Electra Atlantis: Digital Approaches to Antiquity


Tom Elliott (tom.elliott@nyu.edu)

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August 21, 2014

Ancient World Mapping Center

Cambridge University Press Publishes The Geography of Strabo


Strabo ImageDuane W. Roller’s remarkable new English translation of Strabo’s Geography is now available from Cambridge University Press ( ISBN: 9781107038257; e-book ISBN: 9781139950374). To accompany it, the Center has produced a seamless, interactive online map which is accessible free: http://awmc.unc.edu/awmc/applications/strabo.  The map is built on the Antiquity À-la-carte interface, and has immense coverage because it plots all the locatable geographical and cultural features mentioned in the 17 books of this fundamentally important Greek source – over 3,000 of them, stretching from Ireland to the Ganges delta and deep into north Africa. In the e-version of the translation, the gazetteer offers embedded hyperlinks to each toponym’s stable URI within the digital module, making it possible to move directly between Strabo’s text and its cartographic realization.  



Shawn Graham (Electric Archaeology)

Historical Maps into Minecraft: My Workflow

The folks at the New York Public Library have a workflow and python script for translating historical maps into Minecraft. It’s a three-step (quite big steps) process. First, they generate a DEM (digital elevation model) from the historical map, using QGIS. This is saved as ‘elevation.tiff’. Then, using Inkscape, they trace over the features from the historical map that they want to translate into Minecraft. Different colours equal different kinds of blocks. This is saved as ‘features.tiff’. Then, using a custom python script, the two layers are combined to create a minecraft map, which can either be in ‘creative’ mode or ‘survival’ mode.

There are a number of unspoken steps in that workflow, including a number of dependencies for the python script that have to be installed first. Similarly, QGIS and its plugins also have a steep (sometimes hidden) learning curve. As does Inkscape. And Imagemagick. This isn’t a criticism; it’s just the way this kind of thing works. The problem, from my perspective, is that if I want to use this in the classroom, I have to guide 40 students with widely varying degrees of digital fluency.* I’ve found in the past that many of my students “didn’t study history to have to work with computers” and that the payoff sometimes (to them) doesn’t seem to have (immediate) value. The pros and cons of that kind of work shall be the post for another day.

Right now, my immediate problem is, how can I smooth the gradient of the learning curve? I will do this by providing 3 separate paths for creating the digital elevation model.

Path 1, for when real world geography is not the most important aspect.

It may be that the shape of the world described by the historical map is what is of interest, rather than the current topography of the world. For example, I could imagine a student wanting to explore the historical geography of the Chats Falls before they were flooded by the building of a hydro dam. Current topographic maps and DEMs are not useful. For this path, the student will need to use the process described by the NYPL folks:


QGIS 2.2.0 ( http://qgis.org )

  • Activate Contour plugin
  • Activate GRASS plugin if not already activated

A map image to work from

  • We used a geo-rectified TIFF exported from this map but any high rez scan of a map with elevation data and features will suffice.


Layer > Add Raster Layer > [select rectified tiff]

  • Repeat for each tiff to be analyzed

Layer > New > New Shapefile Layer

  • Type: Point
  • New Attribute: add ‘elevation’ type whole number
  • remove id

Contour (plugin)

  • Vector Layer: choose points layer just created
  • Data field: elevation
  • Number: at least 20 (maybe.. number of distinct elevations + 2)
  • Layer name: default is fine

Export and import contours as vector layer:

  • right click save (e.g. port-washington-contours.shp)
  • May report error like “Only 19 of 20 features written.” Doesn’t seem to matter much

Layer > Add Vector Layer > [add .shp layer just exported]

Edit Current Grass Region (to reduce rendering time)

  • clip to minimal lat longs

Open Grass Tools

  • Modules List: Select “v.in.ogr.qgis”
  • Select recently added contours layer
  • Run, View output, and close

Open Grass Tools

  • Modules List: Select “v.to.rast.attr”
  • Name of input vector map: (layer just generated)
  • Attribute field: elevation
  • Run, View output, and close

Open Grass Tools

  • Modules List: Select “r.surf.contour”
  • Name of existing raster map containing colors: (layer just generated)
  • Run (will take a while), View output, and close

Hide points and contours (and anything else above bw elevation image) Project > Save as Image

You may want to create a cropped version of the result to remove un-analyzed/messy edges

The hidden, tacit bits here involve installing the Countour plugin, and working with GRASS tools (especially the bit about ‘editing the current grass region’, which always is fiddly, I find). Students pursuing this path will need a lot of one-on-one.

Path 2, for when you already have a shapefile from a GIS:

This was cooked up for me by Joel Rivard, one of our GIS & Map specialists in the Library. He writes,

1) In the menu, go to Layer > Add Vector Layer. Find the point shapefile that has the elevation information.
Ensure that you select point in the file type.
2) In the menu, go to Raster > Interpolation. Select “Field 3″ (this corresponds to the z or elevation field) for Interpolation attribute and click on “Add”.
Feel free to keep the rest as default and save the output file as an Image (.asc, bmp, jpg or any other raster – probably best to use .asc since that’s what MicroDEM likes.
We’ll talk about MicroDEM in a moment. I haven’t tested this path yet, myself. But it should work.

Path 3 For when modern topography is fine for your purposes

In this situation, modern topography is just what you need.

1. Grab Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data for the area you are interested in (it downloads as a tiff.)

2. Install MicroDEM and all of its bits and pieces (the installer wants a whole bunch of other supporting bits; just say yes. MicroDEM is PC software, but I’ve run it on a Mac within WineBottler).

3. This video tutorial covers working with MicroDEM and Worldpainter:


But here’s some screenshots – basically, you open up your .tiff or your .asc image file within MicroDEM, crop to the area you are interested in, and then convert the image to grayscale:

MicroDEM: open image, crop image.

MicroDEM: open image, crop image.

Convert to grayscale

Convert to grayscale

Remove legends, marginalia

Remove legends, marginalia

Save your grayscaled image as a .tiff.
Regardless of the path you took (and think about the historical implications of those paths) you now have a gray scale DEM image that you can use to generate your mindcraft world.

Converting your grayscale DEM to a Minecraft World

At this point, the easiest thing to do is to use WorldPainter. It’s free, but you can donate to its developers to help them maintain and update it. Now, the video shown above shows how to load your DEM image into WorldPainter. It parses the black-to-white pixel values and turns them into elevations. You have the option of setting where ‘sea level’ is on your map (so elevations below that point are covered with water). There are many, many options here; play with it! Adam Clarke, who made the video, suggests scaling up your image to 900%, but I’ve found that that makes absolutely monstrous worlds. You’ll have to play around to see what makes most sense for you, but with real-world data of any area larger than a few kilometres on a side, I think 100 to 200% is fine.

Now, the crucial bit for us: you can import an image into WorldPainter to use as an overlay to guide the placement of blocks, terrain, buildings, whatever. So, rather than me simply regurgitating what Adam narrates, go watch the video. Save as a .world file for editing; export to Minecraft when you’re ready (be warned: big maps can take *a very long time* to render. That’s another reason why I don’t scale up the way Adam suggests).

Go play.

To get you started: here are a number of DEMs and WorldPainter world files that I’ve been playing with. Try ‘em out for yourself.


* another problem I’ve encountered is that my features colours don’t map onto the index values for blocks in the script. I’ve tried modifying the script to allow for a bit of fuzziness (a kind of, ‘if the pixel value is between x and y, treat as z’). I end up with worlds filled with water. If I run the script on the Fort Washington maps provided by NYPL, it works perfectly. The script is supposed to only be looking at the R of the RGB values when it assigns blocks, but I wonder if there isn’t something else going on. I had it work once, correctly, for me – but I used MS Paint to recolour my image with the exact colours from the Fort Washington map. Tried it again, exact same workflow on a different map, nada. Nyet. Zip. Zilch. Just a whole of tears and heartache.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery Online Publications

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery: Collections Research


Birmingham Cuneiform Texts - Translations

  • The tablets translated in Birmingham Cuneiform Texts - Translations Part 1 (PDF document) were first published in Watson, P.J., Catalogue of Cuneiform Tablets in Birmingham City Museum Volume 1 – Neo-Sumerian Texts from Drehem (Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1986). The majority of the tablets here come from the Sumerian town of Puzrish-Dagan which was on the modern site of Drehem in southern Iraq.
  • The tablets translated in Birmingham Cuneiform Texts - Translations Part 2 (PDF document) were first published in Watson, P.J., Catalogue of Cuneiform Tablets in Birmingham City Museum Volume 2 – Neo-Sumerian Texts from Umma and Other Sites (Aris & Phillips, Warminster, 1993). The majority of the tablets in Part 2 below came from the Sumerian city of Umma in what is now southern Iraq.
  • At the time the standard practice for editions of such tablets was to publish copies (line drawings), summary contents and indices making them accessible only to those who could read the cuneiform script. Subsequently they were made available online by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative where scans of the tablets can be found together with transliterations. However, as neither the original publication nor the cdli site contain translations it has been decided to make these available here. To access those scans relevant to Birmingham Cuneiform Texts Part 1, log on to http://cdli.ucla.edu click on cdli search and then select primary publication “begins with” and enter BCT 1 and click search. To access those scans relevant to Birmingham Cuneiform Texts Part 2 enter BCT 2.

Répertoire bibliographique des figurines funéraires (shabtis / oushebtis)

[First posted in AWOL  15 January 2012, updated 21 August, 2014]

Répertoire bibliographique des figurines funéraires (shabtis / oushebtis)

Plus de 13,000 références bibliographiques
(nom – titre(s) – parenté – référence bibliographique)

Classement selon les noms inscrits sur les statuettes
Répartition des attestations suivant les grandes périodes de l’histoire égyptienne

Mode de citation recommandé :
sehedj – Nom du fichier « pdf » et date

Pour de plus amples informations, lisez l’état des travaux ou contactez-nous !

Moyen Empire (XIe, XIIe et XIIIe dynasties)
Deuxième Période intermédiaire (XVIIe dynastie)
Nouvel Empire (XVIIIe, XIXe et XXe dynasties)
Époque libyenne (XXIe et XXIIe dynasties) et Troisième Période intermédiaire
Époque kouchite (XXVe dynastie / début XXVIe dynastie à Thèbes, dynastie napatéenne)
Basse Époque et période ptolémaïque (XXVIe dynastie – successeurs d’Alexandre)
Coffrets, cercueils et sarcophages miniatures
Index général (translitération)
Index général (en français)
Bibliographie et abréviations
La base sehedj en quelques mots et état des travaux en cours

A New Allen and Greenough

A New Allen and Greenough
With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, we have completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.
The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.
In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.
On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.
The differences between our version of A&G and others available on the internet are:
  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)
And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:
Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!
And see also AWOL's  list of

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Collecting and Listening

As a member of Kostis Kourelis’ book club, we were encouraged to read Amanda Petrusich’s Do Not Sell at Any Price (2014). The book describes the remarkable world of 78 rpm record collectors. 78 rpm records were produced largely before the war (although they were made until the 1960s) and usually contained pop music, “race music” (including blues and jazz that were marketed largely to an African American audience), and “ethnic music” that was not widely played on the radio. The discs themselves measured 10 inches across and were usually made of  a hodgepodge of unreliable materials that allowed for the fledgling recording business able to produce and circulate music quickly. Most of the masters for these cheap records are lost and in many cases the only recordings that we have of prewar pop music exist on the handful of poorly manufactured discs held dear by collectors.

In fact, Petrusich argued that collectors of prewar 78s attracted the attention of folk and blues artists starting in the 1960s (and Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music was often their introduction to music recorded originally on 78 rpm discs) and spurred the popular revival of these genres. This connection to 78s  has continued to attract the attention of Jack White and a handful of other oldey timey music fans. 

I won’t review this wonderful book, but I do want to use it to make a few little observations about how we listen to music (and some of my comments relate to my interest in recent trends among audiophiles).

1. Authentic Sound. One of the most remarkable things about the survival of 78 rpm records is the incredibly poor quality of many of the prewar discs. First off, the record labels made these discs of schellac which was a rather fragile and inconsistent material that did not lend itself to consistent pressings. Compounding matters is that up until 1924 or so, recordings were made by the “acoustical” method. That is, the performers played into a horn that amplified the sound enough to move a cutting stylus across a master cylinder of wax. These recordings could not capture the same sonic range as later electrical recordings made into microphones, but are more coveted by collectors. The inconsistent character of shellac discs, however, continued to compromise quality at playback as did the tendency to press records that did not play at precisely 78rpm and used various frequency response curves idiosyncratic to particular labels.

As a result, the sound from 78rpm discs might be described as inconsistent, but to some extent the sound we hear from them defines an era of recorded music. There is an undeniable authenticity that audiophiles, in their relentless pursuit of perfect sound, tend to overlook. Recent debates about the LP revival, for example, tend to focus on the idea that LPs sound BETTER than the compressed sound of mp3 recordings so popular with “the kids these days.”

At the same time, it is hard to deny that our compressed-to-distortion mp3s are the authentic sound of  music for this generation just as the crackling, warped, and distorted sound of relatively inexpensive 78s was the sound of recorded music prior to the war. I’ll admit that I’m not a LP guy and, in fact, I find the sound of digitized 78s difficult to enjoy. At the same time, I’m not as mortified by the sound of MP3s, as say, Neil Young or other audiophiles. While I still prefer a CD or even a high-resolution download, reading Petrusich’s book has reminded me that there is something undeniably authentic about both 78s and mp3s.

2. The Song. One of the great tropes in the audiophile press is how the kids these days don’t have the patience for long-playing records or even albums. They just want the poppy singles, loaded onto mediocre sounding portable mp3 players (so called “iPods”), and lasting no more than 3 minutes. In fact, some argue that they simply don’t have the attention span for a LP.  This, of course, is crazy as these same young music consumers can watch movies, the NFL, and go out to concerts in healthy numbers and all of these things last for longer than a single song. 

