Posts Tagged ‘epigraphy’

Reflecting on our (first ever) Digital Classicist Wiki Sprint

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

From (Print) Encyclopedia to (Digital) Wiki

According to Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert the purpose of an encyclopedia in the 18th century was ‘to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the people with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come’.  Encyclopedias have existed for around 2,000 years; the oldest is in fact a classical text, Naturalis Historia, written ca 77 CE by Pliny the Elder.

Following the (recent) digitalization of raw data, new, digital forms of encyclopedia have emerged. In our very own, digital era, a Wiki is a wider, electronic encyclopedia that is open to contributions and edits by interesting parties. It contains concept analyses, images, media, and so on, and it is freely available, thus making the creation, recording, and dissemination of knowledge a democratised process, open to everyone who wishes to contribute.

 

A Sprint for Digital Classicists

For us, Digital Classicists, scholars and students interested in the application of humanities computing to research in the ancient and Byzantine worlds, the Digital Classicist Wiki is composed and edited by a hub for scholars and students. This wiki collects guidelines and suggestions of major technical issues, and catalogues digital projects and tools of relevance to classicists. The wiki also lists events, bibliographies and publications (print and electronic), and other developments in the field. A discussion group serves as grist for a list of FAQs. As members of the community provide answers and other suggestions, some of these may evolve into independent wiki articles providing work-in-progress guidelines and reports. The scope of the Wiki follows the interests and expertise of collaborators, in general, and of the editors, in particular. The Digital Classicist is hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, and the Stoa Consortium, University of Kentucky.

So how did we end up editing this massive piece of work? On Tuesday July 1, 2014 and around 16:00 GMT (or 17:00 CET) a group of interested parties gathered up in several digital platforms. The idea was that most of the action will take place in the DigiClass chatroom on IRC, our very own channel called #digiclass. Alongside the traditional chat window, there was also a Skype voice call to get us started and discuss approaches before editing. On the side, we had a GoogleDoc where people simultaneously added what they thought should be improved or created. I was very excited to interact with old members and new. It was a fun break during my mini trip to the Netherlands, and as it proved, very focused on the general attitude of the Digital Classicists team; knowledge is open to everyone who wishes to learn and can be the outcome of a joyful collaborative process.

 

The Technology Factor

As a researcher of digital history, and I suppose most information system scholars would agree, technology is never neutral in the process of ‘making’. The magic of the Wiki consists on the fact that it is a rather simple platform that can be easily tweaked. All users were invited to edit any page to create new pages within the wiki Web site, using only a regular web browser without any extra add-ons. Wiki makes page link creation easy by showing whether an intended target page exists or not. A wiki enables communities to write documents collaboratively, using a simple markup language and a web browser. A single page in a wiki website is referred to as a wiki page, while the entire collection of pages, which are usually well interconnected by hyperlinks, is ‘the wiki’. A wiki is essentially a database for creating, browsing, and searching through information. A wiki allows non-linear, evolving, complex and networked text, argument and interaction. Edits can be made in real time and appear almost instantly online. This can facilitate abuse of the system. Private wiki servers (such as the Digital Classicist one) require user identification to edit pages, thus making the process somewhat mildly controlled. Most importantly, as researchers of the digital we understood in practice that a wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the visitor in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the Web site landscape.

 

Where Technology Shapes the Future of Humanities

In terms of Human resources some with little involvement in the Digital Classicist community before this, got themselves involved in several tasks including correcting pages, suggesting new projects, adding pages to the wiki, helping others with information and background, approaching project-owners and leaders in order to suggest adding or improving information. Collaboration, a practice usually reserved for science scholars, made the process easier and intellectually stimulating.  Moreover, within these overt cyber-spaces of ubiquitous interaction one could identify a strong sense of productive diversity within our own scholarly community; it was visible both in the IRC chat channel as well as over skype. Several different accents and spellings, British, American English, and several continental scholars were gathering up to expand this incredibly fast-pacing process. There was a need to address research projects, categories, and tools found in non-english speaking academic cultures.  As a consequence of this multivocal procedure, more interesting questions arose, not lest methodological. ‘What projects are defined as digital, really’, ‘Isn’t everything a database?’ ‘What is a prototype?’. ‘Shouldn’t there be a special category for dissertations, or visualisations?’.  The beauty of collaboration in all its glory, plus expanding our horizons with technology! And so much fun!

