Electra Atlantis: Digital Approaches to Antiquity


Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

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April 17, 2014

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Rufinus’ account of the fall of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria

This evening I  happened across some files on my hard disk containing the Ecclesiatical History of Rufinus.  The following account is given of the fall of the Serapeum in Alexandria:[1]

11.23. I suppose that everyone has heard of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria, and that many are also familiar with it. The site was elevated, not naturally but artificially, to a height of a hundred or more steps, its enormous rectangular premises extending in every direction.

All the rooms up to the floor on top were vaulted, and being furnished with ceiling lights and concealed inner chambers separate from one  another, were used for various services and secret functions.

On the upper level, furthermore, the outermost structures in the whole circumference provided space for halls and shrines and for lofty apartments which normally housed either the temple staff or those called hagneuontes, meaning those who keep themselves pure.

Behind these in turn were porticoes arranged in rectangles which ran around the whole circumference on the inside.

In the middle of the entire area rose the sanctuary with priceless columns, the exterior fashioned of marble, spacious and magnificent to behold.

In it there was a statue of Serapis so large that its right hand touched one wall and its left the other; this monster is said to have been made of every kind of metal and wood. The interior walls of the shrine were believed to have been covered with plates of gold overlaid with silver and then bronze, the last as a protection for the more precious metals.

There were also some things cunningly devised to excite the amazement and wonder of those who saw them.

There was a tiny window so orientated toward the direction of sunrise that on the day appointed for the statue of the sun to be carried in to greet Serapis, careful observation of the seasons had ensured that as the statue was entering, a ray of sunlight coming through this window would light up the mouth and lips of Serapis, so that to the people looking on it would seem as though the sun was greeting Serapis with a kiss.[2]

There was another like trick. Magnets, it is said, have the power to pull and draw iron to themselves. The image of the sun had been made by its artisan of the finest sort of iron with this in view: that a magnet, which, as we said, naturally attracts iron, and which was set in the ceiling panels, might by natural force draw the iron to itself when the statue was placed just so directly beneath it, the statue appearing to the people to rise and hang in the air. And lest it unexpectedly fall and betray the trick, the servants of the deception would say, ”The sun has arisen so that, bidding Serapis farewell, it may depart for its own place.”

There were many other things as well built on the site by those of old for the purpose of deception which it would take too long to detail.[3]

Now as we started to say, when the letter had been read our people were ready to overthrow the author of [the] error, but a rumor had been spread by the pagans that if a human hand touched the statue, the earth would split open on the spot and crumble into the abyss, while the sky would crash down at once.[4]

This gave the people pause for a moment, until one of the soldiers, armed with faith rather than weapons, seized a double-headed axe, drew himself up, and struck the old fraud on the jaw with all his might. A roar went up from both sides, but the sky did not fall, nor did the earth collapse. Thus with repeated strokes he felled the smoke-grimed deity of rotten wood, which upon being thrown down burned as easily as dry wood when it was kindled.

After this the head was wrenched from the neck, the bushel[5] having been taken down, and dragged off; then the feet and other members were chopped off with axes and dragged apart with ropes attached, and piece by piece, each in a different place, the decrepit dotard was burned to ashes before the eyes of the Alexandria which had worshiped him.

Last of all the torso which was left was put to the torch in the amphitheater, and that was the end of the vain superstition and ancient error of Serapis.

  1. [1] Book 11, ch. 23.  Tr. Philip R. Amidon, The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia, Oxford, 1997. p.80-82.  I’m afraid some of the numeral references are corrupt in my copy.
  2. [2] The existence of the window is confirmed by Alexandrian coinage, and the same arrangement for sun and window is found in other Egyptian temples. The Egyptians thought of the sun as reviving the statues of gods by shining on them and thus recharging them with vital force. The image of the sun kissing Serapis is found on coins and lamps of the period; cf. Thelamon PC 183184, 195197.
  3. [3] The use of magnets in temple ceilings for the purpose Rufinus describes is well attested; cf. Claudian Magnes 22.39; Pliny Natural History 34.42 (a magnet in the ceiling of an Alexandrian temple); Ausonius Mosella 315317; Augustine City of God 21.6.; Thelamon PC 182, 184.
  4. [4] The Egyptians feared the world would collapse in chaos if the customary rites were not performed; cf. Thelamon PC 200, note 19 (papyrological evidence); Corpus Hermeticum, Asclepius 2:4; Ps. Iamblicus, De mysteriis 6.7; Epiphanius, Panarion 18.3.12.
  5. [5] Serapis was depicted with a modiusjug on his head.

The Signal: Digital Preservation

A Very Special Episode about Digital Preservation

In getting ready to make a transition from digital preservation and repository development at the Library of Congress to digital preservation at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), I was asked if I would write a post about what I’ve been doing and what I will be doing at NARA.

Don’t mind if I do.

Going Away Card, made by Abbie Grotke, photo by Leslie Johnston

Going Away Card, made by Abbie Grotke, photo by Leslie Johnston

In my six years at the Library of Congress I’ve had the great opportunity to be involved in many areas of operations. The things I do are not normally scoped as part of digital preservation, but that’s the spin to everything that I do.

My nominal day job is that I oversee the development of repository services at the Library. So on the surface, I oversee software development. Break that down, however, and many of the goals for our repository services are in support of digital preservation. Our ingest services focus on the verification of fixities, creation of fixities if none accompany the files, format characterization and inventorying.  Our inventory services include auditing and reporting.  Our quality review and workflow services reduce the amount of direct human interaction with files, hopefully mitigating some risks.

I got to work with two projects that are seemingly all about access – the National Digital Newspaper Program and the World Digital Library.  But both have strong preservation components.  NDNP provides a mechanism for historic newspaper page images and accompanying OCR and metadata to be stored in multiple managed locations to reduce risk of loss.  WDL provides a distributed architecture for its access component, but the Library also provides preservation services for the collections.

I have for years worked with NDIIPP.  I have been a point of contact for partner organizations working on tools and technical infrastructure for digital preservation. Much of my job is putting the right people together, or remembering that presentation I saw or that article I read and getting the information to someone who’d make use of it.

Quite a bit of my job at the Library is also that sort of consultation.  I have had the pleasure of working with collections inventory and security, helped put processing workflows for digital collections into place and talked a lot about digitization.  I am enormously proud of the strides we have made in inventorying the Library’s digital collections so we can better track and monitor them. I am very proud of the last 3 years serving on the Library’s Digital Preservation Working Group, which has developed technical guidance on digital preservation for the the Library staff. I am proud of the outcomes of years of work documenting the preferred digital formats for the Library’s collections. I am especially proud of the way we have integrated digital preservation into the planning for projects.  It’s not just something we talk about: now it is something we DO.

And in my new position?  That’s still an open book.  I will be the first person in the role and I am looking forward to learning about the challenges, which I know are similar to what I have faced in the last 6 years.  There are issues with the accretive proliferation of file formats. Email is an increasing issue. Personally Identifiable Information is a concern in making collections and records available.  And the issue of scale effects ingest, bandwidth, processing and delivery of items, not to mention storage and preservation.

I will miss the Library of Congress. But I am not leaving digital preservation, so I look forward to continuing to see and working with my colleagues at the Library and with all the NDIIPP and NDSA partner organizations.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

ROMAQ: The Atlas Project of Roman Aqueducts

ROMAQ: The Atlas Project of Roman Aqueducts

Roman aqueducts are amongst the most impressive and interesting structures that have survived from the Ancient World. Although aqueduct bridges such as the Pont du Gard are best known, roman aqueducts are complex water supply line systems that are impressive feats of engineering even by today's standards. Some of the aqueducts are simple water channels, but many contain complex structures such as inverted siphons, tunnels, basins and drop shafts while the channels themselves can be up to 240 km in length. Over 1400 roman aqueducts have been described in the Mediterranean basin and the aim of this website is to present the available corpus of literature on the subject in a systematic way. Besides available literature on each aqueduct, we aim to present summarised data on each aqueduct. However, this is a project in development, and it will take time to add new data and publications, and to update content.

Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations

ADHO Seeks Communications Fellows

The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) seeks applicants for its Communications fellowship. Working on a small team, the fellow will write news releases, blog posts and announcements relevant to ADHO, its constituent organizations, and the broader digital humanities community; monitor and update ADHO’s social media presence; maintain its web site; help to develop and implement ADHO’s outreach strategy; and perform other communications-related responsibilities. The Communications fellow should anticipate spending approximately 3-4 hours per week on the position. The fellowship comes with a small annual stipend of 600 Euros. It is well-suited for graduate students who wish to develop deeper knowledge of digital humanities, contribute to an important digital humanities professional organization, and gain experience in social media and communications.

Desired skills and qualifications include:

  • fluency in more than one language
  • excellent written communication skills
  • attention to detail
  • good graphic design skills
  • ability to work with minimal supervision
  • experience creating content using Drupal or another content management system
  • familiarity with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook

To apply, submit a CV/ resume, a brief writing sample, three references, and a cover letter describing your interest in the position, experience with social media and communications, and expertise with writing, web development, and graphic design to Lisa Spiro, chair of ADHO’s communications committee: lisamspiro@gmail.com.  The application deadline is May 16, 2014. Two positions will be available.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Newly open access from NINO

C.H. van Zoest writes:
NINO celebrates its 75 year anniversary in 2014. As a modest part of the celebrations, we are digitizing our sold-out publications to make them available as free pdf downloads on our website. Eight titles have been added just now:
  • H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, A. Kuhrt (eds.) – Asia Minor and Egypt: Old Cultures in a New Empire. Proceedings of the Groningen 1988 Achaemenid History Workshop (Achaemenid History 6), 1991.
  • R.J. Demarée – The 3h ikr n R` stelae. On Ancestor Worship in Ancient Egypt (Eg. Uitg. 3), 1983.
  • D. van der Plas – L’hymne à la crue du Nil. Tome I: Traduction et commentaire; Tome II: Présentation du texte, texte synoptique, planches (Eg. Uitg. 4), 1986.
  • Compte rendu de la troisième Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale. Organisée à Leiden du 28 juin au 4 juillet 1952 par le Nederlandsch Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten (NINO 1), 1954.
  • J. Ryckmans – La persécution des Chrétiens himyarites au sixième siècle (PIHANS 1), 1956.
  • J. Doresse – Des hiéroglyphes à la Croix. Ce que le passé pharaonique a légué au Christianisme (PIHANS 7), 1960.
  • J. Zandee – The Terminology of Plotinus and of some Gnostic Writings, Mainly the Fourth Treatise of the Jung Codex (PIHANS 11), 1961.
  • B. van de Walle – L’humour dans la littérature et dans l’art de l’ancienne Égypte (SABMD 4), 1969.

More titles will follow! All digitized NINO publications are found on this page: http://bit.ly/NINOpdf

Information on our jubilee activities (mostly Dutch-language and Leiden-based): http://bit.ly/NINO75


The Homer Multitext

Oral Poetics and the Homer Multitext

One of the central research questions that drives the Homer Multitext is this: “How do you make a critical edition of an oral tradition, like that of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, that spanned a thousand years or more? What is the best way to represent the textual history of songs that were created in and for performance, but survive only in textual forms from later eras?” In our 2010 book, Iliad 10 and the Poetics of Ambush, Mary Ebbott and I attempted to demonstrate that a "multitextual"  approach to Homeric poetry is useful not only for understanding the transmission of the text of the epics, but also for better understanding the poetics of oral poetry. We could not have written that book, which is meant to be a sustained demonstration of the workings of oral poetry over the course of an entire book of the Iliad, without the data and tools of the Homer Multitext that were available to us at that time.

As new ways of viewing and working with the surviving documents that transmit Homeric poetry become possible, Mary and I would like to continue to use them to enhance our understanding of the poetics of the Iliad and Odyssey. With that in mind, we have decided to revive a long neglected Oral Poetry blog, which we will maintain along with this one, and in close coordination with one another. The Oral Poetry blog will be devoted primarily to questions of poetics, while we will continue to make posts here about the manuscripts and papyri and what they tell about the system of oral poetry in which the Iliad and Odyssey were composed.

To kick off this phase of the Oral Poetry blog, we are planning a series of posts about the poetics of Iliad 2. You can read my initial post about this work here. You can also read a much older post on this blog about the transmission of the Catalogue of Ships from Book 2 here. It is the special treatment and seemingly controversial place of the Catalogue in the surviving manuscripts and papyri that drives us to try to better understand the poetics of this fascinating record of names and places. 

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

How should things end?

For the last five years, I’ve taught the undergraduate methods class in the history department at the University of North Dakota every semester (History 240). Next year, I go on sabbatical and when I come back, it’s my understanding that my services will no longer be required in this class. So this will be my last time teaching the course for the foreseeable future.

I designed the course in 2009, and made it a combination historiography and historical research methods. The goal was to introduce students to the history of the discipline of history and to use that to situate how we approach historical research and writing today. In general, the course was successful, although I am not entirely sure that the methods introduced in the course were reinforced enough to be second nature for our students by the time they reached our capstone class. In fact, we’re introducing a class between History 240 and History 440 (our capstone) next year to reinforce many of the basic research skills introduced in history 240. As a result, the character of History 240 will have to change. More than that, I suspect that my own idiosyncratic approach to the course will not continue. That’s ok, though. I’ve had my time.

The end of teaching this class did get me thinking about how to end a class. My usual approach at the end of the semester is to scribble down some notes about how the class went and what I might want to change. These notes and some quick and dirty statistical summary of student performance (based on grades) allowed to adjust the class the next semester by shifting the emphasis slightly, reinforce key points, and even eliminate assignments on which students performed irregularly.  

This semester, however, there is no need to do that. I’m not teaching the class again, and if I do, it won’t be the same class. So as the semester winds down in this course, I find myself without a clear sense of purpose. I guess I never developed or even considered an endgame strategy.

Thinking about my lack of endgame, got me to reflect on the various initiatives that begin with promise on university campuses, but seem to lack a formal endgame. This is particular significant at a place like UND where our administrators rotate through every 3-5 years and bring with them a new set of priorities, strategies, and vision. More than that, the economy, technology, and disciplinary boundaries appear to have entered a period of particular fluidity and dynamism that calls into question the value of any project or program that would continue 

If faculty have the initiative and resources to invest in new programs or projects, then, then we must also understand the environment in which we work. Project, programs, and even classes need to have endgames which are more than just slipping quietly into sabbatical or watching interest in a program or project decline until it is quietly discontinued. Just as archaeological projects generally have plans to move from field work to publication, I wonder whether programs and projects on campus should have requirements for productive, reflective conclusions. These conclusions not only allow for the assessment (and if we know anything about the modern university, it’s that they love assessment) of the results of the program, the class, and the project over a set length of time, but also hold all parties accountable for the resources committed to the undertaking. Productive undertakings that succeed in their goals will have the opportunity to make a strong case of continued support – over another fixed duration with another set of clear goals; unproductive undertakings or ones that do not achieve their goals over a realistic span of time, will not get continued support freeing up resources for new, innovative programs.   

This approach may seem overly mechanistic and run counter to an open-ended spirit of humanistic inquiry. But, spending the last few weeks thinking about the trajectory of a course has made me realize that a class’s endgame has to produce a more satisfying and productive results than my current situation. As I wrap up teaching History 240 – perhaps for the last time ever and certainly the last time in its current configuration – I’m struck by a feeling of pointlessness. Five years of teaching the class and I have no ability to reflect on what I accomplished over that duration in a synthetic or systematic way. 

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

An Analytical Onomasticon to the Metamorphoses of Ovid

An Analytical Onomasticon to the Metamorphoses of Ovid
The Analytical Onomasticon is a reference work to persons and places in the Metamorphoses of Ovid. It is intended to assist the study of a poem that has remained curiously intractable to the literary critical quest for its coherence. The problem has not been a want of schemes, but rather too many, or at least more than can be accounted for by any one reckoning. As Brooks Otis pointed out years ago, Ovid sports with the idea of continuity: at the same time, and often with the same device, both supporting and undermining it. The Onomasticon assumes no particular theory of how the poem is constructed, nor that it has a single construction. Yet it is based on the idea that Ovid's is a serious play, not meant to scatter our attention but to redirect it. This book is intended to assist that redirection by supplying several different means for commanding the most extensive and significant body of textual evidence for the interrelation of persons, hence the interconnection of stories: the words and phrases that refer to and so name them. The Onomasticon is not limited to the quest for continuity in change, but its explicit aim is to further understanding of the poem as a coherent or, more accurately, cohesible work of literature.

