Archive for December, 2005

Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Quoted from the site:

Publisher: Department of Classics, Princeton University

The Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics is a collaborative project of the Classics Department of Princeton University and the Classics Department of Stanford University. Its purpose is to make the results of current research undertaken by members of Princeton and Stanford Universities in the field of classics available in advance of final publication.

Working Papers are pre-publication versions of academic articles, book chapters, or reviews. Papers posted on this site are in progress, under submission, or in press and forthcoming elsewhere. Although, as far as we know, this is the first Working Papers series in the field of Classics, such series are very common in other academic disciplines.

Is this really as unique as they make out? Sounds a familiar concept, but then I may just be thinking of the many individual scholars who do this sort of thing with their own papers…

BMCR calls for reviewers of electronic publication projects

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

BMCR editors Richard Hamilton and James J. O’Donnell reflect on the paucity of reviews of electronic publications, in BMCR and elsewhere:

… we have not sustained a community of practice around serious reviews of web-based publications.

This is a concern for the scholarly world as a whole in two regards. First, there are more and more very high quality and quite serious scholarly works that appear in digital form; second, many observers and participants in the scholarly communication world argue strongly for Open Access publication — that is to say, publication whose costs are defrayed in some way other than by user charges. A freely accessible web publication done to appropriate technical standards is the ideal in that regard…

But if it is true that reviewers are so strongly enticed by the prospect of a free book or a free CD that absent such an enticement they are unwilling to come forward, then we will soon be at an impasse, as more and more important material becomes available in a form unsusceptible to the enticement of reviewers. Now the future of reviewing itself is a subject of interest to us … we are for now convinced that the first and most obvious way forward is to insure that serious scholarly work, however published, gets serious scholarly reviews.

To that end, this message is designed to elicit our traditional BMCR volunteers on the usual terms.

It’s hard for me to believe that the absence of a tangible quid pro quo (e.g. a book or a CD) has much to do with the lack of people willing to review electronic publications in venues such as BMCR. I suggest that this has more to do with fairly widespread ignorance with regard to best practices, mainly because there are still very few practitioners who have walked the walk and know whereof they speak.

Personal anecdote: when BMCR published a review of Penelope M. Allison, Pompeian Households: An Analysis of the Material Culture, the reviewer had essentially nothing to say regarding the enormous online dimension to the publication (involving lookups to a hefty relational database, parameterized web pages built on the fly from xml source files, etc.). I was troubled by this, so I wrote to the reviewer privately in an effort to elicit a more substantive evaluation of what we had done well or badly in that respect. My query met with no response. So here was a case in which BMCR had an opportunity to do a thorough review of scholarly work with a major electronic component, but instead the editors chose to publish an incomplete and quite frankly incompetent review that simply ignored the electronic scholarship, as if it didn’t even exist. A missed opportunity, to say the least.

By the way, on the subject of the BMCR: an RSS 2.0 feed for the site would be a very welcome enhancement!

e-Science Demonstrator Projects

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

(Seen on the Methods Network RSS)

The E-Science Core Programme, in association with the AHRC, wishes to announce a Call for Proposals for E-Science Demonstrator Projects in the Arts and Humanities. Proposals must be received by EPSRC by midday on 16 February 2006.

See full call for proposals at: [PDF]

Cyberinfrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

The draft report of the American Council of Learned Societies’ Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences is now available for public comment. Core recommendations:

  1. We need to nurture and validate digital scholarship and digitally literate scholars.
  2. We need public and institutional policies that foster openness and access.
  3. We need open standards and the tools to use them.
  4. We need centers for innovation, research, and archiving.
  5. We need extensive and reusable digital collections.
  6. We need to restructure the funding model for the humanities and social sciences.
  7. We need leadership.

Some welcome language to be found under discussion of the second category:

And while scholars advocate public and legal policies of openness and access, they must similarly urge these policies within their own communities: universities need to consider the impact of their technology transfer and intellectual property policies; university presses and scholarly societies need to envision dissemination models that reflect academic values and lobby for the resources they need to live up to those values; museums need to make their digitized surrogates freely available. All parties should work energetically to ensure that the fruits of scholarly research and analysis are accessible to all those who might use them— from a student preparing a high school project to a parent trying to understand the issues in a school board debate to a tourist about to visit Rome and wanting to understand its art and architecture.


Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Is user-based tagging “an idiotic idea whose time has apparently come,” as Roy Tennant puts it in Current Cites?

Preprint repository for two university classics departments

Monday, December 19th, 2005

from Peter Suber:

Princeton and Stanford have launched Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics, an OA preprint repository. However, deposits are limited to faculty from the two universities and there’s no sign that it’s OAI-compliant. (Thanks to Josiah Ober via LibLicense.)

Comment. More OA is better than less, so I applaud this initiative. But I must say that a classics repository for all classicists would be more useful than one limited to faculty from two distinguished departments. Moreover, a repository for both preprints and postprints would be more useful than a repository for preprints alone. Finally, an OAI-compliant repository would be more useful than a non-compliant repository.

AIA Computer Special Interest Group meeting in Montreal

Monday, December 19th, 2005

A communication received today:

From: John Wallrodt
Date: December 17, 2005 11:12:53 PM EST
Subject: CSIG Meeting at Montreal


It is time once again to wake the slumbering AIA Computer Special Interest Group.

I apologize for the silence on my end. Once I sent along the groups recommendations for data projectors I got caught up in several other projects.

As you know, the AIA is providing data projectors for all sessions this year but I have not yet heard what the plans are for future years.

In any event, this year at Montreal we have a block of time and I would like to spend it discussing several new initiatives for the coming year. One of them is of relevance to next year’s AIA meetings, and the two others concern items of general interest.

The CSIG is scheduled to meet in room 520A on Saturday morning, January 7th from 7:30 am to 9:00 am. During this meeting I would like to bring up the following items:

2007 San Diego
I have been asked by the Program Committee to solicit papers for next year’s annual meetings in San Diego. As many of you know, paper submissions tend to be high for warm cities in January, but the Program Committee is specifically looking to ‘expand the scope of topics addressed at the Annual Meeting’. There traditionally have been several computer/data related papers or sessions at the AIAs, but I gather they have either fallen in number or some have been canceled a the last minute. Note that I am not specifically looking to organize a colloquium myself, although I have done so twice and can do so again. I am instead hoping that we as a committee can generate some ideas for colloquia topics so that we can help recruit those who might make such colloquia successes.

There are two other ideas that I have been playing with recently. These are mostly brought out by the requests that I get for information by those who direct field projects or are charged with handling the computer data for a field project.

Archaeological IT Services Talent Depot

I would like to talk about implementing a registry of archaeological IT talent. Think meets IDAP (International Directory of Aegean Prehistorians). Those with specific computer skills can register those skills at a website. Those who are looking for someone with a certain skill set can search through those entries and find someone with the experience they need to get their job done. Since field work is seasonal, and field projects often need certain skill sets for a limited time only, this won’t be a place to find a career, but it would be a good place for a field director to start looking for someone who can do GIS and Windows networking, or Mac scripting and web development.

Archaeological Data Hosting Service

I am often asked about setting up a server for various projects. At UC, we host databases, file, and web services for a total of eight field projects, largely because we have standardized our database and file server software. Some projects have to bend their software requirements to fit whatever entity will host their data, and others end up trying to make their own servers for each project. I would like to investigate a business model for an archaeological hosting service (non-profit). This would be a data center, subcontracted, that would host database and file servers for the duration of a project. They would charge a monthly fee for access based on the amount of data stored and internet traffic to the site. When the project is finished, the hosting service, or someone that the project can hire from the idea above, will archive the data and send it back to the field project sponsoring entity for storage. At this stage, I would like to know if this is a idea worth pursuing.

Thanks for your attention. Please forward this to anyone whom you think might be interested. I know that the Computer Special Interest Group is a struggling one, but I do hope that we can generate some interest in the coming year.


John Wallrodt
Coord Sys Dev & Maint
Department of Classics
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210226
Cincinnati OH 45221
Phone: 513-556-2584
Fax: 513-556-4366

Good news ahead in the world of GIS

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Via Peter Suber, a report by Declan Butler on the intricacies of Getting GIS data into Google Earth that concludes:

…So the new year looks guaranteed to be a rich period for new GIS and visualization tools. One result, no doubt, will be that we will soon be seeing more large and extensive databases online in ways that are easier to view and manipulate.

