Archive for July, 2006

Surprising History of Copyright

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

This Thursday, 27 July 2006, Karl Fogel (of Google) is scheduled to chair a session at OSCON entitled: The (Surprising) History of Copyright, and What It Means for Open Source. You can view the abstract online, whence the following:

Much of today’s copyright debate is predicated on the notion that copyright was invented to subsidize authors, when it was actually invented to subsidize distributors … viewing copyright in this new light transforms the question from “Does copying hurt artists?” (no, and anyway copyright wasn’t about the artists) to “What kind of support mechanisms should distribution have today?”

Preservation Watch Report

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Via the JISC-Repositories list comes notice of a report summarizing some current initiatives in digital preservation. This is one of a growing list of reports produced by the Jorum Repository Service.

British Library expresses concern about the impact of DRMs on access, fair dealing and digital preservation

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

From the British Library comes an interesting press release:

The British Library’s Chief Executive this week warned of some of the unintended consequences of the widespread adoption of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems and urged policymakers to balance the rights of content creators with the need to maintain access in the public good. …

(more at

The issue is, of course, well known to Stoa blog readers. Particularly interesting, however, is that now libraries are beginning to express concerns too…

Current hypertext model only meant to be temporary

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

In an interesting letter in the New Scientist (22 July 2006,, Ted Nelson, ‘inventor’ of the term hypertext, looks back at a project designing a hypertext system at Brown University in the 1960s. He decries the currently existing hypertext model as merely the popularization of what he considered at the time as only the interim solution of said project: ‘That project dumbed down hypertext to one-way, embedded, non-overlapping links. Its broken and deficient model of hypertext became by turns the structure of the NoteCards and HyperCard programs, the World Wide Web, and XML.’ His criticism is particularly harsh towards XML: ‘It is opaque to the laypersons who deserve deep command of electronic literature and media. It gratuitously imposes hierarchy and sequence wherever it can, and is very poor at representing overlap, parallel cross-connection, and other vital non-hierarchical media structures that some people do not wish to recognise.’

U.S. NEH Announces ‘Digital Humanities Initiative’

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

NEH has launched a new digital humanities initiative aimed at supporting projects that utilize or study the impact of digital technology … NEH is interested in fostering the growth of digital humanities and lending support to a wide variety of projects, including those that deploy digital technologies and methods to enhance our understanding of a topic or issue; those that study the impact of digital technology on the humanities … and those that digitize important materials thereby increasing the public’s ability to search and access humanities information.

Classics-l gets a blog (and feeds)

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

“Home of the Classics Discussion List”

The blog : (rss and atom feeds prominently linked)

Noted thereupon: link to an RSS feed for the listserv itself

Open Access on the ANE-2 List

Monday, July 17th, 2006

A subscriber to the ANE-2 List has reposted there, with permission, an e-circular attributed to the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation [MSSRF] (Chennai, India) which calls for the:

[proactive promotion] of ‘open access’ to scientific and scholarly literature so even those working in institutions whose libraries cannot afford to subscribe to many journals can have free and unfettered access to all research papers

This post has touched off a familiar sort of discussion on the subject, with a recent post from E. Bruce Brooks (of the Warring States Project) asking pointed questions about:

  • Discipline
  • Money
  • Printability
  • Prestige
  • Double-publishing
  • Typography


Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Aristarchos is a freeware program that allows the user to search for abbreviations commonly used for periodicals, series and monographs in archaeology.

The “dread fear”

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Would that everyone were as cool-headed about the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia as Roy Rosenzweig. But as Infocult’s Bryan Alexander comments today on a Washington Post article: “In educational settings, I’m still getting signals that the Wikipedia is a sort of nexus for academic dislike of all things digital.”

Can History Be Open Source?

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has recently posted to the web a long and thoughtful article by Roy Rosenzweig entitled “Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past.” It was originally published in The Journal of American History Volume 93, Number 1 (June, 2006): 117-46. [Spotted on the Maps History discussion list in a post by Joel Kovarsky].

