Archive for October, 2006


Friday, October 27th, 2006

Emphasis added:

For better or for worse, Wikipedia has become the first destination for many a student researcher. Does the site’s ubiquity mean that professors have a responsibility to contribute? “I feel I have an obligation to do so, at least within my field,” said Alexander M.C. Halavais, an assistant professor of communications at Quinnipiac University, during a live Chronicle chat yesterday. “Public scholarship…is an important part of being a professor,” Mr. Halavais said. “Since Wikipedia is probably the single most visible source of knowledge for many today, it strikes me as an important place to engage in that role. I would love to see universities and tenure committees embrace that role, but I am not holding my breath.” A complete transcript of the chat — in which Mr. Halavais discussed Wikipedia’s strengths and weaknesses, and the role of the encyclopedia as a research tool — is now available online.


Monday, October 23rd, 2006 comments on the newly announced Canadian digitization effort called AlouetteCanada. Some of the juicy bits:

Billed as an “open digitization initiative,” Alouette shares some common features with the Open Content Alliance (OCA) — not altogether surprising, since founding members of the Canadian project (including the Universities of Toronto and Alberta) are also contributing content to the OCA’s open library… What really sets Alouette apart from other large-scale efforts in the mass digitization arena, I think, is its commitment to enabling smaller, specialized research collections (like historical societies and museums) to participate in the virtual land-rush and secure a little habitat of their own… Will Alouette Canada generate the same kind of excitement and national pride as its space-age namesake? Will it achieve its vision of “harness[ing] the will and energy of every library, archive, gallery, museum, historical society or institute of record to create a comprehensive collection of digital resources for the benefit of its citizens�” Only time will tell…

On the limits of collaboration

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

There’s a provocative entry by Bob Stein at the if:book blog today on the enduring value of a strong, identifiable point of view.

EPSRC Research Studentship

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Human-Computer Interaction VESSEL Project (Village e-science for Life)

Bursary £12,300 pa incl.Three year post

Ref: PHD

We are seeking a postgraduate research student to join the VESSEL Project (Village e-science for Life) a EPSRC-funded research project commencing in October 2006. The aim of VESSEL is to explore and develop participatory methods for developing novel solutions for ICT in rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular emphasis upon the educational barriers. The initial normal place of work will be the Slough Campus but you will have the opportunity to spend some periods distributed over the project life within an African context, as well as site visits to Kenya. You should have a good BSc or MSc degree in a computing discipline with a significant HCI component. You should also have a keen interest in understanding African cultures and knowledge of KisSwahili would be an advantage.

Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Lynne Dunckley ( or Dr. Jose Abdelnour-Nocera ( In return, TVU offers you the benefits of a final salary pension scheme, excellent financially supported development opportunities and generous holiday entitlement.

For further details and an application form, please contact or the Human Resources Department on 020 8231 2321 (24 hour voicemail) or e-mail quoting the appropriate reference number.

Closing date for the post: 3 November 2006.

On the power of CC licensing @ Flickr

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Mark Glaser of MediaShift:

Creative Commons + Flickr = 22 Million Sharable Photos

Excellent suggestion: self-help

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

if:book discusses the progress Microsoft is making towards its book search portal, and sees a big risk:

But more important, we should get to work with OCR scanners and start extracting the texts to build our own databases. Even when they make the files available, as Google is starting to do, they’re giving them to us not as fully functioning digital texts (searchable, remixable), but as strings of snapshots of the scanned pages. That’s because they’re trying to keep control of the cultural DNA scanned from these books — that’s the value added to their search service.

But the public domain ought to be a public trust, a cultural infrastructure that is free to all. In the absence of some competing not-for-profit effort, we should at least start thinking about how we as stakeholders can demand better access to these public domain works. Microsoft and Google are free to scan them, and it’s good that someone has finally kickstarted a serious digitization campaign. It’s our job to hold them accountable, and to make sure that the public domain doesn’t get redefined as the semi-public domain.

“naturally more expressive digital object focus”

Friday, October 13th, 2006

This Object Reuse and Exchange initiative looks like a project to keep an eye on:

The Open Archives Initiative (OAI), with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, announces a new effort as part of its mission to develop and promote interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) will develop specifications that allow distributed repositories to exchange information about their constituent digital objects. These specifications will include approaches for representing digital objects and repository services that facilitate access and ingest of these representations. The specifications will enable a new generation of cross-repository services that leverage the intrinsic value of digital objects beyond the borders of hosting repositories.