More than that, the LP era was an aberration in how we listen to recorded music. The 78 era, lasting from the late teens to the World War II, was all about 3 minute singles. And the average listener couldn’t afford to sit still for too long because once the song was done, they have to get up and flip over the 78! Perhaps our short attention span for recorded music is the norm, and the LP generation was, in fact, a group not only too lazy to get up and flip over an album, but also dulled their music senses by subjecting them to endless, pointless, mediocre b-sides on long-playing records.

3. Rituals of Listening. One of the great aspects of Petrusich’s book is how she describes these 78 collectors listening to their prized possessions. None of these guys (and, yeah, they’re almost all men) hesitated at all to PLAY their records for the author. More than that, almost all of them clearly enjoyed hearing the music. They tapped their feet, squirmed in their chairs, fell into trances, gestured in the air, and generally reveled in the listening experience. They felt the intensity of these authentic listening experiences.

More than that, once they began to listen to 78s, they listened to more and more. The records flew off their shelves and onto their turn table. More than once the author had to extract herself from an emotionally draining listening session before her host was done spinning records. 

I found her descriptions of these events to be among the most compelling parts of the book. The way these seasoned collectors still found something invigorating in these poorly produced singles reminded me of enduring power of simply rituals.

It also made me want to go and put a CD in my ole CD player (a 1992 vintage Nakamichi CD4), warm up the tube amp (a very recent Audio Research VSi60), and listen to my big Zu Omen Defs with their old school full-range drivers. 

Source: Journalism Code, Context & Community

Security for Journalists, Part Two: Threat Modeling

By Jonathan Stray

Security for Journalists, Part Two: Threat Modeling

Good advice. (Paul Joseph)

If you know that your work as a journalist will involve specific risks, you need a specific security plan. In part one of this series, we covered the digital security precautions that everyone in news organizations should take. If one of your colleagues uses weak passwords or clicks on a phishing link, more sophisticated efforts are wasted. But assuming that everyone you are working with is already up to speed on basic computer security practice, there's a lot more you can do to provide security for a specific, sensitive story.

This work begins with thinking through what it is you have to protect, and from whom. This is called threat modeling and is the first step in any security analysis. The goal is to construct a picture--in some ways no more than an educated guess--of what you're up against. There are many ways to do this, but this post is structured around four basic questions.

  • What do you want to keep private?
  • Who wants to know?
  • What can they do to find out?
  • What happens if they succeed?

After you answer these questions you will be able to make a security plan, a set of practices that everyone involved in the story must understand and follow. A security plan might involve specific software tools, but security doesn't come from software. It comes from understanding your security problem thoroughly, and successfully executing a plan to mitigate your specific risks. Think process, not technology.

There are two ways to look at the goal of security work. A good security plan should plausibly reduce the risk of something bad happening, and mitigate the damage if the worst does happen--but security is also about making things possible. If you can ensure safety, you can do important work that would otherwise be too risky. Either way, the ethics of journalism demand that we attend closely to security.

What this Guide Is and Isn't

This is a brief introduction to journalism information security. It goes into some detail on the technical aspects of information security because reporting now depends heavily on information technology. (And of course, Source is a data journalism resource.) It has much less to say on the legal, physical, and operational aspects of information security.

In reality, though, all aspects of security are indivisible. There is only one world. Not only are legal, physical, and operational concerns crucial to information security, but information security is only one part of security. This is not a guide to journalism security in general, which would include the physical safety of reporters and sources. For a broader introduction, see here.

In fact, this is not even a comprehensive reference on the technical aspects of information security. That is not possible in a single article. Nonetheless, I hope to provide a useful conceptual framework. My goal is to turn unknown unknowns into known unknowns.

Threat Modeling

There is no one-size-fits-all security. Threat modeling is a general approach to thinking through your security needs and coming up with a plan that suits your unique circumstance. To make this concrete, throughout the rest of this post I'll refer to the following security scenarios. These are simplified versions of real situations that journalists have faced.

Police Misconduct. You are reporting a story about local police misconduct. You have talked to sources including police officers and victims. You would prefer that the police commissioner not know of your story before it is ready to be published, to avoid any possible interference.

Insider Trading Whistleblower. You are reporting on insider trading at a large bank and talking secretly to a whistleblower who may give you documents. If they are identified before the story comes out, at the very least you will lose your source. The source might lose their job or face legal trouble.

Syria War Photographer. You are a photojournalist in Syria with digital images you want to get out of the country. Some of the images may identify people working with the rebels who could be targeted by the government. A security failure could mean someone loses their life.

The threat modeling approach is based on the idea of asking what is threatened, by who, and how. You can structure this thought process by asking the following questions.

What do you want to keep private?

Privacy is about protecting specific pieces of information. Aside from keeping someone's identity secret, you may need to protect someone's location, schedule, or address book. Address books or contact lists can be particularly sensitive, because they can reveal the identities of many people at once. The more specific you can be about what is secret, the better you can protect it.

In the Syria scenario, the photographs obviously cannot be public until the people in them are safe elsewhere. But although the digital files containing the photographs must not fall into the hands of the authorities, it's not really the photographs themselves that need to be secret, but the identities of the people in them. It may also be necessary to protect the location and identity of the photographer.

In the whistleblower scenario it's similarly important to protect your source's identity. But in this case you also have to communicate with your source to receive the documents they want to give you. Encryption tools will protect the content of your communication from prying eyes in the bank's IT department, but an eavesdropper will still be able to tell who you are talking to even they don't know what you are saying. For the police misconduct story, you may wish to keep the very fact that you are working on a story secret until you are ready to ask for comment.

Who wants to know?

This is often the easiest question to answer. The entity who wants to break your security is called the adversary. In our scenarios the adversaries are the Syrian government, the bank, and the police department. Very often, the adversary is the subject of the story. But it's worth thinking about other adversaries. Who else would want what you have? Maybe a rival news organization would love to take a look at your juicy leak. Maybe you don't want nosy customs agents to flip through the photos on your camera at a border crossing, or there could even be a government intelligence agency who might take an interest in your work.

Here are some general categories of adversaries to consider: the subject of the story, anyone with a financial interest, politicians, government agencies, police of various kinds, competitors, other sources you've talked to, and criminal organizations. This is not an exhaustive list. The more specific you can be about who poses potential threats, the better you can plan for them.

What can they do to get it?

Once you've worked out who your adversary is and what they want, you're ready to ask how they can get it.

It's kind of glamorous to imagine Syrian hackers or NSA snooping, but there are far more mundane methods. Different adversaries might search public materials for your traces, steal your laptop, file a subpoena, or call a new employee and ask for their password. There are many different kinds of "attacks" on your security.

  • A technical attack relies on hacking, installing malware, intercepting your communications electronically, or breaking codes. Remember, though, your adversary doesn't get any points for difficulty, and non-technical attacks can leave you just as compromised.

  • A legal attack might involve a lawsuit to stop publication or compel disclosure, or a subpoena to force you or a third party to reveal information. Or you or your source could be arrested or otherwise detained.

  • A social attack is a con of some sort, relying on trust and deception. Your adversary could mount a phishing campaign, brazenly walk into your office during lunch and sit down at your computer, or call with a fake emergency to ask for passwords.

  • A physical attack involves theft of computers or data storage devices, installing malware on someone's computer when they're not looking, or generally interfering with your hardware or your person. A determined adversary can also just beat someone until they talk--a strategy which goes by the grim name of rubber-hose cryptanalysis when applied to "breaking" encryption.


XKCD is apropos, as always.

You can't know for sure what your adversary can try, but you can make some educated guesses. In the police misconduct scenario, your adversary is likely to use legal tools against you, and maybe even arrest you or your sources. In the insider trading scenario the bank might file a lawsuit, but their IT department will use technical tools to determine if someone is using a work computer to leak proprietary information. The current Syrian government has used both sophisticated technical attacks and horrific torture.

What happens if they succeed?

Your security plan is incomplete if you haven't thought through what will happen when things go wrong.

To begin with, tracing through the consequences of a security failure can show you how to improve your protection. Good plans often include multiple overlapping security measures, an important strategy known as defense in depth.

But thinking through the consequences of a security breach is also an important reminder of what's at stake. Security is never free: it costs time, money, and convenience. Suppose you have a hot piece of information but you're away from your laptop where your secure communications tools are installed. Can you get away with sending an unencrypted text message, just this one time? That depends. How important is it that you send the message before you get back to your laptop, as compared to the possible consequences of interception?

Your analysis of consequences may also lead to the conclusion that there is no safe way to do a story. The ethics of journalism security are still evolving, but I propose that "do no harm" should be a basic principle.

It's just a model

You won't be able to answer the above questions definitively, because you probably don't have solid information about your adversary's capabilities and intentions. That's why this is a threat "model." Your security planning can only be as good as your assumptions; you can only protect against risks you've thought of. These questions are designed to make your assumptions explicit.

Even though you cannot know what your adversary will do, there are two types of information that are crucial to making educated guesses.

First, you can research your specific adversary. What is their history, what are they trying to achieve, and what have they done in the past? What are the relevant politics in your part of the world? Have other people faced similar adversaries? What happened in those cases? What does all this tell you about intentions and capabilities?

Second, you need to know what types of attacks are possible, and the difficulty or expense of each. You can see that someone could steal your laptop if they can get into your hotel room. Could someone unmask your source if they can get into your ISP? And if so, what could you do to stop them? How much would your adversary have to spend to buy malware that can steal your files remotely? These sorts of questions require detailed technical knowledge to answer. I'll cover some of the basics in the rest of this article.

Digital Security Concepts

The threat modeling questions above are designed to give you a clearer picture of your security needs. The next step is to translate these needs into an actual plan. That requires understanding a variety of technical concepts. For the journalist working on a story with security risks, such technical knowledge is simply part of the job description. The sections below are a rapid refresher on digital communications technology.

How communications travel over the Internet

The Internet got its name from being a "network of networks." Any communication between two points may travel through dozens of intermediate computers operated by different entities. Those computers belong to corporate networks, telecommunications companies, and technology companies that provide online services.

Suppose our insider trading source, alice@bigbank.com, sends an after-hours email from her desk at work to a reporter, bob@gmail.com, who is currently on his couch at home. The message first travels from Alice's computer to the BigBank email server, then to the telecommunications company (telco) that BigBank pays for Internet service. The email probably passes through several different telcos before it finds its way to Google's servers. When Bob checks his Gmail account from his couch, Google transmits the email from their server to Bob's web browser, via several more telcos, ending with whatever company Bob pays for internet service to his home.

Appearances are deceiving

Appearances are deceiving (source)

All of these intermediaries--BigBank, the telcos, and Google--may be able to read the contents of the email. The process is akin to passing a postcard from hand to hand over thousands of miles. Without encryption, everyone along the way can see what you wrote.

Fortunately there is already a lot of encryption built into the web: any time you go to a URL that starts with HTTPS you are using a secured connection between your computer and the server you are connecting to (the "S" in HTTPS stands for secure.) When Bob logs into Gmail, Google automatically redirects the connection to an HTTPS address, which means that the connection between Bob's browser and Google's servers is encrypted. But Google can still read your email, and other parts of the path from Alice's office computer to Google may not be secure. For example, BigBank almost certainly keeps some record of the email.

Other messaging systems face similar issues. Your message passes from your computer or mobile device through dozens of different computers owned by different organizations. Some of those connections may be encrypted--such as connections from a browser using HTTPS--but some may not be, and usually any company which stores or processes your data has access to it.

The only reliable way to protect information transmitted over the internet is to encrypt it yourself before transmission, a practice called end-to-end encryption.

Privacy versus anonymity

Encryption will hide the contents of what you are saying, but not who you are saying it to.

Our Syrian reporter should be wary of any electronic communication with in-country sources. Even if she uses end-to-end encryption, anyone snooping on the network--say, the Syrian intelligence agency--will know who she is communicating with. This is a catastrophe if her source identities must remain secret, because monitoring her communications will produce an instant list of suspects for the authorities to investigate.

Just as it is possible to read the address on an envelope even when you can't read the letter inside, there is a difference between the content of a communication--say, an email--and information about who sent it, who received it, when, using which server, and so on. This is the distinction between "content" and "metadata" that has been popularized by the recent NSA revelations (though the NSA also collects large amounts of message content.)



Think of this envelope as your message passing through the Internet, including equipment that belongs to the telecommunications company as well as the bank's corporate servers. All of these machines--and any person who has access to them--can read the address. They have to be able to read the address to deliver the message! But if you have sealed the envelope no one can read the contents of the letter. Encryption technology "seals the envelope," protecting the contents of your communication. It does not hide the address.

This is the distinction between privacy and anonymity. It may be enough to protect just the content of your communications, or you may need to keep the addresses secret as well.

Anonymity is best understood as the inability to link one identity to another, such as linking a pseudonym to a legal name or a location to an email address. There are different kinds of unlinkability which might be needed in different situations. For example, is it important that your adversary not know that your source is talking to you specifically, or will it be a problem if they talk to any reporter?

We'll look at tools for both encryption and anonymity below.

Data at rest, data in motion

Data needs to be protected in two ways: when it's being transmitted from one place to another, and when it's stored somewhere. You adversary could read your email by intercepting it as it is transmitted across the network, or they could steal your laptop and read the messages stored there.

The key to securing data at rest is to keep track of how many copies exist and where they are stored. In the paper era, intelligence agencies would number each physical copy of a classified document and keep records of its whereabouts. It's much easier to make copies of digital material, for better or worse, but the same logic applies. How many copies are there of that sensitive photograph? It might be obvious that there's a copy on your laptop, but what about your camera memory card? What about your laptop backup? USB sticks? Did you ever view the photo on your phone? And even on your laptop, how many copies of the same file do you have? Is there a copy in a temporary directory somewhere? Have you imported the data into different programs?

Your security plan needs to take into account all of the copies that need to be made, where each is stored, and how it is protected. Each copy of the data can be secured in variety of ways. Again, consider threats of all kinds: technical, physical, legal, social.