  1. Prototype (as of 10/02)
    1. Introduction [X]
    2. Indexes (with concordance to the Latin text & a narrative index]
      1. Persons [X]
      2. Nominals [X]
      3. Attributes [X]
      4. Verbs [X]

  2. Personification model (as of 7/03)
    1. W. McCarty, "Depth, markup and modelling", Text Technology 12.1 and CH Working Papers A.25 (2003) [X]
    2. Prototype model (downloads)
      1. Spreadsheet front-end (MS Excel) [X]
      2. Relational database (MS Access) [X]

Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems

Latin Groove

In our two previous posts we introduced Recogito, a tool we are developing in order to efficiently extract, annotate and verify geographic references in texts. The development of Recogito is still continuing at full steam, and the team (and Leif in particular ;-) is feeding our feature backlog with a steady flow of new ideas & requirements. But despite the fact that there’s still a slight ambience of a busy construction site around Recogito, we have not just been developing. We have also been using it heavily to annotate new documents.

Prior to the start of Pelagios 3, we assembled a list of potential ancient sources to work on in each content work package. The sources we selected are specifically geographical works, i.e. documents where the authors give accounts of their world in their time. For some of the more extensive sources (such as Pliny’s Natural History), we restricted ourselves to only the specifically geographical chapters.

At the moment, we are about halfway through our first content work package, dealing with the Latin tradition (3 months out of 6). It’s therefore a good time to share with you the progress we made so far. The first three documents – the Vicarello Beakers, the Bordeaux Itinerary and Pliny’s Natural History – we already introduced previously. We've since found our groove and the list has grown much longer. Here are some documents we are currently working on:

Fig.1. The Bordeaux Itinerary (Part 1) in Recogito (» View Map)

Pomponius Mela: De Chorographia (around 43 AD)

Pomponius Mela lived during the government of Claudius and presumably died around the year 45 AD. His most famous work, cited by other great geographers such as Pliny the Elder, was De Chorographia. This work was composed of three volumes and was developed during the decade of the 40s. Each of his books is dedicated to an area of the known Roman world. In the first volume, Mela generally describes the world and its regions, the Mediterranean coasts of Africa and the Near East, starting from the Strait of Gibraltar. The second volume describes the coasts from the Near East to Hispania, where he talks about Greece, Italy and Gaul. Finally, the third volume describes the Atlantic territories, Britannia, and all remote territories, such as the German Limes, Arabia and India. » Map in Recogito

Laterculus Veronensis (AD 304-324?)

The Laterculus Veronensis is a listing of the various Roman provinces that existed during the governments of Diocletian and Constantine. Its chronology is therefore located between the years 284 and 337. The work is named due to the origin of the single manuscript that has been preserved in the Library of Verona. This source describes twelve dioceses gathering a total of over 100 provinces. » Map in Recogito

Avenius: Ora Maritima (AD IV)

Rufius Avienus Festus was an Etrurian poet, astronomer and geographer who lived in the 4th Century AD. He wrote several books and poems, the most prominent was Ora Maritima. This work is based on the Greek journey of Eutimenes of Massalia from the sixth century. Avienus used other sources such as the work of the first century BC Greek historian Ephorus. The use of this kind of ancient sources has introduced much confusion, making some places difficult to locate, and resulting in a mix of parts originating from very different times. » Map in Recogito

Rutilius Namatianus: A Voyage Home to Gaul (AD 416)

Rutilius Namatianus was born in southern Gaul, probably at the beginning of V century AD. He was a poet, but his only preserved work is the poem De reditu suo libri duo. It must have been written between 416 and 420 AD, and is composed in elegiac meter. Originally written in two volumes, the poem describes a trip down the coast from Rome to Gaul. Unfortunately, however, many parts (especially from the second volume) are lost, and the extant text stops at the port of Moon. » Map in Recogito

Jordanes: Getica (AD VI)

Jordanes lived during the sixth century AD and was of partially Gothic origin. It is believed that during his public career he was a notary and that he might further have had a religious career, coming to be a Bishop. Jordanes' fame comes from two major works, De regnorum ac Temporum successione, a world history from the creation to the 6th century, and De Origine et Rebu Getarum Gestis, better known as Getica. The latter one we have included in Pelagios 3 (restricting to the chapters with geographic descriptions). It is the only preserved source that explains the origin and characteristics of the Goths. » Map in Recogito

Bede: The ecclesiastical history of our island and nation (AD 703)

Bede, also referred as a Saint Bede, was born in England in the seventh century AD. He was a monk in the kingdom of Northumbria. Bede is known for his work Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, completed around the year 731 AD. This work consists of multiple volumes. It begins with the invasion of Caesar in 55 BC and ends with the fifth book, in the time of Bede himself. In Pelagios 3, we only have included the first chapters of this source, which are devoted to a geographical description of the British Isles. » Map in Recogito

Ammianus Marcellinus: Roman History (before 391)

This is a document we are currently starting to work on. Ammianus Marcellinus was a historian in the fourth century AD, probably born in Antioch. After developing his military career, he wrote one of the most famous stories of antiquity. His Res Gestae described the history of Rome from the government of Nerva in 96 to the Valeno’s death in 378. Unfortunately, the first thirteen books were lost, and the remaining eighteen contain missing parts. Only the last books survive, and are dedicated to the events between the years 353 and 378. Like in other cases, we only included those chapters where the geographic aspect was most prominent. » Map in Recogito

In numbers, we have already progressed to a total of 20.164 annotations (as of today), with an overall verification rate of 37.3% (which means we've confirmed more than 7.500 place references so far). But there are more Latin sources on our list which we yet have to address over the next three months. And our Greek content work package is about to start as well. So lots of exciting work ahead of us.

You can follow our progress live at http://pelagios.org/recogito!

- Ada, Pau & Rainer

From Bordeaux to Jerusalem and Back Again: Introducing Recogito (Pt. 1)

Welcome back to another update from our Infrastructure Workpackage 2 - "Annotation Toolkit", affectionately known as IWP2. In our previous IWP2 post, we talked a little bit about the basics of annotating place references in early geospatial documents. We also presented a first sample dataset based on the Vicarello Beakers. What we did not talk about yet, however, is how we actually annotate our documents in the first place.

The general plan behind the Pelagios annotation workflow is this:

  1. We use Named Entity Recognition (NER) to identify a first batch of place names automatically in our source texts. This step is also called "geo-parsing", and tells us which toponyms there are in our text, and where in the text they occur. We implemented NER using the open source Stanford NLP Toolkit, and presently restrict this step to English translations of our documents. In a later project phase, we intend to cross-match the data gathered from the English translations to the original language versions, which is likely more feasible within the lifetime of the project, than trying to attempt latin-language NER.
  2. NER gives us the toponyms. What it does not tell us anything about, however, is which places they represent, or where these places are located. Next, we therefore look up the toponyms in our gazetteer, and determine the most plausible match. This step is called "geo-resolution", and - like NER - is also fully automated.
  3. Naturally, neither geo-parsing nor geo-resolution work perfectly. Therefore, we need to manually verify the results of our automatic processes, correct erroneous NER or geo-resolution matches, and fill gaps where NER or geo-resolution have failed to produce a result at all. And this is where our new Tool Recogito comes in.

Fig. 1: data from the Bordeaux Itinerary in Recogito (interactive version in Latin and English).

The Itinerarium Burdigalense

The first document we've tackled entirely in Recogito is the Itinerarium Burdigalense: the Itinerarium Burdigalense (or Bordeaux Itinerary) is a travel document that records a Pilgrim route between the cities of Bordeaux and Jerusalem. It is considered the oldest Christian pilgrimage document, dated in 333 AD - which is just 20 years after the Edict of Milan from 313, when the Emperor Constantine granted the religious liberty to Christians (and other religions). Formally, this document is very similar in some aspects to the Itinerarium Provinciarum Antonini Augusti: both of them are compiled as a list of places with the distances between them. Additionally, the Itinerarium Burdigalense also marked all the places as mutatio, mansio or civitas (change, halt or city) in a similar way as the Peutinger Table. The format of the document changes when the travel arrives to Judea, where it offers detailed descriptions of important places to Christian Pilgrims. So we can consider it an itinerarium in the tradition of Greek and Roman writing, except for its Christian emphasis. (We've compiled a detailed bibliography for the Itinerarium Burdigalense here. The text of an English translation can be found, for example, on this Website.)

Annotating the Bordeaux Itinerary with Recogito

Recogito presents the results of our automatic processing steps in two flavours: in a text-based user interface, which is primarily designed to inspect and correct what the geoparser has done; and in a map-based interface which is used to work with the results from the geo-resolution step. A screenshot of the latter is shown in Fig.2, and we will explore it in more detail below. The former interface (which benefits from a little pre-knowledge of the map-based interface) we will disucss in a separate blog post.

Geo-Resolution Verification & Correction

The map-based interface separates the screen into a table listing the toponyms, and a map that shows how they are mapped to places. The primary work area for us in this interface is the table: here, we can scroll through all the toponyms and quickly check the gazetteer IDs they were mapped to. As a matter of policy, we want to explicity keep track of which toponyms have been looked at by someone, and which haven't. To that end, each entry in the table can be 'signed off' as either a verified gazetteer match, an unknown place, or a false NER detection. (In addition, there is also a generic 'ignore' flag, for toponyms that may be correctly identified in a technical sense, but which we don't want to appear in the map for whatever reason.)

Fig. 2: Recogito map-based geo-resolution correction interface.

Double-clicking an entry in the table opens a window with details for the toponym (Fig.3): the window shows the previous automatic gazetteer match (if any), the latest manual correction, and a text snippet showing the toponym in context. A lists of suggestions for other potential gazetteer matches, along with a small search widget allows us to quickly re-assign the gazetteer match in case it is incorrect. The change history for each toponym is recorded so we know who has change what (and when), or whether there are places that may see substantially more edits than others in the long run. Furthermore, manual changes are recorded separately from the initial automatic results. This way we will be able to benchmark the performance of NER and automatic geo-resolution later on. Detailed figures for the Bordeaux Itinerary are not yet out - but our initial figures suggest that NER has caught about 2/3 of all toponyms; and that approx. 80% of NER results were correct detections. The automatic geo-resolution correctly resolved between 30%-40% of the toponyms.

Fig. 3: toponym details.

While Recogito is still under heavy construction, Pau is already deeply buried in the next document - which we will present in one of our next blogposts, together with an overview of the text-based interface.

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

The dead have come alive!

ieldran, the Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery Mapping Project, is officially live and can be found here: ieldran.matrix.msu.edu

It’s been very exciting having the project live! However, because I went live early (most CHI projects will be going live on May 1) there are a number of features I wasn’t able to finish. There are two major features that I hope to add in the near feature.

  1. Submission of sites by users: I really want users to be able to add data to the project. The form wouldn’t directly add data, but rather would email it to me, and then I could add it. However, due to my lack of knowledge of PHP and lack of time to add more data at the moment, I had to comment this feature out. It is something very important to the project, especially since we currently don’t have inhumation only cemeteries in the database. With more time in the future, I will definitely add those sites and hopefully perfect the submission form.
  2. Downloads of spatial data: One of the reasons I went ahead with this project was that I wanted to make and share spatial data about site locations so that other people could use it and wouldn’t have to remake the data every single time. Sadly, due to my own lack of knowledge of PHP, I wasn’t able to get this feature running in time. I also need to figure out a way to add a license to the data so that the hard work that Matt Austin and I did to create it won’t be forgotten. However, it is impossible to add license or commenting directly into geoJSON data- meaning that we need to come up with another way of adding metadata either through an attached XML document or some type of modal.

Despite these issues, I am really proud of the database as it is my first time ever creating something like this. Most importantly, to me the project is a great representation of the new environment of sharing, linking and open access within archaeology and digital humanities (writ large). First, the data for ieldran was almost completely created by Matt Austin, who agreed to share all his MSc dissertation data for the project and in return is now my collaborator on this. Without his generous help of providing data, the site would only have a few dozen cemeteries, not hundreds. Second, the framework for ieldrean is an open access project called Bootleaf, created by Bryan McBride. He also shared advice and helped me solve my unique identifier problem. Finally, the collaborative environment of the CHI fellowship was very helpful, and I am truly grateful for their feedback and ideas.

Next week, I will be at the Society for American Archaeology doing two presentations about the project that anyone going to the conference is welcome to attend.

First, I will be discussing the general issue of sharing spatial data within mortuary archaeology, and suggest some ways that we can begin to fix this. I will be discussing overall the ieldran project and how I am trying to practice what I preach, as well as discussing some other projects that I am modeling mine after. If you’re interested in linked open data and GIS, I highly suggest you attend this session.

Thursday, April 24 at 10:30am: Linking the Spaces of Resting Places: GIS, Anglo-Saxon
Archaeology and Linked Open Data

  • Session: Place and Space in a Digital Landscape: New Perspectives on Analyzing and Sharing Geospatial Data in Archaeology (9:45 AM – 12:00 PM)
  • Room: 13AB (ACC)

Second, I will be briefly demonstrating ieldran as part of the Digital Data Interest Group lightning talks. This should be an interesting session to attend to learn more about current digital projects, as well as to meet the people behind these amazing works.

Friday, April 25 at 12:45pm: ieldran, The Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery Mapping Project

  • Session: Digital Data Interest Group Business Meeting 12:00pm, lightning talks immediately following the meeting at 12:45pm
  • Room: Room 414 (HA)

April 16, 2014

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Protect Your Data: Information Security and the Boundaries of your Storage System

The following is a guest post from Jane Mandelbaum, co-chair of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance Innovation Working group and IT Project Manager at the Library of Congress.

The NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation are useful in providing a high-level, at-a-glance overview of tiered guidance for planning for digital preservation. One of the most common requests received by the NDSA group working on this is that we provide more in-depth information on the issues discussed in each cell. To that end, we are excited to continue our series of posts, set up to help you and your organization think through how to go about working your way through the cells on each level.

There are 20 cells in the five levels, so there much to discuss. We previously wrote about row one cell one, Protect Your Data: Storage and Geographic Location and about row one cell two, Protect Your Data: File Fixity and Data Integrity.  If you want an overall explanation of the levels, take a look at The NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation: An Explanation and Uses.

This post is about row three, column one, the third box, in the NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation.

This post is about row three, column one, the third box, in the NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation.

In this post, we tackle row three cell one Protect Your Data: Information Security.

Storage Systems and Information Security

Requirements for information security in digital preservation may seem daunting, but these requirements can generally be met by simply configuring and operating your Storage System. The initial post in this series touches on the Storage System as a way to manage your stuff.  We’ll start this post by talking about Storage Systems in more depth, and how they address information security needs.

First, how are we defining a Storage System? 

A Storage System is a defined set of hardware, software, services and operational practices that you use to manage your stuff.  Many of us may feel that we don’t manage our own stuff because that is the job of our IT staff, or our external IT service provider.  But if you are engaged in digital preservation, you need to be able to identify the boundaries of the Storage System that does some (or any) digital preservation for you.

We’ll pose a few more questions to help you identify your Storage System.

Second, what are you keeping in the Storage System?

Because digital “stuff” is not tangible, it is sometimes difficult to describe what you have in your Storage System.

So you’re going to need someone who is willing and able to define the scope of the content in your Storage System.  And generally, you’re going to want to establish a few basic guiding principles, such as the following:

  • Anything in the Storage System has to be identified uniquely by a name or other identifier.
  • The base unit in the Storage System is a digital file – a discrete object.a.

More precisely, a Storage System generally has digital “files,” each with a name or identifier that can be managed and tracked.  A stream of data (such as a audio or video feed) won’t be in your Storage System unless you can define a start and stop point.

You might find it useful to think of the data in a Storage System as files “at rest.”

Third, what makes up a Storage System?

Once we’ve identified files as what we are preserving, we want to define what makes up the Storage System that we’ll keep our files in.  We can think of our Storage System as generally including servers, storage, services and operational practices.

Servers and Storage: Let’s start with servers and storage.  Differentiating between servers and storage is important in using the Levels and it is critical to understanding the Levels requirements of Information Security.

To be useful for this post, we’ll make some gross generalizations about what servers and storage are.  A server does data processing (runs programs, does indexing, does searches, and performs functions on data – read, write, execute and delete).  Your digital “stuff” is not on a server. It is true that a server has to have some amount of data to do its work (executable files, parameter files), but we don’t generally think of this as the “stuff” to be preserved.  As a gross generalization, this server-based data is typically located on small local disks and/or in memory (RAM).

Storage is where your “stuff” is.  This may be one or all of different kinds of storage.  The most commonly-used kinds of storage in a Storage System are “flash” or Solid State Disk (SSD) storage, hard disk storage, and tape storage.

Servers and storage both start as pieces of equipment that you can see and touch.  Both may be “virtualized” in practice.  A single piece of server equipment may be divided into multiple “virtual” servers.

To manage and protect your “stuff,” you need the functions performed by both servers and storage.  A server does any of the work required to manage your stuff.  Storage contains the files that you are considering in scope for your digital preservation storage system.   Digital objects or items may be complex, such as websites or video games or 3-D visualizations.  But each of these objects or items can be defined as a set of files.  And there’s always an interface that provides for the communication between the server and the storage.  The interface itself consists of both hardware and software.