The goals of ORE are inspired by advances in scholarly communication and the growth of scholarly material that is available in scholarly repositories including institutional repositories, discipline-oriented repositories, dataset warehouses, and online journal repositories. This growth is significant by itself. However, its real importance lies in the potential for these distributed repositories and their contained objects to act as the foundation of a new digitally-based scholarly communication framework. Such a framework would permit fluid reuse, refactoring, and aggregation of scholarly digital objects and their constituent parts – including text, images, data, and software. This framework would include new forms of citation, allow the creation of virtual collections of objects regardless of their location, and facilitate new workflows that add value to scholarly objects by distributed registration, certification, peer review, and preservation services. Although scholarly communication is the motivating application, we imagine that the specifications developed by ORE may extend to other domains.

ORE is funded by Mellon for two years beginning October 2006. It is coordinated by Carl Lagoze of Cornell University Information Science and Herbert Van de Sompel of the Los Alamos Research Library….

OAI-ORE will co-exist within the Open Archives Initiative with the Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), the widely deployed standard for exchange of metadata. We expect that the naturally more expressive digital object focus of OAI-ORE will complement the narrower metadata focus of OAI-PMH….

British Museum site on Ancient Greece

Friday, October 13th, 2006

from The Scout Report:

5. Ancient Greece [Macromedia Flash Player]

Presented with a physical relief map of Greece and its many islands, visitors to the homepage of this site will then be treated to a range of material objects, ranging from masks, urns, and stone tablets. All of these items are part of the British Museum’s vast holdings of materials from ancient Greece, and brought together, they constitute the online website titled “Ancient Greece?. Previous online collections have presented material from other civilizations, and this assemblage is divided into traditional sections that include geography, time, war, and Athens. While many of the sections follow traditional online collection conventions, there are a number of splendid Flash-enabled features that present a day in the life of the city of Athens, and of course, Plato’s immortal cave. [KMG]

Alun Salt’s MuGeum Gateway to Ancient Greece

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

What I’m working on is a list of various Greek cities as a reference for the new first years who start lectures in Ancient Greek history this coming week. Hopefully they’ll know where Athens is, but working out which island is Samos can be more difficult. The solution is to use the MuGeum to create Google Earth files, along with Google maps. You can download what I’ve done so far here.

The Parthenon Frieze

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

from Dorothy King:

Columbia has a great new site about the Parthenon Frieze, where you can click on the plan and see either old photos (pre recent 20th century damage) or drawings based on Carrey and other sources.
The Parthenon Frieze, Columbia University

Zotero goes live

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Release notes.

Senior Research Project Coordinator

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

ICT Methods Network Administrative Centre Centre for Computing in the Humanities (18 months contract) Applications are invited for a post in the AHRC ICT Methods Network Administrative Centre (NAC), based at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH), King’s College London. This national initiative promotes and disseminates the use of ICT in UK arts and humanities research, by building a broadly based collaborative network of researchers from all humanities and arts disciplines working on the application of computational methods in research. The Methods Network promotes collaboration and facilitates multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary work via a series of high-profile activities and publications.

The holder of this position will have a broad remit to co-ordinate Methods Network outreach and collaborations, They will also be responsible for the development and management of a broad programme of activities and publications to promote, support and disseminate the use of ICT for effective research in the arts and humanities, and take responsibility for overall supervision of all stages of these activities and publications, including planning, development and implementation. Activities include expert seminars, workshops, conferences and postgraduate training events. All activities and publications will be developed in close consultation with the Manager and Directors of the Methods Network and with staff from a number of participating institutions, in particular the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS).

Applicants should have a degree in a humanities, arts or related discipline, and an interest and expertise in computing in the arts and humanities, as well as expertise in the associated technologies. Experience of working on a collaborative basis in major research projects involving research academics and specialists in applied computing, and experience of managing complex events and activities in an academic context would be an advantage. Flexibility and the ability to work as part of a team are essential, as are excellent communication skills and the ability to plan and implement projects and work to deadlines.

For more information, and a detailed job description, please see: or alternatively see the College’s website at or email or fax +44 (0)20 7848 1352. Quote reference number E3/AAV/140/06. Closing date for applications is 31 October 2006. Only candidates shortlisted for interview will be contacted.

Appointment will be made depending on qualifications and experience on ALC3, currently from £32,212 to £34,655 (depending on experience) plus £2,323 London Allowance per annum. nd consideration of on-line media

20,000 entries for Suda On Line

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Progress Report (as of October 2, 2006):
Assigned: 20,385
Translated: 20,001
Vetted: 19,998

A message from Managing Editor Bill Hutton to contributors and potential contributors:

Dear contributors to the Suda On-Line:

Yesterday the 20,000th was submitted to the Suda On Line ( This means we are roughly 2/3 of the way toward having translations of every single entry in our database. Thanks to the work of our editors, particularly the indefatigables, David Whitehead and Catharine Roth, practically all of those 20,000 entries have received at least preliminary editorial review. Considering the fact that this is not anyone’s full-time job, and not even the number-one research/publication project for the vast majority of us, this is not an achievement to be sneezed at. It took us 5 years to get to 10,000 entries (1998-2003), and only three more years to get up to 20,000.