MediaWiki recorded almost 250 changes made in the 1st of July 2014!

The best news, however is that this, first ever wiki sprint was not the last.  In the words of the Organisers, Gabriel Boddard and Simon Mahony,

‘We have recently started a programme of short intensive work-sprints to
improve the content of the Digital Classicist Wiki
(http://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/). A small group of us this week made
about 250 edits in a couple of hours in the afternoon, and added dozens
of new projects, tools, and other information pages.

We would like to invite other members of the Digital Classicist community to
join us for future “sprints” of this kind, which will be held on the
first Tuesday of every month, at 16h00 London time (usually =17:00
Central Europe; =11:00 Eastern US).

To take part in a sprint:

1. Join us in the DigiClass chatroom (instructions at
<http://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/DigiClass_IRC_Channel>) during the
scheduled slot, and we’ll decide what to do there;

2. You will need an account on the Wiki–if you don’t already have one,
please email one of the admins to be invited;

3. You do not need to have taken part before, or to come along every
month; occasional contributors are most welcome!’

The next few sprints are scheduled for:
* August 5th
* September 2nd
* October 7th
* November 4th
* December 2nd

Please, do join us, whenever you can!

 

 

Postdoc position: Imaging and Ancient Documents (Oxford)

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Forwarded for Charles Crowther:

Post-doctoral Research Assistant – Reflectance Transformation Imaging Systems for Ancient Documentary Artefacts (RTISAD)
Academic-related Grade 7, Salary: £28,983.00 – £35,646.00 pro rata per annum

The Reflectance Transformation Imaging Systems for Ancient Documentary Artefacts (RTISAD) project is seeking to appoint a Post-doctoral Research Assistant for a three-quarter-time, nine-month fixed term post from 1 June 2010 or as soon as possible thereafter. The project is funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant, under the Digital Equipment and Database Enhancement for Impact scheme. The person appointed will be responsible for organising a trial programme of photographing ancient documentary material using the Reflectance Transformance Imaging systems built by the project. Applicants should have a completed D.Phil, Ph.D or equivalent, together with a competence in cuneiform studies, and/or Greek and Latin papyrology and epigraphy, or another related discipline, and have proven IT skills.

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Practical Epigraphy Workshop

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Forwarded for Charlotte Tupman.

Practical Epigraphy Workshop

22-24 June 2010, Great North Museum, Newcastle

A Practical Epigraphy Workshop is taking place for those who are interested in developing hands-on skills in working with epigraphic material. The workshop is aimed at graduate students, but other interested parties are welcome to apply, whether or not they have previous experience. With expert tuition, participants will learn the practical aspects of how to record and study inscriptions. The programme will include the making of squeezes; photographing and measuring inscribed stones; and the production of transcriptions, translations and commentaries. Participants may choose to work on Latin or Greek texts.

The course fee is £100 but we hope to be able to provide bursaries to participants to assist with the cost. Accommodation will be extra, but we are arranging B&B nearby for around £30-40.

Places on the workshop are limited and applications will be accepted until 31st March. For further details please contact Dr. Charlotte Tupman: charlotte.tupman@kcl.ac.uk.

The Practical Epigraphy Workshop is sponsored by The British Epigraphy Society, an independent ‘chapter’ of the Association Internationale d’Épigraphie Grecque et Latine:

http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/BES/

http://www2.bbaw.de/aiegl

EpiDoc Training Sessions 2009

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

EpiDoc Training Sessions 2009
London 20-24 July
Rome 21-25 September

The EpiDoc community has been developing protocols for the publication of inscriptions, papyri, and other documentary Classical texts in TEI-compliant XML: for details see the community website at http://epidoc.sf.net.