So here are a few of examples of what servers and storage might be in your Storage System.  These are simply examples, and are not intended as a comprehensive list.

  • Storage System 1: One server with multiple large internal hard drives formatted or categorized with the principles of RAID (multiple physical drives that appear as one set up for redundancy and performance optimization), and a regular backup process for the data on the hard drives.
  • Storage System 2: One server attached via a network to a set of hard drives formatted or categorized with the principles of RAID (multiple physical drives that appear as one set up for redundancy and performance optimization), and to a tape system.
  • Storage System 3: Multiple servers attached via a network to multiple sets of hard drives and a tape system.
  • Storage System 4: Multiple servers attached via a network to multiple sets of hard drives and a local tape system, with a remote backup copy of designated files.

What are the services that can be performed in your Storage System? A Storage System is not complete with simply servers and storage.  Users need to be able to use the system to perform functions within the system.  These may vary from simple to complex, depending on the organization and its needs.   Examples of a base set of services might be:

  • Inventory of the files in the Storage System;
  • Capability to check the fixity of the files in the Storage System;
  • Capability to import files into, and export files out of, the Storage System;
  • Management of users with access to the files.

What are the Operational Practices, or rules, of your Storage System?  You may have rules that are managed through system functions and system parameters.  For example, your Storage System may enforce file naming conventions or rules about the number of files in a file system.  We will explore these in more depth in another blog post.

Your Storage System should have rules for access, which include managing who has access and what can be done by those who have access.  This brings us finally to the information security requirement – which is about access to the files.

Who has access to your Storage System and how do you control it?

The access to your “stuff” is the heart of the Information Security rows of the Levels.  You should always think about access, no matter what type of data you have.

There are two useful ways to think about what you need.

First, if you think about servers and storage as distinct parts of your Storage System, this will help define your access practices.  You need access policies and practices for both the server and the storage components of your Storage System.  Why is that and what does it buy you?  In the first column of the Information Security row of the Levels, we talk about identifying and restricting who has read, write and delete authorization to individual files.

You can think about this requirement as having two parts — the “who” part and the “files” part.   The “who” part is defined through user accounts, which are generally managed on servers. The user accounts may, for convenience, be members of user groups. Remember that your Storage System may have multiple servers – each of which needs to have an identified list of user accounts and groups.  The “files” may be accessed by different user accounts in different groups on different servers for different purposes.  This may seem confusing, but actually provides flexibility in control over your files.  You can provide different kinds of access to different files for different users.  You can think of this as a matrix that provides access controls through a combination of the user accounts on the servers with the files on the storage.

Another way of thinking about this is the concept of Role-based Access Controls.  With this concept, you start with the roles that you want your users to play in dealing with your files in your Storage System.  Examples of common roles are:

  • Omnipotent system administrator who can do anything and everything;
  • User administrator who can set up user accounts and user privileges but has no access to your files;
  • File administrator who has read and write access to all your files but cannot set up any user accounts;
  • User who has read access to all your files;
  • User who has read, write and delete access to all your files;
  • User has read access to some of your files;
  • User who has read, write and delete access to some of your files.

So if you’re looking at the requirements in this box it’s an opportunity to look at two views at the same time: the big picture of the Storage System as a whole, as well as the individual files in the Storage System.

Do these views make sense for the variety of scenarios in the field?  We’re always interested in hearing from practitioners on what is useful for you, so share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Heidelberger historische Bestände: Archäologische Literatur – digital

Heidelberger historische Bestände: Archäologische Literatur – digital
West Front des Parthenon
Zu den Beständen des Sondersammelgebietes Archäologie der UB Heidelberg gehört auch ein umfangreicher und sehr bedeutender Bestand archäologischer Literatur des 16. bis frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, aus dem ausgewählte Werke vollständig digitalisiert und via Internet kostenfrei zugänglich gemacht werden. Seit dem 1. September 2009 wird das Angebot im Rahmen des DFG-Projekts „Rezeption der Antike im semantischen Netz: Buch, Bild und Objekt digital” systematisch ausgebaut. 

RSS Neuerscheinungen (RSS 2.0)
Überblick nach: AutorenLändern und OrtenThemen

Heidelberger historische Bestände: Ägyptologische Literatur – digital

Heidelberger historische Bestände: Ägyptologische Literatur – digital
Zu den Beständen des Sondersammelgebietes Ägyptologie der UB Heidelberg gehört auch ein umfangreicher und sehr bedeutender Bestand ägyptologischer Literatur des 16. bis frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, aus dem ausgewählte Werke vollständig digitalisiert und via Internet kostenfrei zugänglich gemacht werden.

Seit dem 1. September 2009 wird das Angebot im Rahmen eines DFG-Projekts systematisch ausgebaut. Über das Themenportal „Rezeption der Antike im semantischen Netz: Buch, Bild und Objekt digital“ können die Heidelberger Titel gemeinsam mit weiteren digitalisierten Werken der Projektpartner recherchiert werden.
RSS Neuerscheinungen (RSS 2.0)
Überblick nach: AutorenLändern und OrtenThemen

Rodopis: Associazione culturale

Rodopis: Associazione culturale
Rodopis è un’associazione culturale senza fini di lucro fondata nel 2010 da alcuni laureandi e dottorandi in Storia antica dell’Università di Bologna, con lo scopo di promuovere lo studio dei contenuti e dei metodi propri delle discipline dell’antichità, all’interno e all’esterno delle Università e nel tentativo di coinvolgere diversi interlocutori. L’azione principale è volta alla sensibilizzazione nei confronti di alcune tematiche proprie dell’antichità e alla divulgazione dei risultati più aggiornati della ricerca (quelli ancora in corso), creando un ponte tra Università e non addetti ai lavori. Allo stesso tempo si facilita l’incontro tra giovani antichisti per creare una comunità internazionale non competitiva che, grazie a una condivisione e a un confronto autentici relativamente a contenuti, modalità, metodi e approcci di ricerca esca da logiche accademiche spesso limitanti, dalla specializzazione estrema che rischia di far chiudere  i settori di studio su se stessi e dal localismo che inevitabilmente ne riduce gli orizzonti di sviluppo.

Zotero Blog

Feeds and Institutional Repositories Coming to Zotero

We’re delighted to announce that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $440,000 to fund a two-year collaboration between Penn State and George Mason University to develop and assess new Zotero functionality for tracking, organizing, and archiving scholarly publications.

Key new Zotero features will include:

  • Feeds in the Zotero application. Users will be able to add RSS and Atom feeds to track their favorite scholarly journals and easily grab new publications by simply dragging them to their Zotero libraries as desired.

  • Integration with institutional repositories. The Zotero team will work with the developers behind Penn State’s ScholarSphere institutional repository (IR) to allow Penn State faculty, students, and staff to deposit self-authored works directly into the IR from Zotero. A pluggable architecture will enable other institutional repositories to establish similar connections with Zotero.
The IR integration will rely on two key new Zotero technologies to be developed under this grant: a push-based API and a standalone service that connects Zotero to other web applications. Working together, these two new features will enable a range of actions in third-party web services triggered by changes in Zotero libraries, much like an IFTTT for Zotero.

The Penn State team will be led by Ellysa Stern Cahoy, an education librarian who has already conducted extensive research into how faculty manage and archive scholarly communication. She will build on her research to assess how this new Zotero functionality helps humanities scholars to refine their research practices.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Revue de l'Orient latin

Revue de l'Orient latin

1893 (T1). Volume de périodique en mode image seul
1894 (T2). Volume de périodique en mode image seul
1895 (T3). Volume de périodique en mode image seul
1896 (T4). Volume de périodique en mode image seul
1897 (T5). Volume de périodique en mode image seul
1898 (T6). Volume de périodique en mode image seul
1899 (T7). Afficher le texte brut Volume de périodique en mode image et en mode texte, recherche plein texte disponible
1900 (T8)-1901. Afficher le texte brut Volume de périodique en mode image et en mode texte, recherche plein texte disponible
1902 (T9). Afficher le texte brut Volume de périodique en mode image et en mode texte, recherche plein texte disponible

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Ask an Archaeologist: Dr. Farouk El-Baz

For this week’s episode of Ask an Archaeologist we sat down with Dr. Farouk El-Baz, the Director of Boston University’s Center for Remote Sensing.  Dr. Farouk has been on of the leaders in using Remote Sensing in Archaeology and we knew he would be the right specialist to answer one of the questions we received at National Archaeology Day:

What do older professional archaeologists think of the use of Google or satellite images to make discoveries?

We followed up by asking Dr. Farouk:

What is Remote Sensing and how is it used in Archaeology?

How has Remote Sensing changed the field of Archaeology?

“Archaeologists…in the 60’s began thinking about aerial photography as something that they could use in thinking about the terrain and where there might be archaeological sites,” Dr. Farouk told us, explaining that using remote sensing techniques is not very new to archaeology and does not necessarily mean seeing obvious sites from space.  “If there were human beings that were grouped together …the conditions for like must be there.  Meaning, where did they get the water?  Where did they build their city?  What did they build it with? All of these things depend on the natural setting.”  While some satellite photography may display more obvious sites, a good archaeologist may notice an area that would have been excellent to support human life and consider that as a potential site.

“Remote sensing is basically satellite photography,”  Dr. Farouk told us when explaining remote sensing in archaeology.  Different materials project light and temperature differently allowing satellites to see the differences between materials on the Earth’s surface.  “If you have a building, it will behave differently from the soil or sand,” Dr. Farouk said, making it easier to detect archaeological sites on satellite images.  As scientists developed radar imaging, they could see under the Earth’s surface so that archaeologists could see waterways that had since dried up but may have supported human life in the past.

As technology evolves, archaeologists have new ways to find sites so that we can learn more about our past in new and exciting ways.
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All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any link on this blog. ASOR will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information. ASOR will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. The opinions expressed by Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of ASOR or any employee thereof.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Matthew Kirschenbaum Lecture at UND Today

The UND Working Group in Digital & New Media is happy to present “Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing,” A Virtual Talk by Matthew Kirschenbaum. The talk is free and open to the public and will take place at 4pm on Wednesday, April 16 in the East Asian Room in the Chester Fritz Library. You should be able to stream his talk here.

KirschenbaumFlyer pdf

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland and Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH, an applied think tank for the digital humanities). He is also an affiliated faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at Maryland, and a member of the teaching faculty at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School. Kirschenbaum served as the first director of the new Digital Cultures and Creativity living/learning program in the Honors College at Maryland.

A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Kirschenbaum specializes in digital humanities, electronic literature and creative new media (including games), textual studies, and postmodern/experimental literature. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, and was trained in humanities computing at Virginia’s Electronic Text Center and Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (where he was the Project Manager of the William Blake Archive). His dissertation was the first electronic dissertation in the English department at Virginia and one of the very first in the nation.

Kirschenbaum’s first book, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, was published by the MIT Press in early 2008 and went on to receive numerous awards. Kirschenbaum serves on the editorial or advisory boards of a number of projects and publications, including Postmodern Culture, Text Technology, Textual Cultures, MediaCommons, and futureArch. His work has received coverage in the Atlantic, New York Times, National Public Radio, Wired, Boing Boing, Slashdot, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. For more information, see his website.

DigPal Blog

25% Off 'English Vernacular Minuscule' until 1 July 2014

Boydell are offering a 25% discount for English Vernacular Minuscule until 1 June 2014. If you want to take advantage of this offer then you can either order it from their website, using offer code 14082, or you can download the flyer below, complete the form and post it to them (click on the image to get the full PDF).

I see that some people are reading it already and am very interested to hear what they think. I expect it will be controversial, at least in part, and I would be very interested to receive any feedback, either to me directly or in the Comments below.

Boydell Flyer for 'English Vernacular Minuscule' 

Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

Internship in the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Section

The British Library is pleased to be able to offer an internship in the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts section of the History and Classics Department for a doctoral or post-doctoral student in history, history of art, medieval language or other relevant subject. Detail of a miniature of a woman reading...

Tom Brughmans (Archaeological Network Analysis)

Breaking scientific networks

An interesting conference next week (with a catchy title!): Breaking scientific networks. Every academic should probably be interested in this :) All are invited to an upcoming conference – “Breaking Scientific Networks” – to be held next week at UC Davis. What happens when scientific collaborations fall apart? What causes networks to falter? How resilient […]

April 15, 2014

EAGLE News: Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy

New cooperation agreement between EAGLE and Rodopis

We are proud to announce that Rodopis (rodopis.org) has just signed a Cooperation Agreement with the EAGLE Best Practice Network. This cooperation will hopefully lead to the involvement of Rodopis members in the project’s User Engagement activities (via its network of members and friends). It may also facilitate a significant contribution to our Wikimedia Commons contents through the addition of links to EAGLE databases. Rodopis will also cooperate with EAGLE in organising intensive workshops on Digital Humanities and the digitalisation of texts in Italy. The aim of such activities will be the training of young students and researchers, especially in TEI-EpiDoc, one of the standards adopted by the EAGLE consortium for the publication of inscriptions online.

logo-rodopisRodopis is a cultural association of students, researchers and people interested in Ancient History. In recent years, Rodopis members have carried out several initiatives for promoting the study of Ancient History, both in and outside the academic world.

Many of the events organised by Rodopis are tightly linked to research. The most important among these are the cycles of graduate and postgraduate seminars “Ricerche a Confronto”, which were held in many Italian universities (Bologna, Trento, Roma Tre, Torino, Cagliari). In addition to this, the association has organised international Postgraduate Conferences in Classics.

Rodopis also focuses on the divulgation of Classics-related themes. To this end, several initiatives have been organised, including educational seminars and annual trips to important sites to the study of ancient culture.

All members of Rodopis look forward to this cooperation and are very glad to be part of this international effort to bring top quality epigraphic contents and data to the public for use and reuse. This is the mission we share!

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Teaching and Learning About Digital Stewardship

Gaining the knowledge, skills and experience required to manage digital assets and provide access to them over time can sometimes feel like trying to hit a moving target. Almost all heritage organizations now have a responsibility to steward some kind of digital content be it e-books or journals, digitized materials, electronic records, digital photographs, data sets, web sites, social media content, GIS, games or other audio visual materials. But few organizations have the experienced staff or the technical infrastructure to deal with the volume and complexity of the digital materials they have stewardship over now, let alone what may come to them in the future.

Students in classroom at Holton Arms School. Photo by Theodor  Horydczak. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/thc.5a48699

Students in classroom at Holton Arms School. Photo by Theodor Horydczak. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/thc.5a48699

What heritage organizations do have are dedicated and passionate staff who are often eager to gain new skills and work together on challenging problems so they can fulfill their organizations’ missions. There are many good options for training, courses and workshops in digital curation and preservation. However, more education and training opportunities for digital preservation are still needed (PDF) to instill core digital preservation practices in all of the cultural heritage organizations that collect digital materials.

To help meet this need and leverage existing efforts, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance is forming an Education and Training group as part of the NDSA Outreach Working Group.  The initial aim of this sub group will be to provide a venue for NDSA member collaboration around education and training issues. The group will also work directly with Library of Congress staff managing regional train-the-trainer events through the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education program and the National Digital Stewardship Residency.

Possible first tasks include expanding the underlying curriculum used in both of the programs for different audiences and creating open web-based materials that guide and support trainers and learners through the curriculum.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Education and Training group, please contact the NDSA Outreach Co-chairs through NDSA@loc.gov.

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

A marvellous collection of photographs – Following Hadrian, by Carole Raddato

Over the last couple of months, I have become aware of another individual who, quietly, and without any fanfare, is making a real difference to ancient history online.  Her name is Carole Raddato, and she writes the Following Hadrian blog.

What she is doing is travelling all over the Roman Empire, and photographing its material remains.  The results appear on Flickr here.

She’s going into museums, and photographing exhibits, and placing them online.  In quantity:  there are over 14,000 photographs in that Flickr collection.  And at very high quality: far, far better than anything we see in published literature.

I became aware of her work, while working on the Mithras site.  Again and again I found that a striking, clear, good quality image would be … by Carole Raddato.  It might be in Wikimedia Commons (a site that takes a pretty casual attitude to copyrights of others); more usually on her own Flickr feed.

Again and again I would look for some artefact in some museum and then find … Miss Raddato had visited that museum and made a collection of photographs, all now freely online.

The path she is following – that of the Emperor Hadrian in his travels about the empire – is taking her to the major sites and repositories of the ancient and modern world.  The result is this marvellous collection of material.

A lot of people put holiday photos online.  They are of variable quality.  But I don’t know of anybody else who is undertaking such a herculean task, and doing so in a way that is of permanent value.

We are all in your debt, Madam.  May your camera flash never grow dim!