Thank you for helping us reach that goal, and if you have not contributed to the project recently, I hope you will consider doing so and helping us do the last 10,000 entries even more quickly. Remember that you can use the SOL’s facilities to perform word searches on the Greek text of the Suda, thereby finding untranslated entries that interest you. Alternatively, the managing editors will be happy to assign you blocks of random entries that need to be translated. Those of you with “editor” status: we also need you to take a look at entires in your areas of expertise and make any necessary changes.

Please also bring the project to the attention of other people you think might be interested in contributing. Those of you who teach Greek might consider the benefit of having your students work on translating and/or annotating entries. We have had people do that successfully both on the graduate and the undergraduate levels.

If you have questions or need help getting back into SOL, just let us know:

Pleiades Achieves First Major Development Milestone

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

The staff of the Ancient World Mapping Center’s Pleiades Project is pleased to report that it has met its “Geo Prime” milestone, effective 2 October 2006.

The “Geo Prime” milestone was structured to demonstrate, in a modified version of the Plone Content Management System, basic geographic capabilities needed by the Project. A demonstration version is running on a server supplied by the Stoa Consortium: The custom software we have developed in order to add these capabilities is being released to the public simultaneously under the rubric “Pleiades Software Release 0.6”

Pleiades is an international research network and associated web portal and content management system devoted to the study of ancient geography. Funding for the creation of this software was provided by a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.


A pitch for ATM-like print-on-demand

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

From Jason Epstein’s NYRB article, Books@Google:

Page’s original conception for Google Book Search seems to have been that books, like the manuals he needed in high school, are data mines which users can search as they search the Web. But most books, unlike manuals, dictionaries, almanacs, cookbooks, scholarly journals, student trots, and so on, cannot be adequately represented by Googling such subjects as Achilles/wrath or Othello/jealousy or Ahab/whales. The Iliad, the plays of Shakespeare, Moby-Dick are themselves information to be read and pondered in their entirety. As digitization and its long tail adjust to the norms of human nature this misconception will cure itself as will the related error that books transmitted electronically will necessarily be read on electronic devices. Only those who have not read the Iliad or Moby-Dick, or Bleak House or Swann’s Way or The Origin of Species, will entertain this improbability. Until human beings themselves evolve as electronic receivers, readers will select such books as these—the embodiment of civilizations—as files from the World Wide Web, whence they will be transmitted either to a personal computer and printed out—a cumbersome procedure resulting in a stack of unbound sheets—or, much more satisfactorily, to a nearby machine not much bigger than an ATM which will automatically print, bind, and trim requested titles on demand that are indistinguishable from factory-made books, to be read as books have been read for centuries.

Meanwhile Google, together with the Gutenberg Project and the Open Content Alliance, and similar programs, has turned a new page in the history of civilizations leaving to us the privilege and the burden of carrying the story further. As part of this effort, On Demand Books, a company in which I have an interest, has installed in the World Bank bookstore in Washington, D.C., an experimental version of a machine such as I have just described, one that receives a digital file and automatically prints and binds on demand a library-quality paperback at low cost, within minutes and with minimal human intervention—an ATM for books. A second experimental machine has been sent to the Alexandrina Library in Egypt and will soon be printing books in Arabic. A newer version will be installed later this year or early next year in the New York Public Library.

Wikimapia plus GE

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

The new connection between Wikimapia and Google Earth announced on the Google Earth blog looks intriguing:

Wikimapia Does Google Earth!

Wikimapia in Google EarthExciting news! A few months ago one of the most talked about (and most used) Google mapping applications was released under the name Wikimapia. Wikimapia is a tool which lets anyone mark something in the Google Maps satellite/aerial photos with a rectangle and then write about it and/or provide links to Wikipedia. Just like Wikipedia, it lets anyone edit the commentaries / descriptions. The interface is intuitive and clean. As soon as I first saw it, I sent an E-mail suggesting they create a Google Earth network link to show the same information. Well, Matt Jones just wrote to tell me they now have Wikimapia for Google Earth (see his blog entry). Try out the Wikimapia KML network link and you will be able to zoom in and see Wikimapia areas in Google Earth for your current view. The more you zoom in, the more you see. You can click on the placemarks to get a link to the Wikimapia descriptions. I’m so glad they finally decided to support GE as well!

This is just the beginning of the possibilities. I’ve been thinking about new ways Wikimapia could be extended with Google Earth. For example, creating polygons with the rectangles and filling it with varying colors at a low transparency would make it look even better. There’s also some possibilities created with the new GE API (just announced recently by Google) which would allow more interesting integration between Wikimapia and GE.