Archive for September, 2012

Chasing Krüger’s Dream: Studying the Transmission of Classical and Medieval Manuscripts Using Lattice Theory and Information Entropy

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Lecture announcement: http://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/news/index.html#sep27

September 27, 2012
Lecture: “Chasing Krüger’s Dream: Studying the Transmission of Classical and Medieval Manuscripts Using Lattice Theory and Information Entropy.” John W. Hessler, Kluge Staff Fellow.
4:00 – 5:00 p.m., LJ-119, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Reception to follow.

Abstract

How accurately have culturally fundamental texts from literature, law, science, geography, and philosophy been handed down from ancient Rome and Greece to the present by way of scribal copying in the Middle Ages?  This fundamental question of how various manuscripts from a textual tradition have been transmitted through space and time has been the concern of scholars since at least the founding of the great Library of Alexandria in the third century BC.

Early Medieval scribes recognized that in the process of copying ancient texts mistakes were made, and that these errors became part of the textual tradition, to be passed on through history. They also realized that this process of copying error had a random or chaotic nature, and so they invented the demon Tutivillus, whom they considered to be the error’s source. Throughout the Renaissance scholars, like Erasmus, battled this demon in their attempts to re-construct important Latin and Greek manuscripts descended from antiquity. Later in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries scholars, like Karl Lachmann and Paul Krüger, tried to systematize a method in order to determine which parts of medieval manuscripts were errors, and which were the real readings descended from the original authors.

This paper will highlight a new computational technique to show how modern digital philology is changing the way we think of the transmission of medieval manuscripts through space and time, and is also helping to solve this seemingly simple, but unfortunately, rather complicated problem. Using the notes of the classical philologist Paul Krüger, whose manuscripts were recently rediscovered in the Law Library of Congress, complex three dimensional visualization techniques will be used to show how the medieval manuscripts making up the Codex of Justinian are spatially and temporally related to each other. This talk will also highlight how these new techniques give scholars the tools to postulate what the structure of missing and destroyed manuscripts might have been.  Using these methods, based in lattice theory and information entropy, this paper can be seen as a case study in how digital and computational algorithms are changing the face of even the most traditional of the humanities, classical philology.

The results of this study and my year long Kluge Fellowship will be published in the book  called, Roman Law in Ruins: a Computational Study of the Medieval Transmission of Justinian’s Codex. This has been made possible through a generous grant from the American Academy in Rome and it will be published copyright free both in hardcover and on the web by Franz-Steiner Verlag (Berlin) in February, 2014 as part of their Alte Geschichte Monograph Series.

“Europeana’s Huge Dataset Opens for Re-use”

Friday, September 14th, 2012

According to this press-release from Europeana Professional, the massive European Union-funded project has released 20 million records on cultural heritage items under a Creative Commons Zero (Public Domain) license.

The massive dataset is the descriptive information about Europe’s digitised treasures. For the first time, the metadata is released under the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication, meaning that anyone can use the data for any purpose – creative, educational, commercial – with no restrictions. This release, which is by far the largest one-time dedication of cultural data to the public domain using CC0 offers a new boost to the digital economy, providing electronic entrepreneurs with opportunities to create innovative apps and games for tablets and smartphones and to create new web services and portals.

Upon registering for access to the Europeana API, developers can build tools or interfaces on this data, download metadata into new platforms for novel purposes, make money off it, perform new research, create artistic works, or anything.

It’s important to note that it’s only the metadata that is being freely released here: I did a search for some Greek inscriptions, and also photographs and transcriptions are available, these are all fiercely copyrighted to the Greek Ministry of Culture: ” As for all monuments of cultural heritage, permission from the Greek Ministry of Culture is required for the reproduction of photographs of the inscriptions.” (According to this same license statement, even the metadata are licensed: “Copyright for all data in the collection belongs to the Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. These data may be used freely, provided that there is explicit reference to their provenance. ” Which seems slightly at odds with the CC0 claim of the Europeana site; no doubt closer examination of the legal terms would reveal which claim supercedes in this case.)

(It was lovely to be reminded that inscriptions provided by the Pandektis project [like this funerary monument for Neikagoras] have text made available in EpiDoc XML as well as Leiden-formatted edition.)

It would be really good to hear about any implementations, tools or demos built on top of this data, especially if that had a classics component. Any pointers yet? Or do we need to organize a hackfest to get it started….?

BSR conference support scheme

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Forwarded for Eleanor Murkett:

28 September deadline for proposals for the new BSR Conference Support Scheme Competition 2013-2014

Proposals for 2013-14 are currently being accepted for the BSR’s new Conference Support Scheme. This provides support for promising novel research on Rome and Italy. The scheme reflects the BSR’s longstanding commitment to promoting interdisciplinary research and its main aim is to provide support for genuinely interdisciplinary landmark conferences which will foster collaborative relationships with universities and research centres.

