Archive for June, 2007

Chiron pool at Flickr

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Alun Salt notes

Recently the 5000th photo was uploaded to the Chiron pool at Flickr. That’s over 5000 photos connected to antiquity which you can pick up and use in presentations or blogs for free. It’s due in no small part to the submissions by Ovando and MHarrsch, but there’s 130 other members. It’s a simple interface and an excellent example of what you can do with Flickr.

You can see the latest additions to Chiron in the photobar at the top of the page and you can visit the website of the people who had such a good idea at Chironweb.

Forthcoming lectures on arts and humanities e-science

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Forwarded from AHESC Arts and Humanites e-Science Support Centre

The next lectures in the e-Science in the Arts and Humanities Theme (see begin next week. The Theme, organized by the Arts and Humanities e-Science Support Centre (AHeSSC) and hosted by the e-Science Institute in Edinburgh, 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.

The lectures are:

Monday 2 July: Grid Enabling Humanities Datasets

Friday 6 July: e-Science and Performance

Monday 23 July: Aspects of Space and Time in Humanities e-Science

In all cases it will be possible to view the lecture on webcast, and to ask questions or contribute to the debate, in real time via the blog feature. Please visit E-Science_in_the_Arts_and_Humanities, and follow the ‘Ask questions
during the lecture’ link for more information about the blog, and the ‘More details’ link for more information about the events themselves and the webcasts.

AHeSSC forms a critical part of the AHRC-JISC initiative on e-Science in Arts and Humanities research. The Centre is hosted by King’s College London and located at the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) and the AHRC Methods Network. AHeSSC exists to support, co-ordinate and promote e-Science in all arts and humanities disciplines, and to liaise with the e-Science and e-Social Science communities, computing, and information sciences.

Please contact Stuart Dunn (stuart.dunn[at] or Tobias Blanke
(tobias.blanke[at] at AHeSSC for more information.

100+ million word corpus of American English (1920s-2000s)

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Saw this on Humanist. Anything out there and also freely available for UK English?

A new 100+ million word corpus of American English (1920s-2000s) is now freely available at:

The corpus is based on more than 275,000 articles in TIME magazine from 1923 to 2006, and it contains articles on a wide range of topics – domestic and international, sports, financial, cultural, entertainment, personal interest, etc.

The architecture and interface is similar to the one that we have created for our version of the British National Corpus (see, and it allows users to:

— Find the frequency of particular words, phrases, substrings (prefixes, suffixes, roots) in each decade from the 1920s-2000s. Users can also limit the results by frequency in any set of years or decades. They can also see charts that show the totals for all matching strings in each decade (1920s-2000s), as well as each year within a given decade.

— Study changes in syntax since the 1920s. The corpus has been tagged for part of speech with CLAWS (the same tagger used for the BNC), and users can easily carry out searches like the following (from among endless possibilities): changes in the overall frequency of “going + to + V”, or “end up V-ing”, or preposition stranding (e.g. “[VV*] with .”), or phrasal verbs (1920s-1940s vs 1980s-2000s).

— Look at changes in collocates to investigate semantic shifts during the past 80 years. Users can find collocates up to 10 words to left or right of node word, and sort and limit by frequency in any set of years or decades.

— As mentioned, the interface is designed to easily permit comparisons between different sets of decades or years. For example, with one simple query users could find words ending in -dom that are much more frequent 1920s-40s than 1980s-1990s, nouns occurring with “hard” in 1940s-50s but not in the 1960s, adjectives that are more common 2003-06 than 2000-02, or phrasal verbs whose usage increases markedly after the 1950s, etc.

— Users can easily create customized lists (semantically-related words, specialized part of speech category, morphologically-related words, etc), and then use these lists directly as part of the query syntax.


For more information, please contact Mark Davies (, or visit:

for information and links to related corpora, including the upcoming BYU American National Corpus [BANC] (350+ million words, 1990-2007+).