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

South Arabian inscriptions on wood at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Altsüdarabische Inschriften auf Holzstäbchen - Ancient South Arabian inscriptions on wood
Die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek verwahrt die weltweit zweitgrößte Sammlung an hölzernen Schriftdokumenten aus dem antiken Südarabien, dem heutigen Jemen. Es handelt sich dabei um Alltagskorrespondenz in sabäischer und minäischer Sprache: Briefe, Rechts- und Wirtschaftsurkunden, Schreibübungen und Texte aus der rituellen Praxis. Die in Palmblattrippen und Holzstäbchen eingeritzten Texte dokumentieren die gesamte Spanne der altsüdarabischen Kultur vom frühen 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr. bis in die unmittelbar vorislamische Zeit. 

The Bavarian State Library houses the second-largest collection worldwide of written documents on wood from Ancient South Arabia (present-day Yemen). These contain everyday-life’s correspondence in Sabaic and Minaic languages, such as letters, legal and business documents, writing exercises and texts from ritual practice. The texts are carved in palm-leaf stalks and wooden sticks. Historically, the documents cover the entire span of the so-called Ancient South Arabian civilisation – from the early 1st millennium BC up to the period immediately before the emergence of Islam. 

Dekoration Alphabetische Liste

Dekoration Chronologische Liste

Dekoration Liste nach Signaturen


Sunoikisis: A National Consortium of Classics Programs

Sunoikisis: A National Consortium of Classics Programs
Sunoikisis is a national consortium of Classics programs. Since 1999, Sunoikisis has yielded new collaborative and interdisciplinary paradigms of learning in the liberal arts for the 21st century.

“Sunoikisis” comes from Thucydides (3.3.1) in reference to the alliance formed by the cities of Lesbos (Methymna excluded) in their revolt against the Athenian empire in 428 B.C.E. Likewise, this collaborative program seeks to develop a set of common goals and achieve a degree of success and prominence that goes beyond the capacity of a single program.
Sunoikisis enables students and faculty at participating institutions to benefit from opportunities normally available only at large research institutions, while maintaining the advantages of a small liberal arts learning environment. The curricular elements within Sunoikisis include inter-institutional collaborative courses, excavations, internships, travel study, undergraduate research symposia, and faculty development seminars.
The curricular elements of Sunoikisis expose our students to a wider range of subject material and faculty than would be possible otherwise. Indeed, the president of an elite northeastern college commented in October 2004 that the Sunoikisis program surpasses programs offered by large institutions in that the collaborative nature unusually enriches it in terms of content and methodological approach. The program, by providing a range and quality of opportunities for majors, prepares students who choose to continue their training in graduate school to compete with graduates from the leading research universities in the country.

For more information about how Sunoikisis is impacting Classics education, read “Collaborative Classics: Technology and the Small Liberal Arts College” by Rebecca Frost Davis and “Chaos and in the New Academy” by Susan Frost and Aimee Pozorski.

Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal

Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal
The Sunoikisis Undergraduate Research Journal is a peer-reviewed online journal with a variety of features intended to make research attractive and accessible to a broad spectrum of readers, from scholars to curious young people.

The Center for Hellenic Studies publishes two issues each year to correspond with the biannual research symposia in December and April.

Volume 1

Issue 1: December 1, 2012  | Issue 2: April 27, 2013

Volume 2

Issue 1: December 7, 2013 | Issue 2: April 26, 2014

Open Access Backfiles: Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles)

Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles)
ISSN: 0009837X
E-ISSN: 1546072X
Classical Philology is a University-owned journal that is sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Department of Classics. The Department of Classics retains editorial control and appoints editors. The Chair of the Department has recommended the appointment of Mark Payne to replace Elizabeth Asmis as editor of Classical Philology. Both the Department and the Press are fully confident in Payne’s ability to lead the journal, as he has already exhibited this competence by serving as acting editor during Asmis’s leave 2009-10.

Classical Philology has been an internationally respected journal for the study of the life, languages, and thought of the Ancient Greek and Roman world since 1906. The journal covers a broad range of topics from a variety of interpretative points of view.
  • 1922 (Vol. 17)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1922, pp. 283-388 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1922, pp. 187-282 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1922, pp. 97-186 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1922, pp. i-vi+1-96 Free Content
    1921 (Vol. 16)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1921, pp. 305-410 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1921, pp. 209-304 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1921, pp. 97-208 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1921, pp. i-vi+1-96 Free Content
    1920 (Vol. 15)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1920, pp. 309-408 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1920, pp. 213-308 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1920, pp. 103-212 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1920, pp. i-vi+1-102 Free Content
  • Expand or Collapse Year Group 1910s 1910s

    1919 (Vol. 14)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1919, pp. 297-404 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1919, pp. 185-296 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1919, pp. 97-184 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1919, pp. i-vi+1-96 Free Content
    1918 (Vol. 13)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1918, pp. 321-424 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1918, pp. 225-320 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1918, pp. 113-224 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1918, pp. i-vi+1-112 Free Content
    1917 (Vol. 12)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1917, pp. 329-454 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1917, pp. 225-328 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1917, pp. 121-224 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1917, pp. i-vi+1-120 Free Content
    1916 (Vol. 11)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1916, pp. 365-492 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1916, pp. 249-364 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1916, pp. 125-248 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1916, pp. i-vi+1-124 Free Content
    1915 (Vol. 10)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1915, pp. 365-494 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1915, pp. 241-364 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1915, pp. 117-240 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1915, pp. i-vi+1-116 Free Content
    1914 (Vol. 9)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1914, pp. 345-472 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1914, pp. 225-344 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1914, pp. 113-224 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1914, pp. i-vi+1-112 Free Content
    1913 (Vol. 8)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1913, pp. 389-510 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1913, pp. 261-388 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1913, pp. 133-260 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1913, pp. i-viii+1-132 Free Content
    1912 (Vol. 7)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1912, pp. 397-528 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1912, pp. 265-396 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1912, pp. 137-264 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1912, pp. i-x+1-136 Free Content
    1911 (Vol. 6)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1911, pp. 385-518 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1911, pp. 257-384 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1911, pp. 129-256 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1911, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
    1910 (Vol. 5)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1910, pp. 405-538 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1910, pp. 257-404 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1910, pp. 129-256 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1910, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
  • Expand or Collapse Year Group 1900s 1900s

    1909 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1909, pp. 345-472 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1909, pp. 233-344 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1909, pp. 113-232 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1909, pp. i-viii+1-112 Free Content
    1908 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1908, pp. 369-474 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1908, pp. 225-368 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1908, pp. 129-224 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1908, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
    1907 (Vol. 2)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1907, pp. 369-506 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1907, pp. 241-368 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1907, pp. 129-240 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1907, pp. i-viii+1-128 Free Content
    1906 (Vol. 1)
    • No. 4, Oct., 1906, pp. 313-444 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jul., 1906, pp. 201-312 Free Content
    • No. 2, Apr., 1906, pp. 97-200 Free Content
    • No. 1, Jan., 1906, pp. i-viii+1-96 Free Content

And see also:
AWOL's full list of journals in JSTOR with substantial representation of the Ancient World

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 12)

Came across this blog post on the so-called salt mummies of Iran, which has pictures of the mummies on display in the Zanjan Museum... which seems to need an osteologist.  These are two shots of one mummy, from the feet and from the head.  Check out the tibiae/fibulae and humeri.  Those are wonky, no?

Saltman no. 2 , currently on display in Zanjan Musem.
By Mardetanha (Own work) 
or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], 
via Wikimedia Commons

Saltman no. 2 , currently on display in Zanjan Musem.
By Mardetanha (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)],
via Wikimedia Commons

Previous installments of Who needs an osteologist?

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

Always Learning

I went the the Anishinaabemowin-teg conference in Sault Saint Marie a few weeks ago and was encouraged by all the work that was being done on Language revitalization involving technology and the internet. Communities are really using these technologies I think in a positive way that will be of benefit to preserving and promoting heritage language use.

One of the things I took away from this conference was the importance of maintaining the cultural components when teaching the language. As one of the elders and fluent speakers said, “Its important to teach the language using the culture, and to teach through doing things so that these activities and the language used to describe them remain linked.” One of the many talks I went to showed how communities are working with language teachers to document traditional activities like ice fishing and making baskets and recording them being done in the language. These then become resources that teach the language through action and doing things which is an important way to learn and more important remember. This is especially true for kids, but also for adults.

What I saw and heard going on at this conference has helped me to shape some possible directions for my website and how I can make it a better resource for language learners. I was also at a session that was all in Anishinaabemwoin. It was difficult for me to keep up at times and it reminded me that I still have a lot to learn. In terms of my project I am posting added content. I now have almost 25 hours of audio recordings to sort through, some videos and soon many photos to post and categorize. However I am going to concentrate on just a few of them for the debut of my site. I have the summer to clean up and add the rest.

I have also been discussing with community members different approaches in terms of access and traditional knowledge licenses. My original platform had these built in and I am working on how to incorporate them into my site. I have also put the call out to the community to see if anyone has photos, videos or stories they would like to share. I am getting some positive responses and hopefully more materials to include.  My goal is to have this be a community based project where the community has both control of and ownership off the direction and scope of the site.

Once I have this content up and looking good I feel confident that it will be something that the community will want to use and be part of. I am also looking into how the other efforts I saw at this conference could somehow be integrated together or linked in some way to create connections between communities that are engaged in language and cultural revitalization. Perhaps a web portal with an interactive map that links communities and their digital spaces together. I think this would be a great future project for someone.

DigPal Blog

Public Lectures: 'Collaboration for the Digital Future' and 'Book Conservation and Digital Humanities'

There will be two public lectures as part of Medieval and Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age (MMSDA) 2014. As previously reported, MMSDA is running again in 2014 in a new expanded form. Applications for the course itself closed some time ago, and we had 145 eligible applicants for only 18 positions, so unfortunately there is no space for taking anybody else. However, two evening lectures are open to the public, as follows.

Simon Tanner (King's College London): Collaboration for the Digital Future

17:30–18:30, Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Room GR06/07, Faculty of English, 9 West Rd Cambridge


Alberto Campagnolo (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana): A Tale of Two Fields: Book Conservation and Digital Humanities

17:30–18:30, Thursday, 1 May 2014
IALS Lecture Theatre, 17 Russell Square, London
To attend this lecture please e-mail IESEvents@sas.ac.uk to request a place.

I hope to see you there.

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

What did Genghis Khan eat?

Everyone knows something about Genghis Khan. His story and empire is part of the basic history of the world we learn growing up. He came into power by uniting disparate […]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Blogs and Archaeology Published Quickly

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been nudging a draft of an article on blogging archaeology forward a little bit each week. I’ve posted part of it here already. The first part of the article looks at blogging among archaeologists as a community of practice. The second part will look at blogging as one of the ways that archaeologists are speeding up the pace of archaeological knowledge production.

This is done not by archaeologists working faster, but rather through a regular stream of information available about archaeological research on the web. Transparency removes what appears to be long pauses from the field work and research process and makes visible the incremental efforts, small revelations, and baffling setbacks that characterize archaeological research.  

Here you go:

Compared to the social media, blogs develop content rather slowly. Even the most fast paced commercial blog rarely rewards more then two or three visits a day to the site. Academic blogs, true to to longstanding rhythms of disciplinary production, tend to update on a much more gradual schedule. At the same time, compared to the traditional print publications, the practice and medium of blogging allows the posts to appear at a blistering pace. Unencumbered by such time consuming processes as editorial oversight, peer review, typesetting, and proofreading, blogs can appear as quickly as the author has words to fill them. Of course, the speed at which blogs posts can appear and the absence of peer or editorial oversight represent blogging practice, and this has attracted the attention of critics who remain skeptical of the value of blogging to the larger academic discourse. Our ability to push unfiltered archaeological knowledge into the web has both outpaced the institutional practices designed to evaluate and control the flow of academic knowledge as well as our interpretative habits which often rely on clear generic indicators to define the character and utility of scholarly production.

Field archaeology is a meticulous process that proceeds at its own pace dictated by the vagaries of manpower, artifact recovery, and recording. The publication process frequently fall prey to the same gradualist approach as famous excavations can take years or even decades to reach publication. While some of this can be attributed to the workflows of particular excavators and their teams, at least some of the issues reside in the traditional process of publishing a field project which involves significant time dedicated to review, editing, and layout. The published results of the field publications are regarded as definitive, although even the most hardened empiricists recognize a difference between a preliminary excavation report and the final publication.

The basic character of blogging streamlines many of these concerns, traditionally going with limited editorial attention and drastically simplified layouts. Both in terms of practice and as a medium, blogging lacks the substantial friction associated with print publication, has allows for almost instantaneous online publication. Bloggers now report on field projects from the field and use the blog to speculate on their work, hypothesize, and even report tentative conclusions. These practices not only lift the veil on the interpretative processes that produce archaeological knowledge (Morgan and Eve 2012; Maguire 2008 for similar attitudes), but also communicate some of the experiences of archaeology from the edge of the trowel. My blog, for example, both documented our misguided expectation that a basilica style church stood on the site of a Hellenistic fortification, and explored the tensions among the project’s senior staff as we struggled to balance the educational and research components of our work. A similar, if more radically inclusive process, was used on the Prescot Street excavations in the U.K. in which all participants were invited to blog and to document their work on the excavation.

While few will argue against the value of blogging for provide a sense of the archaeological experience and to expose archaeological practice to a wider audience, there are limits to the kind of immediacy and transparency that blogging can provide. For example, some nations control stringently the right to reproduce images of objects, architecture, and sites, but have yet to develop comprehensive policies extending to the digital realm. A blog may or may not represent a digital publication. On an even more practical level, announcing the results of an ongoing excavation during the season might make a site more susceptible to looting or other forms of disruption. As with all archaeological work, the limitations and opportunities of a particular medium or practice is not the final work on a decision to disseminate information.

If field work blogs have the potential to make the field processes more transparent, research blogs invite readers into the creative and generative process associated with scholarship. The ability to present ongoing research to a wide audience of peers fits into a continuum of scholarly communication that begins with the conference paper (or perhaps with the informal conversation) and culminates in the peer reviewed book or article. The blog is less clearly vetted than the conference paper or the late, barely lamented, “note” or “correspondence” section of academic journals. In the lead up to the 2014 Society of American Archaeology blogging panel, Doug’s Archaeology Blog curated a blog carnival involving many prominent archaeological bloggers. The responses to the question “Why do you blog?” revealed the range of purposes associated with research from publishing snippets of programing code useful to archaeologists, to staking claim to academic ideas in process and sharing academic problems as they arise in scholarship. As S.W. Kansa and F. Deblauwe have recently noted in their survey of web tools for research in Zooarchaeology , scholarly use of blogs to circulate research remains inconsistent (Kansa and Deblauwe 2011). The practice of exposing ideas to critique is part of the academic process, but we have yet to completely exploit the potential of blogging for communicating ongoing research.

The recent responses to the prompt posted on Doug’s Archaeology Blog likewise demonstrate the importance of the public nature of blogging which has allowed it to become a venue to communicate scholarly work to a broader audience. The popular appeal of archaeology has provided a ready-made audience for efforts to bridge the gap between academic research and the public fascination with the past. At the same time, there is an important aspect of outreach in archaeological blogging. Because archaeologists rely on an informed public both to identify and to protect archaeological sites and objects. In a broader sense blogging to a public audience allows archaeologists to communicate disciplinary boundaries and expertise to a wider group of stakeholders.

The process of blogging research as it occurs also increases the pace of archaeological knowledge production by disseminating and acknowledging the significance of provisional conclusions. Archaeologists make tentative observations regularly over the course of their research and analysis. By making these public on a blog, we demonstrate that the production of archaeological knowledge is not always a plodding, incremental, ponderous slog through reams of data, but often jumps and dances across a landscape of ingenious false starts, brilliant failed hypotheses, and provocative dead ends. Making the intellectual leaps and bounds public hints at both the importance of process and the potential utility of failure for both the academic community and the general public. While it may seem like archaeological publication takes years because of inactivity on the part of archaeologist (and surely some of that is true), in most cases, archaeological analysis is rarely stalled by long delays and is regularly punctuated with exciting, if incremental accomplishments. Archaeology done quickly makes these little victories (and failures) visible.

Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Bones - Season 9, Episode 21 (Review)

The Cold in the Case
Episode Summary
A body is found in a swampy area in a new subdivision.  Brennan concludes based on the vertical frontal bone and mental eminence of the mandible that the body belonged to a female in her mid-30s. The prominent maxilla apparently means to Brennan that she was Caucasian. Animals seem to have eaten the hands and feet but curiously not the meatier parts. Brennan notes extensive fracturing to the bones but does not think it relates to blunt force trauma. Time of death, though, is all over the place: Piophilidae suggest 72-96 hours, but Calliphoridae larvae suggest the last 3 hours, while the crystomamarufifithes (seriously, Hodgins, please enunciate so that I can look stuff up properly) puts it in the last 14 days.

