Archive for October, 2005

Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Perhaps it just snuck by me, but I have no recollection of an announcement of the availability online of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. It seems that all of the out-of -print volumes of the CVA (a couple of hundred volumes?!?) are browsable & searchable individually, as well as across the whole online corpus. While it is predictable that many will abhor the screen quality of the images, the corpus wide search facility makes it all worthwhile.


Monday, October 31st, 2005

Appearing to be mostly a set of screen shots, Archaeocommons seems nevertheless to be an interesting emerging entity. This organization is one of the ventúres of Eric Kansa, who has written an interesting paper on“Protecting Traditional Knowledge and Expanding Access to Scientific Data: Juxtaposing Intellectual Property Rights via a ‘some rights reserved’ Model.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Google vs. the World

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

From his piece “Books of Revelation” in The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2005, reproduced at googleblog:

…Imagine the cultural impact of putting tens of millions of previously inaccessible volumes into one vast index, every word of which is searchable by anyone, rich and poor, urban and rural, First World and Third, en toute langue — and all, of course, entirely for free. How many users will find, and then buy, books they never could have discovered any other way? How many out-of-print and backlist titles will find new and renewed sales life? How many future authors will make a living through their words solely because the Internet has made it so much easier for a scattered audience to find them? This egalitarianism of information dispersal is precisely what the Web is best at; precisely what leads to powerful new business models for the creative community; precisely what copyright law is ultimately intended to support; and, together with our partners, precisely what we hope, and expect, to accomplish with Google Print.

World Wide Greek

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Learning Ancient Greek is the interactive, online complement to Cecelia Luschnig’s An Introduction to Ancient Greek: A Literary Approach.

An Introduction to Ancient Greek: A Literary Approach is a traditional beginner’s text, written in a conversational tone, as though between equals of good will and common purpose. Based on a grammar/syntax/vocabulary/reading approach, it provides more support for learners than comparable Latin texts, like Wheelock’s Latin. This extra support is an important learning aid, because Greek is more difficult to learn than Latin, as Latin is much more closely related to many present-day languages. Dr. Luschnig states explicitly that the text is designed for people who already know they want to learn Ancient Greek. Her extensive notes are engaging, give fascinating insights into the Greek mind and culture, and enliven the learning experience for all students.

This website provides additional free support materials for An Introduction to Ancient Greek: A Literary Approach. These materials reinforce the lessons and improve oral and aural competency. They include study guides and audio labs, both with answer keys.

Learning Ancient Greek also contains a free mini-course in Ancient Greek called “Greek Without Pain”.

Forum for Classics, Libraries, and Scholarly Communication

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Forum for Classics, Libraries, and Scholarly Communication

“…The purpose of this organization shall be to unite all persons interested in the intersection between classical studies, libraries, and scholarly communication, in order to promote timely exchange of information and ideas and collaboration in activities of mutual concern. These include but are not limited to: user instruction, collection building, preservation, and electronic publishing. In particular, the Forum shall aim to support relevant initiatives of the American Philological Association (APA) by working closely with its officers and committees. To this end, the Forum shall maintain status as an affiliated group of the APA…”.

Its second annual meeting will take place at the APA conference in Montreal, Canada, on 7 January 2006 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. in room 513A of the Palais des Congrès.

I wasn’t at the initial meeting last year, in fact I only found out about the organization this morning. I will be at the meeting in Montreal.

Kevin Drum on Google vs. the World

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

If it were up to me, I’d vote with the public interest. I sometimes feel that if the increasingly expansive view of copyright asserted today had been around a couple of centuries ago, the Supreme Court would have ruled that lending libraries were illegal. But just as circulating libraries have a social value that far outweighs the minimal intrusion they produce in an author’s ability to control the distribution of her work, the same is true of Google’s project. The technology has changed, but the principle is the same.

At the same time, it’s too bad this has to be decided by the courts. It’s really a job for Congress, after all. Unfortunately, both Republicans and Democrats appear to be so thoroughly bought and paid for by the content industry that it’s pretty much inconceivable they’d do the right thing if it were brought to a vote. So it’s off to court we go, with the hope that existing law will be enough. I hope Google wins.


Digital Humanities Quarterly

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Call for Submissions
Digital Humanities Quarterly

Submissions are invited for Digital Humanities Quarterly, a new
open-access peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the Alliance of
Digital Humanities Organizations and the Association for Computers
and the Humanities. Submissions may be mailed to A web submission form will also be
available soon.