One of the simplest things you can do to secure data at rest is to use full disk encryption. As the name suggests, this encrypts everything on a drive, keyed to your password. Windows, Mac, and Linux have built-in tools for such encryption--but you do have to turn it on. Disk encryption is much stronger than a mere login password; without disk encryption an adversary can read your data merely by connecting the drive to a different computer. You can also encrypt external drives and USB sticks, as well as the entire contents of Apple and Android phones, and you should.

Full disk encryption is free and essentially zero inconvenience. Like two-step login, discussed in part one, there is no excuse not to use it. Every journalist should turn it on, on every computer and every phone they use.

You will also need to understand secure erase techniques and tools. There's no use deleting a file just to have someone pull it out of the recycle bin or trash folder, and a dedicated adversary with access to your hardware can work wonders with appropriate data recovery technology. This is the difference between throwing a document out and feeding it into a shredder.

secure empty trash

How to secure empty your trash.

On Mac computers, the Secure Empty Trash command will delete all files in the trash so that they cannot be recovered, but has no effect on any file previously deleted using the regular Empty Trash command. Use the Erase Free Space feature for that. On Windows, you can use the free Eraser utility to delete specific files, and CCleaner to clear all previously deleted data from your drive. While this will definitely prevent file recovery, note that your computer may still contain traces of deleted information, such as operating system logs, temporary files, or filenames in "Recently Opened" menus. (In general, it's a good idea to use bland filenames for sensitive information.) If you are facing an adversary who might do forensic analysis on your hardware, you need to physically destroy the storage devices.

Mobile devices

Smartphones are a security disaster. Not only do they store huge amounts of personal data, but they are inherently a location tracking device. Plus, the security tools for mobile devices are less mature than their desktop counterparts.

Consider for a moment what is accessible through your phone. Certainly your email and social media accounts. Perhaps your phone also has stored passwords to your online data in various cloud services. And of course, your phone has a copy of your address book. At minimum you should be using a lock code to protect your privacy, but this won't stop a determined and technically savvy adversary from accessing your data, should they get their hands on your device. As noted above, you should also be encrypting all data on your Apple or Android phone. Phones also contain a microphone, which can be accessed remotely to listen in on you.

Even worse, phones produce a record of your location even if you are not using any mapping or GPS applications. In order to stay connected to the mobile network, your phone constantly switches between signal towers, each of which serves a particular small area. The phone company keeps this data, as well as a record of every text message, call, and data transmission, for billing purposes. Many phones and apps also store an internal record of GPS coordinates and wifi hotspots, and in some cases they transmit this information to corporate servers. It's also possible for third parties to track the radio signals your phone emits using a device called an IMSI catcher, popular with both police and criminals.

In 2010, German politician Malte Spitz sued to obtain his location history data from the local phone company. Plotted on a map, and correlated with his public appearances and posts, the data paints an extremely detailed portrait of his life, activities, and associates, as an amazing visualization by Zeit Online shows.

The data generated by your smartphone can be extraordinarily revealing, especially this location data. Our crooked police commissioner doesn't need to crack your anonymity scheme to figure out who your sources are, if they can just subpoena your phone records. Even if you didn't call anyone, the location data can reveal who you met with--especially if it can be correlated with your source's phone location.

It is possible to use so-called "burner" phones but it is actually quite tricky to set up and correctly use a phone that is not connected to your other identities. Unfortunately, the situation in which you'd most want a burner phone is when your adversary has some sort of access to phone company data (think subpoena), which is exactly the situation in which burners are hardest to use. For example, you can't ever have your regular and burner phones turned on in the same place at the same time, and you can't ever call your regular contacts from your burner phone. In many countries it is not even possible to activate a SIM card without giving your name or calling from another number.

Consider simply not using your phone for any kind of sensitive communications. Or even leaving it at home. Is this level of concern really necessary? Sometimes. It all depends on who your adversary is and what data they are likely to be able to access.

Document Metadata

Most electronic document files contain identifying information that you cannot normally see. (This "metadata" is distinct from the "metadata" at the center of the NSA revelations, which refers to the records of who talked to whom.) A Microsoft Word document stores the author name, creation date, and other information. PDF documents have been known to contain all sorts of hidden information. Photographs contain information about the camera, and if the camera has a GPS--or if the camera is a phone--then the digital file may also contain the location where the picture was taken.

Document metadata can have damming consequences, as when Vice magazine inadvertently revealed the location of source John McAfee by publishing a photograph with location metadata.

McAfee tweet

Big oops.

There are tools to "scrub" or remove metadata from various kinds of files. These tools mostly work, when used correctly. But here's a simpler, near-foolproof method to remove metadata: load the file of interest on a computer that has never been used by anyone you are trying to protect, and take screenshots. This ensures that only the information you can actually see makes it into the final file (but these files will have metadata created on the new computer, which is why it must be clean.)

Endpoint Security

There's no need to intercept your email in transit if someone can just hack into your computer remotely and download your files. Unfortunately, this is not only possible, but there is a thriving market in tools to do just that. The problem of securing computers and the data on them--as opposed to securing the communications transmitted between computers--is known as endpoint security.

There are many ways a computer can be compromised. If the adversary can get a piece of software installed on your computer or mobile device without your knowledge, you lose. This can be accomplished with the unknowing cooperation of the user--as in a phishing attack--or by silently exploiting vulnerabilities remotely. Or they might find a way to get you to plug an infected USB stick into your computer. You have to assume that any USB stick that isn't straight out of the packaging might contain malware, intentionally or inadvertently, including the cheap logo-imprinted USB sticks given out at conferences. The goal of the adversary may to be install a remote administration tool, a piece of software that can do things like record keystrokes (to reveal passwords) or even secretly transmit your files on command.

The most basic defenses against remote hacking are anti-virus tools and up-to-date software. It's particularly important to keep your browser and operating system up to date. This will not protect you from all attacks, because not all known vulnerabilities have been disclosed and not all disclosed vulnerabilities have been fixed, but up to date software is generally going to be much safer than old versions.

If the adversary has physical access to your computer, anything is possible. They could install software, read files, or even install an inexpensive hardware device to record keystrokes. Generally, any device containing sensitive data or used for secure communication must be physically secured at all times. That usually means either on your person or locked up somewhere your adversary is unlikely to be able to get into. If you're traveling somewhere where an adversary might want access to your laptop, don't ever leave your laptop alone in your hotel room.

Will your adversary really go through the trouble of using sophisticated malware to break into your computers, or even secretly tamper with your hardware while you're out? This depends on your circumstance, though as I said above, it can be very helpful to research what your adversary and similar adversaries have done before. This answer is a key part of your threat model. But note that remotely hacking into your computer is not only technically far easier than cracking properly encrypted data, but available as a turn-key capability to anyone who can afford the necessary software. Here's a recent price list for one commercial provider.

Endpoint security is a difficult problem, one that is impossible to fully solve at this time. If you are concerned that your computer may be compromised, the most plausible defense is to buy a brand new computer, in person from a consumer retailer. At the very least, you should wipe the drives and re-install the operating system, or boot from a secured operating system like TAILS (see below.) In the worst case, when you must keep data from a determined, well-resourced, and technically sophisticated adversary, the only answer may be to store sensitive files on a computer that is never connected to any network at all. This is called an air gap and requires careful preparation and procedures.

Who Do You Trust?

All the encryption in the world won't help you if you put your trust in the wrong place. When designing a security plan, you need to make choices about who you will share information and data with--both inside and outside your organization. This is sometimes called operational security, or opsec for short. The first rule of opsec is: don't tell anyone.

Tell your editor, or not

Journalists have a long history of keeping things from their editors and colleagues, like the identities of sources. This can be frustrating, but it can also be more secure. Just as an adversary might get access to your files in a variety of ways, they might get information from anyone who knows it. An adversary can often do pretty much the same things to an editor that they can to do a reporter.

A compartmentalization policy, better known as "need to know," restricts information access as much as operationally possible. Although this can be inconvenient and excludes people, it also spares them from needing to keeping consequential secrets. Your security plan needs to specify who gets to know or store every kind of information that the reporting process might generate: source identities, but also notes, files, documents, communication records, and so on. You should have clear answers to the question of who knows which secrets, and who must protect what data.

This also means don't tell your friends, don't brag, don't ever give unnecessary details. If you don't absolutely need to share it with someone, don't. This is a difficult policy to follow and denies you the many benefits of openness. Like all security, you have to decide if you're getting more from it than you are paying to get it, which in turn requires evaluation of your risks.

Third-party storage

Storing confidential information with third parties can be risky. This includes every app or service you use to communicate, and every bit of your cloud storage. Aside from data you explicitly upload (say, to Dropbox) every online service creates implicit records such as logs of your access times, IP address, who you contacted, location traces, and so on.

Who has access to all of this? This is more than a question of "do you trust company X?" As usual, it's helpful to imagine all the different ways your adversary might get access.

  • Can you ensure that every person working for the company is honest? Your private data is only as secure as the creepiest employee with access.

  • Will your service provider prove secure against technical attacks by your adversary? It may be difficult for you to know whether or not they are competent when it comes to security.

  • What will this organization do when served with a subpoena?

The legal risks of third-party storage are often the most damming concern. In the United States, the Fourth Amendment does not protect information that you have given to someone else to store or process. Of course you might get also get served with a subpoena directly, but at least you'll know about it and have the opportunity to contest it. A third party may not even notify you that anything has happened.

This is particularly an issue when it comes to third-party communication records, such as phone company records and ISP connection logs. In every country there are ways, legal or otherwise, to compel the production of such records. In 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice secretly obtained the calling records of more than 20 Associated Press phone lines for a period spanning several months. There are really only two ways to prevent such things: change government policy or don't use the phone. The DOJ has since issued new guidelines saying that examining journalist communication records is an "extraordinary measure" that must be approved by the Attorney General. This may or may not be sufficient reassurance for you.

The global nature of the internet complicates this picture further. Where are the computers that store your information, physically? Where are the offices and employees of the companies that run these servers? Are they in a jurisdiction that is friendly or unfriendly to your adversary? If you can get a secure connection to a server located in and operated from a friendly country, the fact that someone else has your data may not be an issue. For example, Gmail may be a reasonable choice in Vietnam because Google does not have servers there, and all your connections to Gmail servers elsewhere leave the country via encrypted HTTPS connections. Google itself still has access to your email, but the Vietnamese authorities may be unable to compel Google to turn it over.

Many major tech companies now publish transparency reports that reveal how many times they've given user data to the authorities in each country.

Digital Security Tools

Digital Security Tools

Every security professional gets asked about tools constantly, but software is not what gives you security. By the time you are selecting tools you should already have developed a solid threat model. You should know what you are protecting, and from whom, and how they might break your security.

Nonetheless, tools are important. Each has quirks and flaws and nuances, and is easier or harder to use correctly--and to get sources to use correctly. Here's a brief overview of some of the most common tools. New tools are being developed all the time, and existing tools are occasionally shown to have serious vulnerabilities, so this is the part of this post I expect to go out of date most rapidly.

Cryptocat: easy encrypted chat

Cryptocat is probably the easiest of all security tools to use, which makes it a good choice for sources who are new to secure communication--that is, almost everyone. Simply enter your user name and the name of a chat room for instant secure group chat. You can also transmit files. Cryptocat is available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and as an iPhone app. It uses end-to-end encryption so not even the Cryptocat servers (or anyone who can hack into them) can read your messages, and does not log or store messages after they are transmitted.

After establishing a chat room, Cryptocat requires a simple authentication step to ensure you are really talking directly to your source. This protects against an adversary who may be able to alter the network traffic between you and your source, known as a man-in-the-middle attack. For example, a national government that controls all communications into and out of the country might try to intercept connections to the outside world, as Syria has done.



Be aware that in-browser encryption is a relatively new concept, which means Cryptocat is less mature than other security tools. Previous versions had severe vulnerabilities. The code is open source and has since been audited by multiple people, which increases the likelihood that it is now secure. It is a great tool for many people owing to its simplicity of use, but more extensively vetted tools like OTR plus Pidgin or Adium (discussed below) are probably more appropriate against well-funded or technically sophisticated adversaries.

GPG: encrypted email

GPG is the gold standard for end-to-end secure email. It's an open-source implementation of the PGP protocol, but you probably don't want to use it directly. Instead, use an email application which supports GPG such as Thunderbird or Apple Mail, or a browser extension such as Mailvelope or Google's forthcoming end-to-end Gmail encryption.

PGP is a powerful technology, perhaps the most mature and well vetted end-to-end encryption protocol. It's as probably as secure as mainstream encrypted communication can get, and secure against all adversaries when used appropriately. GPG is an operationally complex tool. It takes more work than other technologies to set up and use correctly, including manual key generation and management. Unfortunately, these drawbacks are embedded in the 1990s-era design of PGP and are unlikely to be fixed.

Like all encryption technologies, GPG will not protect the identities of the people you are communicating with, only the message contents.

OTR: encrypted instant messaging

OTR stands for "Off the Record" instant messaging. Like PGP, it's a protocol rather than an application. It's supported by the Pidgin universal instant messaging app on all operating systems, Adium on the Mac, and various other clients on other platforms and devices. Note that this is completely different than the confusingly named "off the record" option in Google Chat and AIM, which only turns off chat logging and does not provide end-to-end encryption.

Secure instant messaging is a lot simpler to set up than secure email, and it can actually be more secure too. First, it is simpler to use so it's less likely that you'll make a bad mistake. Also, after the conversation is over the per-conversation encryption keys are destroyed so there is no way to recover what was said--assuming neither party kept a log of the conversation. Don't keep chat logs; go into the settings on your IM software and make sure logging is turned off. This is probably the number one way that secure IM is compromised.

Like Cryptocat, you will need to do fingerprint verification with each new contact to ensure that you are really talking to who you think are. This authentication step is an easy, one-time process, and it's especially important if your threat model includes the possibility of a man-in-the-middle attack.

Tor: an anonymity building block

Tor provides anonymity online, or at it least helps. The name stands for "The Onion Router" and that's sort of what Tor does: it routes your browser traffic through multiple computers using multiple layers of encryption. The end result is that the computer you connect to does not know where you are connecting from, and in fact no single computer on the internet has knowledge of the path your packets are taking. This obscures the IP address of the device you are using to connect to the Internet. Your IP address would otherwise reveal a lot about you including your location. You can use Tor by downloading the Tor Browser, a custom version of Firefox.