"Maybe somewhere in here there's a bone that
will tell me age so that I can stop guessing randomly."
Back at the Jeffersonian, Brennan finds something lodged between the left maxillary second incisor and canine. Saroyan finds tissue unrelated to the victim. Vaziri and Brennan see on xray a remodelling injury to the right posterior superior iliac crest (sic) from a large-bore needle.  Brennan thinks the victim may have donated bone marrow approximately a year ago.  Apparently the bone marrow registry is magical, and Madeline Papadelis is the only Caucasian female in her 30s who donated bone marrow in the last year.  Madeline was divorced and her daughter, Corine, succumbed to cystic fibrosis 18 months prior. She also had a restraining order against her ex-husband.  Booth brings him in to question him; the ex admits to waving around a gun while cleaning it, but denies ever wanting to hurt Madeline.

Hodgins somehow deduces from the fabric in Madeline's teeth that she was given chloroform. The fibers on her back were rayon and silk, a blend popular in sleeping bags. The DNA from the extra tissue comes back as being fox tongue. Saroyan thinks that the damage to Madeline's organs was caused by fracturing.  Brennan starts a histological study, and she and Vaziri conclude that Madeline wasn't frozen normally, which would cause ice crystals to form in the body and damage cells. Rather, she was likely cryogenically frozen.   Booth checks Madeline's credit cards and finds that she mostly used them to buy bus passes.  She was regularly travelling to Vienna, Virginia, where Cryonova was located. 

Booth and Brennan head to Cryonova and meet Dr. Noah Summers and his wife Michelle. They confirm that Madeline's daughter Corine was one of their patients. She used to come every Saturday to visit her daughter, and she and Noah worked closely on grant proposals to help fund the facility. Originally, Madeline was going to use a competing cryonicist, Trip Warshaw, but backed out.  He admits that his equipment was recently repossessed, as he was going out of business, but has a solid alibi for the time of Madeline's death and disappearance. The Summerses claim that Warshaw shot up the facility as an attempt at sabotage, but he denies this.The shots were actually from a gun similar to one Madeline's ex-husband Ethan had. He admits to shooting open the door to the facility, but he simply wanted to get Corine's body to bury her.  He couldn't figure out how to get her out of the storage dewar, though. Although Ethan did study pre-med in school, Booth finally concludes that he didn't do it.

Angela goes through the emails and security footage from Cryonova.  She finds video evidence that Dr. Summers was chopping up a frozen body and selling organs.  Summers admits to this; the man in question was frozen but his wife ran out of money.  He preserved the man's brain and sold off his organs. He claims Madeline knew this, so that's not what they were arguing about on the video footage.  Brennan and Vaziri find some more interesting things on the skeleton.  First, some flaking of the cortical bone on the tibia, metatarsals, and tarsals of one leg suggest whoever froze Madeline was either in a rush or had faulty equipment. Second, they find evidence of multifilament thread, the kind used for stitches. There is also a hole in the side of the head with curved, smooth edges. Brennan thinks that this is where the crack-phone was placed, to listen for cracking when freezing the brain. Angela finds the audio file, on which Michelle Summers can be heard calling Madeline a bitch and saying that Noah was hers. Booth questions Michelle, but she lawyers up. Finally, Brennan pieces it all together.  The bevelling on the hole in the temporal bone suggests a left-handed person made the cut. The style of stitches that Noah Summers made is also quite distinctive: interrupted vertical mattress sutures tied left-handed with a surgical knot.  These stitches are found on bodies Noah processed... and I guess on the thread they found on the body?  At any rate, they confirm he is left-handed.  Noah Summers confesses to having drugged then frozen Madeline; he was in love with her, but she did not reciprocate.  When Michelle found Madeline's body during her search to find space for several new bodies, she decided to dispose of her.

  • Forensic
    • Oh, are you kidding me with the demographic ID?  Brennan just guesses mid-30s based on... nothing?  Lazy.  Vertical frontal bone is not really a sexually dimorphic trait.  Mental eminence, sure, that's fine.  And I don't know what they mean by prominent maxilla, because really prominent would mean prognathic, which would be African-American, not Caucasian.  Yeesh.
    • Kinda handy that the victim was the only female in her mid-30s to have a bone marrow aspiration a year ago.  I mean, it's not like there are millions of other people in the U.S. in the bone marrow donation database who would fit that profile.  And I'm not a medical doctor, so I don't know... can bone marrow donations help or cure cystic fibrosis?
    • Hodgins mentions that the fiber in the victim's teeth is from chloroform.... which is not a fabric. (I actually rewound it to make sure that's what he said.)
    • It's the posterior superior iliac spine, not crest.
  • Plot
    • I did kinda like the image of the small animals getting their tongues stuck to the victim's remains.  I don't think that would happen, though.  I mean, if she's so frozen their tongues get stuck, she's probably too frozen to smell like food.
    • Vaziri and Saroyan had some issues with his parents.
    • Booth may be asked to head up a field office in Germany.  Brennan thinks this is awesome, but Booth doesn't seem to want the job.
  • Dialogue
    • I got nothing... except a whole bunch of shouting in Persian.  Anyone?  Real Persian or Google translate Persian?

Forensic Mystery - C+.  Having the husband do it was a bit of a twist. And creepy.

Forensic Solution - D.  Age-at-death was glossed over.  Sex and ancestry were both iffy.

Drama - F. Yaaaaaaawn. Holy pete, this was the most boring episode I can recall.  I mean, look at those bullet points up there.  Nothing to comment on at all. Maybe Ghost Face Killah will be good next week?

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

Use of Mobile Phone Pedagogies in Rhetoric and Composition Studies

This year was my third time attending the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCCs) annual convention. The conference’s mission is to support and promote the teaching and study of college composition and communication. The theme this year was Open, Source(s), Access, and Futures. Dr. Adam Banks, this year’s program chair, invited us to reflect on our disciplinary histories and practices which he argued have always aimed at pushing towards values like “greater freedom, possibility, transparency, and equality” within the academy. He thus invited us to imagine a new future for our discipline particularly in the digital age, as we critically consider issues of open access scholarship, open source philosoph(ies) and politics. In his call, he hoped that scholars and teachers in our field would consider and share ways in which we can imagine a future that will not only transform our discipline, but also the academy and higher education in general.

What seemed to stand out for me this year were the numerous sessions on the use of mobile phone and social media pedagogies in the teaching of writing. In one of the panels I attended titled “Out in the Open: Exploring Mobile Phone Pedagogies and Everyday Composing Practices,” the panelists shared how phones and mobile apps can be integrated into writing courses. One of the panelists, Robert Carlton from Southern Illinois University, argued for the value and need for writing teachers to embrace mobile apps in the teaching of writing. He showed an example of the free application Suzuki Write developed for iOS and Android devices which provides a “mobile writing resource” to assist writers with simple quick references and simple composition tasks. Carton demonstrated the design features of the app, and how writing teachers can customize the modular code of the app to fit their individualized needs. Here is example of the how the app is being used in building Mobile Writing Labs (MWLs). Carlton imagined future trajectory of the Mobile Writing Labs arguing that apps designed for writing instruction need to consider issues of access particularly when it comes to catering for individualized circumstances of individual users and writers. He also urged writing teachers to not only use the apps but also to gather data about devices, users, and developers as a way of contributing to assessing the effectiveness of such tools. Such an assessment, he argued, can contribute to giving app developers ideas to improve the app and user experience. Finally, he asked teachers to be getting involved in building the apps and working with developers. For more, here is his Presentation.

Randall Monty from the University of Texas, another panelist, demonstrated the how mobile technologies and social media platforms like twitter are helping transnational students from Mexico attending college in the U.S to navigate their professional and academic identities. Monty, “drawing from a multi-institutional study that tracked the lived writing practices of self identified transnational students,” as well on current scholarship on technology and access, demonstrated how students were exploiting the affordances of mobile phone technologies and social media in their learning. Some of the examples he shared with us were how teachers can use twitter to share teaching content with their students, keep track of students attendance, engagement and participation. He also noted that since many authors the students read participate in the twitter culture, social media allows students to be in direct contact with the authors and can ask them question or clarification on issues about readings. Monty also noted that social media allows for democratization and agency in the use of these technologies as students learn/practice the use of these tools not just as students but as professionals. He also shared how the transnational ESL students were using the dragon app’s transcription service to facilitate their composing processes.  However, in sharing the affordances of mobile phone and social media pedagogies, he also highlighted particular dissafordances like access noting that some students may not have smart phones, which have capabilities of performing some of the complex or intricate tasks. Other issues he raised are cyber aggression, unpredictable and expensive mobile services across the border (Mexico), privacy issues in relation to social media and mobile service, among others.

Ehren Pflugfelder from Oregon State University presentation “Our Phones, Ourselves: Questioning our Mobile Lives” presentation explored the emerging scholarship in our field on the role of mobile phones in literate lives of students. At the same time he noted the growing scholarship (in other disciplines) which raises concerns on how the use of phones negatively impacts on its users, for example, “psychological over attachment”, “distracted walking,” “self absorption” among others. His presentation was on how phones can be used as data gathering tools. He showed a methodology he developed in a media literacy course where students were asked to use their phones to create a collaborative, creative-commons –licensed documentary about the role of cell phones in their lives. Here is the Documentary, where students reveal “complex opinions, biases, and desires, as well as surprising inconsistencies” about the role of phones in their lives.”

This panel is just one example of the how our field is embracing digital tools and particularly apps to perform numerous tasks. For example, many attendees in this year’s conference had easy time getting information about the conference through a CCCCs app developed by TripBuilder Media. The app allowed attendees to get updates or reminders of featured sessions and speakers, create a personalized schedule of the sessions one wanted to attend, view the entire searchable program schedule on the phone, take notes during sessions etc. This saved many attendees the burden of carrying around the 400-page book length program schedule.

As our field moves forward, it will be interesting to see how it continues to embrace new digital tools, and to imagine new ways of teaching writing. In this year’s conference, there were many sessions on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as  presenters shared challenges, successes and pedagogical possibilities of these new learning online platforms. Our own department  Rhetoric and Writing here at MSU has also been thinking and piloting teaching  writing using MOOCs. It is clear that our field is imagining a future that will make the learning of writing accessible to everyone interested, not just here but around the world.





April 14, 2014

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Backfiles: The Classical Journal

The Classical Journal  
ISSN: 0009-8353 

[Early (out of copyright) content in JSTOR is free of paywall restrictions and open access]
The Classical Association of the Middle West and South, Inc. was founded in 1905 "for the advancement of classical scholarship, teaching, and appreciation" and was incorporated in 1948. Its 1500 members include teachers of Latin, Greek, and classical civilization at all levels. The CAMWS region covers 31 states and three Canadian provinces. In addition to holding an annual meeting and awarding scholarships, grants, and prizes, CAMWS publishes a newsletter and a quarterly, The Classical Journal.
  • 1929 (Vol. 25)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1929, pp. 177-256
    • No. 2, Nov., 1929, pp. 81-176
    • No. 1, Oct., 1929, pp. 1-80
    1929 (Vol. 24)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1929, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1929, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1929, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1929, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1929, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1929, pp. 241-320
    1928 (Vol. 24)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1928, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1928, pp. 81-160
    • No. 1, Oct., 1928, pp. 1-80
    1928 (Vol. 23)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1928, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1928, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1928, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1928, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1928, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1928, pp. 241-320
    1927 (Vol. 23)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1927, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1927, pp. 81-160
    • No. 1, Oct., 1927, pp. 1-80
    1927 (Vol. 22)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1927, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1927, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1927, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1927, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1927, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1927, pp. 241-320
    1926 (Vol. 22)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1926, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1926, pp. 81-160
    • No. 1, Oct., 1926, pp. 1-80
    1926 (Vol. 21)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1926, pp. 641-720
    • No. 8, May, 1926, pp. 561-640
    • No. 7, Apr., 1926, pp. 481-560
    • No. 6, Mar., 1926, pp. 401-480
    • No. 5, Feb., 1926, pp. 321-400
    • No. 4, Jan., 1926, pp. 241-320
    1925 (Vol. 21)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1925, pp. 161-240
    • No. 2, Nov., 1925, pp. 81-160
    • No. 1, Oct., 1925, pp. 1-80
    1925 (Vol. 20)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1925, pp. 513-590
    • No. 8, May, 1925, pp. 449-512
    • No. 7, Apr., 1925, pp. 385-448
    • No. 6, Mar., 1925, pp. 321-384
    • No. 5, Feb., 1925, pp. 257-320
    • No. 4, Jan., 1925, pp. 193-256
    1924 (Vol. 20)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1924, pp. 129-192
    • No. 2, Nov., 1924, pp. 65-128
    • No. 1, Oct., 1924, pp. 1-64
    1924 (Vol. 19)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1924, pp. 531-592
    • No. 8, May, 1924, pp. 465-528
    • No. 7, Apr., 1924, pp. 401-464
    • No. 6, Mar., 1924, pp. 337-400
    • No. 5, Feb., 1924, pp. 257-336
    • No. 4, Jan., 1924, pp. 193-256
    1923 (Vol. 19)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1923, pp. 129-192
    • No. 2, Nov., 1923, pp. 65-128
    • No. 1, Oct., 1923, pp. 1-64
    1923 (Vol. 18)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1923, pp. 515-592
    • No. 8, May, 1923, pp. 449-512
    • No. 7, Apr., 1923, pp. 385-448
    • No. 6, Mar., 1923, pp. 321-384
    • No. 5, Feb., 1923, pp. 257-320
    • No. 4, Jan., 1923, pp. 193-256
    1922 (Vol. 18)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1922, pp. 129-192 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1922, pp. 65-128 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1922, pp. 1-64 Free Content
    1922 (Vol. 17)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1922, pp. 483-544 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1922, pp. 417-480 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1922, pp. 353-416 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1922, pp. 289-352 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1922, pp. 241-288 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1922, pp. 177-240 Free Content
    1921 (Vol. 17)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1921, pp. 113-176 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1921, pp. 49-112 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1921, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1921 (Vol. 16)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1921, pp. 513-573 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1921, pp. 449-512 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1921, pp. 385-448 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1921, pp. 321-384 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1921, pp. 257-320 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1921, pp. 193-256 Free Content
    1920 (Vol. 16)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1920, pp. 129-192 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1920, pp. 65-128 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1920, pp. 1-64 Free Content
    1920 (Vol. 15)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1920, pp. 513-574 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1920, pp. 449-512 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1920, pp. 385-448 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1920, pp. 321-384 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1920, pp. 257-320 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1920, pp. 193-256 Free Content
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    1919 (Vol. 15)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1919, pp. 129-192 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1919, pp. 65-128 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1919, pp. 1-64 Free Content
    1919 (Vol. 14)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1919, pp. 529-592 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1919, pp. 465-528 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1919, pp. 401-464 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1919, pp. 337-400 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1919, pp. 273-336 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1919, pp. 209-272 Free Content
    1918 (Vol. 14)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1918, pp. 145-208 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1918, pp. 81-144 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1918, pp. 1-80 Free Content
    1918 (Vol. 13)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1918, pp. 625-702+1-35 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1918, pp. 545-624 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1918, pp. 465-544 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1918, pp. 385-464 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1918, pp. 305-384 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1918, pp. 225-304 Free Content
    1917 (Vol. 13)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1917, pp. 145-224 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1917, pp. 81-144 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1917, pp. i-iii+1-80 Free Content
    1917 (Vol. 12)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1917, pp. 561-654 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1917, pp. 497-560 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1917, pp. 417-496 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1917, pp. 353-416 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1917, pp. 289-352 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1917, pp. 225-288 Free Content
    1916 (Vol. 12)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1916, pp. 161-224 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1916, pp. 81-159 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1916, pp. 1-80 Free Content
    1916 (Vol. 11)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1916, pp. 513-572 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1916, pp. 449-512 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1916, pp. 385-448 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1916, pp. 321-384 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1916, pp. 257-320 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1916, pp. 193-255 Free Content
    1915 (Vol. 11)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1915, pp. 129-192 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1915, pp. 65-128 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1915, pp. 1-64 Free Content
    1915 (Vol. 10)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1915, pp. 385-438 Free Content
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    1914 (Vol. 10)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1914, pp. 97-144 Free Content
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    • No. 1, Oct., 1914, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1914 (Vol. 9)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1914, pp. 369-414 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1914, pp. 321-368 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1914, pp. 281-320 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1914, pp. 233-280 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1914, pp. 185-232 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1914, pp. 137-184 Free Content
    1913 (Vol. 9)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1913, pp. 89-136 Free Content
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    • No. 1, Oct., 1913, pp. 1-40 Free Content
    1913 (Vol. 8)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1913, pp. 353-382 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1913, pp. 317-352 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1913, pp. 273-316 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1913, pp. 225-272 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1913, pp. 177-224 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1913, pp. 129-176 Free Content
    1912 (Vol. 8)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1912, pp. 97-128 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1912, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1912, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1912 (Vol. 7)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1912, pp. 353-382 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1912, pp. 321-352 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1912, pp. 273-320 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1912, pp. 225-272 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1912, pp. 193-224 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1912, pp. 145-192 Free Content
    1911 (Vol. 7)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1911, pp. 97-144 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1911, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1911, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1911 (Vol. 6)
    • No. 9, Jun., 1911, pp. 353-382 Free Content
    • No. 8, May, 1911, pp. 321-352 Free Content
    • No. 7, Apr., 1911, pp. 273-320 Free Content
    • No. 6, Mar., 1911, pp. 225-272 Free Content
    • No. 5, Feb., 1911, pp. 193-224 Free Content
    • No. 4, Jan., 1911, pp. 145-192 Free Content
    1910 (Vol. 6)
    • No. 3, Dec., 1910, pp. 97-144 Free Content
    • No. 2, Nov., 1910, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Oct., 1910, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1910 (Vol. 5)
    • No. 8, Jun., 1910, pp. 337-382 Free Content
    • No. 7, May, 1910, pp. 289-336 Free Content
    • No. 6, Apr., 1910, pp. 241-288 Free Content
    • No. 5, Mar., 1910, pp. 193-240 Free Content
    • No. 4, Feb., 1910, pp. 145-192 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jan., 1910, pp. 97-144 Free Content
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    1909 (Vol. 5)
    • No. 2, Dec., 1909, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Nov., 1909, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1909 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 8, Jun., 1909, pp. 337-382 Free Content
    • No. 7, May, 1909, pp. 289-336 Free Content
    • No. 6, Apr., 1909, pp. 241-288 Free Content
    • No. 5, Mar., 1909, pp. 193-240 Free Content
    • No. 4, Feb., 1909, pp. 145-192 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jan., 1909, pp. 97-144 Free Content
    1908 (Vol. 4)
    • No. 2, Dec., 1908, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Nov., 1908, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1908 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 8, Jun., 1908, pp. 297-342 Free Content
    • No. 7, May, 1908, pp. 249-296 Free Content
    • No. 6, Apr., 1908, pp. 209-248 Free Content
    • No. 5, Mar., 1908, pp. 169-208 Free Content
    • No. 4, Feb., 1908, pp. 129-168 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jan., 1908, pp. 89-128 Free Content
    1907 (Vol. 3)
    • No. 2, Dec., 1907, pp. 41-88 Free Content
    • No. 1, Nov., 1907, pp. 1-40 Free Content
    1907 (Vol. 2)
    • No. 8, Jun., 1907, pp. 321-358 Free Content
    • No. 7, May, 1907, pp. 281-320 Free Content
    • No. 6, Apr., 1907, pp. 241-280 Free Content
    • No. 5, Mar., 1907, pp. 193-240 Free Content
    • No. 4, Feb., 1907, pp. 145-192 Free Content
    • No. 3, Jan., 1907, pp. 97-144 Free Content
    1906 (Vol. 2)
    • No. 2, Dec., 1906, pp. 49-96 Free Content
    • No. 1, Nov., 1906, pp. 1-48 Free Content
    1906 (Vol. 1)
    • No. 7, Jun., 1906, pp. 209-252 Free Content
    • No. 6, May, 1906, pp. 169-208 Free Content
    • No. 5, Apr., 1906, pp. 129-168 Free Content
    • No. 4, Mar., 1906, pp. 97-128 Free Content
    • No. 3, Feb., 1906, pp. 65-96 Free Content
    • No. 2, Jan., 1906, pp. 33-64 Free Content
    1905 (Vol. 1)

