Archive for March, 2007

Why Blogs should use Creative Commons

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

An interesting discussion on the iCommons blog. Excerpt:

If your intention, as a blogger, is to have your content and your thoughts distributed as widely as possible, then reserving all your rights to your content is counterproductive. A more effective way of distributing your content and still retaining some control over how your content is distributed is using Creative Commons licenses.

This does, as the author argues, remove the need to walk the fine “Fair Use” line when another blogger wants to reproduce, quote from, and engage with your text. It’s an argument worth reading. I suppose that if your blog consists in large part of quotations from other sources there is less of an obvious advantage in this, as your quotations are obviously exempt from the (cc) licence. I should speak to my co-editors both here and over at CE about doing this.

Your data is the next big battle

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

The trendspotters are saying (rhetorically) “Open Source is dead” and “Open data matters more than Open Source.” What’s clearly meant is: “open data formats matter more …”

Open access — over which critical battles important to readers of this blog continue to rage — is completely overlooked.

e-Science in the Arts and Humanities

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
A series of lectures organised by the (UK) Arts and Humanities e-Science Support Centre:
AHeSSC is coordinating a ‘Theme’ entitled ‘e-Science in the Arts and Humanities’ at the e-Science Institute in Edinburgh. For more details click here.

The first phase of the theme’s activities will be a lecture series that will run from April to July 2007. A full programme for these is now available on the e-Science Institute wiki. The lectures are free and open to all (although registration will be required), and will be webcast. More details webcasting and registration will be posted here shortly.

This Theme aims to explore the new challenges for research in the Arts and Humanities, and to define the new research agenda that is made possible by e-Science technology. It will encourage innovation and the pushing back of intellectual boundaries, while seeking to be accessible to and inclusive of those researchers who are not currently engaged in this agenda. The Theme will consider the international context of UK research, and will identify the strategic considerations for researchers, students and funding agencies as this agenda is taken forward.

We will run a series of lectures, workshops and training activities that will present several examples of the advanced grid-based research that is being carried out by, for example, historians, linguists, performers, classicists, art historians and archaeologists. In September there will be an International Expert Seminar to examine aspects of funding and strategy.

(Declaration of interest: I’m speaking at one of these events in June, on Open Source Critical Editions.)

Join the Wikipedia Debate

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Seen at Academic Commons:

This coming Thursday (29 March 2007), the first Language Lab Unleashed! of the spring will feature Don Wyatt (chair of the Department of History at Middlebury College), Elizabeth Colantoni (Professor of Classics at Oberlin College), Laura Blankenship (Senior Instructional Technologist at Bryn Mawr), and Bryan Alexander (Director of Research at NITLE) for a discussion on the potential uses and abuses of Wikipedia in the educational arena.

The show will begin promptly at 8pm … for details on how to join the  live conversation, please visit:

That time’s 20:00 EST = 01:00 UTC. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it…

Citizendium debuts

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

from the CHE:

Citizendium Starts With a Little Knowledge

Citizendium, the peer-reviewed “progressive fork” of Wikipedia (The Chronicle, October 18, 2006), has opened for business. The site unveiled its public face on Sunday and as of this afternoon boasts more than 1,100 articles — a far cry from the more than 1.6 million entries in Wikipedia’s English version, but a decent start.

So far the new encyclopedia has a fairly random smattering of material: articles on topics relevant to scholars, like Jacques Derrida and the First Punic War, mingle with puzzling entries on the Bruneian dollar and Don MacLean (the basketball player, not the songwriter responsible for “Vincent.”) And while some pieces — like an essay on autism — seem to be well fleshed out, others — like a write-up on dachshunds — are mere placeholders for more-thorough articles.

None of this is meant as criticism. In fact, it’s fascinating to watch an encyclopedia start from the ground up. It will be worth watching to see whether the encyclopedia’s embrace of soft hierarchy — unlike Wikipedia, Citizendium requires contributors to identify themselves, and it lets a panel of scholars make final decisions on edits — slows its growth. –Brock Read

The entry on the Greek alphabet looks substantial as well.