Please make sure your application reaches us by the deadline of 16.00 on Friday 28 September 2012

For further information about the Scheme please go to the BSR Conferences page at http://www.bsr.ac.uk/research/conferences-at-the-bsr/bsr-conference-support-scheme

Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, U.Houston

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Forwarded for Casey Dué Hackney (full details at UH website):

Postdoctoral Fellow Application Information

The University of Houston invites applications for a post-doctoral fellowship in Digital Humanities beginning January 16, 2013. The position is available for one year and renewable for a second year at the discretion of the University. We welcome candidates who hold (or will hold by January 2013) a Ph.D. in any humanities discipline, but particularly encourage applications from candidates with expertise and research in digital humanities and/or computational methods. Any applicant should have received his or her Ph.D. no earlier than 2010.

The postdoctoral fellow will be in residence at the main campus of the University of Houston. The fellow will spend 65 percent of the time coordinating the activities of the interdisciplinary Digital Humanities Initiative, including scheduling speakers, organizing and participating in mini-workshops and reading groups, developing grant applications and other funding sources with faculty and graduate students, and other appropriate tasks as assigned. There are no teaching duties but the fellow will help develop DH courses and training programs. For more information on the Digital Humanities Initiative, see http://www.uh.edu/class/digitalhumanities/. The fellow will report directly to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The fellow may spend the other 35 percent of the time on the fellow’s own research.

Applicants should submit their applications electronically to cdue-hackney@uh.edu. Applications should be in a pdf file that includes a cover letter, a description of the applicant’s research program in digital humanities and/or computational methods (no more than 3 single-spaced pages), and a curriculum vitae. Additionally three letters of recommendation should be sent to the same e-mail address. The deadline is October 15, 2012. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Final candidates will be invited for interviews in person or via the Internet.

Word, Space, Time: Digital Perspectives on the Classical World

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

This call for papers was picked up from the Digital Classicist mailing list.

Word, Space, Time: Digital Perspectives on the Classical World

An interdisciplinary conference organized by the Digital Classics Association

University at Buffalo, SUNY
Buffalo, NY 14261, USA

April 5 – 6, 2013

Archaeological GIS, digital historical mapping, literary text mining, and other computational techniques are increasingly shaping how we understand classical antiquity. Digital methods are breaking down sub-disciplinary barriers, allowing literary scholars to more easily explore epigraphical inscriptions, archaeologists to place their findings on digital historical maps, and philosophers to explore style and argument with sophisticated search techniques. Digital tools also offer new ways to explain aspects of classical antiquity in the classroom and to the public at large.

The aim of the inaugural Digital Classics Association (DCA) conference is to provide a survey of current approaches to digital methods of research, teaching, and outreach across classical sub-disciplines, with the goals of further opening inter-disciplinary perspectives and establishing common objectives for digital research and education. (more…)

3 Jobs for DH developers, London

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

From Jobs.ac.uk:

The Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) is an academic department in the School of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London. Formerly called the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, DDH is an international leader in the application of technology in the arts and humanities, and in the social sciences.

The primary objective of DDH is to study the possibilities of computing for arts and humanities scholarship and, in collaboration with local, national and international research partners across the disciplines, to design and build applications which implement these possibilities, in particular those which produce online research publications.

The department is looking for a number of skilled developers to join its Research and Development team. These posts all involve implementation and functional design work (in collaboration with other members of the R&D team and external partners) across two – three varied and challenging research projects.

(Note that DDH has several active classical projects, including The Art of Making in Antiquity, to which new appointees will probably contribute.)

Editing Athenaeus Hackathon: Berlin/Leipzig, October 10-12

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

The Banquet of the Digital Scholars

Humanities Hackathon on editing Athenaeus and on the Reinvention of the Edition in a Digital Space

October 10-12, 2012 Universität Leipzig (ULEI) <http://www.zv.uni-leipzig.de/> & Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI) Berlin <http://www.dainst.org/de/department/zentrale?ft=all>

Co-directors: Monica Berti – Marco Büchler – Gregory Crane – Bridget Almas

The University of Leipzig will host a hackathon that addresses two basic tasks. On the one hand, we will focus upon the challenges of creating a digital edition for the Greek author Athenaeus, whose work cites more than a thousand earlier sources and is one of the major sources for lost works of Greek poetry and prose. At the same time, we use the case Athenaeus to develop our understanding of to organize a truly born-digital edition, one that not only includes machine actionable citations and variant readings but also collations of multiple print editions, metrical analyses, named entity identification, linguistic features such as morphology, syntax, word sense, and co-reference analysis, and alignment between the Greek original and one or more later translations. (more…)