    • No. 1, Dec., 1905, pp. 1-32 Free Content

And see also:
AWOL's full list of journals in JSTOR with substantial representation of the Ancient World

Digital Humanities Center (Indiana University)


The Department of English and The Center for Digital Humanities and Culture are pleased to announce a 3-part colloquium series. The series is organized by English Literature and Criticism Ph.D. student Chih-Lung “Jeff” Kung and English Department faculty member Dr. Mike Sell.

Faculty, staff, and students are invited to explore video games as an important part of our contemporary culture and as a “playful text,” a form of art that uses narrative, metaphor, character, dialogue, and allusions to other literary texts to create powerful experiences and high-impact statements about who we are and who we might be.

April 15th, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Stabley Library Room 201

PROFESSOR MIKE SELL explores the ideological dimensions of game design, whiteness, and the pleasures of the first-person shooter in BIOSHOCK INFINITE. Regarded as one of the best releases of 2013, the game has been celebrated for its head-on confrontation with racism, imperialism, and the myth of Manifest Destiny, but also criticized for its deeply flawed story and design. A question-and-answer session will follow.

April 17th, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Stabley Library, Room 201.

Join PHD CANDIDATE BRANDON GALM as he roams RockStar Games’ RED DEAD REDEMPTION armed with ECOCRITICAL THEORY. This highly celebrated open-world game takes place in a Wild West landscape undergoing radical social, political, and environmental change. The player must not only decide exactly how “civilized” they will act but, just as importantly, how many animals she will kill and how many plants she will cut down. A question-and-answer session will follow.

April 22nd, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm, Stabley Library, Room 201.

PH.D. CANDIDATE CHIH-LUNG “JEFF” KUNG will lead a workshop play-session and discussion of AARON REED’S MAYBE MAKE SOME CHANGE, an award-winning, web-based, interactive fiction based on the MAYWAND DISTRICT KILLINGS IN AFGHANISTAN. He will explore various ways maybe make some change challenges the conventions of INTERACTIVE FICTION (A.K.A. TEXT-ADVENTURE) to critique the War on Terror and focus our attention on the ways we think about U.S. soldiers’ experiences in the war. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Questions? Contact Professor Mike Sell at msell@iup.edu

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Copyright and critical editions – a French court says the text is not copyright

Today I learned via  of a fascinating court case in France, here, (in French).  The question is whether editing a critical text of an ancient author creates a copyright.

The dispute is between two companies, Droz and Garnier.  Garnier placed online the text (without apparatus or commentary) of certain medieval texts, using the text published by Droz.  Droz sued.

The court ruled:

Therefore it appears that the company Libraire Droz has not provided proof that the raw texts used by the society Classiques GN are protected by copyright.  Thus its cases, which are solely based on infringement, must be rejected.

It is worth reading the page, even as translated into English in the Google Translate version, because the points made are interesting and generally relevant.  A work is protected if it is fixed in form (i.e. an idea is not protected) and it is original in character, reflecting the personality of its author.  But the court stated:

However, it should be noted that the law of intellectual property is not meant to include all intellectual or scientific work, but only that based on a creative contribution which arise

This indicates the direction of the court’s thinking.  They are plainly familiar with the fact that one critical edition may differ only slightly from another, and argue that the process of textual criticism, since Lachmann, is largely mechanical.  Specifically copyright does not apply to someone doing a lot of tedious work; only to creative work.

This demonstrates enormous common sense on the part of the court.  Nobody, nobody, when the copyright laws were invented, imagined that stuff like a critical edition of an ancient text was involved.  They were thinking of novels, belles-lettres, poetry, composed by modern figures and sold for money.  They were quite right.

The practical effect, if we say that the raw text of an ancient author, as given in a critical edition, is the copyright of the editor, is to make the text of that ancient author into the property of this or that modern publishing house.   That, frankly, is ridiculous.

Of course the plaintiffs are appealing.  The case has considerable importance.  But I hope that we will get a clear ruling on this.

The commentary in a critical edition may reasonably be copyright.  The apparatus, largely compiled by mechanical methods, seems doubtful to me.  But the raw text … surely the whole point of the edition is NOT to create an original work, but rather to give us Homer, or Origen, or Martial, or Juvenal?

Let’s think of a modern example.  I do not believe that someone should acquire a copyright over my work, enough to allow him to bar access to others, simply because they did some work on my spelling, or fixed some errors from a corrupted hard disk file!  That would be the modern equivalent.  It’s palpably fraudulent.  So why should it be different, simply because the author lived long ago?

Let us raise a glass to the common sense of the French court, and hope that the higher courts are not pressured or bribed by publishing interests.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access to all Oxford University Press Online products April 13-19th

National Library Week All OUP Online products are free April 13-19th

[n.b.: "The free access starts on April 13th and will run through the end of the day on the 19th, running for the full duration of National Library Week. Access is available in the United States and Canada only" (emphasis added)]
To celebrate National Library Week in the United States (April 13th-19th) and all the hard work librarians do to support their patrons, OUP is freeing up all of our online products* for the week! Libraries are a vital part of many communities, whether it is a school, a town/city, the government, a corporation, or a hospital, and we have freed up this unprecedented amount of content to show our appreciation for these libraries.

National Library Week 

EAGLE News: Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy

EAGLE & Wiki Loves Monuments Event

Best Practices for the Fruition and Promotion of Cultural Heritage:
EAGLE & Wiki Loves Monuments
Award Ceremony  Wiki Loves Monuments Italia
EAGLE Special Prize


May 16,  2014
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Piazza dei Cinquecento, 67

The opportunities offered by modern technology for the safeguarding and fruition of cultural heritage are virtually boundless, yet their successful implementation requires that all players involved (public institutions, private sector, sector operators) adopt new attitudes.
This event, organised by EAGLE (Europeana network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy) and Wikimedia Italia with the support of Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, aims to serve as a platform for sharing knowledge and good practices while stimulating reflections on the role of digital technologies in the preservation and promotion of cultural digital heritage.
At the end of the event, the winners of Special EAGLE prize for WikiLovesMonuments Italy will be announced. An award will be given for the best photograph of an ancient inscription within a participating monument of the WikiLovesMonuments contest.
Special EAGLE prize for WikiLovesMonuments Italy seeks to promote the intrinsic testimonial value of inscriptions and to do so in such a way that this patrimony, which exists right under the eyes of the world yet often goes barely noticed, emerges and gains the visibility that it deserves.


Participation in the event is free of charge but places will be limited.

Register here.

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Exploring Computational Categorization of Records: A Conversation with Meg Phillips from NARA

Continuing the insights interview series, I’m excited to share this conversation with Meg Phillips, External Affairs Liaison at the National Archives and Records Administration. A few years back we “un-chaired” CURATEcamp Processing: Processing Data/Processing Collections together. Meg wrote a guest post reflecting on that event for the Signal titled More Product, Less Process for Born-Digital Collections. I thought it would be good to check back in and see how some of the ideas we were considering about computational processing and digital records in 2012 have continued to play out. In particular, to talk a bit about computational approaches to categorization or processing born-digital materials.

Meg Phillips, External Affairs Liaison at the National Archives and Records Administration and member of the NDSA Coordinating Committee.

Meg Phillips, External Affairs Liaison at the National Archives and Records Administration and member of the NDSA Coordinating Committee.

Trevor: While electronic records have been an issue for archivists for a long time, the scale and complexity of electronic records keeps growing. Some of these issues are what made electronic records such a high priority in the 2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship. Could you give us a few concrete examples of the diversity of electronic records data challenges that NARA and other federal agencies face? I ask in part as I think it sets the stage for why some of these computational tools are particularly important for the future of managing electronic records.

Meg: At the National Archives we need new strategies to cope with very high volume electronic collections with a wide variety of formats and content types, but our challenges definitely aren’t unique.  Many other institutions are facing these same problems, including cultural heritage institutions but also records creators like federal agencies.  What we’re finding is that traditional paper-based processes for managing information where all the steps are done by humans just aren’t able to keep up with the volume of electronic records being created now.

One particularly pressing example that shows up in many environments is the need to screen electronic record content to see if it contains any restricted information before we release it.   The way we’ve done this in the past is just too slow to keep up, and the need to do it on heterogeneous electronic collections that could contain almost any information (like email or social media) is growing.  Without new ways to approach this, archives will bring in vast quantities of valuable information, but only a trickle will make it out into publicly searchable collections.  We all want to do better than that.

A variation of this problem that IS specific to the federal government is the need to eventually declassify and release classified national security information.  Classified records can contain some of the juiciest material for historians to work with.  They’re really important for both history and government accountability.  However the November 2012 report, Transforming Classification, of the Public Interest Declassification Board described the rate of declassification using current processes with this example:

“It is estimated that one intelligence agency would, therefore, require two million employees to review manually its one petabyte of information each year. Similarly, other agencies would hypothetically require millions more employees just to conduct their reviews.

"NARA's grand challenge for industry" cartoon created by James Lappin. Presented with permission from James Lappin.

“NARA’s grand challenge for industry” cartoon created by James Lappin. Presented with permission from James Lappin.

Trevor: Do you have any examples you could share with us of how NARA or other federal agencies are using tools, or are are thinking about using these kinds of tools, to automate some of the categorization/appraisal/or processing of electronic records? If so, could you briefly describe some of the uses?

Meg: In the records management sphere, one of the challenges is getting all government employees to save their records in the right category so the right retention rules can be applied.  The National Archives has found that asking each person to file every email and other document properly rarely works very well.  People are just too busy working to fulfill their agency’s mission to spend a lot of time filing their email.  We are encouraging agencies to try automated approaches to the capture and categorization of their electronic records to take the burden of filing off the end users. In fact, we just released a new draft report and plan on Automated Electronic Records Management that we hope will help move the Federal government toward greater use of these tools.

Some bellwether agencies like the Department of Interior are already implementing solutions like this as part of comprehensive electronic records management strategies.  They are training machine learning systems to automatically recognize and file email messages that belong in different file categories and they intend to expand the system to all kinds of electronic content.

The main driver for these kind of artificial intelligence capabilities in the marketplace is the need to do efficient search, categorization, ranking and screening for privileged information for the discovery phase of litigation.  The cool thing for those of us who need to process large electronic collections that that the functions of the eDiscovery processes are really similar to what we need to do.  We need to understand what’s there, figure out what to keep and what to toss, categorize and describe it, and screen it for restricted content before releasing it.  And when we have such large collections that a search results in millions of hits, it is really useful to be able to rank the results based on how closely they match what we’re looking for.  Machine learning tools can do this in a much more sophisticated way than old school keyword searching can.  (And there’s some interesting research from The Sedona Conference that indicates that the machines are more accurate than humans at catching potentially restricted content, as well as better at retrieving all relevant documents.)

I also just discovered a fascinating crowdsourcing project called the “Mechanical Curator” from the British Library. They posted a vast collection of public domain images extracted from books digitized by Microsoft on the web.  They say they “plan to launch a crowdsourcing application at the beginning of next year, to help describe what the images portray.” Further, that they would use data from the crowdsourcing effort to “train automated classifiers that will run against the whole of the content.”  This is a perfect example of an application combining two new approaches, crowdsourcing and machine learning, to extend the scalability of description in the digital world.

You can read more about the National Archives’ project to encourage more automation in the management of electronic records here.

Trevor: Across these different methods and use cases I would be curious to hear what you think are the most promising ways we might be making use of these in the lifecycle of electronic records.

Meg: There are lots of stages in the electronic records lifecycle where automated tools could be very useful.  I have to say that we don’t have a lot of experience with this yet.  I encourage organizations to start piloting some of these technologies and share your lessons learned with the community!  Many of the tools were developed for other purposes and we still need to figure out how well they’ll work in cultural heritage environment.

  • Appraisal: Autocategorization and topic clustering tools can help figure out what topic areas are covered in a collection and how valuable it is.
  • Selection/weeding: We can use automated tools to weed out system files, advertising, and other low value materials that we don’t want to archive.
  • Processing: We can use autocategorization or document clustering to better understand  the content of a collection.  We may not “arrange” it in the same way we would with a physical collection, but we can see different types of inherent organizations for different purposes and can explain those to researchers. We could also flag potentially restricted content (privacy information, for example) if we could train a machine learning system to recognize content similar to other content we already marked as restricted.
  • Description: Description is really all about summarizing information and surfacing the subject terms (perhaps with topic modeling) and names of people and places (for which named-entity extraction could work well). There are already some interesting examples of this sort of work a foot. For instance, Thomas Padilla did some work topic modeling text in Carl Woese’s electronic records (pdf).  Also, Ed Summers has been dabbling with putting a tool together to generate topic models that actually act as interfaces to materials.
  • Reference: Autocategorization tools will help researchers sort through vast sets of hits to find the material worth reading with human eyes.  In a collection of hundreds of millions of emails, even obscure topics can generate lists of many thousands of responsive documents, and that’s overwhelming for many researchers.  These tools can help them make the best use of their time by leading them to the most relevant clusters of documents.

Trevor: As these technologies and methods for categorization continue to augment our abilities to work with and manage digital information I imagine they are going to impact a lot of the workflows and work of archivists across the lifecycle. Do you have any thoughts on what these kinds of tools are going to mean for the future of staffing digital preservation programs?