The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Seen at Academic Commons:

The folks at the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory aka HASTAC ( have posted a draft of a paper entitled “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age.”  The paper will evolve through online collaboration and conversations, and will be published in its final form as part of the Occasional Paper Series on Digital Media and Learning sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

It is framed by the following proposition:
“We are faced today by a pressing question: How do institutions–social, civic, educational–transform in response to and in order to promote new kinds of learning in the information age?”

This provocative and difficult question–What does a peer-to-peer learning institution look like and how does it differ from what we understand our traditional learning institutions to be?–is only part of what makes this project exciting. It is also notable for its delivery platform, a terrific and soon-to-be-released WordPress blogging plugin (code name Comment Press) that the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book have developed, and that allows for context-specific commenting at multiple levels.

Conference: Historic Environment Information Resources Network

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Data Sans Frontières: web portals and the historic environment

25 May 2007: The British Museum, London

Organised by the Historic Environment Information Resources Network (HEIRNET) and supported by the AHRC ICT Methods Network and the British Museum, this one-day conference takes a comprehensive look at exciting new opportunities for disseminating and integrating historic environment data using portal technologies and Web 2.0 approaches. Bringing together speakers from national organisations, national and local government and academia, options for cooperation at both national and international levels will be explored.

The aims of the conference are:

  • To raise awareness of current developments in the online dissemination of Historic Environment Data
  • To set developments in the historic environment sector in a wider national and European information context
  • To raise awareness of current portal and interoperability technologies
  • To create a vision for a way forward for joined up UK historic environment information provision

This conference should be of interest to heritage professionals, researchers and managers from all sectors.

The conference costs £12 and a full programme and online registration facilities are available at There may be tickets available on the day, but space is limited so please register as soon as possible.

Wikipedia editing as teaching tool

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

A wonderful suggestion in a comment on Cathy Davidson’s letter (that Tom blogged here a few days ago):

Thanks for your great column. I’ve used the “stubs” feature of Wikipedia to generate a list of 120 topics relating to ancient Roman civilization that need full articles. Then I’m requiring the 120 students in my upcoming Roman Civilization class to each write one article. This will hopefully teach them how to do original research in the library on obscure, narrowly focused topics and then create something of lasting value to others. The students will also be required to each review three of their fellow students’ articles in order to learn about the collaborative editing process. I’m a little nervous about its success, but I’m hoping to be part of the solution to the issues raised by Wikipedia, rather than contributing to the problems.

I’ve heard suggestions of this kind before, but this is one of the coolest implementations of it I’ve come across recently. This makes me wish once again that I was teaching a large class this year so I could do something similar. Kudos to JuliaFelix; please let us know how the experiment works.

Tools and Methods for the Digital Historian

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Posted by the Methods Network:

The AHRC ICT Methods Network, a UK initiative for the exchange and dissemination of expertise in the use of ICT for arts and humanities research, has just launched an online community forum on ‘digital’ history:

‘Tools and Methods for the Digital Historian’

( is the first of a set of integrated online communities related to Methods Network activities and resources and is a forum for open discussion of all issues relating to digital history. In particular we invite comments on a working paper by Neil Grindley (Methods Network) entitled ‘Tools and Methods for Historical Research’ which we hope will become the basis of a community resource. We are keen on getting more input and would very much like to include your feedback in future versions of the paper.

Wikis and Blogs in Education

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Seen in the Creative Commons Feed:

“The wiki is the center of my classroom”

That’s a quote from Wikis and Blogs in Education, one of three educational remixes from students of open content pioneer David Wiley.

The other two are Interviewing Basics and the Open Water Project, an excellent disaster preparedness video that probably everyone should watch.

Each project is licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike and incorporates CC licensed and public domain audio, images, and video as well as original materials.

Wikis and Blogs in Education, potentially the most interesting site for readers of this forum is a site that combines text and video in an animated Flash and Javascript framework. It seems to run smoothely, but I don’t know if that would have implications for the free reuse of the material.