Academic Commons Second Edition

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Academic Commons have launched their December 2005 edition (see table of contents at

In addition to new articles and topics, this edition includes showcases of both Digital Classicist and ALA 2004. This seems a useful site: I’d encourage others whose sites, projects, or resources are not yet listed to sign up and add them. (And list them at the Digitalclassicist Wiki while you’re about it…)

Text movies for two neo-Latin colloquia

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Dot Porter, Program Coordinator for RCH at UK, has assembled QuickTime movies for certain colloquia (text and audio combined via SMIL files):

Technically I suppose these aren’t really text movies as Apple defines them, since our text actually appears via a succession of screen shot graphics, due to the fact that QuickTime seemed recalcitrant about combined English and Greek Unicode characters when Dot tried synchronizing a time-stamped text file with the audio as a .mov file. Anyway, do let us know what you think, please. Firefox will play these movies on both Mac and Windows computers equipped with QuickTime, but we’ve noticed that the display window acts up a little.

Also, we’ve set up an organizational page for our various new colloquia materials, and today we released four new podcasts.

Pim Allison: Roman forts not male-only

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Pim Allison, whose Open Access site on Pompeian Households is hosted here at the Stoa, is in the news:

In a unique study, Allison has been analysing patterns of objects found throughout the [Roman] forts that support the presence of women.

“The distribution of lost and abandoned objects, tells us quite a lot of about where people go and how they use a space,” she says.

Using computer software, she has mapped the distribution of over 30,000 artefacts.

She found objects used by women, such as hairpins, beads, perfume bottles and spindle wheels scattered in buildings and along the streets of the forts.

“They all tend to group together in different parts of the fort,” she says.

The location of these objects suggest women often played an active life in the fort, says Allison, which might be better described as a functioning town with a market rather than a sterile male-only province.

She says women were well and truly integrated into the forts, playing “helpful” non-combatant roles of wives, mothers, craftspeople and traders.

(hat tip: rogueclassicism)

New uses for RSS feeds

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Soon, there may be even more places where you can keep up-to-the-minute on the latest neo-Latin podcasts available.

Public Scholarship and its evaluation

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

Inside Higher Ed reports formation of a group “that will develop new ways to evaluate faculty members in the arts and humanities.”

“What we are going to do is come up with creative ways to evaluate excellence in public scholarship, Cantor [Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University] said in an interview. “Scholarship may be presented in venues different from our normal scholarly venues, and we need to evaluate it. It might be an arts journalist publishing in media outlets, or someone doing a K-12 curriculum, or someone doing something creative online.

Latin podcasting update

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

OK, so after getting some advice from people at UK more experienced with audio recording, we’ve upgraded the equipment we use for our Latin podcasting to

  • Behringer Eurorack UB 1202
  • shielded cable for mixer to audio-in on the computer
  • 2 Shure M58 mics
  • shielded XLR cables
  • desk stands for the mics

Vives’s Schola and Domus are new recordings made with the equipment listed above. Line noise pretty well eliminated, but now we’re picking up too much of the the ambient hum from the HVAC system on the other side of the room… Will need to eliminate that noise next.

We’ve also switched to rolling our own podcast RSS feed, and minimizing it to the absolutely required tags.

The directions again: Start iTunes, then pull down Advanced, and select Subscribe to Podcast. Then paste in the feed.

Mysteries at Eleusis visual image collection

Friday, December 2nd, 2005

Fiona C. Patrick (Project Coordinator, Digital Consulting & Production Services) sends word of the following:

Cornell University Library is pleased to announce the availability of “Mysteries at Eleusis: Images of Inscriptions,” a digital collection of approximately 800 images from the sanctuary of the Eleusinian Mysteries, at Eleusis, a town belonging to Athens. “The Mysteries,” as they were officially called, are usually recognized today, as they were in ancient times, as one of the most important religious cults in ancient Greece. The images currently available are derived from photographs by Professor Kevin Clinton (Department of Classics). The new digital collection is one of the largest contributions to a worldwide effort to make available on the Internet both texts and images of all ancient Greek and Latin documents on stone

Classics and Institutional Repositories

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Peter Suber has a Report on the ALPSP-SSP seminar in The SPARC Open Access Newsletter discussing Repositories and their impact on publishing.

My impression is that serious use of institutional repositories has yet to emerge among scholars of Classics and the ancient world, even among scholars affiliated with institutions where a repository is well established.

I hope someone will demonstrate my ignorance and prove me wrong!