Rosenzweig does a good job explaining the origins, development and practices of Wikipedia for a professional, academic audience unfamiliar with the details. R. goes on to examine “Wikipedia as History,” comparing the breadth, depth, accuracy and style of its treatment of historical topics to that found in other popular and professional encyclopedic works.

R. concludes with a section entitled “Why Should We Care? Implications for Historians” in which he opines:

Still, Wikipedia and Linux show that there are alternative models to producing encyclopedias and software than the hierarchical, commercial model …. And whether or not historians consider alternative models for producing their own work, they should pay closer attention to their erstwhile competitors at Wikipedia than Microsoft devoted to worrying about an obscure free and open-source operating system called Linux.

Horologium Ronaldi

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

The sundial of Augustus has now been updated.

Fair Use Day

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

So, only 364 days left until the next Fair Use Day!
(Thanks for the tip, Tom.)

Sagalassos excavations and Google Earth

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Troels Kristensen (Towards an Archaeology of Iconoclasm) has a post about resumption of the excavations at Sagalassos and the presentation of that site in Google Earth. The latter is very nicely done, with a map overlay, geophysical map, and pointers to 17 specific buildings or locations. These link to field notes and ground-level QTVR panoramas when available (just as I’ve linked certain Minoan sites in my Bronze Age Crete placemarks to Bruce Hartzler’s Metis panoramas for those sites).

Oh, and speaking of Google Earth: someone posted a particularly clear placemark for Ephesus recently.

Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts UK Conference 2006

Monday, July 10th, 2006

The programme for the 2006 UK DRHA conference is now available:

Sunday September 3rd to Wednesday September 6th, 2006


DRHA2006 will feature:

a.. Keynote by Katherine Hayles, author of “Now We Are Posthuman”, “Writing Machines” and “My Mother Was A Computer”, Professor of Literature and Design/Media Arts, UCLA, USA
b.. Keynote by Roy Ascott, President of the Planetary Collegium, Director of CAiiA-Hub, and Professor of Technoetic Art
c.. An Introductory Talk by Richard Beacham, Director of the Visualisation Lab, King’s College London
d.. A presentation by performance artist Stelarc via video-conference from Melbourne Australia, “the most celebrated artist in the world working within technology and the visual arts” (Amazon 2006)
e.. Performances and “in-process” inputs by ‘body>data>space’ (UK) and SWAP (Portugal), an electronic concert, book and organisation Launches and Receptions, Conference Dinner, Debates, Panels and over 100 Papers, Posters, Exhibitions and Installations across a wide range of Humanities disciplines (Archaeology, History, Languages, Linguistics, Literature) and the Visual and Performing Arts, outlined at
f.. The Conference takes place in the beautiful environment of Dartington Hall, South Devon: the C14th Great Hall, the Courtyard Rooms, modern studios/seminar rooms: keynotes, papers, performances, panels, exhibitions, posters, installations, events…
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: places limited to 250

Further details and enquiries:

Four kinds of search for Google Books

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Yesterday the Inside Google Book Search blog offered details concerning The four ways you’ll see books in Google Book Search.

Microsoft bends on OpenDocument

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

(hat tip Peter Suber)

Microsoft said it plans to sponsor an open-source project to create software that will convert Office documents to OpenDocument, a rival format gaining ground, particularly among governments.

The software giant on Thursday launched the Open XML Translator project on, a popular site for hosting code-sharing projects. The software will be available under the BSD open-source license.

The software, developed by a France-based Microsoft partner, will allow people to use Microsoft Office to open and save documents in the OpenDocument, or ODF, format.

… The goal is to have a Word plug-in for Office 2007 by the end of this year and translators for Excel and PowerPoint next year, said Jean Paoli, the general manager of interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft. The conversions will be based on Microsoft’s Open Office XML, the XML-based file formats that will be the default setting in Office 2007, due next year.