MIT Faculty and Libraries Refuse DRM

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Seen in Slashdot, MIT LIbraries:

The MIT Libraries have canceled access to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ web-based database of technical papers, rejecting the SAE’s requirement that MIT accept the imposition of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

SAE’s DRM technology severely limits use of SAE papers and imposes unnecessary burdens on readers. With this technology, users must download a DRM plugin, Adobe’s “FileOpen,” in order to read SAE papers. This plugin limits use to on-screen viewing and making a single printed copy, and does not work on Linux or Unix platforms.

MIT faculty respond

“It’s a step backwards,” says Professor Wai Cheng, SAE fellow and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, who feels strongly enough about the implications of DRM that he has asked to be added to the agenda of the upcoming SAE Publication Board meeting in April, when he will address this topic.

It will be interesting to see how publishers respond as this sort of user-revolt escalates.

Middlebury Wikigate Revisited

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Back in January, I made some hooting noises and pointed at Jimmy Wales in the context of the tempest-in-a-teapot that erupted after the Middlebury College History Department added Wikipedia to its list of works students may not cite in papers.

One of the more useful published reactions to the whole affair — certainly more useful than mine — seems to me to be Cathy Davidson’s Op-Ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education,We Can’t Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies” (53:29, 23 March 2007 [sic!]).
Among other provocative suggestions, she asks:

Rather than banning Wikipedia, why not make studying what it does and does not do part of the research-and-methods portion of our courses? Instead of resorting to the “Delete” button for new forms of collaborative knowledge made possible by the Internet, why not make the practice of research in the digital age the object of study?

Those, like me, who don’t subscribe to the Chronicle can read the letter via Davidson’s blog at HASTAC.

ECDL 2007 submission extension

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Via a note forwarded to the JISC-REPOSITORIES list, John Robertson alerts us to an extension (until 22 March 2007) of the submission deadline for “papers, panels, posters and demos, doctoral consortium and tutorial” for the 11th European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries.

Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

From the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration website (where you’ll find all the details):

The Program in Research in Information Technology of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation invites nominations for the 2007 Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC). In support of the Program’s mission to encourage collaborative, open source software development within traditional Mellon constituencies, these awards recognize not-for-profit organizations that are making substantial contributions of their own resources toward the development of open source software and the fostering of collaborative communities to sustain open source development.

Digital Humanities 2007 registration open

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

By way of John Unsworth’s note to the HASTAC list, we learn that the schedule and online registration are now available for Digital Humanities 2007, complete with an unfunny logo.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2006 Annual Edition

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

From Charles Bailey’s post to JISC-REPOSITORIES:

The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2006 Annual Edition is now available from Digital Scholarship:

Annual editions of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography are PDF files designed for printing. Each annual edition is based on the last HTML version published during the edition’s year. Minor corrections, such as updated URLs, have been made in the SEPB: 2006 Annual Edition.

The SEPB: 2006 Annual Edition is based on Version 66 (12/18/2006). The printed bibliography is over 230 pages long. The PDF file is over 930 KB.

Archaeologists erect new walled garden on web

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

ArchaeoSeek bills itself as a new “Social Network for Archaeologists” with an exclusive membership policy:

This network is for real archaeologists, i.e. those engaged or interested in the study of archaeology. No creationists, or crackpots need apply. If you do try to join, be aware that you will be removed rather quickly.

It’s common — and very sensible — to establish criteria, and require account login or other identity mechanisms, for members who can author and post to web sites. One might observe that the language of this policy is pretty provocative, but what really surprised me was the discovery that ArchaeoSeek’s archives and web feeds require a login too. It really is a “members-only” site.


New Blog: Current Epigraphy

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Announcement of a new blog:
Current Epigraphy reports news and events in Greek and Latin epigraphy.

ISSN 1754-0909 (Online)

CE publishes workshop and conference announcements; notices of discoveries, publications and reviews; project reports; and descriptive links to digital epigraphic projects. We owe our inspiration partly to Gregg Schwendner, who single-handedly maintains the What’s New in Papyrology blog. Our goal is to provide a similar service to the epigraphic community, but to do so in a broadly collaborative way that invites contribution from a wide group of scholars and enthusiasts.