—– Mark Davies
Professor of (Corpus) Linguistics
Brigham Young University

Paper on Archaeology in Second Life

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Shawn Graham (at the Electric Archaeology blog) has uploaded a copy of his paper, at the recent Immersive Worlds conference at Brock. The paper can be downloaded (as a .wav) here: ‘On Second Lives and Past Lifes: Archaeological Thoughts on the Metaverse‘ (via the EA post).

This is obviously a huge and very relevant topic at the moment, since the Digital Classicist Seminar in London yesterday was addressed by Timothy Hill under the title: ‘Wiser than the Undeceived? Past Worlds as Virtual Worlds in the Electronic Media’. (And Dunstan Lowe will also address recreational software in the same series in three weeks time.)

Announcing the TEI 2007 Members Meeting

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

From Susan Schreibman posted on Humanist:

We are pleased to announce the TEI annual members meeting:

** TEI@20: 20 Years of Supporting the Digital Humanities **

31st October – 3rd November 2007, University of Maryland

Pre-conference workshops: 31 October 2007
TEI conference: 1-2 November 2007
Business meeting: 3 November 2007

We invite you to come to the annual showcase of all things TEI.

The meeting includes:

* the launch of TEI P5
* a full programme of invited speakers, panels, roundtable discussion
* special interest group sessions
* TEI business meeting and elections.

There will also be a day of pre-meeting training workshops
(see web site below for details).

Conference papers will be published by
LLC: The Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities.

The meeting will be held at the University of Maryland Libraries,
University of Maryland, College Park, just outside Washington, D.C.

The event is open to all and free of charge for TEI Consortium institutional members, subscribers and invited guests. Others will be charged $75, which entitles you to conference admission and subscriber benefits for the remainder of the calendar year.

For program details , registration, hotel, and travel information, please visit the conference website at

Sebastian Rahtz
Chair, TEI Members Meeting 2007 (for TEI Board of Directors)

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Promise and challenge: augmenting places with sources

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Bill Turkel has some very interesting things to say about “the widespread digitization of historical sources” and — near and dear to my heart — “augmenting places with sources”:

The last paragraph in “Seeing There” resonated especially, given what we’re trying to do with Pleiades:

The widespread digitization of historical sources raises the question of what kinds of top-level views we can have into the past. Obviously it’s possible to visit an archive in real life or in Second Life, and easy to imagine locating the archive in Google Earth. It is also possible to geocode sources, link each to the places to which it relates or refers. Some of this will be done manually and accurately, some automatically with a lower degree of accuracy. Augmenting places with sources, however, raises new questions about selectivity. Without some way of filtering or making sense of these place-based records, what we’ll end up with at best will be an overview, and not topsight.

There’s an ecosystem of digital scholarship building. And I’m not talking about SOAP, RDF or OGC. I’m talking about generic function and effect …  Is your digital publication epigraphic? Papyrological? Literary? Archaeological? Numismatic? Encyclopedic? A lumbering giant library book hoover? Your/my data is our/your metadata (if we/you eschew walls and fences). When we all cite each other and remix each other’s data in ways that software agents can exploit, what new visualizations/abstractions/interpretations will arise to empower the next generation of scholarly inquiry? Stay tuned (and plug in)!

Open letter to AHRC

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

A letter has been sent to the British Arts and Humanities Research Council, asking for clarification on the fate of digital preservation and dissemination of good practice given the AHRC’s recent announcement that funding for the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) would be terminated early next year. This information-seeking letter (attached here) has been signed on behalf of the Digital Classicist, Antiquist, Digital Medievalist, and TEI communities.