Tor explainer

Alice, Bob, Dave, and Jane, courtesy EFF.

Tor is a powerful technology, mature and well tested, and even the NSA has difficulty breaking it. However, it's extremely important to understand what Tor does not do. For example, if you log into any of your regular accounts over Tor, the server on the other end (and anyone who can intercept the connection between the final Tor node and that server) still knows it's you. That's an obvious example, but there are many other behavioral risks. Tor does not hide the fact that you are using it, which can itself be used to identify you, as in this case.

Online anonymity is quite difficult. We are all embedded in huge web of online accounts, logins, contact lists, habits, locations, and associations that is very difficult to break free from without traces. However there are a few recipes that are widely used. One key point: you can never reference or communicate with your non-anonymous identity from your anonymous identity. Ideally you should even be accessing them from different computers because browsers and operating systems have characteristic fingerprints, and because you don't want the details of your regular and anonymous identities stored in a single place.

Again, anonymity is all about linkability, which makes compartmentalization of information a key strategy. For a cautionary tale, consider how former CIA director David Petraeus was busted by correlating login IP addresses.

SecureDrop and GlobalLeaks: anonymous submission

SecureDrop and GlobalLeaks both exist to solve a specific problem: to allow people to submit material to journalists anonymously. Both are designed so that the source must access the drop site through the Tor Browser, meaning that not even the journalist knows who the source is--assuming the source doest not identify themselves, voluntarily or accidentally. This is the anonymous leaking model of Wikileaks, operationalized into a robust tool and a set of recommended procedures.

GlobalLeaks may be simpler to set up and use, while SecureDrop has more carefully thought through the process of securely storing and reviewing submitted material. The recommended SecureDrop configuration includes an air-gapped viewing station running TAILS and a specifies a strict protocol for transferring material between machines using USB sticks and GPG keys. SecureDrop also supports simple two-way anonymized communication between the source and the journalist, through the drop site, which allows the journalist to ask questions about the source or material.

Many news organizations now run SecureDrop or GlobalLeaks servers, and yours should too.

Whisper Systems and Guardian Project: secure mobile communications

You'll notice that all of the above tools run on desktop computers, not smartphones. Various organizations including Open Whisper Systems and The Guardian Project are trying to close that gap, with an array of open source applications for various platforms. You'll notice that they're based on the same secure standards as their desktop cousins.

  • Signal for Apple and Android provides easy encrypted voice calls and text messages. You can use your regular phone number, and the app lets you find friends who have installed Signal without transmitting your contact list to anyone else.
  • TextSecure for Android is an end-to-end encrypted replacement for standard text messaging. Includes group chat and emoji support :)
  • ChatSecure provides OTR-compatible encrypted instant messaging for Apple and Android
  • OSTel is a protocol for encrypted voice calls, supported by several apps

All of these apps provide end-to-end encryption. They may also provide a certain level of unlinkability, because they bypass the traditional telephone network and so do not leave the usual call records. This does not automatically mean they leave no records at all, however. Any number of servers may keep logs. Stronger anonymity needs to start with a tool like Tor:

  • OrWeb is a Tor-enabled web browser for your Android phone

Jitsi: encrypted video calls

Jitsi provides end-to-end encrypted video calls and conferencing, ala Skype or Google Hangouts. You can download their app or use their new web client for easy encrypted video conferences. You can also run a your own video conferencing server which allows tighter access control and avoids the need to trust a third party.

It's safe to say that open source encrypted multi-party video calling is a technology still in its infancy. Though the underlying secure protocols are well established, Jitsi has yet to go through an independent security audit. Therefore, it cannot be assumed to be secure against sophisticated attacks. As always, encryption alone cannot provide anonymity.

Silent Circle: commercial secure telephony

There is good reason to believe that open-source software can be more secure than proprietary systems. Open source software can be widely reviewed for bugs, and it's hard for any one entity to introduce hidden back doors. On the other hand, usability, training, and support can be... variable. Silent Circle is a commercial secure voice, video, and text app for your phone. They offer a slick product with good support. And you can give one of their pre-paid "Ronin cards" to a source to get them started with secure communications, easily.

But does Silent Circle have the technical capability build a secure product? Will they expose their users when required by government, as Hushmail did and Lavabit did not? These questions are impossible to answer definitively, but at least the pedigree looks good. Silent Circle was co-founded by PGP creator Phil Zimmerman, which lends a certain amount of technical and ideological credibility.

TAILS: a secure operating system

There is no un-hackable operating system, but TAILS starts completely fresh from every boot; it doesn't ever save anything to disk. You boot it from a DVD or USB stick inserted into almost any Intel-based computer (including Macs.) Even if someone was able to hack into your computer while it was running TAILS, they would find no personal data there, and any back doors or malware they were able to install would simply disappear forever when you shut the computer off. Even better, everything you do online using TAILS is automatically routed through Tor.

TAILS is ideal if your threat model includes sophisticated attackers who might try to put malware on your computer... or if you need to make absolutely certain that your computer is not compromised, but you don't have the budget to buy a fresh laptop (but note that no operating system can protect against hardware tampering.) It's also great for setting up an up anonymous communication machine that has no trace of your other identities--though as usual, be careful! There are a hundred ways you might accidentally reveal yourself.

Putting It All Together

Let's say you've created a threat model for the story you're working on. You've researched your adversaries and defined the technical, legal, social, and physical attacks you need to protect against. You know whether you need privacy or anonymity, and specifically what kind of privacy or anonymity. Now you're ready to put together an actual security plan.

Security Recipes

To build your plan, try to rely on smaller "recipes" that solve particular sub-problems. If you do some research, you'll find many such recipes. Here are a few widely used recipes for combining the above tools to achieve specific ends. Note: these recipes do not and cannot "solve" the problem of security. They are only building blocks that might be useful in your specific situation. Do your research before you use them.

Private chat: The journalist wishes to communicate with someone while hiding the content of the communication, but not the fact of communication. You might be in this situation if you need to communicate with colleague in a context where the fact that you are in communication isn't a security issue. In this case I would recommend that the parties use Cryptocat. There will still be logs showing that each party connected to the Cryptocat server, such as connection logs at either party's employer or ISP. This is fine if either 1) the adversary cannot access those logs or 2) using Cryptocat is not itself revealing or suspicious.

Anonymous submission: The source wishes to deliver something, perhaps a file, to the journalist without leaving metadata traces that would identify them. The journalist can set up a SecureDrop server, which the source accesses using the Tor Browser. They must do so from a network that they are not normally associated with, such as open wifi at a cafe, because Tor use can itself be powerfully identifying. Be sure to store submitted material securely, and remove document metadata before publishing.

Private, anonymous chat: Two parties wish to communicate such that an adversary who can log or intercept either end of the connection does not know who the other party is. Use an OTR-compatible instant messaging app, routed through Tor, connecting to a third-party chat server. The jabber.ccc.de chat server is popular, but several newsrooms also run their own chat servers. You'll need to be sure that user names on that chat server cannot be linked to real identities, though you should be able to talk freely once the connection is established. Be sure to do fingerprint verification when you set up the channel. If your adversary is likely to try to compromise your endpoint security--that is, try to remotely install malware on your computer or phone--do all of this using the TAILS operating system, which includes an instant messaging client conveniently pre-configured to go through Tor. Remember to turn off logging on chat clients at both ends!

Anonymous web browsing: In this case the journalist or source wishes to access the web while leaving no traces of what they did on the computer they used. The best solution is to use TAILS. It routes all web access through Tor by default, and leaves no traces on the computer when it shuts down. It also prevents reading the contents of any drive installed on the computer, which helps prevent information leakage. As usual, the use of Tor can itself can be identifying. Also, it should be obvious that no software can protect you from publicly posting information that can be used to identify you.

Travel without data: If you need to go somewhere where it may be difficult to maintain control of your devices, consider simply not bringing any sensitive information along. Get a new laptop, or take the hard drive out of your current laptop. Buy a burner phone, not to stay anonymous but so you aren't walking in with your email and address book in your pocket. Use TAILS on your computer, combined with secure online storage, so nothing is ever stored on your person. Or if you must store information locally, use a single encrypted USB stick or memory card that you keep with you at all times, or a TAILS persistent volume.

Who must do what?

Your security plan must specify who does what, and how the security depends on that. Here are some questions your plan needs to answer, drawn from the concerns discussed above. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • How will all parties communicate?
  • Who will have access to what information? How?
  • What are the critical actions that must be performed correctly to stay secure?
  • Will you need to arrange face-to-face meetings? If so, how will you signal that? Where will you meet?
  • Where is confidential information stored, physically? How many copies?
  • Who has physical access to what equipment? Consider offices, servers, memory cards, etc.
  • What is the policy for archiving and deleting this data?
  • What information can be released publicly as part of reporting, and what information must remain confidential?
  • What about phones? Is their location tracking a problem?
  • Have you configured your equipment and software to be as safe as possible? For example, turn off GPS and chat logging.
  • What legal issues are also security issues in this case?
  • Have you consulted a lawyer? Do you need to?
  • Is the plan ethical? Do all parties understand the risks?
  • Could you bear the consequences of a major security failure?
  • Who is overall responsible for the correct implementation of the plan?
  • How will you communicate this plan to all parties?
  • Is this plan appropriate for everyone's level of knowledge and skill?
  • Will you need to provide training or arrange for practice exercises?

I've emphasized the problem of communicating the plan. I regularly assign threat modeling homework, and almost always the major problem with my students' plans is that they are too complex; they overestimate the ability of people with no prior information security experience to operate specialized tools.

Is your plan simple enough?

By now you realize that security is complex. "Security" isn't even a single thing, but must always be understood relative to your goals and threats.

The required software can be difficult to set up. The protection that security technologies offer is riddled with caveats. And for some goals, like anonymity, a single mistake can defeat all the security work you've done. Meanwhile, journalists are almost always under time pressure and sometimes even in physical danger. And even if you become a security expert, your sources also need to use secure tools. Are they generally technologically fluent? Will they be able to reliably operate the software according to your plan? Can you even persuade them to attempt it?

Even experienced people frequently get security wrong. Wikileaks did not intend to release the full cache of 250,000 diplomatic cables, but through a complex series of events involving mistakes by both Wikileaks and The Guardian, they became public. If Wikileaks can't get security right, what hope does anyone else have?

This is why asking whether everyone can really follow the plan has to be part of the plan. Once you've worked out your threat model and specified the tools and the process, you have to ask: where is someone likely to screw it up? And what happens when they do? Far too often, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to security.

The best plans are simple.

In the whistleblower scenario, you could choose not to use digital communication tools at all. Meet in person. Leave the phones at home or work. Take notes on paper. Keep the notes somewhere physically secure. If necessary, physically pass a USB drive or CD. Scrub document metadata before publishing. In the Syria scenario, you could choose to delete any photo containing identifying information. Review the photos every evening when you get back your hotel. Copy only "safe" photos to your laptop. Then wipe the camera memory card with a secure erase tool. In the police misconduct scenario, this may be mostly a matter of operational security. No one who isn't involved in producing the story should know of its existence before publication.

Paper can be a wonderful secure information storage and communication technology. Everyone understands exactly how it works, and it's not possible to access it remotely.


This is a lot of information. There's even more you'll need to learn--as I said, no one can learn digital security in an afternoon. But hopefully you've now got the beginnings of a conceptual framework. Start with these questions:

  • What do you want to keep private?
  • Who wants to know?
  • What can they do to find out?
  • What happens if they succeed?

Answering these questions involves building up a picture of the security problems you face: a threat model. Building a realistic model requires that you understand both your adversary and the relevant technology. You will need to research what your adversary and similar adversaries have done in the past, to build up a model of what they want and what they might do. You will need to look under the hood of the technologies you intend to use, and understand how the technical intersects with the legal, physical, and social. After that--when you understand the security landscape you are operating in--you can move on to defining specific processes and tools to meet your needs. But plans and tools don't make security; clear understandings and diligent habits do. The simplest plan you can come up with might be the best.


There's a lot more to learn. Fortunately, there is starting to be a lot of good material on journalism information security

Thank you to everyone in the journalism and security communities who helpfully offered their reviews and suggestions.

Corinthian Matters

Zigzags (and Technology) in Early Corinth

Live Science seems to have made something of the most recent Hesperia article on the Panayia Field by Guy Sanders, Sarah James, Ioulia Tzonou-Herbst, and James Herbst. The Hesperia piece from early 2014 offers an important synthetic overview of remains in the Panayia field dating from the Neolithic age to the Hellenistic period excavated in 1995-2007.

The short piece from Live Science, which was published online yesterday, focuses on the “Zigzag Art”  on Geometric vessels from a sarcophagus of Corinth dating to the early 8th century BC. It suggests that the discovery was recent, but those tombs were dug almost a decade ago now. Here’s a bit from the article:

“Archaeologists working at the ancient city of Corinth, Greece, have discovered a tomb dating back around 2,800 years that has pottery decorated with zigzagging designs.

The tomb was built sometime between 800 B.C. and 760 B.C., a time when Corinth was emerging as a major power and Greeks were colonizing the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea.

The tomb itself consists of a shaft and burial pit, the pit having a limestone sarcophagus that is about 5.8 feet (1.76 meters) long, 2.8 feet (0.86 m) wide and 2.1 feet (0.63 m) high. When researchers opened the sarcophagus, they found a single individual had been buried inside, with only fragments of bones surviving…..

[Break to zigzags]

….The vessels were decorated with a variety of designs, including wavy, zigzagging lines and meandering patterns that look like a maze. This style of pottery was popular at the time, and archaeologists often refer to this as Greece’s “Geometric” period.