Over the last few years there has been increasing demand for training by scholars wishing to use EpiDoc. We are delighted to be able to announce two training workshops, which will be offered in 2009. Both will be led by Dr Gabriel Bodard. These sessions will benefit scholars working on Greek or Latin documents with an interest in developing skills in the markup, encoding, and exploitation of digital editions. Competence in Greek and/or Latin, and knowledge of the Leiden Conventions will be assumed; no particular computer skills are required.

London session, 20-24 July 2009. This will take place at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, 26-29 Drury Lane. The cost of attendance will be £50 for students; £100 for employees of universities or other non-profit institutions; £200 for employees of commercial institutions. Those interested in enrolling should apply to Dr Bodard, gabriel.bodard@kcl.ac.uk by 20 June 2009.

We hope to be able to offer some follow-up internships after the session, to enable participants to consolidate their experience under supervision; please let us know if that would be of interest to you.

Rome session, 21-25 September 2009. This will take place at the British School at Rome. Thanks to the generous support of the International Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, the British School and Terra Italia Onlus, attendance will be free.

Those interested in enrolling should apply to Dr Silvia Orlandi, silvia.orlandi@uniroma1.it by 30 June 2009.

Practical matters
Both courses will run from Monday to Friday starting at 10:00 am and ending at 16:00 each day.

Participants should bring a wireless-enabled laptop. You should acquire and install a copy of Oxygen *and* either an educational licence ($48) or a 30-day trial licence (free). Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use it!

Archaeological and Epigraphic interchange and e-Science

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Workshop at the e-Science Institute, Edinburgh, February 10-11, 2009 (see programme and registration):

Rationale: The meeting will bring technical and editorial researchers participating in, or otherwise engaged with, the IOSPE (Inscriptiones Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Euxini = Ancient Inscriptions of the Northern Black Sea Coast.) project together with researchers in related fields, both historical and computational. Existing projects, such as the Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica and Inscriptions of Aphrodisias, have explored the digitization of ancient inscriptions from their regions, and employed the EpiDoc schema as markup. IOSPE plans to expand this sphere of activity, in conjunction with an multi-volume publication of inscription data. This event is a joint workshop funded in part by a Small Research Grant from the British Academy, and in part by the eSI through the Arts and Humanities e-Science theme. The workshop will bring together domain experts in epigraphy, and specialists in digital humanities, and e-science researchers, which will provide a detailed scoping of the research questions, and the research methods needed to investigate them from an historical/epigraphic point of view.

The success of previous projects, and the opportunities identified by the IOSPE research team, raise questions of significant interest for the e-science community. Great interpretive value can be attached to datasets such as these if they are linked, both with each other, and with other relevant datasets. The LaQuaT project at King’s, part of ENGAGE, is addressing this. There is also an important adjunct research area in the field of digital geographic analysis of these datasets: again, this can only be achieved if disparate data collections can be meaningfully cross-walked.

Digital Classicist Occasional Seminars: Lamé on digital epigraphy

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

For those who are not subscribed to the Digital Classicist podcast RSS, I’d like to call attention to the latest “occasional seminar” audio and slides online: Marion Lamé spoke about “Epigraphical encoding: from the Stone to Digital Edition” in the internation video-conference series European Culture and Technology. Marion talked about her PhD project which is to use an XML-encoded edition of the Res Gestae Diui Augusti as an exercise in digital recording and presentation of an extremely important and rich historical text and encoding historical features in the markup.

We shall occasionally record and upload (with permission) presentations of interest to digital classicists that are presented in other venues and series. If you would be interested in contributing a presentation to this series, please contact me or someone else at the Digital Classicist.

EpiDoc Summer School, 11-15 June, 2007

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Over the last few years an international group of scholars has been developing a set of conventions for marking up ancient documents in XML for publication and interchange. The EpiDoc Guidelines started from the case of inscriptions, but the principles are also being applied to papyri and coins, and the aim has always been to produce standards consistent with those of the Text Encoding Initiative, used for all literary and linguistic texts.

Following on from the interest we have seen in EpiDoc training events (including recent sessions in Rome and San Diego) and the success of the London EpiDoc Summer School over several years now, we shall be holding another week-long workshop here at King’s College London, from the 11th-15th June this year.