  • Gabriel Bodard (King’s College London)
  • Tom Elliott (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  • Francisca Feraudi-Gruénais (University of Heidelberg)
  • Julia Lougovaya (Columbia University, New York)
  • Charlotte Tupman (King’s College London)

Monitoring Current Epigraphy:

Readers may learn of updates to CE in two ways:

  1. Via XML web feeds. CE publishes web feeds in RSS 2.0, RSS 0.92 and Atom 0.3 formats, which can alert users of feed reader software to blog updates.
  2. Via the inscriptiones-l email list. The editors of CE regularly digest the most recent posts to CE and forward them, in an email, to the list.

Your News:

If you have news that you would like included in CE, you may do one of three things:

  1. Ask to become an author of the blog (any of the editors can arrange this for you).
  2. Post your news to inscriptiones-l, where it will be seen and probably digested.
  3. As a last resort, send your news directly to one of the authors of the blog.

Please feel free to forward this message to colleagues who may be interested, and to re-post it in other appropriate venues.

CC Learn

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Seen in the Creative Commons blog today:

A new division of Creative Commons, provisionally called CC Learn, will focus on education, broadly defined — from kindergarten to graduate school, to lifelong learning. The mission of this new division will be to promote vigorous networks of Open Educational Resources: materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use, modify and re-use for teaching, learning and research. CC Learn is looking for an Executive Director.

What is interesting is not the possibility that someone reading this blog might be interested in applying for an executive director’s position, but that CC are creating a new division especially for educational materials. I have always assumed that teaching materials and other educational resources were the most obvious candidates fro CC licensing, so I am now moved to wonder: what particular requirements do educations have from Creative Commons or Open Source licenses?

TEI Workshops @ Kalamazoo

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Copied from Humanist:

The Medieval Academy of America Committee on Electronic Resources is pleased to announce two TEI workshops to be held at the International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, MI, in May 2007. Both workshops will be on Thursday, May 10 (sessions 32 and 138; see
for complete conference schedule).

1) XML and the Text Encoding Initiative Workshop I: Introduction to TEI Encoding

This workshop offers an introduction to best practices for digital scholarship, taught by a medievalist, James C. Cummings, specifically for medievalists. Instruction includes introductory-level XML and structural encoding, as well as new TEI P5 standards and guidelines, markup concerns for medieval transcription, and a brief consideration of XML Editors. Assignments will be completed during the following clinic.

2) XML and the Text Encoding Initiative Workshop II: Advanced TEI Encoding and Customization

This workshop offers advanced instruction in advanced topics in TEI encoding and the customization of the TEI for an individual project’s needs, taught by a medievalist, James C. Cummings, specifically for medievalists. Instruction includes metadata for medieval manuscript description, advanced-level concepts of TEI P5 modularization, schema generation and customization for individual projects, and a brief survey of related technologies. Assignments will be completed during the following clinic.

Dr. Cummings works for the Oxford Text Archive, University of Oxford. He holds a PhD from the University of Leeds, and he has extensive experience leading TEI workshops.

Both workshops are limited to 14 participants, and registration is required.

The fee *per workshop* is $45/$60 (Medieval Academy members/nonmembers) for pre-registration, $55/$70 for walk-ins (pending available space).

Please send contact information and a check payable to Medieval Academy of America c/o

Dorothy Carr Porter
351/352 William T. Young Library
Univ. of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0456.

APA to “use technology in new and exciting ways”

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

First off, the APA are asking for generous donations toward an endowment of $4 million to build a new American Center for Classics Research and Teaching. The point of this centre, among other things, is to:

The aim of the Center is to make high quality information about the Classical World available in accessible formats to the largest possible audience by using technology in new and exciting ways. We will accelerate the transformation of our field from the “gatekeeper” of knowledge to the “gateway” to insight, offering all the rich and rewarding world of Classics.

So what are these “new and exciting ways” that technology is going to be used? The only objectives listed in this call for donations seem to be dissemination, and the creation of “sophisticated and accessible research tools”. We want to know more. The one-page case statement (I’ve not read the longer digests yet), talks about spending $1.5 million on preserving L’Année Philologique. Is that the only and the most worthy Classics resource out there? Where is this being discussed? (All genuine questions, by the way, not criticism. I just want to hear more about the exciting technologies.)