You can read the rest of the piece here. There are plenty of zigzags in the Hesperia article, of course, but, as the author himself notes, there’s nothing really exceptional about them on Geometric vases. The author missed the real story here, which is about the early technological achievement of the population of Corinth.  These limestone sarcophagi are absolutely massive — they include the longest and largest found to date — and indicate major displays of wealth in burial and status differentiation. Especially important are their early date, which pushes stonecutting back to 950-900 BC, and weight (1.5-2.5 tons), which indicates sophisticated technological capabilities to transfer the monolithic pieces out of the quarry below the Temple of Apollo and lower into a trench cut for burial in the Panayia field. I was at Panayia field when several workmen pried open the lid from one of these sarcophagi. The lid itself is massive.

It’s great to see the Panayia field excavations get some press, and the half dozen photos presented from the excavations are fun. But for the implications of these discoveries, look at the Hesperia article.

Digital Humanities at Dickinson College

A New Allen & Greenough

With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, the Dickinson College Commentaries team has completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool for Latinists, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.


The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.

In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.

On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.

The differences between the DCC version of A&G and others available on the internet are:

  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)

And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:

Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!

Dickinson College Commentaries

A New Allen and Greenough

With support from the Mellon Digital Humanities Fund and the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies at Dickinson, we have completed a new digital version of that perennially useful tool, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, edited by J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kitteredge, A.A. Howard, and Benjamin L. D’Ooge. Boston: Ginn & Company, 1903.


The project involved re-scanning the book to have good quality page images, then editing a set of existing XML files kindly provided by the Perseus Project. We added to that the newly digitized index, which was not in the Perseus XML. The purpose there was to make the book browsable via the index, which is important for user utility, and absent in all other online versions. On March 23, 2014, Kaylin Bednarz (Dickinson ’15) finished revision of XML files for Allen & Grenough, and the creation of html files based on the new XML. She was assisted and trained in the use of Oxygen software (which converts the XML into web-ready html) by Matthew Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who also helped with day to day project management.

In late March, Dickinson web developer Ryan Burke uploaded the html and XML files to Dickinson servers, and created the web interface for A&G in html. This revealed issues of formatting: indentations were often not preserved, resulting in lack of clarity. Some character formatting was not right, and footnotes from the original print resource were not clearly displayed. Forward and back buttons had to be put in for each of the 638 sections.

On May 20, 2014, Meagan Ayer (PhD in classics and ancient history, University of Buffalo, 2013) began work hand-editing Allen & Greenough html files, removing errors and fixing formatting, adding navigational infrastructure using Adobe Dreamweaver. A few missing XML files had to be added and converted to html, and those finishing touches were put on last week.

The differences between our version of A&G and others available on the internet are:

  • Page images attached to every section
  • Analytical index makes finding what you need easier
  • Functioning word search for the entire work
  • Attractive presentation with readable fonts and formatting
  • Fully edited to remove spelling errors and OCR misreads (further error notifications appreciated!)

And of course the whole is freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. We plan to systematically link to this version of A&G in our Latin commentaries, and we are planning to have a similar work on the Greek side up soon:

Thomas Dwight Goodell, A School Grammar of Attic Greek (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902). This excellent work was scanned by the Internet Archive. Last year Bruce Robertson of Mont Allison University kindly performed the OCR using Rigaudon, the output of which is available on Lace. At Dickinson the OCR output was edited and the XML and html pages created by Christina Errico. Ryan Burke has created the web interface. Meagan Ayer is in the process of editing and correcting the html pages. So look for that in the next few months!

Tom Gewecke (Multilingual Mac)

Fonts and Keyboards for Greek/Coptic Scholars

OS X users needing special notation and characters for work involving ancient Greek or Coptic texts may be interested in the set of fonts and keyboards provided by Ralph Hancock and Jean-Luc Fournet at http://fournet.monsite-orange.fr/keyboards/

August 20, 2014

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

Architecture and Archaeology: What an Architect Does Among Archaeologists

The Case of Tell Masaikh, Syria and Qasr Shamamok, Iraq At the 2013 ASOR Annual Meeting, Pedro Azara, of Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, presented his paper. His paper, “Architecture and Archaeology: What an Architect Does Among Archaeologists (The Case of Tell Masaikh, Syria and Qasr Shamamok, Iraq),” was co-written by Marc Marín (Escola Tècnica […]

Gabriel Bodard, et al. (Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies)


We’ve had a couple of meetings with Karen Smith-Yoshimura and Thomas Hickey, of the Scholars Contributions to VIAF group, to discuss possible collaborations, exchange of information, and mutual benefits of sharing standards between the SNAP:DRGN project and VIAF (the Virtual International Authority File, a federated authority list of persons from library catalogs, mostly from author or subject fields).

We considered two main questions:

  1. What can SNAP:DRGN gain from VIAF data or formats? Most concretely, what subset of VIAF person-records, and what fields in them, should we consider ingesting into the SNAP graph?
  2. How can VIAF benefit from SNAP:DRGN’s work in this area? In what ways can SNAP provide data and information that might be passed back to VIAF for inclusion in the authority file?

Preliminary answers and thoughts below.

1. What can SNAP get from VIAF?

Looking at the VIAF data model, we decided that in most cases the only categories of information we would get from them would be, (a) a URI, (b) a name. There was some discussion as to whether we  could sometimes extract from the data (c) some alternative name forms (e.g. in Greek, by searching for Unicode codepoint range), (d) a date, whcih is present in some name strings; (e) an associated place, which is present in some name strings. VIAF records that come in via Wikipedia or Wikidata would also give us (f) alternative ID, in the form of a Wikipedia/Dbpedia uri. We didn’t think that the LAWD “attestation/citation” categories were appropriate for modelling the information about books with these persons as authors or subjects, although that is the most useful information that one would get by going back into the VIAF data from the SNAP graph.

We discussed what subset of the VIAF dataset would be of interest to model in SNAP, and after a few experiments with filtering by date (which is not always given), language (not always given), and contributing collection, we settled on a preliminary export of persons who matched:

  • birth OR death date present, and before 1000 C.E.
  • AND any one or more of
    • language: Latin
    • OR language: Ancient Greek
    • OR collection: Perseus Catalog.

Which gives us a small corpus of 1,781 ancient authors to experiment with.

2. What can SNAP give to VIAF?

VIAF is an authority list of authors, artists, other creators, and people important enough to have a book (or at least a chapter) written about them, so they won’t be interested in hundreds of thousands of names of Greeks and Romans about whom all we know is their gravestones, contracts they signed, or graffiti they left on a theater wall. In order to flag a subset of persons whom VIAF might be interested in importing from the SNAP graph, we are proposing to add a new property to the SNAP ontology: associatedRole. This would allow us to flag poets, historians, authors, potters, sculptors, actors, performers etc., whom VIAF would include in their authority file, even if no works by these people survive. We’ll consider doing so in a later revision of the Cookbook, since version 1.0 is now locked down.

Other ways in which the SNAP dataset may be of value to VIAf is through the connections that we make between databases by coreferencing and disambiguating unique individuals. If we have a VIAF record for a person, but that person is also in the British Museum person thesaurus, the Trismegistos author table, LGPN and/or PBW, then variant names, dates, citations, alternate identifiers and other information from these databases might enrich the VIAF data on these records, and could be automatically ingested via the linked data we produce.

Many of the issues discussed above will also come up when we speak to other potential data partners about linking up SNAP records with their data, so it was great to have this preliminary conversation.

Katy Meyers (Bones Don't Lie)

Agriculture, Inequality and Cremation in Iron Age Spain

One of the major debates in archaeology is when do we begin to see inequality among human groups, and what caused this this to happen. Social inequality has been defined […]

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Entrepôts et lieux de stockage du monde gréco-romain antique

[First posted in AWOL 27 November 2012, updated 20 August 2014]

Entrepôts et lieux de stockage du monde gréco-romain antique
Le projet "Entrepôts et lieux de stockage du monde gréco-romain antique" est un projet de recherche financé par l'Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) et porté par trois laboratoires français de recherche en sciences de l'Antiquité: le Centre Camille Jullian (CCJ), l'Institut de Recherche en Architecture Antique (IRAA) et l'Ecole Française d'Athènes (EfA).

Jusqu’à la fin de l’Ancien Régime, le stockage a été une des solutions les plus fréquemment utilisées pour venir à bout des problèmes particuliers causés par l’approvisionnement de ces populations non rurales que constituaient les citadins et les soldats. Le grenier occupe une position centrale dans ces systèmes d’approvisionnement, tant d’un point de vue matériel, par les possibilités de conservation à plus ou moins long terme qu’il permet, que d’un point de vue politique, par les enjeux qu’il soulève en matière de propriété et de gestion.

Ce sujet touche aux grandes interrogations en histoire économique des sociétés d’Ancien Régime dans l’aire méditerranéenne et il est susceptible de faire progresser la connaissance de ces questions et de renouveler les problématiques de recherche. Le projet a l'ambition de parvenir à une connaissance plus solide des systèmes de stockage antiques, notamment en créant un réseau international entre les chercheurs travaillant actuellement sur cette question et en suscitant de nouvelles recherches sur ce thème. Le présent site Internet relève d'un double objectif : d'une part diffuser largement les informations relatives au projet, d'autre part en constituer l'un des outils scientifiques de recherche par la création d'une base de données collaborative en ligne. Cette base de données, actuellement accessible par les seuls chercheurs associés au projet, sera à terme (2012) ouverte au public sur le présent site Internet.
Pour plus de détails :
Pour plus de détails :
Pour plus de détails :

Juan Garcés (Digitised Manuscripts Blog)

Three More Books of Hours

In one of our blog posts last week, we featured the Wardington Hours, a relative newcomer to our collections. Three other Books of Hours have been acquired by the British Library since 2000, each of particular interest to art historians and scholars. Add MS 74754: ‘The Small Bedford hours’ In...

Center for History and New Media

Doing Digital History in August

RRCHNM continued its summer of institutes in early August when 23 mid-career American historians arrived in Northern Virginia for “Doing Digital History.” Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities, the institute began on August 4 and ran for two weeks. Few of the participants expected to keep up with the workload of the intensive curriculum, but everyone left with new skills, new understandings of digital methodologies, and a new appreciation for the work required to build and sustain successful digital humanities projects.

The “Doing Digital History” Cohort (Photo courtesy of Karen Kossie-Chernyshev)

Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon led the group through a course designed to introduce historians, already established in their subject areas, to digital humanities scholarship, methods, and tools relevant to their own research and teaching in American history. Readings and discussions were coupled with demonstrations and hands-on work. Our participants created their own web domain, installed WordPress, and started blogging on Day 1. Megan Brett, Stephanie Grimes, Celeste Sharpe, and Spencer Roberts assisted throughout the institute by leading tutorials and supporting the participants. For example, Roberts created the “Historian’s Spreadsheet,” a guide to using simple functions in Excel for tidying data that was then widely circulated on Twitter and highlighted as a resource in the National Council on Public History’s weekly newsletter to its members.

“Doing Digital History” also featured instructors from RRCHNM and Mason’s History and Art History department who shared their digital humanities expertise with participants, including, Mike O’Malley, Lisa Rhody, Lincoln Mullen, and Joan Troyano. Fred Gibbs, formerly of Mason, returned from New Mexico to teach a day on text mining and Jeff McClurken visited from University of Mary Washington to lead a day on digitally-inflected pedagogy.

If you are interested in seeing how we crafted this curriculum, we invite you to review our schedule, read participants’ posts written during the institute, or browse the #doingdh14 tweetstream.

“Doing Digital History” was one of three institutes for advanced topics in the digital humanities funded by NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities to be run in 2014. Learn more about other grant programs at ODH, http://www.neh.gov/divisions/odh.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Crowd-Funded Research in Archaeology

Just yesterday, a friend of mine asked me what I thought about crowd-funded archaeological projects and sent me a link to a recently funded project on Kickstarter to support excavation in Nicaragua. A quick search at Kickstarter and another crowd funding site, Indiegogo, revealed quite a few other archaeological projects looking to raise funds for their work. For those unfamiliar with the internets, the way these crowd-funding sites work is that the fundraiser asks for a certain amount of money over a set amount of time (usually 1-2 months). Funders donate based on certain “rewards” which, for these kinds of projects, range from hearty thanks to t-shirts, reports, photos and prints, and for particularly large donors (depending the ask and the site), trips to the site and guided tours. Typically, it would seem crowd-funded research support has a student component to it and in some cases, it is focused on an individual who is seeking funding to go to do field work.

On a related note, this past summer, the Greek Ministry of Culture issued a directive banning “archaeological tourism”. By this they referred to the practice of well-heeled donors contributing money to projects in order to come and do archaeological fieldwork for some time under the supervision of a project. These individuals were classed as “volunteers” and had no formal archaeological training. To be blunt, they were there as a reward for their contribution to the project. It is worth noting that a Greek project brought this to the attention of the Ministry of Culture.

Doing my best Jack Weinstein imitation (and it’s a rather poor one, at that), I began to think about whether crowdfunding like this is a good idea for academic research. 

On the one hand, it is clear that funding for basic humanities research, particularly on the scale of archaeological work, is drying up both in the U.S. and abroad, and academics are becoming increasingly creative to find funds for their work. More than that, archaeological fieldwork has always attracted wealthy patrons. In the 19th century, for example, donors might receive artifacts from an ongoing excavation. Today, donors receive t-shirts, newsletters, and “insider information”. Some prominent sites, like Nemea, have non-profit organizations established to fund the excavation, conservation, and reconstruction (!) of the site. These groups organize events, et c. I tend to associate the most formal manifestations of this work with longstanding practices in fundraising at academic institutions. Universities, research institutions, and professional associations raise money to advance their priorities. Generally speaking, these groups are in fundraising for the long haul, and see it as inseparable from a kind of relationship building that at least ostensibly works to broker a shared vision for the institution with its supporters. There is compromise between the interests of supporters and the goals of the institution with the institution providing a substantial check on the more fickle attitudes of funders. 