We welcome material on all aspects of digital media in the
humanities, including humanities computing, new media, digital
libraries, game studies, digital editing, pedagogy, hypertext and
hypermedia, computational linguistics, markup theory, and related
fields. In particular, we are interested in submissions in the
following categories:

• Articles representing original research in digital humanities
• Editorials and opinion pieces on any aspect of digital humanities
• Reviews of web resources, books, software tools, digital publications, and other relevant materials
• Interactive media works including digital art, hypertext literature, criticism, and interactive experiments. A separate call for submissions is also being issued for this area.

Submissions in all categories may be in traditional formats, or may
be formally experimental. We welcome submissions that experiment with
the rhetoric of the digital medium. We encourage the use of
standards-based formats, but over time we will work to accommodate a
wider range of media types and experimental functions.

Submissions may be of any length. All submissions will be peer reviewed.

For submission guidelines, please visit In
particular, please note the new DHQauthor schema, a TEI-based schema
for authoring, available for download together with stylesheets and
documentation at

For further information, and to contact our editors, please visit

Julia Flanders
Wendell Piez
Melissa Terras

General Editors, DHQ

PHI Online

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

We have just spotted the Packard Humanities Institute Greek Inscriptions database online version.

I have been unable to learn if this is (a) a permanent fixture, or in particular (b) a permanent URL.

The site has a good index of inscriptions by region, moving down to individual inscriptions, and a fairly effective search tool attached. But it has no documentation, introduction, or special features. It is not even clear if we are supposed to know about it yet. Does anyone know any more? Please comment here.

Excellent news though.

“Descriptive Metadata for Copyright Status”

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

An interesting article in First Monday proposes that a set of descriptive data elements could accompany digital materials to inform potential users of the copyright status of the item. It concludes: “Adding descriptive data elements for copyright status to the metadata created for intellectual works places a burden on the communities that create that metadata. The lack of such descriptive data elements, however, places an even larger burden on those who would like to make use of the works. Today’s massive problem of orphan works (U.S. Copyright Office, August, 2005) arises mainly because information about the initial creation of the work has been lost over time. More particularly, there was no effective means to record that information when it was available. Digital works and analog works that are digitized can be removed from the original context that contains many of the elements that are evidence of the copyright status of a work, such as the provenance of the archive. The provision of descriptive data elements that can be transmitted with the work itself should facilitate subsequent uses of the valuable intellectual content that the work represents. Copyright–related metadata, therefore, should be seen as an essential component of the resource description”.

Thoughts on New Standards

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

(Seen in Slashdot)

A discussion over on IBM Developer Works on the adoption of new standards before they are established standards. Some useful discussion of the pitfalls as well as the advantages of such practices, that we might take into account with some of the Open Source standards many of us are working on. (Of course communication with other standards and reversibility/backward compatibility are the main defences against losing time/data.)

In any case, the article begins:

Before a standard becomes widely adopted, some ambiguity always exists about whether it will succeed. Even a standard formally endorsed by a major organization might turn out to be simply ignored by the marketplace.

Adopting a standard before it has become fully established has advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, early adopters can have substantial influence over the development of a standard. Being first to market can also provide economic advantages.

If you’re going to adopt a standard before it becomes fully established, you should consider a few key factors first. This article looks at early adoption — who does it, why, and what can go wrong with it.


VR Athens Agora

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

(Seen on Rogueclassicism; from AME)

The Foundation for the Hellenic World will be launching a large immersive VR of the ancient Athenian Agora as part of the Hellenic Cosmos site, using the Silicon Graphics Prism tool from SGI. This is all proprietary technology, of course, but it still looks kind of cool.

The following is from the SGI Press release:

Late next year, Foundation of the Hellenic World’s (FHW) 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). 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.

The Agora’s buildings were the center of public life, a site of political meetings, commercial transactions, the administrative center and also the judicial and religious center of the city. Socrates often met his disciples there, in the shade of the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios. The ruins of the Agora can be visited today, below the hill where the Acropolis stands, but for the first time, visitors and residents of Athens will be able to tour the ancient Agora immersively and interactively, filled with the living, breathing activities of its long history.

(Any other good VR visualisation projects out there?)

Colloquium on Digital Heritage and Preservation

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

The main theme of the event is an open discussion of the theory and application of digital technologies to exhibit, preserve, maintain and develop our cultural heritage. We have a range of interesting talks bringing together some of the leading international experts from a variety of disciplines including digital architecture; archaeology; literature; curatorship and broadcasting, including Dr Paul Gerhardt, director of the BBC Creative Archive; Dr Reem Baghat of CULTNAT in Giza, the team who produced the ‘Eternal Egypt Portal’, and Vladimir Karen, one of the men behind the UNESCO World Heritage guidelines for digitising manuscripts.