* The EpiDoc Guidelines provide a schema and associated tools and recommendations for the use of XML to publish epigraphic and papyrological texts in interchangeable format. For a fuller description of the project and links to tools and guidelines see http://epidoc.sf.net.
* The Summer School will offer an in-depth introduction to the use of XML and related technologies for publication and interchange of epigraphic and papyrological editions.
* The event will be hosted by the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, which will provide the venue and tuition. The school is free of charge, but attendees will need to fund their own travel, accommodation, and subsistence. (There may be cheap accommodation available through KCL; please inquire.)
* The summer school is targeted at epigraphic and papyrological scholars (including professors, post-docs, and advanced graduate students) with an interest and willingness to learn some of the hands-on technical aspects necessary to run a digital project (even if they would not be marking-up texts by hand very much themselves). Knowledge of Greek/Latin, the Leiden Conventions and the distinctions expressed by them, and the kinds of data and metadata that need to be recorded by philologists and ancient historians, will be an advantage. Please enquire if you’re unsure. No particular technical expertise is required.
* Attendees will require the use of a relatively recent laptop computer (Win XP+ or Mac OSX 10.3+), with up-to-date Java installation, and should acquire a copy of the oXygen XML editor (educational discount and one-month free trial available); they should also have the means to enter Unicode Greek from the keyboard. Full technical specifications and advice are available on request. (CCH may be able to arrange the loan of a prepared laptop for the week; please inquire asap.)

Places on the workshop will be limited so if you are interested in attending the summer school, or have a colleague or student who might be interested, please contact gabriel.bodard@kcl.ac.uk as soon as possible with a brief statement of qualifications and interest.

EpiDoc: Epigraphic Documents in TEI XML

Monday, April 24th, 2006

There’s a new home on SourceForge for Epidoc, and the Epidoc guidelines themselves are available here on the Stoa server.

Principles:

Five important principles have governed the elaboration of EpiDoc techniques and tools from the beginning:

  • EpiDoc and its tools should be open and available to the widest possible range of individuals and groups; therefore, all documents and software produced by the EpiDoc Community are released under the GNU Public License
  • Insofar as possible, EpiDoc should be compliant or compatible with other published standards: we should strive to avoid re-inventing wheels or creating data silos
  • Insofar as possible, EpiDoc projects should work collaboratively and supportively with other digital epigraphy initiatives, especially those sanctioned by the Association Internationale d’ Épigraphie Grecque et Latine
  • In the arena of transcription, EpiDoc must facilitate the encoding of all editorial observations and distinctions signaled in traditional print editions through the use of sigla and typographic indicia
  • We avoid encoding the appearance of these sigla and indicia; rather, we encode the character (or semantics) of the distinction or observation the human editor is making. The rendering of typographic representations of these distinctions are accomplished using XSLTs or other methods.

EpiDoc Development Sprint: more

Friday, April 7th, 2006

As a follow-up to my previous post detailing the achievements of the first half of an “EpiDoc Development Sprint” in London (20-24 March 2006), I would like to offer the following summary of achievements during the second (and final) two-day sprint (below). Participants are currently gathering up loose ends and completing finishing touches to portions of the work. Further updates, including announcement of the next major release of tools and guidelines, will be made via the Stoa-sponsored Markup List.

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EpiDoc Development Sprint

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

During the week of 20-24 March, the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College (London) is playing host to a group of EpiDoc practitioners and Text Encoding Initiative experts for the purpose of an “EpiDoc Development Sprint.” This event proceeds under the auspices of the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias Project (also at King’s) and with funding support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Other participants represent the U.S. Epigraphy Project and the Scholarly Technology Group (both at Brown University); the Ancient World Mapping Center (UNC-Chapel Hill); and Lulu.com. Sprint participants are collaborating to achieve major advances in published guidelines and free tooling to support the encoding of Greek and Latin inscriptions using the TEI tagset.

The week’s efforts are organized into a pair of two-day sprint sessions, the first of which has now closed. Herewith a brief summary of accomplishments to date …
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