Crowdfunding, on the other hand, strikes me as something different. Rather than brokering the complex relationship between donors and an institution, crowdfunding asks for one-time, money to support a single project. More than that, limited time allowed to raise funds, actually discourages, to some existent, a persistent engagement with the project. For the donor (and I have supported quite a few and quite a range of projects on Kickstarter), there is less of a feeling of commitment to the cause. In fact, I’m relieved after my donation that I won’t be pelted with emails for the rest of my life asking me to “affirm my friendship” (as a famous Ohio State capital campaign once asked). The basic structure of these asks, in fact, encourages donors to see them as a gift for a very specific reward. Many companies have come to using crowd-funding platforms as a way to presell devices and generate capital prior to their investment in manufacturing (or even final development).

In other words, crowdfunding archaeology prioritizes a kind of immediate gratification at the expense of relationship building. At worst, it encourages the public to see archaeological research in parallel with a single funding event. This evokes an Indiana Jones kind of field work model where you find an old map, kill some Nazis, and turn the finds over to “Top men”.  This overlooks the complications of conservation, longterm storage, and study of finds.

I don’t mean to discourage archaeologists or other scholars from availing themselves to the potential of crowdfunding for their work, but it does make me wonder what kinds of expectations and precedents this sets for the non-academic public. By offering a reward for support, are we encouraging, in spirit, the kind of archaeological tourism that the Greek government has condemned (if not specifically, at least in sprit).  

In other words, does a crowdfunding model for research encourage a view of our research as product rather than process?     

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Emulation as a Service (EaaS) at Yale University Library

The following is a guest post from Euan Cochrane, ‎Digital Preservation Manager at Yale University Library. This piece continues and extends exploration of the potential of emulation as a service and virtualization platforms.

Increasingly, the intellectual productivity of scholars involves the creation and development of software and software-dependent content. For universities to act as responsible stewards of these materials we need to have a well-formulated approach to how we can make these legacy works of scholarship accessible.

While there have been significant concerns with the practicality of emulation as a mode of access to legacy software, my personal experience (demonstrated via one of my first websites about Amiga emulation) has always been contrary to that view. It is with great pleasure that I can now illustrate the practical utility of Emulation as a Service via three recent case studies from my work at Yale University Library. Consideration of interactive artwork from 1997, interactive Hebrew texts from a 2004 CD-ROM and finance data from 1998 illustrate that it’s no longer really a question of if emulation is a viable option for access and preservation, but of how we can go about scaling up these efforts and removing any remaining obstacles to their successful implementation.

At Yale University Library we are conducting a research pilot of the bwFLA Emulation as a Service software framework.  This framework greatly simplifies the use of emulators and virtualization tools in a wide range of contexts by abstracting all of the emulator configuration (and its associated issues) away from the end-user. As well as simplifying use of emulators it also simplifies access to emulated environments by providing the ability to access and interact with emulated environments from right within your web browser, something that we could only dream of just a few years ago.

At Yale University Library we are evaluating the software against a number of criteria including:

  1. In what use-cases might it be used?
  2. How might it fit in with digital content workflows?
  3. What challenges does it present?

The EaaS software framework shows great promise as a tool for use in many digital content management workflows such as appraisal/selection, preservation and access, but also presents a few unique and particularly challenging issues that we are working to overcome.  The issues are mostly related to copyright and software licensing.  At the bottom of this post I will discuss what these issues are and what we are doing to resolve them, but before I do that let me put this in context by discussing some real-life use-cases for EaaS that have occurred here recently.

It has taken a few months (I started in my position at the Library in September 2013) but recently people throughout the Library system have begun to forward queries to me if they involve anything digital preservation-related. Over the past month or so we have had three requests for access to digital content from the general collections that couldn’t be interacted with using contemporary software.  These requests are all great candidates for resolving using EaaS but, unfortunately (as you will see) we couldn’t do that.

Screenshot of Puppet Motel running in the emulation service using the Basilisk II emulator.

Screenshot of Puppet Motel running in the emulation service using the Basilisk II emulator.

Interactive Artwork, Circa 1997: Use Case One

An Arts PhD student wanted to access an interactive CD-ROM-based artwork (Laurie Anderson’s “Puppet Motel”) from the general collections. The artwork can only be interacted with on old versions of the Apple Mac “classic” operating system.

Fortunately the Digital Humanities Librarian (Peter Leonard) has a collection of old technology and was willing to bring a laptop into the library from his personal collection for the PhD student to use to access it on. This was not an ideal or sustainable solution (what would have happened if Peter’s collection wasn’t available? What happens when that hardware degrades past usability?).

Since responding to this request we have managed to get the Puppet Motel running in the emulation service using the Basilisk II emulator (for research purposes).

This would be a great candidate for accessing via the emulation service. The sound and interaction aspects all work well and it is otherwise very challenging for researchers to access the content.

Screenshot virtual machine used to access CD-ROM that wouldn't play in current OS.

Screenshot virtual machine used to access CD-ROM that wouldn’t play in current OS.

Hebrew Texts, Circa 2004: Use Case Two

One of the Judaica librarians needed to access data for a patron and the data was in a Windows XP CD-ROM (Trope Trainer) from the general collections. The software on the CD would not run on the current Windows 7 operating system that is installed on the desktop PCs here in the library.

The solution we came up with was to create a Windows XP virtual machine for the librarian to have on her desktop. This is a good solution for her as it enables her to print the sections she wants to print and export pdfs for printing elsewhere as needed.

We have since ingested this content into the emulation service for testing purposes. In the EaaS it can run on either the virtualization software from Oracle: VirtualBox (which doesn’t provide full-emulation) or QEMU an emulation and virtualization tool.

It is another great candidate for the service as this version of the content can no longer be accessed on contemporary operating systems and the emulated version enables users to play through the texts and hear them read just as though they were using the CD on their local machine. The ability to easily export content from the emulation service will be added in a future update and will enable this content to become even more useful.

Accessing legacy finance data through a Windows 98 Virtual Machine.

Accessing legacy finance data through a Windows 98 Virtual Machine.

Finance Data, Circa 1998/2003: Use Case Three

A Finance PhD student needed access to data (inter-corporate ownership data) trapped within software within a CD-ROM from the general collection. Unfortunately the software was designed for Windows 98: “As part of my current project I need to use StatCan data saved using some sort of proprietary software on a CD. Unfortunately this software seemed not to be compatible with my version of Windows.” He had been able to get the data out of the disc but couldn’t make any real sense of it without the software: “it was all just random numbers.”

We have recently been developing a collection of old hardware at the Library to support long-term preservation of digital content. Coincidentally, and fortunately, the previous day someone had donated a Windows 98 laptop. Using that laptop we were able to ascertain that the CD hadn’t degraded and the software still worked.  A Windows 98 virtual machine was then created for the student to use to extract the data. Exporting the data to the host system was a challenge. The simplest solution turned out to be having the researcher email the data to himself from within the virtual machine via Gmail using an old web browser (Firefox 2.x).

We were also able to ingest the virtual machine into the emulation service where it can run on either VirtualBox or QEMU.

This is another great candidate for the emulation service. The data is clearly of value but cannot be properly accessed without using the original custom software which only runs on older versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Other uses of the service

In exploring these predictable use-cases for the service, we have also discovered some less-expected scenarios in which the service offers some interesting potential applications. For example, the EaaS framework makes it trivially easy to set up custom environments for patrons. These custom environments take up little space as they are stored as a difference from a base-environment, and they have a unique identifier that can persist over time (or not, as needed).  Such custom environments may be a great way for providing access to sets of restricted data that we are unable to allow patrons to download to their own computers. Being able to quickly configure a Windows 7 virtual machine with some restricted content included in it (and appropriate software for interacting with that content, e.g., an MS Outlook PST archive file with MS Outlook), and provide access to it in this restricted online context, opens entirely new workflows for our archival and special collections staff.

Why we couldn’t use bwFLA’s EaaS

In all three of the use-cases outlined above EaaS was not used as the solution for the end-user. There were two main reasons for this:

  1. We are only in possession of a limited number of physical operating system and application licenses for these older systems. While there is some capacity to use downgrade rights within the University’s volume licensing agreement with Microsoft, with Apple operating systems the situation is much less clear. As a result we are being conservative in our use of the service until we can resolve these issues.
  2. It is not always clear in the license of old software whether this use-case is allowed. Virtualization is rarely (if ever) mentioned in the license agreements. This is likely because it wasn’t very common during the period when much of the software we are dealing with was created. We are working to clarify this point with the General Counsel at Yale and will be discussing it with the software vendors.

Addressing the software licensing challenges

As things stand we are limited in our ability to provide access to EaaS due to licensing agreements (and other legal restrictions) that still apply to the content-supporting operating system and productivity software dependencies. A lot of these dependencies that are necessary for providing access to valuable historic digital content do not have a high economic value themselves.  While this will likely change over time as the value of these dependencies becomes more recognized and the software more rare, it does make for a frustrating situation.  To address this we are beginning to explore options with the software vendors and will be continuing to do this over the following months and years.

We are very interested in the opportunities EaaS offers for opening access to otherwise inaccessible digital assets.  There are many use-cases in which emulation is the only viable approach for preserving access to this content over the long term. Because of this, anything that prevents the use of such services will ultimately lead to the loss of access to valuable and historic digital content, which will effectively mean the loss of that content. Without engagement from software vendors and licensing bodies it may require law change to ensure that this content is not lost forever.

It is our hope that the software vendors will be willing to work with us to save our valuable historic digital assets from becoming permanently inaccessible and lost to future generations. There are definitely good reasons to believe that they will, and so far, those we have contacted have been more than willing to work with us.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

The Visual Heritage Project

The Visual Heritage Project
The visual heritage project is an initiative to increase documentation on at-risk archaeological sites through crowd sourcing image collection. The project takes an innovative approach to delivering this media by harnessing public data from social media and archival records. Through pairing these images, the project provides a visual tour of history. Viewers can scroll through  years of development as the images associated with the sites evolve over time. The site offers a unique research tool for both the hobbyist and historian. 

August 19, 2014

Digital Humanities Center (Indiana University)

DHC Presents Toolkit and Omeka at College Tech Day

DHC faculty and students will offer two presentations at the College Technology Day, August 20th.

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Open Source Toolkit – Stouffer G16D at 10am

IUP Center for Digital Humanities and Culture Affiliates: Dr. Kenneth Sherwood, Dr. Dan Weinstein, Adam Colton,
Eliza Albert, Wesley Dunning, Annie Lin
Empowering digital teachers and learners through access to open-source software (including Firefox, LibreOffice, Zotero, Audacity, and GIMP). Through the Open Source Toolkit, the DHC exposes the university community to software freedom. This demonstration provides the rationale for Open Source, gives on overview of available tools, and provides attendees with a configured flash-drive of Open Source tools. (Limited to 20). The Open Source Toolkit was assembled by a team of DHC affiliate faculty and students for the IUP community.

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Introducing Omeka - An Academic Exhibit and Mapping Web Tool – Stouffer G16D at 11am

IUP Center for Digital Humanities and Culture Affiliates: Dr. Kenneth Sherwood, Dr. Dan Weinstein, Dr. Tanya Heflin,
Adam Colton

Omeka provides the capacity for the creation and web publication of educational and scholarly teaching exhibitions of artifacts, images, and other data. This presentation introduces Omeka, shows model exhibits, and provides a hands-on opportunity to explore building an Omeka exhibit. The Omeka/Neatline suite is a specialized toolset that would be useful for history, anthropology, art, sociology, English, and other disciplines. Basic access is available free at Omeka.net. The Center for Digital Humanities and Culture is launching an IUP Omeka project service and training for members of the IUP community in AY 2015-16.

Source: Journalism Code, Context & Community

Event Roundup, Aug 19

By Erika Owens

Event Roundup, Aug 19

Submit your session proposals for the Mozilla Festival by Friday, August 22.


Know of any upcoming fellowship or conference proposal deadlines? Have an upcoming event? Let us know: source@mozillafoundation.org.

dh+lib: where the digital humanities and librarianship meet

RESOURCE: Introducing Digital Humanities Work to Undergraduates: An Overview

Adeline Koh’s (Richard Stockton College) article in the Journal of Hybrid Pedagogy, “Introducing Digital Humanities Work to Undergraduates: An Overview,” outlines several DH projects that can be implemented in primarily undergraduate institutions, including “less well-funded institutions [that] might not find it as easy to commit to providing the frameworks to build successful digital humanities projects.” Koh discusses ways to incorporate tools and methods for mapping projects, text analysis, online exhibitions, and Wikipedia editing, and also provides a lesson plan for a sample DH activity.

The post RESOURCE: Introducing Digital Humanities Work to Undergraduates: An Overview appeared first on dh+lib.

RESOURCE: CSV Fingerprints

Victor Powell has released CSV Fingerprints, a tool for spotting errors in CSV files, such as instances “when the data itself has a comma in it.” As Powell describes,

The idea is to provide a birdseye view of the file without too much distracting detail. The idea is similar to Tufte’s Image Quilts…a qualitative view, as opposed to a rendering of the data in the file themselves. In this sense, the CSV Fingerprint is a sort of meta visualization.

Users can use the browser-based software, or download the source code from GitHub.

The post RESOURCE: CSV Fingerprints appeared first on dh+lib.

CFP: ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is accepting applications for Digital Innovation Fellowships. The program seeks to “provide [PhD holding] scholars the means to pursue intellectually significant projects…that help advance digital humanistic scholarship by broadening understanding of its nature and exemplifying the robust infrastructure necessary for creating such works.”

Fellows should plan to complete their work during the 2015-16 academic year, and will be awarded a stipend of up to $60,000 toward an academic year’s leave as well as reimbursement for project costs of up to $25,000.

Applications are due September 24, 2014.

The post CFP: ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships appeared first on dh+lib.

CFP: IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting preliminary proposals for National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG-Libraries). The IMLS is offering informational webinars for groups interested in learning more about the application process; webinars will be held August 20 at 3:00pm and September 16 at 3:00pm ET. The three strategic priorities of the grant are: national digital platform, learning spaces in libraries, and STEM learning in libraries.

Additional details about the grants are available on the NLG-Libraries page. Preliminary proposals are due on October 13, 2014.

The post CFP: IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries appeared first on dh+lib.