Full details can be found on the website .

Subversion client

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

Just found a quick way to get a Subversion client going on a Mac that hasn’t got Fink on it, here at (Also here.) Click to install the package, check /etc/profile to be sure /usr/local/bin is in the path, and away you go.

That client works at the command line. svnX provides a decent GUI (if you want one), usefully complemented by SSHPassKey (or here), to enable svn+ssh interaction with your remote repository.


Monday, October 17th, 2005

Juicy stuff in D-Lib this month:

Hierarchical Catalog Records: Implementing a FRBR Catalog
David Mimno, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Gregory Crane and
Alison Jones, Tufts University

Development and Assessment of a Public Discovery and Delivery Interface
for a Fedora Repository

Leslie Johnston, University of Virginia

BB devours WebCT

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Bryan Alexander observes that “BB is the new Microsoft” for the CMS field.

Moodle, anyone?

Care to comment on a Greek font?

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

The Society of Biblcal Literature [SBL] has an interesting model for the development of fonts that are “… attractive and legible on computer screens and in print, include characters and symbols found in critical editions, display complex scripts, and transfer between operating systems and applications that support Unicode/OpenType standards…”

They are currently working on a Greek font and seek comment from thos who have use for such a thing.

If you wish to have a sample of the font and the contact information for comments send me a message.

Another institution goes open access

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

The Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago announced a new publication policy yesterday: “Starting in 2005, the Oriental Institute is committed to digitizing all of its publications and making them available online, without charge. The minimum for each volume, old and new, current and forthcoming, will be a Portable Document Format (PDF) version following current resolution standards. New publications will appear online at or near the same time they appear in print. Older publications will be processed as time and funding permits”.

A suite of a score of publications is initially available at their page of Electronic Publications On-Line.

As a member of both the Electronic Publications Committee and the Electronic Publications Implementation Committee at the Institute before coming to Athens, I can assure you that the task of the former was much simpler than the latter.

All of these are, of course, indexed in Abzu

Have other institutions done something similar?


Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Folks who recall the now-defunct Argos LASE (limited area search engine) may be interested in Klaus Graf‘s experiments with Rollyo, a site that lets you limit search results to certain sources. Klaus has now created a neo-Latin Rollyo, and an OA Rollyo, among others.


Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

The 7th Computers, Literature and Philology (CLiP) conference:
‘Literatures, Languages and Cultural Heritage in a digital world’

Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, UK
Thursday 29 June – Saturday 1 July 2006

ABOUT CLiP (more…)

“restless, question-driven, active reading”

Friday, October 7th, 2005

Gregory Crane, Reading in the Age of Google

As staggering as some changes have been over the past twenty-five years, it is difficult to predict what we will be reading in fifteen, ten, or even five years’ time. Subsequent developments may be even more dramatic as old ways of doing things dissolve and a new generation, immersed in electronic information from childhood, takes its place.

The goals we pursue-the hunger for ideas, the desire to understand more, the delight in reasoned, evidence-based debate-will continue to find new modes of expression. Reading has been in flux since writing began to emerge four thousand years ago. The increasing mechanization of print facilitated a shift from intensive reading, where readers repeatedly studied a few texts such as the Bible, Vergil’s Aeneid, or Shakespeare’s plays to extensive reading where readers moved through one novel after another. This shift had many effects, not least of which was laying the foundation for modern democratic society. The restless, question-driven, active reading in the age of Google may lead to a shift that is just as dramatic.

“not exactly dignified”

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Henry Farrell in the CHE:

Both group blogs and the many hundreds of individual academic blogs that have been created in the last three years are pioneering something new and exciting. They’re the seeds of a collective conversation, which draws together different disciplines (sometimes through vigorous argument, sometimes through friendly interaction), which doesn’t reproduce traditional academic distinctions of privilege and rank, and which connects academic debates to a broader arena of public discussion. It’s not entirely surprising that academic blogs have provoked some fear and hostility; they represent a serious challenge to well-established patterns of behavior in the academy. Some academics view them as an unbecoming occupation for junior (and senior) scholars; in the words of Alex Halavais of the State University of New York at Buffalo, they seem “threatening to those who are established in academia, to financial interests, and to … well, decorum.” Not exactly dignified; a little undisciplined; carnivalesque. Sometimes signal, sometimes noise. But exactly because of this, they provide a kind of space for the exuberant debate of ideas, for connecting scholarship to the outside world, which we haven’t had for a long while. We should embrace them wholeheartedly.