Rome Reborn 1.0

Monday, June 11th, 2007

from the Chronicle for Higher Education:

Ancient Rome Restored — Virtually

A group of Virginians and Californians has rebuilt ancient Rome. And today they received the grateful thanks of the modern city’s mayor. The rebuilding marked by this ceremony has been digital. Researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of California at Los Angeles led an international team of archaeologists, architects, and computer scientists in assembling a huge recreation of the city. Rome Reborn 1.0 shows Rome circa 320 AD as it appeared within the 13 miles of Aurelian Walls that encircled it. In the 3D model, users can navigate through and around all the buildings and streets, including the Roman Senate House, the Colosseum, and th e Temple of Venus and Rome. And of course, since the city is virtual, it can be updated as new scientific discoveries are made about the real remains. –Josh Fischman

The RR website repays browsing. The still image of the interior of the Curia Julia is unusually attractive to my eyes, for a digital reconstruction. Of greater interest is what’s said under “Future of the Project,” namely that “The leaders of the project agree that they should shift their emphasis from creating digital models of specific monuments to vetting and publishing the models of other scholars.” I hope that process gets underway.

Update: Troels Myrup Kristensen has his doubts:

Notice the absence of signs of life – no people, no animals, no junk, no noises, no smells, no decay. The scene is utterly stripped of all the clutter that is what really fascinates us about the past. The burning question is whether this kind of (expensive and technology-heavy) representation really gives us fundamentally new insights into the past? From what I’ve seen so far of this project, I’m not convinced that this is the case.

Studentship and job in E-Science, Imaging Technology and Ancient Documents

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Posted for Melissa Terras:

Applications are invited for two posts for which funding has been secured through the AHRC-EPSRC-JISC Arts and Humanities E-Science initiative to support research on the application of Information Technology to ancient documents. Both posts are attached to a project which will develop a networked software system that can support the imaging, documentation, and interpretation of damaged texts from the ancient world, principally Greek and Latin papyri, inscriptions and writing tablets. The work will be conducted under the supervision of Professors Alan Bowman FBA, Sir Michael Brady FRS FREng (University of Oxford) and Dr. Melissa Terras (University College London).

1. A Doctoral Studentship for a period of 4 years from 1 October, 2007. The studentship will be held in the Faculty of Classics (Sub-Faculty of Ancient History) and supported at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the Oxford E-Research Centre. The Studentship award covers both the cost of tuition fees at Home/EU rates and a maintenance grant. To be eligible for a full award, the student must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for a period of 3 years before the start of the award. (Further Particulars2)
2. A postdoctoral Research Assistantship for a period of 3 years from 1 October, 2007. The post will be held in the Faculty of Classics (Sub-Faculty of Ancient History) and supported at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents and the Oxford E-Research Centre. The salary will be in the range of £26,666 – £31,840 p.a. Applicants must have expertise in programming and Informatics and an interest in the application of imaging technology and signal-processing to manuscripts and documents. (Further Particulars)
The deadline for receipt of applications is 4 July 2007. Further details about both posts, the project, the qualifications required and the method of application are available from Ms Ghislaine Rowe, Graduate Studies Administrator, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LU (01865 288397, It is hoped that interviews will be held and the appointments made in the first half of July.

publishing software

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

During the session on collaboration between Digital Humanities centers at Digital Humanities 2007, Julia Flanders made some remarks that got me thinking about software tools and publication. Her remarks revolved in part around the possibility of such a collaboration providing peer review services, and also around the way in which our community tends to be good at building prototypes, but less good at producing finished software. One of the motivating forces behind this habit is the academic culture of publication. It’s a regrettable fact that tool-building in the humanities does not get the same credit as publishing. In the EpiDoc project, we’ve made an effort to be sure to cite software tools we’ve built as publications, which is what they are. The new Digital Humanities Quarterly is in a position to publish peer-reviewed articles that do not fit the traditional definition of article (e.g. multimedia presentations). What obstacle would there be to publishing peer-reviewed, Open Source software source code in a journal like DHQ? Obviously software doesn’t follow the same rhythms as print publishing, but why couldn’t a 1.0 release be termed a publication? Is a good software tool not the moral equivalent of an article or even a book? Or am I just a heretic?

Robot Scans Ancient Manuscript in 3-D

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Amy Hackney Blackwell has a new piece in Wired on the just-concluded month-long effort to digitize Venetus A at the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice.  (There’s a nice gallery of images too.)
I was fortunate to be part of this CHS-sponsored team for one week. Ultimately, we managed to acquire 3-D data as well as very high resolution images for three different annotated manuscripts of the Iliad. All of this material will be made available on-line on an Open Access basis.