JOB: Digital Initatives Librarian, Rochester Institute of Technology

From the job description:

This position will lead TWC staff in the identification of digital resource needs and solutions. Identify and lead new digital and open access initiatives. Assist with staff training related to digital collections and technologies. Supervise both permanent staff and student employees working on digital and open access initiatives. Formulate policies, procedures and best practices for the production, management, and preservation of digital content and metadata, technical workflow, quality control, and associated intellectual property issues. Provide technical expertise in digital applications and lead the evaluation and implementation of technologies related to the management and dissemination of digital content, e.g. digital asset management system, institutional repository, online exhibition tools. Identify grant opportunities and work collaboratively to create proposals in support of digital collections, digital preservation projects and other digital initiatives. Represent and champion digital preservation interests and other digital initiatives across the library and the campus. Assist in providing training and outreach to the campus community about the institutional repository, digital collections and digital and open access projects and programs.

The post JOB: Digital Initatives Librarian, Rochester Institute of Technology appeared first on dh+lib.

JOB: Digital Projects & Technologies Librarian, University of Toronto

From the position announcement:


  • Creates and enhances appropriate software frameworks for Digital Scholarship Unit (DSU) initiatives.
  • Designs, develops and analyzes dynamic web and mobile-enhanced applications, systems and tools.
  • Maintains and improves existing DSU-related systems and applications and works closely with campus technical staff to develop and maintain supporting infrastructure.
  • Provides project planning and management, programming and expertise for digital scholarship projects
  • Introduces and integrates latest information technology trends and tools into services of the Digital Scholarship Unit
  • Advises library colleagues and faculty partners on emerging digital research methodologies, including research data management, digital preservation, big data analysis, linked open data, etc.
  • Supervises and assigns work to work-study, practicum, and co-op students assisting with library IT projects; provides functional supervision of library staff as required.
  • Liaises and collaborates with faculty, researchers and other departments to further library digital research initiatives & partnerships, and may act as subject liaison in related areas.
  • Participates in identifying & establishing funding sources for Digital Scholarship Unit projects, including collaborating in grant writing application and reporting
  • Contributes to the digital scholarship community, which may include presenting at academic conferences, developing research for scholarly publications, participating in open source projects, etc.
  • Participates in various library and university committees and task forces as appropriate.
  • Scholarly research and creative activities are encouraged.

The post JOB: Digital Projects & Technologies Librarian, University of Toronto appeared first on dh+lib.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

A New Collection at JSTOR: JSTOR Hebrew Journals

JSTOR Hebrew Journals
With a minimum of 40 titles, the Hebrew Journals Collection draws from an interdisciplinary range of titles published primarily in Hebrew. The collection is the first on JSTOR to be released in a non-Roman alphabet, creating an essential resource for scholars in Hebrew worldwide. Top disciplines include Jewish Studies, Language & Literature, and Archaeology, with journals drawn from leading organizations such as the Bialik Institute, the World Union of Jewish Studies, and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The JSTOR platform has been adapted in ways that now support the requirements of the Hebrew language. These include right-to-left reading, searchability in Hebrew, and journal metadata in both Hebrew and English when provided, including author names, titles, and tables of contents.
Many of the titles relate to antiquity and some were already in the JSTOR Jewish Studies collection The full current list follows

Titlesort descending coverage moving wall publishers Title List - discipline
Atiqot' / עתיקות 1955-01-01 - 2013/11/21 0 Israel Antiquities Authority / רשות העתיקות Archaeology
'Atiqot / עתיקות 1991-01-01 - 2013-01-01 Content for this title is released as soon as the latest issues become available to JSTOR. Israel Antiquities Authority / רשות העתיקות Archaeology
'Atiqot: Hebrew Series / עתיקות: סידרה עברית 1955-01-01 - 1990-01-01 Absorbed Israel Antiquities Authority / רשות העתיקות Archaeology
Beit Mikra: Journal for the Study of the Bible and Its World / בית מקרא: כתב-עת לחקר המקרא ועולמו 1956-03-01 - 2011-01-01 2 years Bialik Institute, Jerusalem / מוסד ביאליק, ירושלים Jewish Studies, Religion
Bulletin (Israel Gerontological Society) / ידיעון - האגודה הישראלית לגרונטולוגיה 1965-09-01 - 1995-07-01 Absorbed Israel Gerontological Society / האגודה הישראלית לגרונטולוגיה Health Sciences, Social Work
Cathedra: For the History of Eretz Israel and Its Yishuv / קתדרה: לתולדות ארץ ישראל ויישובה 1976-09-01 - 2008-12-01 5 years Yad Izhak Ben Zvi / יד יצחק בן-צבי Archaeology, History, Jewish Studies
Dappim: Research in Literature / דפים למחקר בספרות 1984-01-01 - 2007-01-01 2 years Department of Hebrew & Comparative Literature, University of Haifa / החוג לספרות עברית והשוואתית, אוניברסיטת חיפה Language &, Literature
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה 1951-01-01 - 2009-01-01 3 years Israel Exploration Society Archaeology
Gerontology & Geriatrics / גרונטולוגיה וגריאטריה 1965-01-01 - 2013/10/22 2 Israel Gerontological Society / האגודה הישראלית לגרונטולוגיה Health Sciences
Gerontology / גרונטולוגיה 1974-01-01 - 2011-01-01 <br>Note: <cite>Gerontology</cite> is a previous title to <cite>Gerontology & Geriatrics</cite>. The volumes under the current title, <cite>Gerontology & Geriatrics</cite> will be publicly released into the JSTOR archive in 2015. Israel Gerontological Society / האגודה הישראלית לגרונטולוגיה Health Sciences, Social Work
Hadashot Arkheologiyot / חדשות ארכיאולוגיות 1961-12-01 - 1998-01-01 Absorbed Israel Antiquities Authority / רשות העתיקות Archaeology
Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel / חדשות ארכיאולוגיות: חפירות וסקרים בישראל 1999-01-01 - 2004-01-01 Content for this title is released as soon as the latest issues become available to JSTOR. <br>Beginning with Vol. 116 (2004), this journal has been published online. Israel Antiquities Authority / רשות העתיקות Archaeology
Historia: Journal of the Historical Society of Israel / היסטוריה: כתב עת של החברה ההיסטורית הישראלית 1998-01-01 - 2008-11-01 5 years Historical Society of Israel / החברה ההיסטורית הישראלית History, Jewish Studies, Religion
Horizons in Geography / אופקים בגאוגרפיה 1975-01-01 - 2010-01-01 3 years University of Haifa / אוניברסיטת חיפה Geography, Middle East Studies
Iggud: Selected Essays in Jewish Studies / איגוד: מבחר מאמרים במדעי היהדות 2005-01-01 - 2005-01-01 2 years World Union of Jewish Studies / האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות Jewish Studies, Religion
IJOT: The Israeli Journal of Occupational Therapy / כתב עת ישראלי לריפוי בעיסוק 1991-01-01 - 2008-11-01 5 years Israeli Society of Occupational Therapy / העמותה ישראלית לריפוי בעיסוק Education, Health Sciences, Public Health, Social Work
ISEI: Issues in Special Education & Inclusion / סחי''ש: סוגיות בחינוך מיוחד ובשילוב 2008-01-01 - 2011-01-01 2 years University of Haifa / אוניברסיטת חיפה Education, Social Work
ISER: Issues in Special Education & Rehabilitation / סחי''ש: סוגיות בחינוך מיוחד ובשיקום 1988-12-01 - 2007-01-01 Absorbed University of Haifa / אוניברסיטת חיפה Education, Social Work
Israeli Sociology / סוציולוגיה ישראלית 1998-01-01 - 2010-01-01 3 years Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, TAU / החוג לסוציולוגיה ולאנתרופולוגיה, אוניברסיטת תל-אביב Sociology
Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly / עיון: רבעון פילוסופי 1945-10-01 - 2008-10-01 5 years S.H. Bergman Center for Philosophical Studies / מרכז ש. ה. ברגמן לעיון פילוסופי Jewish Studies, Philosophy
Jerusalem Studies in Hebrew Literature / מחקרי ירושלים בספרות עברית 1981-01-01 - 2011-01-01 1 year Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies / המכון למדעי היהדות ע\"ש מנדל Jewish Studies, Language &, Literature
Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore / מחקרי ירושלים בפולקלור יהודי 1981-01-01 - 2011-01-01 1 year Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies / המכון למדעי היהדות ע\"ש מנדל Folklore, Jewish Studies
Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Thought / מחקרי ירושלים במחשבת ישראל 1981-01-01 - 2011-01-01 1 year Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies / המכון למדעי היהדות ע\"ש מנדל Jewish Studies, Philosophy, Religion
Jewish Studies / מדעי היהדות 1990-01-01 - 2010-01-01 2 years World Union of Jewish Studies / האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות Jewish Studies, Religion
Lešonenu: A Journal for the Study of the Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects 1928-01-01 - 2013/11/20 3
Megamot / מגמות 1949-10-01 - 2008-10-01 5 years Henrietta Szold Institute / מכון הנרייטה סאלד History, Middle East Studies
Meghillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls / מגילות: מחקרים במגילות מדבר יהודה 2003-01-01 - 2010-01-01 2 years Bialik Institute, Jerusalem / מוסד ביאליק, ירושלים Archaeology, Jewish Studies, Religion
Michael: On the History of the Jews in the Diaspora / מיכאל: מאסף לתולדות היהודים בתפוצות 1972-01-01 - 2004-01-01 Publication of this title ceased in 2004. Tel Aviv University / אוניברסיטת תל-אביב Jewish Studies
Mikbatz: The Israel Journal of Group Psychotherapy / מקבץ: כתב העת הישראלי להנחיה ולטיפול קבוצתי 1995-07-01 - 2010-04-01 3 years Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy / עמותה ישראלית להנחיה ולטיפול קבוצתי (ע\"ר) Psychology, Social Work
Mitekufat Haeven: Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society / מתקופת האבן 1960-01-01 - 2010-01-01 3 years Israel Prehistoric Society / העמותה הישראלית לפרהיסטוריה Archaeology
Movement: Journal of Physical Education & Sport Sciences / בתנועה: כתב-עת למדעי החינוך הגופני והספורט 1991-02-01 - 2010-01-01 3 years Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences Health Sciences, Public Health
Newsletter (World Union of Jewish Studies) / ידיעון - האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות 1970-10-01 - 1989-07-01 Absorbed World Union of Jewish Studies / האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות Jewish Studies, Religion
Pe'amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry / פעמים: רבעון לחקר קהילות ישראל במזרח 1979-04-01 - 2008-10-01 5 years Yad Izhak Ben Zvi / יד יצחק בן-צבי Jewish Studies, Religion
Politika: The Israeli Journal of Political Science & International Relations / פוליטיקה: כתב עת ישראלי למדע המדינה וליחסים בינלאומיים 1998-06-01 - 2010-01-01 Content for this title is released as soon as the latest issues become available to JSTOR. <br>Beginning with No. 21 (2012), this journal has been published online. The Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations / המכון ליחסים בינלאומיים ע\"ש לאונרד דיוויס Political Science
Proceedings of the World Congress of Jewish Studies 1947-01-01 - 2013/11/22 2 World Union of Jewish Studies / האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות Jewish Studies
Proceedings of the World Congress of Jewish Studies / דברי הקונגרס העולמי למדעי היהדות 1965-01-01 - 1997-01-01 Absorbed World Union of Jewish Studies / האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות Jewish Studies, Religion
Report (World Congress of Jewish Studies) / דין וחשבון - הקונגרס העולמי למדעי היהדות 1947-07-01 - 1961-01-01 Absorbed World Union of Jewish Studies / האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות Jewish Studies, Religion
Sefunot: Studies and Sources on the History of the Jewish Communities in the East / ספונות: מחקרים ומקורות לתולדות קהילות ישראל במזרח 1956-01-01 - 2003-01-01 5 years Yad Izhak Ben Zvi / יד יצחק בן-צבי Jewish Studies, Religion
Shenaton ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri: Annual of the Institute for Research in Jewish Law / שנתון המשפט העברי של המכון לחקר המשפט העברי 1974-01-01 - 2009-01-01 3 years Institute for the Research of Jewish Law / המכון לחקר המשפט העברי Jewish Studies, Law, Religion
Shnaton: An Annual for Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies / שנתון לחקר המקרא והמזרח הקדום 1975-01-01 - 2012-01-01 1 year Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies / המכון למדעי היהדות ע\"ש מנדל Jewish Studies
Social Issues in Israel / סוגיות חברתיות בישראל 2006-01-01 - 2011-07-01 2 years Ariel University Center / המרכז האוניברסיטאי אריאל Social Work, Sociology
Social Security / ביטחון סוציאלי 1971-02-01 - 2010-11-01 3 years National Insurance Institute / המוסד לביטוח לאומי Economics, Public Health, Public Policy &, Administration
Special Education and Rehabilitation / חינוך מיוחד ושיקום 1985-07-01 - 1987-11-01 Absorbed University of Haifa / אוניברסיטת חיפה Education, Social Work
State & Society / מדינה וחברה 2001-12-01 - 2011-10-01 2 years University of Haifa / אוניברסיטת חיפה Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
Studies in Education / עיונים בחינוך 1973-04-01 - 2011-04-01 2 years University of Haifa / אוניברסיטת חיפה Education
Surveys and Reviews in Gerontology / סקרים וסקירות בגרונטולוגיה 1995-10-01 - 1997-10-01 Absorbed Israel Gerontological Society / האגודה הישראלית לגרונטולוגיה Health Sciences, Social Work
Tarbiz / תרביץ 1929-10-01 - 2012-10-01 1 year Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies / המכון למדעי היהדות ע\"ש מנדל Jewish Studies, Religion
Zion / ציון 1935-10-01 - 2008-01-01 5 years Historical Society of Israel / החברה ההיסטורית הישראלית History, Jewish Studies
Zion: Me'asef ha-Hevra ha-erets-yisre'elit le-Historyah ve-Etnografyah / ציון: מאסף החברה הא״י להיסטוריה ואתנוגרפיה 1925-01-01 - 1933-01-01 Absorbed Historical Society of Israel / החברה ההיסטורית הישראלית History, Jewish Studies
Zmanim: A Historical Quarterly / זמנים: רבעון להיסטוריה 1979-10-01 - 2008-10-01 5 years Open University / האוניברסיטה הפתוחה;Tel Aviv University / אוניברסיטת תל-אביב;Zalman Shazar Center / מרכז זלמן שזר History, Jewish Studies

Open Access Books from the Institut Català d'Arqueologia Clàssica

Institut Català d'Arqueologia Clàssica
EL ICAC es un centro de investigación público en Arqueología Clásica creado por la Generalidad de Cataluña y la Universidad Rovira i Virgili, con la participación del Consejo Interuniversitario de Cataluña. Tiene como finalidad la investigación, la formación avanzada y la difusión de la civilización y cultura clásicas.