Thursday, October 6th, 2005

After installing Spam Karma 2 (a WordPress plugin), I’ve turned comments on as the default for this blog. We’ll see how it goes…

The Journal of Electronic Publishing

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

The Journal of Electronic Publishing is an online journal published by the Michigan University Press.

Publisher’s note
Electronic publishing is changing the world we live in. It is changing what publishers do. It is changing the way scientists, business people, and students — all of us — work.

In this environment of change and uncertainty, the publisher faces many challenges: details such as Web design, server management, pricing (and collecting the revenue!) as well as the big policy questions.

The Journal of Electronic Publishing is for the thoughtful forward-thinking publisher, librarian, scholar, or author — in fact, anyone in this new business — facing those challenges. We aim to range widely in our coverage, but the emphasis will be on the broader issues that should shape policy, and on professional, scientific or academic publishing, both books and journals.

JEP faces the same problems as any electronic publication, and we intend to make a virtue of that by using the Journal as a testbed to try ideas and to show to you, our readers, what happens when we do. We hope for successes, of course, but we will report on our failures, too.

One experiment is that we are neither quite a magazine nor a journal. We are both. The core of each issue is a set of short invited contributions from expert and experienced practitioners on a particular theme. That is more like a magazine. We also seek out and encourage longer pieces from publishers and from scholars and others who are thinking interestingly about electronic publishing. That is the journal. And from time to time we are adding regular columns.

Creative Commons: problems with -NC licenses

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

Erik Möller, “Are Creative Commons-NC Licenses Harmful?” Podcasting News, October 4, 2005. Excerpt (via Peter Suber):

When the Creative Commons project published its first licenses in December 2002, it finally brought a sense of unity behind the free content movement….One particular licensing option, however, is a growing problem for the free content community. It is the allow non-commercial use only (-NC) option. The “non-commercial use only” variants of the Creative Commons licenses are non-free, and in some ways worse than traditional copyright law — because it can be harder to move away from them once people have made the choice. There may be circumstances where -NC is the only (and therefore best) available option, but that number of circumstances should decrease as the business models around free content evolve. The key problems with -NC licenses are as follows: [1] They make your work incompatible with a growing body of free content, even if you do want to allow derivative works or combinations. [2] They may rule out other basic uses which you want to allow. [3] They support current, near-infinite copyright terms. [4] They are unlikely to increase the potential profit from your work, and a share-alike license serves the goal to protect your work from exploitation equally well…..As we will see, there are many desirable commercial uses….[I]f you choose an -NC license, your work will not be compatible with Wikipedia, Wikinews, Wikibooks, and similar free content projects. One reason for this is that licenses like Wikipedia’s, the GNU Free Documentation License, work according to the copyleft (or…”share-alike”) principle: You can make derivative works, but they have to be licensed under the same terms. You cannot make a derivative work through addition of -NC content, as you can no longer apply the (more liberal) “share-alike” license to the entire work. Even where the license allows it, marking up regions of content as non-commercial and consistently following these boundaries is almost impossible in a collaborative environment….The use of an -NC license is very rarely justifiable on economic or ideological grounds….Finally, if you must use such a license for one reason or another, please do add an additional notice specifying the term of copyright protection you desire for your work. Otherwise, traditional copyright law will apply, and commercial use will be forbidden long beyond your death.

The Singularity

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

from Slashdot:

Rewind your brain 15 years and imagine what you’d think if I told you:

Your computer will be roughly 1,000 faster than what you’re using today. You will probably have more than 4,000 times the memory, and a fast hard drive that stores over 100,000 times as much as that floppy you’re using. You can buy these supercomputers for less than $500 at Wal-Mart.

That computer will be hooked into a self-directed network that was designed by the Department of Defense and various universities – along with nearly 400,000,000 other machines. Your connection to this network will be 10,000 times faster than the 300 baud modem you’re using. In fact, it will be fast enough to download high-quality sound and video files in better than realtime.

There will be a good chance that your computer’s operating system will have been written by a global team of volunteers, some of them paid by their employers to implement specific parts. Free copies of this system will be available for download over the hyperfast network. You will have free access to the tools required to make your own changes, should you want to.

You will use this mind-bendingly powerful system to view corporate sponsored, community driven messages boards where people will bitch about having to drive cars that are almost unimaginably luxurious compared to what you have today.

Remember: in some fields, the singularity has already happened.