure layer that supports the search and analysis of disorganized data. Unstructured data–E-mail messages, Word documents, and the like–isn’t easily classified, sorted, or searched.

The open-source move could let software partners add value to unstructured content with analytics applications, says Dana Gardner, principal analyst with consulting firm Interarbor Solutions.

Confusion at Princeton

Saturday, August 6th, 2005

With its DRM’d textbook program, Princeton University demonstrates how not to use educational technology.

Update: Plan now being duly savaged on Slashdot.

Zapping and mapping

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Cornell researchers developed a process called X-ray fluorescence imaging to recover faded text on stone by “zapping and mapping” the inscriptions.

The group built a machine that generates X-rays a million times more intense than what the doctor uses to image your bones. An X-ray beam is fired at a stone, scanning back and forth. Atoms on the stone’s surface emit lower-energy fluorescent X-rays, and different wavelength emissions reveal zinc, iron and other elements in the stone.

Historians know that iron chisels were commonly used to inscribe stone, and the letters were usually painted with pigments containing metal oxides and sulfides. So where letters and numbers are no longer visible to the eye, the newfound minerals trace their shapes.


Friday, August 5th, 2005

The Scout Report on ETANA (Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives):

A number of interesting digital projects have recently been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and the Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives (ETANA) is one such project. With the support and primary documents of a number of important institutions, such as the Society of Biblical Literature and Case Western Reserve University, the mission of ETANA is to “develop and maintain a comprehensive Internet site for the student of the ancient Near East.” While the project is still in development, the site’s creators have added numerous helpful resources so far to the archive, including the ETANA Core Texts. In this section, visitors can view digitized texts related to scholarship on the ancient Near East, such as James Breasted’s monumental work, “Ancient Records of Egypt”, along with 171 other key documents. Visitors will also want to take a look at ABZU, which is another database collection that contains items relevant to the study of the ancient Near East that are available online. [KMG]

Technical details here.

GRBS Articles Online

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Humbul have just logged the journal Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies online articles section:

This contains all sixteen GRBS articles from vol 44 (2004) plus one earlier article (David Jordan’s ‘New Curse Tablets’ from 2000). Articles are in PDF and are freely downloadable. It is not stated whether all articles will be added in this way in the future, at what intervals, or whether back issues will also appear, but it looks good so far.

Defining Ajax

Friday, August 5th, 2005

From Jesse James Garrett, “Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications” (February 18, 2005):

Ajax isn’t a technology. It’s really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:



Friday, August 5th, 2005

Wired on AJAX (“The name is shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, and it represents a fundamental shift in what’s possible on the Web.”):

Software experts say recent innovations in web design are ushering in a new era for internet-based software applications, some of the best of which already rival desktop applications in power and efficiency. That’s giving software developers a wide open platform for creating new programs that have no relation to the underlying operating system that runs a PC.

Evidence of this evolution has been popping up everywhere in recent months, with examples that include Google’s online map rendering software and its Gmail service, Amazon’s A9 search engine and NetFlix’s DVD rental platform. All highlight a dramatic rethinking of web applications, using a programming technique dubbed AJAX (for asynchronous JavaScript and XML) that significantly improves how web pages interact with data, for the first time rivaling programs that run natively on the desktop.

“For a user it is fundamentally different — it feels like a real application,” said Rael Dornfest, chief technology officer for O’Reilly Media.

AJAX overcomes a severe limitation in traditional web interfaces, which must reload anytime they try to call up new data. By contrast, AJAX lets users manipulate data without clicking through to a new page, Dornfest said. That’s putting an end to page refreshes and other interruptions that have handicapped wweb-based applications until now.

Web developers are creating AJAX code libraries and conventions to ease the burden of making applications that speak several computer languages… “This is going to go a long way towards eliminating the user interface insults and injuries we have suffered since we moved to the web,” O’Reilly’s Dornfest said. “Now people these days expect it to be flat so they might be a little surprised (by AJAX applications). But the rest of us see AJAX and say ‘Ahh, this is what it is supposed to be like.'”

Just do it

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Marc Goodacre makes a useful point about funding for open-access biblical studies:

If the essential proposal is: how can we get a big project financed?, then there is still a large part of me that just sighs. I have felt for some time that the key to the development of exciting on-line projects in our area is the voluntary efforts of people like us. The funding comes, if you like, from two places: (1) the educational institutions that employ us and which are committed to the dissemination of our scholarship not only within their walls but also outside of them, so that our salaries here are the funding, and the time we allocate is our decision about commitment to such an important goal; (2) the self-funding provided by the gifted and enthusiastic amateurs who make such a major contribution in this area by devoting their own time.