NEH announces deadlines for Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Monday, June 4th, 2007

From Brett Bobley at NEH (via

The next two deadlines will be:

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

So mark your calendars!

I should note that we are currently in the process of updating the guidelines for this program based on feedback we’ve received from the field. The guidelines on our website right now are from last year — I hope to have the new, revised version up by mid-July. As you know, this program is designed to encourage innovations in the digital humanities. In fact “innovation” is really a key theme we’ll be stressing in our new guidelines. We want bold thinking, people! We will also be tweaking the award amounts to try to accommodate both *smaller* projects (think brainstorming/R & D sessions, planning workshops, alpha-level prototypes) as well as *larger* projects (think more developed projects that need seed money to get rolling).

OA in Classics…

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Josiah Ober, Walter Scheidel, Brent D. Shaw and Donna Sanclemente, “Toward Open Access in Ancient Studies: The Princeton-Stanford Working Papers in Classics” in Hesperia, Volume: 76, Issue: 1. Cover date: Jan-Mar 2007

Two Digital Humanities Job Openings at Brown University

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

1. Scholarly Technology Group—Senior Research Programmer

The Senior Research Programmer Analyst works closely with faculty and STG staff to carry out digital humanities projects by performing project analysis, providing technical leadership, programming and software development in support of STG’s projects. This person will recruit, plan and manage projects, write grant proposals, stay abreast of new methodologies and practices relevant to Digital Humanities and disseminate STG’s work at conferences.

(for more information see Brown Careers (under B00938) and

2. Women Writers Project—Project Manager / Textbase Editor

The Women Writers Project develops and publishes a digital research collection of early modern women’s writing, and conducts ongoing research on digital editing and text encoding. The WWP Project Manager/Textbase Editor is responsible for the general management of the WWP, overseeing the development and editing of the textbase content, managing licensing for Women Writers Online, and managing the WWP’s outreach and publicity activities. The Project Manager also works on WWP research projects and occasionally with the Scholarly Technology Group as opportunity permits. The position requires expertise in humanities computing, literary research, and computer project management, and a strong background in TEI/XML text encoding.

(for more information see Brown Careers and

Collaborative article against perpetual copyright

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Back in the middle of May, Lawrence Lessig posted a note on his blog pointing to a particularly idiotic op-ed in the NY Times that argued for perpetual copyright. He invited readers to write a response, on his Wiki. 25000 visits and nearly 300 edits later, the resulting article ‘Against Perpetual Copyright‘ is an impressive piece of work, summarising the arguments that include the essential difference between physical property and intellectual property, the stifling effect of strict, long-term copyright on creativity, among others. The piece is a testament to the power of collaborative authorship as well as a strong refutation of the op-ed in question.

See now Lessig’s observations on this article in a recent post, pointing out how he wouuld have focussed the arguments differently (principally by comparing the ability of different copyright models to promote and reward creativity).

Withdrawal of AHDS Funding

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Following the recent public announcement that the UK’s AHRC intends to withdraw funding from the Arts and Humanities Data Service, the following petition has been set up at the British Government’s website.

On 11 May 2007, Professor Phillip Esler, Chief Executive of the AHRC, wrote to University Vice-Chancellors informing them of the Council’s decision to withdraw funding from the AHDS after eleven years. The AHDS has pioneered and encouraged awareness and use among Britain’s university researchers in the arts and humanities of best practice in preserving digital data created by research projects funded by public money. It has also ensured that this data remains publically available for future researchers. It is by no means evident that a suitable replacement infrastructure will be established and the AHRC appears to have taken no adequate steps to ensure the continued preservation of this data. The AHDS has also played a prominent role in raising awareness of new technologies and innovative practices among UK researchers. We believe that the withdrawal of funding for this body is a retrograde step which will undermine attempts to create in Britain a knowledge economy based on latest technologies. We ask the Prime Minister to urge the AHRC to reconsider this decision.

You must be a British citizen or resident to sign the petition.