Meg: In the future, large-scale digital preservation programs are going to need access to someone with not just good technical skills, but also good information science skills.  Perhaps we’ll want some data architects to help users make sense of the content in our collections.

Strictly speaking, these aren’t digital preservation functions. It’s the core archival processing and reference functions that are going to change the most. I also believe the profession of records management is going to undergo a transformation. Records managers are going to need to be able to help expert users select training sets and train their systems to recognize the records that belong in different categories. The need to identify the categories of information generated by their organization and determine how long each category has value will not change. The way they implement those decisions is on the verge of changing a lot.

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Jesus’s Passover

By: Dr. James F. Strange, University of South Florida Professor 

Passover in Exodus 12-13 was a family ritual, but in Jesus’ day it had developed into a national pilgrimage holiday centered in Jerusalem. Practices that were found at first in the family had become more institutionalized in Jesus’ day, with priests managing thousands of sacrifices in the Temple. But Josephus mentions the crowds streaming into Jerusalem, and we are left to imagine many men, women, and children making their way into the city from all directions, excited and full of joy at the prospect of worship and sacrifice for eight days, and relieved to reach Jerusalem after a difficult and dangerous journey. So many came that whole villages and towns in Judea were seemingly depopulated. The historian Josephus reports that when the Roman army marched southward on the coast toward Lydda or Diospolis in 66 AD, they found the city virtually deserted because of pilgrimage for the Festival of Booths or Sukkoth (War. 2.19).

Passover itself was understood to be one day, namely the 14th of Nisan. This day was followed by seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the two holidays were thought of as one observance. Every adult, Jewish male was expected to travel to Jerusalem, and sometimes women and children were present as well. Visitors to Jerusalem either lived with relatives or friends in Jerusalem or depended on hospitality offered by citizens of the city or synagogues, as shown by the Theodotus Inscription of the 1st century AD, which mentions amenities for travelers. Some likely lived in temporary shelters or even rented rooms or courtyards. Others simply camped in surrounding villages or places like the Beth Zatha quarter north of the Temple, where archaeologists have found very little in the way of important building remains.

Theodotus inscription.

Theodotus inscription.

According to Josephus there were massive crowds in Jerusalem during Passover, and there were tumults from time to time, as often accompanies crowding. Some pilgrims began arriving a week early so that they could purify themselves, as all were expected to eat and celebrate in a state of ritual purity. (Failing to deal with purity may have interfered with pilgrimage for some.)

The 13th of Nisan was the Day of Preparation for the Passover. Exodus 12:15 calls for removal of all leaven “from your houses”. Exodus 13:7 ramps up the prohibition: “And no leaven shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen among you within all your boundaries.” Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 is well acquainted with this custom of leaven removal associated with Passover and uses it as a metaphor for “cleaning house” of those who practice evil.

As for what happened in detail, we can develop a picture of the practice from the ancient mentions of Passover in the Hebrew Bible, Josephus, Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament. It appears that there is both a family observance and a Temple observance. If there are no families present, but individual pilgrims, then they may eat the Passover and celebrate “by companies” (Josephus). According to the Hebrew Bible the head of the household slaughters an unblemished, yearling lamb or kid toward sundown on the 14th of Nisan. Josephus informs us that the priests started slaughtering thousands of lambs from the 9th hour to the 11th hour or from about 3:00 to 5:00 pm, though Philo knows about families slaughtering lambs as well.

Samaritans making matzot for Passover, ca. 1900-1920, Matson Collection, Library of Congress.

Samaritans making matzot for Passover, ca. 1900-1920, Matson Collection, Library of Congress.

In Jerusalem an observant group of from ten to twenty people ate the Passover. (A yearling animal is full-grown, and the dress-out weight of a 150 lb. lamb would range from 55-78 lbs. The same calculation for a 120 lb. goat would range from 54 to 66 lbs.) We reconstruct a priestly observance beginning the afternoon on the 14th of Nisan, which was followed by a family meal or ritual-group meal that began after sundown. The family meal at homes in Jerusalem is assumed in Josephus, Luke, Philo, and the Mishnah, even if it may not be a wide-spread custom at the time.

That night the cooks cooperate to prepare the lamb or kid to be eaten. It is to be completely consumed with unleavened bread (matzos) and bitter herbs, taking care to break no bones of the Passover sacrifice. Whatever remains uneaten, which may be considerable, is to be burned up before the break of dawn. The entire week is a joyous festival with wine, food and matzos, prayer and singing, and special burnt offerings.

Josephus explains that beginning on the 16th of Nisan fruits and vegetables may be eaten. On the 16th they also offer the first fruits of barley and sacrifice a lamb to God. Most of the other special foods that moderns associate with Passover were not well represented at the ancient Passover except for the Passover lamb, matzos, and bitter herbs.

What becomes of the bones? Some have suggested that they were buried. The evidence is from Qumran, namely, the many deposits of animal bones with large pieces of jars or pots in the open spaces of the ruin of Qumran. The animal bones represented mainly sheep and goats, though there were also bones of calves and cows or oxen. Whatever practice this custom was derived from, it at least gives a possible archaeological precedent for what happened to Passover animal bones. It is also possible that the custom was confined to Qumran.

Samaritan family sharing Passover sacrifice, ca. 1900-1920, Matson Collection, Library of Congress.

Samaritan family sharing Passover sacrifice, ca. 1900-1920, Matson Collection, Library of Congress.

The first and last days, the 14th and 21st of Nisan, were solemn assemblies, and no work was allowed. Priests and Levites prayed aloud and sang hymns to God, complete with musical accompaniment. Family prayers and singing of hymns are mentioned in various Jewish sources including the Gospels. The tradition of singing the Hallel or Praise Psalms (Psalms 113-118) is so well attested later that it may have its origins in the period of the Second Temple. This is also the occasion to sing the Song of the Sea (Ex 15:1-21).

Other practices attested here and there are giving alms to the poor and drinking wine during the meal instead of solely at the beginning or at the end. John 13:29 recounts that Jesus said something to Judas Iscariot which the others thought might be instructions to give something to the poor. Mishnah Pesach 10:1 gives instructions that the poorest Israelites are to receive alms “for no fewer than four cups of wine.”

Unfortunately there is very little from archaeology that broadens our perspective. Yet the picture is clear. Thousands of pilgrims, tens of thousands of sacrifices, hundreds of priests and Levites praying and singing and playing music. All this accompanied by shouts of exultation, more singing, and sounds of cooking, feasting, and laughing all with a view to remembering God’s mercy for the Israelites in Egypt. No one was prepared for the changes to Judaism that would come with the loss of Jerusalem and the Temple within a bit more than a generation.


James Strange is Professor of Religious Studies and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida.


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Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Punk Archaeology, Buried Atari, and Disciplinary Anxiety

This weekend, I finished R. Guins’ impressive new book Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Games Afterlife. As people who follow me on the social medias know, I am heading to Alamagordo, New Mexco next week to excavate a deposit of millions (perhaps) of Atari games with a documentary film grew directed by Zak Penn, Prof. Guins himself, and some of the Punk Archaeology Collective (Andrew Reinhard, Richard Rothaus, and K. Lindsay Eaves). I was super excited about this possibility when Andrew Reinhard first brokered our participation, and reading Guins’ book got me more excited.

Guins positioned the study of early ’80s video games in the context of performance (although not explicitly). In six thoughtful chapters, he considered how scholars, players, collectors, conservators, and fans engage video games in a range of contexts from the museum to the arcade and warehouse. Guins himself venerated early games in the Smithsonian collection. Conservators, lovingly restored, fixed, and even scrapped for parts neglected and broken games. The public scoffed, reminisced, and, more importantly, played the games in various arcades, museum exhibits, and conventions occupying the familiar pose in front of the cabinet with legs positioned shoulder width apart. These different postures framed the afterlife of video games through individual actions that articulate their significance. The various performances communicated made clear the differing social meanings for the games. The gaze of a museum visitor at an arcade game set apart in a glass case is different from that of a veteran restorer laborious applying black lacquer or an enthusiast immersed in game play at a meet up of vintage games.

This emphasis on how we engage these relics of a past era grounds the games firmly in the present. The book does very little with the conceptualization, production, and design of video games other than recognize that these stages are also part of the biography of these objects. Guins interviews a famed game packaging artist and a few game designers including those associated with some of the earliest video games, but he does not talk to folks involved with managing the design teams, manufacturing the games, selling them in retail stores, or marketing them to the masses. As a result, the games Guins studied spoke for themselves in the hands of consumers, connoisseurs, and scholars.

Chapter 5 was dedicated to the famed E.T. burial ground in New Mexico where Atari apparently buried millions of overproduced and returned games in 1983 in the city’s landfill. The team of archaeologists is going to this site to supervise the extraction of these games and to observe the context of their deposition and recovery. In a simple way, we are positioning ourselves in relation to these games as archaeologists and by doing so we hope to impart some social significance to these artifacts, their deposition, and their recovery.

In the spirit of punk, our actions will denature the objects. As R. Harrison and J. Schofield have noted,  punks challenged our assumptions of the purpose and function of zipper, safety pins, make-up, and even musical instruments. Feedback was music, zippers served no function, and torn jeans defined their ruined state to create an identity dependent upon questioning the standards of civility in polite society. Punk rockers performed in churches, mental hospitals, and abandoned buildings intentionally calling into question the architectural context for musical performance in the same way that our punk archaeology conference brought academics together in a Fargo bar to give papers on archaeology and music.

Next week, when we participate in excavating 30 year old Atari games from a New Mexico landfill, we’ll be performing another transgressive action by assigning corporate, consumer “junk” archaeological status and figuring out how to extract a sample of the possibly millions of cartridges and related matter from a landfill. More than that, we’re going to do this while a documentary crew looks on, with a limited budget, specific priorities, and a different kind of appreciation of the objects of our excavation. For example, the production company wants to give away some of the excavated objects and apparently have permission to do this.

As the idea of what we’re going to do next week sunk in, I immediately became apprehensive. First off, I’m a Mediterranean archaeologists and despite my dalliances in the archaeology of the contemporary world, I am far more comfortable with the rules of archaeology in Cyprus or Greece than in the U.S. More than that, I am more comfortable with objects and material that are traditionally archaeological in terms of date (i.e. at least 100 years old!), context (within a controlled research setting), and policies (governed by a clear set of cultural property laws and policies). While this is not meant to diminish the cultural significance of more recent objects, it does push me to consider the limits of a formal “archaeological status” – in the narrowest, disciplinary sense.

Is it the buried location of the Atari games that make them archaeological?

Would a million E.T. cartridges in a warehouse attract the same kind of archaeological scrutiny?

Furthermore, an E.T. cartridge in a private collection does not produce the same kind of ethical tension as, say, a well preserved African red slip plate dating to the 6th century A.D. In other words, the nature of a modern cultural object works against my traditional disciplinary expectations of significance. (And for those of you who are regular readers of this blog, this is the same tension that arose when I first started working on my North Dakota Man Camp Project).

On the one hand, the discipline of archaeology becomes centered on process rather than location or object. On the other hand, it is clear that the limits imposed by the location of the games in a landfill (and the toxicity of the site), the limits imposed by our collaboration with a documentary film crew, and the need to use backhoes and other heavy equipment, defy a narrow reading of archaeological process. Our work in Alamogordo will be at the fringes of disciplinary practice at best, and the most useful thing about the exercise will be a chance to reflect on the limits of archaeology as performance. Just as video games enter the realm of “culture” through the performance of curators, conservators, and scholars, the limits of the discipline come through the posture of its practitioners.  

I’m left thinking about a lovely poem by Cris Kirkwood:

Many a hand has scaled the grand old face of the plateau
Some belong to strangers and some to folks you know
Holy ghosts and talk show hosts are planted in the sand
To beautify the foothills and shake the many hands

Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop
And an illustrated book about birds
You see a lot up there but don’t be scared
Who needs action when you got words

When you’ve finished with the mop then you can stop
And look at what you’ve done
The plateau’s clean, no dirt to be seen
And the work – it was fun

Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop
And an illustrated book about birds
You see a lot up there but don’t be scared
Who needs action when you got words

Many hands began to scan around for the next plateau
Some said it was Greenland and some say Mexico
Others decided it was nowhere except for where they stood
Those are all just guesses
Wouldn’t help you if they could…

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Proof-reading help wanted

The edition and translation of Origen’s Homilies on Ezekiel that I commissioned is now in its final stages.  I need someone to check that the latest bunch of changes were applied correctly, and also to go through the footnotes in one (long 150 page) section and check that the numerals are in the right places, and match up with the text at the bottom of the page.  It’s a bit tedious, and will probably take a few hours, and I haven’t the time to do it.  Unfortunately the proof-reader is otherwise engaged.

Would anyone like to volunteer to assist?  I can’t pay a lot, but I can pay something.  If you’d be interested, please contact me.

Tom Brughmans (Archaeological Network Analysis)

Madness part 2: processes of emerging inter-visibility

The second post in the madness series, describing the run-up to my PhD submission! Last time I wrote about why visibility networks might be an interesting method in archaeology. There was a hidden agenda in that post however: I am not just interested in visualising a visibility network, that has been done before by many […]

Ethan Gruber (Numishare)

British Museum Coins in OCRE

With many thanks to Eleanor Ghey in the British Museum Coins & Medals department for providing spreadsheet dumps of the BM's imperial coins from Augustus through the end of RIC Volume 4, I was able to match more than 11,000 coins from Augustus to Elegabalus to URIs defining Roman imperial coin types in OCRE. After these matches were made, another script queried the British Museum's SPARQL endpoint to generate a large RDF file conforming to nomisma.org's model. Most coins include die axis, weight, and diameter. Many (if not most) also include links to images. These measurements are now available for the quantitative analysis feature in Numishare, resulting in generally more accurate queries.

There are now roughly 20,000 coins hooked into OCRE from four collections: the ANS, British Museum, Berlin, and the University of Virginia Art Museum. We do expect to incorporate larger numbers from Berlin and the Bibliothèque Nationale in the future, as well as from some large scale finds databases like the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the European Coin Find Network. The floodgates will soon open in providing data and research tools to a wide audience of students, scholars, and generally interested parties to visualization information and ask questions of the data that were not previously possible.

April 13, 2014

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

The Current State of Louisiana Digital History

The end of March found me escaping the snow-draped landscapes of my East Lansing, Michigan home to attend the 2014 Louisiana Historical Association (LHA) Conference in Hammond where I was to accept the Hugh. F. Rankin Prize. At the conference, I had the opportunity to survey the footprint of digital history within the LHA community, and to discuss and pitch my project digitally mapping the southern television stations from 1942 through 1965. What I discovered is that 2014 was a significant year for Louisiana digital history.  Not only were impressive digital projects present at the conference showcasing various methods for visualizing historical narratives, but also present were representatives of several archives to discuss their strategies for digitizing materials.

The most significant digital-history-related announcement at the conference was University of Louisiana’s project Acadiana Historical., which was formally praised and recognized by the LHA. Acadiana Historical is an interactive digital experience that maps out South Louisiana’s unique cultural history, using a digital mapping interface merged with a blog. The project invites viewers on various digital tours through unique locations in South Louisiana, allowing users to interactively explore South Louisiana history and culture. Not only is the project available on the web, but it also hosts applications on both the IOS and the Android appstores which allow tourists to augment their experience in Louisiana with a digital tour guide. The project, which includes the work of Meredith Melancon, Eric Scott, Anne Mahoney, and Clare Robbins, builds on Omeka and Curatescape’s infrastructure to significant success. Project members include Meredith Melancon, Eric Scott, Anne Mahoney, and Clare Robbins, as well as project organizer and director, Robert Carriker, head of the History, Geography, and Philosophy department at University of Louisiana.

Aside from digital projects, there were also panels that evaluated the overall state of digital history.  One such panel examined archivists’ roles within the digitization community, discussing new digitization projects and strategies archivists have undertaken to make their materials more accessible to the public. Leon Miller, head of the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University, began this discussion with an introduction to the role of a digital archivist.  Tulane University apparently was one of the first Louisiana education organizations to begin digitizing their holdings, and the progress they have made is impressive: digitized collections include The Carnival Collection, The Louisiana Menu and Restaurant Collection, The Victor H. and Margaret G. Schiro Exhibit, Leon Trice Louisiana Political Photographs, Lippmann Collection of Louisiana Postal Aviation History, Lippman Collection of Civil War Postal Covers, Louisiana Political Ephemera, and the Natalie V. Scott Exhibit. Next, Laura Charney discussed the Louisiana Newspapers Project (LNP), which was recently funded to add 27 new newspapers into the National Digital Newspaper Program. The LNP is funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities to digitize and provide free access to United States newspapers. Finally, Centenary College of Louisiana presented their digital collections, which include their Course Catalogs from 1852-2013, their yearbooks from 1922-2012, their student newspapers from 1959-1990, their literary magazines which include the Centenary Review (vol. 1; 1949), the Insights (vol. 1-5; 1962-1967), their alumni magazines: Volumes (1925-2005) and Volumes (2006-2010), and other university publications.

