Archive for November, 2010

Εἰκονοποιία proceedings online

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I’m delighted to see that the proceedings of last month’s conference on Digital Imaging of Ancient Textual Heritage are now online as an open access PDF.

Download from:

There was an impressive line-up at this important conference, and I was sorry not to be able to attend. This collection of papers will be incredibly useful to anyone working in the imaging of manuscripts and other textual objects. (Now if only I could also have a hardcopy for my bookshelf!)

(Thanks to for pointing this out on Twitter)

Open Access and Citation Impact

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

A recent study published in the Public Library of Science has tested the relationship between Open Access self-archiving of peer-reviewed articles and improved citation impact.

See: Gargouri Y et al. ‘Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research’ PLoS ONE 5(10)

The correlation between publications that are freely available online and high citation metrics has been established many times before and is unarguable, but some have questioned (in what strikes me as a stretch of reasoning) whether this correlation can be taken to imply causation. (In other words, they argue, “Yeah but, maybe those open access papers are cited more because people would only upload their really good papers to the Web that would be cited a lot anyway!”) Harnad and co. demonstrate pretty conclusively using controlled and tested methods that both voluntarily self-archived papers, and those that are required by funding bodies or institutions to be openly archived, have the same beneficial impact on citation, *and* that this benefit is proportionally even greater for the most high-impact publications.

Like I say, we kind of knew this, but we now have a scientific publication we can cite to demonstrate it even to the skeptics.

Rethinking the Humanities and advancing civilization in a violent world

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

As we consider whether or not the Humanities serve a public good and warrant public support, we cannot emphasize enough that ideas are a matter of life and death. At the dawn of the twentieth century, Kabul and Kandahar were almost as remote from New York as the Moon is today. But in the first year of the twenty-first century, we saw that the most remote and geo-politically weak space on earth could strike the centers of global power. Pressing issues such as the anxiety over oil and Israel may be in the foreground, but these are largely accelerants to a deeper intellectual encounter, a war of ideas that have evolved over thousands of years, across thousands of miles, and within thousands of languages.

We need better ways to understand the cultures that drive economic and political systems upon which our biological lives depend. First, we need to understand the connections, often surprising, that bind superficially distinct cultures. Kandahar was in fact founded by Alexander the Great –  one Alexandria among several in his empire. The great translation movement centered in Baghdad from c. 800 to 1000 CE made more Greek Science, Medicine, and Philosophy available in Arabic than has been translated into any modern language since. A second translation movement, with strong centers in Spain and Sicily, amade Arabic scholarship available in Latin – Aristotle re-emerged in the West because Muslim scholars had not only translated his work but had gone far beyond the Greek starting points and provided foundations on which Christian thinkers could build. Western Europe built upon a foundation forged in Greek and Arabic. As Dimitri Gutas, an expert on Greek and Arabic points out, the dense cultural network of which the Europe is a part extends – and has extended for thousands of years — at least until India.


Digital Humanities in Computer Science

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Digital Humanities in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University

Computer Science has played a critical role in many areas of inquiry, but nowhere are the potential implications greater than in the Humanities. We are transforming the ways in which we can relate to the past and understand the relationship of that past to the world in which we live. We need a new generation of researchers who can develop new methods from the computational sciences to advance the intellectual life of humanity.

The presence of the Perseus Project ( at Tufts since 1992 has allowed Tufts play a significant role in the emerging field of Digital Humanities. The Tufts Department of Computer Science ( now provides unique opportunities for emerging researchers with an interest in the Digital Humanities to develop those interests within the department of Computer Science, combining rigorous course work with opportunities to develop projects relevant to various areas within the humanities. Tufts can support a wide range of backgrounds and career goals.

Undergraduates at Tufts and elsewhere with an interest in Digital Humanities are encouraged to combine either a major or a minor in Computer Science with another area of the Humanities. Such a combination will provide a foundation for undergraduate research projects of tangible value.

Students who have a strong humanities background and wish to develop a rigorous foundation in Computer Science for subsequent Digital Humanities work are encouraged to consider the Post-Baccalaureate Minor Program in Computer Science ( The Post-Bac CS Minor will enable students either to pursue subsequent graduate work in Computer Science or lay the foundations for Digital Humanities research within a graduate program in the humanities.

More advanced students may consider the Master’s Program in Computer Science. This can either lead to a Phd program in Computer Science or an area within the Humanities but it can also prepare students for work developing the digital infrastructures within libraries, cultural institutions, and major media.

The Tufts Phd Program in Computer Science provides a framework in which students with a strong background in some area of the Humanities can develop research and teaching agendas that bridge the gap between Computer Science and areas within the Humanities. A Phd in Computer Science at Tufts can give you a unique position in revolutionizing the intellectual life of humanity. More information will become available with an update on For more information, students can contact