The progress made in the state to digitize holdings in the above-discussed areas is heartening, of course, but when questioned about their film holdings, each archivist with whom I spoke expressed frustration with the current state of copyright law and its limitations on film’s use.  In many ways, Louisiana archivists are reluctant to move forward with digitization processes for film because of concerns of liability if that material were used against the owner’s interests. So while digitization clearly has been growing in popularity within the LHA community, the sad fact of the matter, it seems, is that film is being excluded.

The Homer Multitext

Testing the HMT project’s technical underpinnings

In February, we noted the release of new draft specifications for the CTS URN notation that we use to cite texts, and the CTS protocol that we use to retrieve texts in the Homer Multitext project. Since the publication of the draft specifications, we have released updates of a suite of test data and of software using the test data to assess the compliance of a given CTS service with the current version of the protocol.

Together with version 1.6 of this software, the ctsvalidator servlet, we are today releasing version 0.9.0 of our implementation of the CTS protocol, sparqlcts. The new version of sparqlcts passes 100% of the ctsvalidator tests.

To recapitulate what we have released in 2014 in our work on CTS:
  • Formal specifications for the Canonical Text Services protocol, and CTS URNs. The specifications include Relax NG schemas for a CTS Text Inventory (the catalogue of a CTS library), and Relax NG schemas for validating the responses to CTS requests.
  • A test data set, documented in a valid CTS Text Inventory, and available in three formats:
    • valid and well-formed XML
    • tabular data in simple delimited text files
    • RDF triples in .ttl format
  • A set of 68 tests applying CTS requests to the test data set. The tests are defined in an XML file listing the request and parameters to be submitted to a running CTS installation. For each test, a corresponding XML file gives the expected responses to the request.
  • The CTS Validator, a web-app that runs the tests against any online CTS service hosting the corpus of test-data.
  • An implementation of the Canonical Text Services, sparqlcts, a Java web-app drawing its data from a SPARQL endpoint.  When the SPARQL end point is hosting the corpus of test data, sparqlcts passes 68 out of 68 of our defined tests.
This of course does not mean that sparqlcts is necessarily flawless (there may be problems that ctsvalidator does not test for), but it is an important milestone. One of the most profound implications of digital scholarship is that when we can automate the testing of digital work, we should invert the humanist’s traditional order of composition and assessment: specify the automated test first, then work until you pass the test. This applies to the software we use, too. When we next update our online services, we can be confident that our text service has successfully passed 100% of a challenging series of tests.


Christopher Blackwell and Neel Smith, project architects

Mia Ridge (Open Objects)

How can we connect museum technologists with their history?

A quick post triggered by an article on the role of domain knowledge (knowledge of a field) in critical thinking, Deep in thought:
Domain knowledge is so important because of the way our memories work. When we think, we use both working memory and long-term memory. Working memory is the space where we take in new information from our environment; everything we are consciously thinking about is held there. Long-term memory is the store of knowledge that we can call up into working memory when we need it. Working memory is limited, whereas long-term memory is vast. Sometimes we look as if we are using working memory to reason, when actually we are using long-term memory to recall. Even incredibly complex tasks that seem as if they must involve working memory can depend largely on long-term memory.
When we are using working memory to progress through a new problem, the knowledge stored in long-term memory will make that process far more efficient and successful. ... The more parts of the problem that we can automate and store in long-term memory, the more space we will have available in working memory to deal with the new parts of the problem.
A few years ago I defined a 'museum technologist' as 'someone who can appropriately apply a range of digital solutions to help meet the goals of a particular museum project', and deep domain knowledge clearly has a role to play in this (also in the kinds of critical thinking that will save technologists from being unthinking cheerleaders for the newest buzzword or geek toy). 

There's a long history of hard-won wisdom, design patterns and knowledge (whether about ways not to tender for or specify software, reasons why proposed standards may or may not work, translating digital methods and timelines for departments raised on print, etc - I'm sure you all have examples) contained in the individual and collective memory of individual technologists and teams. Some of it is represented in museum technology mailing lists, blogs or conference proceedings, but the lessons learnt in the past aren't always easily discoverable by people encountering digital heritage issues for the first time. And then there's the issue of working out which knowledge relates to specific, outdated technologies and which still holds while not quashing the enthusiasm of new people with a curt 'we tried that before'...

Something in the juxtaposition of the 20th anniversary of BritPop and the annual wave of enthusiasm and discovery from the international Museums and the Web (#MW2014) conference prompted me to look at what the Museums Computer Group (MCG) and Museum Computer Network (MCN) lists were talking about in April five and ten years ago (i.e. in easily-accessible archives):
Five years ago in #musetech - open web, content distribution, virtualisation, wifi https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A1=ind0904&L=mcg&X=498A43516F310B2193 http://mcn.edu/pipermail/mcn-l/2009-April/date.html
Ten years ago in #musetech people were talking about knowledge organisation and video links with schools https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A1=ind04&L=mcg&F=&S=&X=498A43516F310B2193
Some of the conversations from that random sample are still highly relevant today, and more focused dives into various archives would probably find approaches and information that'd help people tackling current issues.

So how can we help people new to the sector find those previous conversations and get some of this long-term memory into their own working memory? Pointing people to search forms for the MCG and MCN lists is easy, some of the conference proceedings are a bit trickier (e.g. search within the museumsandtheweb.com) and there's no central list of museum technology blogs that I know of. Maybe people could nominate blog posts they think stand the test of time, mindful of the risk of it turning into a popularity/recency thing?

If you're new(ish) to digital heritage, how did you find your feet? Which sites or communities helped you, and how did you find them? Or if you have a new team member, how do you help them get up to speed with museum technology? Or looking further afield, which resources would you send to someone from academia or related heritage fields who wanted to learn about building heritage resources for or with specialists and the public?

Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative

An Imbiza Update

As the May 2nd launch date approaches, I find myself surprised at how much this project has changed (and changed again, then changed again) since the original idea emerged in an October 2013 Session of the Football Scholars Forum.  Originally, I planned on a project that focused solely on the stadiums and fan parks, but now I am working on a project that will encompass the entire tournament; not only the stadiums and fan parks, but also the fans, the sounds, the writings, and, most importantly, the football.

What really changed my vision for this project was the content that I received.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I called for submissions to my “tweeps” (and the “tweeps” of “tweeps” who were kind enough to retweet) but I got much more than I ever imagined.  This reaction showed me not only the wealth of material that was available (even if I had to dig to find it), but also that there was a desire to historicize the 2010 tournament; to archive the experience of the tournament for future scholars, fans, and interested parties to be able to relive just a fraction of the madness, exhilaration and realities of this global sporting event.

Phase I (Academic Year 2013-2014):  This is the project you will see on May 2nd.  This phase of the project will present the photos and videos that I have gathered from various sources to give a sense of the atmosphere of the tournament.  They have been catalogued utilizing KORA (and the Dublin Core standards) and I am currently in the process of moving them to the WordPress platform, where they will be organized by location and theme.  This iteration of the site will be more of a curated gallery than the full project that I envision presenting by Spring 2015.

Phase II (Summer 2014):  I will be traveling to South Africa this summer.  I hope to collect more materials while I am in South Africa, not only pictures, videos, and texts, but I also hope to begin collecting oral histories of individuals who attended the tournament (or experienced it in anyway).  In collecting these testimonies (and later digitizing them), I hope to add an additional layer of texture to my archive of the World Cup, cataloging not only scholars’ experiences, but also the experiences of fans and laypeople who experienced the World Cup in a variety of ways.  During this time, as the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, I will also be archiving this tournament through social media and digital publications.  I’m not sure what I will end up doing with these materials, but, as I’ve found with trying to archive the 2010 World Cup, it’s much easier to gather these things as the event goes on than after the fact.

Phase III (Fall 2014):  In the fall, I will take inventory of the new materials and contributions that I have collected.  There are also a number of elements that I am not going to be able to include in this version of the project that I will be considering in this reorganization.  I am also hoping to recruit some more members for my solo team, to not only enhance my productivity in cataloging the materials for Imbiza, but also to add their perspectives and approaches to this project.  Additionally, I will be combing through what I imagine will be the huge amount of material that I collect on the World Cup in Brazil, considering if I will incorporate these into the final project or if this should comprise a separate archive all its own.

Phase IV (Spring 2015):  I’m not sure yet what this phase of the project will look like.  I’ll have a much better idea of this once I get through the next two phases of this project.  But I imagine it will look quite similar to what you see below.


So, earlier this week I suffered a bit of a setback when I had to reinstall my WordPress database.  I lost all of my content and had to rebuild my site, but, as I wrote on the Day of DH, I am confident that this latest iteration of my project will be the best one yet and it will only get better as it progresses.  But, even if the project I launch on May 2nd, isn’t what I originally planned, this will not be the final statement on Imbiza.  I have a vision.  I have a plan to make that vision come to life.  And I am determined to see it through.

As we say in isiZulu, Phambili (Forward)!

Jo Cook (Computing, GIS and Archaeology in the UK)

Complexity vs Quality

Recently I had need to evaluate a Proprietary Desktop GIS (PDG for short) to document the procedure for doing a Thing for a client. To avoid any mud-slinging and name calling , I’m naming neither the PDG or the Thing, I’ll just say that the Thing is something that the PDG claims to be able to do. This is not a blog post excoriating PDGs by the way, it’s a reflection on the virtues of simplicity, good documentation, and being honest and open.

So, I download a trial version of the PDG and spend 2 hours installing and licensing it. During this time I have to consult the documentation on exactly what licensing options I wanted for a TRIAL piece of software. I also have to consult the documentation on exactly how to apply the license. No mind, I get the software installed and working and try and do the Thing. I remember from several years ago, last time I tried to do the Thing with the PDG, that it was slightly tricky, but several versions have been and gone, all of which claim to be able to do the Thing. Consequently though, I cut the PDG a bit of slack when it can’t do the Thing, and I try the work-around. Yes, that still works, though I don’t know how you’d guess that from the error messages or the documentation. It’s not ideal to need two methods of doing the Thing but hey ho. I also cut the PDG some slack when it tells me that I can only do the Thing if I adhere to some very unusual naming conventions, which will mean that, should I need to do this for real, I will have a lot of work to do renaming a bunch of stuff.

Let’s take this up a level. I don’t only need to do the Thing, but also the related Slightly More Complicated Thing (SMCT for short) too. I confess that the documentation doesn’t really say out and out that the PDG can do this, but it certainly implies it. Only, it doesn’t seem to be able to without a license for it’s rather more expensive elder brother, the Proprietary Server GIS (PSG for short). However, to explain this to the client, I will need some documentary proof. I can find blog and forum posts admitting it’s true, and for all I know there might be lots of information in the knowledge base for the PDG and PSG but you have to have a customer number to access this and because I am only evaluating the software, I haven’t purchased it yet, so I don’t have one of those.

So, I ask some questions of colleagues, and while waiting for them to get back to me, I try some work-arounds for the SMCT. Needless to say, they don’t work either.

A colleague finally gets back to me. After some incredulity that the PDG really can’t do the SMCT when everything implies that it can, said colleague, in his other role as a re-seller for the PDG rings them up and asks. “Yes, we can do that” says the first person, let me find a Thing-specialist to explain how. “No, we can’t do that” says the Thing-specialist. “Our reasons are very complicated, but here’s some obscure documentation that actually admits that we can’t do it”. We let the client know the good news.

As I said earlier, this is not a post excoriating PDG, it’s a reflection on the virtues of simplicity, good documentation, and being honest and open.

Reflection One: The whole process of installing the PDG and discovering the various methods of doing the Thing was needlessly over-complicated. This may be due to the long history of the PDG, and the enormous feature-set, but it feels like bloat. Complexity and a huge feature-set do not necessarily equate to quality, and similarly simplicity and a smaller feature-set are not a bad thing.

Reflection Two: Why hide documentation behind what’s effectively a pay-wall? Had I actually been in the market for purchasing this software, I would have given up at that point. Documentation should be freely available to everyone.

Reflection Three: We really should not have needed to get a re-seller to ring up, and speak to two different people, just to get a definitive answer on the capabilities of a piece of software. This is wrong on so many levels.

In my opinion, these points have nothing to do with the license applied to the source code of the software, or the name on the box: Don’t fall prey to Zawinski’s Law, do make your documentation comprehensive and easily accessible, and do be honest about your capabilities. I’d pay good money for that.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Digital Library of Old Spanish Texts: Spanish Biblical Texts

Digital Library of Old Spanish Texts: Spanish Biblical Texts 
The Corpus of Spanish Biblical Texts is a free online resource developed by the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies in collaboration with the Biblia Medieval project. Its main goal is to facilitate the study and dissemination of a unique aspect of the medieval Hispanic language and culture: the translations of the Bible into Castilian undertaken during the Middle Ages. 

This new research tool not only brings together the text of 19 biblical translations into medieval Spanish, but also makes the texts more useful to the scholarly community by seamlessly integrating in an easy to use interface all three components (indexes, concordances, and texts). With just with a click of the mouse it will be possible to jump from index (alphabetic, frequency, reverse alphabetic) to KWIC concordance, to text. 

This corpus will be a significant source of information for historical linguists, lexicographers, and any other researcher interested in the medieval Castilian biblical translations. They will be able to access and search the contents of the texts for a wide variety of research tasks connected with the diachronic developments of medieval Spanish, allowing them to examine the shift, continuities and patterns of variation that occurred over several centuries. 

The original paleographical transcriptions were processed using commercially available software: Concordance® , a text analysis and concordancing program used to generate and export the concordances to html format; TextPad® and WildEdit®, a text editor and a macro editor, respectively, used to process the resulting htm files.



Transcription Norms

 User's Guide 


Texts & Concordances

Available Online

Europeana in a Research Context

Slides on ‘Europeana in a Research Context‘ for the Mining Digital Respositories conference, April 2014, National Library of the Netherlands

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: Damqãtum: The CEHAO News letter/ El Boletín de Noticias del CEHAO

[First posted in AWOL 9 September 2009. Updated 13 April 2014]

Damqatum es el boletín de noticias del CEHAO editado tanto en castellano como en inglés, con el que se busca acercar la comunidad científica al público en general, para lo cual se realizan entrevistas a destacados académicos y se promueven o informa sobre diversas actividades tanto de extensión como de grado y posgrado, como exposiciones, congresos, jornadas y seminarios.

Se aceptan todo tipo de contribuciones y/o información sobre eventos destacados sobre la historia de antiguo Cercano Oriente.
Damqatum is the CEHAO newsletter, edited in Spanish and English. The newsletter endeavors to present scholarly topics to the general public, publishing interviews to prestigious scholars and promoting or informing academic and extra-curricular activities, such as expositions, congresses, workshops and seminars
Damqatum accepts all kinds of contributions and/or information on important events of the history of the ancient Near East.
Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2006, nº 1

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2006, nº 1 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2007, nº 2

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2007, nº 2 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2007, nº 3

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2007, nº 3 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2008, nº 4

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2008, nº 4 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2009, nº 5

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2009, nº 5 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2010, nº 6

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2010, nº 6 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : El boletín de noticias del CEHAO, 2011, nº 7

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2011, nº 7 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2012, nº 8 (versión en inglés)

Damqatum : The CEHAO newsletter, 2013, nº 9 (versión en inglés)
See the full List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies

April 12, 2014

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Chariot-racing at Leptis Magna in a mosaic

The circus of the Roman city of Leptis Magna in Libya was plundered for stone by a rascally Frenchman a couple of centuries ago.  However we can get a good idea of what it looked like from a mosaic at the Villa Selene, nearby.  Unfortunately it’s not that easy to make out.  Here’s my 2006 photograph, taken from one end.

Villa Selene nr Leptis Magna - chariot racing (original)

Villa Selene nr Leptis Magna – chariot racing (original)

However I discovered a funny thing this evening.  I loaded that image into Paint.Net this evening and, idly, hit the menu option to “auto-level”.  This never does anything useful; but it’s the top option on effects, so I often try it.  And … there is always a first time, and this is what I got! –

Villa Selene, chariot racers - autoleveled

Villa Selene, chariot racers – autoleveled

Suddenly we can see!  The gates at one end, the spina, even the colours, all become possible.

Digital photography … it is such a gift!

The Tesserae Project Blog

R Workshop

On Saturday, April 12, 2014 Christopher Forstall and James Gawley conducted a workshop on Digital Text Analysis for Humanists, using the R software package. The workshop took place at the University at Buffalo (UB), and was sponsored by the … Continue reading