Hic et Nunc  
Fora de collecció 

Newly online at the The Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO)

Newly online at the The Netherlands Institute for the Near East
J. Vergote – Toutankhamon dans les archives hittites (PIHANS 12), 1961. [27 cm, softcover; VI, 16 p.]. ISBN: 90-6258-012-2.

R. Ghirshman et al. (eds.) – Dark ages and Nomads c. 1000 B.C. Studies in Iranian and Anatolian Archaeology (PIHANS 18), 1964. [27 cm, softcover; XII, 70 p., ill., 20 p. pl.]. ISBN: 90-6258-018-1.

M.N. van Loon – Urartian Art. Its Distinctive Traits in the Light of New Excavations (PIHANS 20), 1966. [27 cm, softcover; XV, 190 p., ill., 43 p. pl.]. ISBN: 90-6258-020-3.

J.D. Weir – The Venus Tablets of Ammizaduga (PIHANS 29), 1972. [27 cm, softcover; IX, 80]. ISBN: 90-6258-029-7.

Ph.H.J. Houwink ten Cate – The Records of the Early Hittite Empire (c. 1450-1380 B.C.) (PIHANS 26), 1970. [27 cm, softcover; XVI, 87]. ISBN: 90-6258-026-2.

R. Harris – Ancient Sippar. A Demographic Study of an Old-Babylonian City (1894-1595 B.C.) (PIHANS 36), 1975. [27 cm, softcover; XVII, 408]. ISBN: 90-6258-036-X.

R.J. Demarée, Jac.J. Janssen (eds.) – Gleanings from Deir el-Medîna (Eg. Uitg. 1), 1982. [27 cm, softcover; XIII, 312]. ISBN: 90-6258-201-X.

K.R. Veenhof (ed.) – Cuneiform Archives and Libraries. Papers read at the 30e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Leiden, 4-8 July 1983 (PIHANS 57), 1986. [27 cm, softcover; X, 307]. ISBN: 90-6258-057-2.

H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, A. Kuhrt, M.C. Root (eds.) – Continuity and Change. Proceedings of the Last Achaemenid History Workshop, April 6-8 1990, Ann Arbor (Achaemenid History 8), 1994. [25 cm, cloth; XVI, 442]. ISBN: 90-6258-408-X.

Schatten uit Turkije
  • S. Baykan, J.J. Roodenberg – Schets van prehistorisch Anatolië (Schatten uit Turkije 1), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 11]. ISBN: 90-6258-247-8.
  • K.R. Veenhof – Kanesj en de Assyrische handelskoloniën in Klein-Azië (Schatten uit Turkije 2), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 22]. ISBN: 90-6258-241-9.
  • Ph.H.J. Houwink ten Cate – De Hettieten. Geschiedenis en cultuur (Schatten uit Turkije 3), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 30]. 90-6258-244-3.
  • J.F. Borghouts – “Duizend goden van Chatti en duizend goden van Egypte”. De relaties tussen Egypte en de Hettieten (Schatten uit Turkije 4), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 30]. ISBN: 90-6258-245-1.
  • J.M. Hemelrijk – De rotsen van Kybele in het land van Koning Midas (Schatten uit Turkije 5), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 19]. ISBN: 90-6258-242-7.
  • Ph. van ‘t Hooft – Turkse tapijt- en borduurkunst (Schatten uit Turkije 6), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 27]. ISBN: 90-6258-246-X.
  • A.H. de Groot – Nederland en Turkije. Zeshonderd jaar politieke, economische en culturele contacten (Schatten uit Turkije 7), 1986. [24 cm, stapled; 25]. ISBN: 90-6258-243-5.

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Thinking Forests and Resistance

I spent some quality times over the past month with Eduardo Kohn’s brilliant How Forests Think. I’ll admit that little in my training as a historian or Mediterranean archaeologist prepared my to deal with the ideas that he introduced. My buddy Dimitri Nakassis pointed the book out to me and I think he discovered it either through a long interview with Kohn over at the Savage Minds blog, or through his interest in agency.

It’s difficult for me to describe the book in a way that doesn’t make its ideas seem overly simple, so I’ll leave careful, critical readings of the work to anthropologists who are more comfortable with some of his basic discursive formations. In short, Kohn’s book comes from his field work in the rainforest of Andean Ecuador.  In one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world, he explores about the limits of human culture and understanding the role that other living things plays in our understanding of the world. He recognizes other living things as capable of producing their own symbolic sense by drawing on Charles Peirce’s semiotic theories. By recognizing all life as producing symbols he explores the place of these symbols in human relational systems. For Kohn, these non-human symbolic systems do not necessarily function according to the rules of human language, but are functioning systems nonetheless. This is where it got heavy. He recognized the role that these other systems played in how we understand the world. As such, culture, that most human of way of understanding the world, emerges, at least in part, from our relationship between various dissimilar symbolic systems within the world.

Obviously, this 200 word effort to summarize a complex and nuanced book does not do justice (or even represent in a completely accurate way) to Kohn’s work. At the same time, one can understand how Kohn’s work challenges some prevailing efforts to understand non-human agency.  For example, Kohn draws on Peirce’s semiotics to argue for the existence of systems not grounded in the rules of human language. Efforts to understand material agency, however, tends to rely on human language to articulate agency in the material world. The world of living things, however, functions according to its own logic and rules, that are both consistent and outside of the structures that we’ve built to articulate culture. 

The potential of Kohn’s ideas to influencing archaeological work – at least how it is currently construed in the Mediterranean – has less to do, in my mind, with the role of non-human living things in the construction of the ancient world, but as a reminder of our tendency to limit who we recognize as agents within the production of culture. I immediately thought of my own – largely unconvincing – efforts to identify resistance in the archaeology of the Late Roman Corinthia. I tried to argue that the existing monuments of culture preserved evidence for another discourse that runs counter to the prevailing message of elite power. The key to recognizing these counter arguments goes beyond simply inverting the message of an object in an effort to discern its opposite, but to expect and understand messages that are fundamentally incompatible with the language and discourse of elite authority. Like the language of the forest, articulating resistance needn’t adhere to the rules established by our monolithic views of elite culture, but perhaps derives its power by functioning completely outside this system. 

(As an irreverent aside, I found Kohn’s book almost completely unhelpful in figuring out what our new dog wants. I do, however, think more carefully about what, when, and why he dreams!)


August 18, 2014

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Curating Extragalactic Distances: An interview with Karl Nilsen & Robin Dasler

EDD Homepage

Screenshot of Extragalactic Distance Database Homepage.

While a fair amount of digital preservation focuses on objects that have clear corollaries to objects from our analog world (still and moving images and documents for example), there are a range of forms that are basically natively digital. Completely native digital forms, like database-driven web applications, introduce a variety of challenges for long-term preservation and access. I’m thrilled to discuss just such a form with Karl Nilsen and Robin Dasler from the University of Maryland, College Park. Karl is the Research Data Librarian, and Robin is the Engineering/Research Data Librarian. Karl and Robin spoke on their work to ensure long-term access to the Extragalactic Distance Database at the Digital Preservation 2014 conference.

Trevor: Could you tell us a bit about the Extragalactic Distance Database? What is it? How does it work? Who does it matter to today and who might make use of it in the long term?

Representation of the Extragalactic distance ladder from<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_distance_ladder#mediaviewer/File:Extragalactic_distance_ladder.JPG">Wikimedia Commons</a>.

Representation of the Extragalactic distance ladder from Wikimedia Commons.

Karl and Robin: The Extragalactic Distance Database contains information that can be used to determine distances between galaxies. For a limited number of nearby galaxies, the distances can be measured directly with a few measurements, but for galaxies beyond these, astronomers have to correlate and calibrate data points obtained from multiple measurements. The procedure is called a distance ladder. From a data curation perspective, the basic task is to collect and organize measurements in such a way that researchers can rapidly collate data points that are relevant to the galaxy or galaxies of interest.

The EDD was constructed by a group of astronomers at various institutions over a period of about a decade and is currently deployed on a server at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. It’s a continuously (though irregularly) updated, actively used database. The technology stack is Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. It also has an associated file system that contains FITS files and miscellaneous data and image files. The total system is approximately 500GB.

EDD Result table

Extragalactic Distance Database Result table.

The literature mentioning extragalactic or cosmic distance runs to thousands of papers in Google Scholar, and over one hundred papers have appeared with 2014 publication dates. Explicit references to the EDD appear in twelve papers with 2014 publication dates and a little more than seventy papers published before 2014. We understand that some astronomers use the EDD for research that is not directly related to distances simply because of the variety of data compiled into the database. Future use is difficult to predict, but we view the EDD as a useful reference resource in an active field. That being said, some of the data in the EDD will likely become obsolete as new instruments and techniques facilitate more accurate distances, so a curation strategy could include a reappraisal and retirement plan.

Our agreement with the astronomers has two parts. In the first part, we’ll create a replica of the EDD at our institution that can serve as a geographically distinct backup for the system in Hawaii. We’re using rsync for transfer. Our copy will also serve as a test case for digital curation and preservation research. In this period, the copy in Hawaii will continue to be the database-of-record. In the second part, our copy may become the database-of-record, with responsibility for long-term stewardship passing more fully to the University of Maryland Libraries. In general, this project gives us an opportunity to develop and fine-tune curation processes, procedures, policies and skills with the goal of expanding the Libraries’ capacity to support complex digital curation and preservation projects.

Trevor: How did you get involved with the database? Did the astronomers come to you or did you all go to them?

Karl and Robin: One of the leaders of the EDD project is a faculty member at the University of Maryland and he contacted us. We’re librarians on the Research Data Services team and we assist faculty and graduate students with all aspects of data management, curation, publishing and preservation. As a new program in the University Libraries, we actively seek and cultivate opportunities to carry out research and development projects that will let us explore different data curation strategies and practices. In early 2013 we included a brief overview of our interests and capabilities in a newsletter for faculty, and that outreach effort lead to an inquiry from the faculty member.

We occasionally hear from other faculty members who have developed or would like to develop databases and web applications as a part of their research, so we expect to encounter similar projects in the future. For that reason, we felt that it was important to initiate a project that involves a database. The opportunities and challenges that arise in the course of this project will inform the development of our services and infrastructure, and ultimately, shape how we support faculty and students on our campus.

Trevor: When you started in on this, were there any other particularly important database preservation projects, reports or papers that you looked at to inform your approach? If so, I’d appreciate hearing what you think the takeaways are from related work in the field and how you see your approach fitting into the existing body of work.

Karl and Robin: Yes, we have been looking at work on database preservation as well as work on curating and preserving complex objects. We’re fortunate that there has been a considerable amount of research and development on database preservation and there is a body of literature available. As a starting point, readers may wish to review:

Some of the database preservation efforts have produced software for digital preservation. For example, readers may wish to look at SIARD (Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases) or the Database Preservation Toolkit. In general, these tools transform the database content into a non-proprietary format such as XML. However, there are quite a few complexities and trade-offs involved. For example, database management systems provide a wide range of functionality and a high level of performance that may be lost or not easily reconstructed after such transformations. Moreover, these preservation tools may involve dependencies that seem trivial now but could introduce significant challenges in the future. We’re interested in these kinds of tools and we hope to experiment with them, but we recognize that heavily transforming a system for the sake of preservation may not be optimal. So we’re open to experimenting with other strategies for longevity, such as emulation or simply migrating the system to state-of-the-art databases and applications.

Trevor:  Having a fixed thing to preserve makes things a lot easier to manage, but the database you are working with is being continuously updated. How are you approaching that challenge? Are you taking snapshots of it? Managing some kind of version control system? Or something else entirely? I would also be interested in hearing a bit about what options you considered in this area and how you made your decision on your approach.

Karl and Robin: We haven’t made a decision about versioning or version control, but it’s obviously an important policy matter. At this stage, the file system is not a major concern because we expect incremental additions that don’t modify existing files. The MySQL database is another story. If we preserve copies of the database as binary objects, we face the challenge of proliferating versions. That being said, it may not be necessary to preserve a complete history of versions. Readers may be interested to know that we investigated Git for transfer and version control, but discovered that it’s not recommended for large binary files.

Trevor: How has your idea of database preservation changed and evolved by working through this project? Are there any assumptions you had upfront that have been challenged?

Karl and Robin: Working with the EDD has forced us to think more about the relationship between preservation and use. The intellectual value of a data collection such as the EDD is as much in the application–joins, conditions, grouping–as in the discrete tables. Our curation and preservation strategy will have to take this fact into account. We expect that data curators, librarians and archivists will increasingly face the difficult task of preservation planning, policy development and workflow design in cases where sustaining the value of data and the viability of knowledge production depends on sustaining access to data, code and other materials as a system. We’re interested to hear from other librarians, archivists and information scientists who are thinking about this problem.

Trevor: Based on this experience, is there a checklist or key questions for librarians or archivists to think through in devising approaches to ensuring long term access to databases?

Karl and Robin: At the outset, the questions that have to be addressed in database preservation are identical to the questions that have to be addressed in any digital preservation project. These have to do with data value, future uses, project goals, sustainability, ownership and intellectual property, ethical issues, documentation and metadata, data quality, technology issues and so on. A couple of helpful resources to consult are:

Databases may complicate these questions or introduce unexpected issues. For example, if the database was constructed from multiple data sources by multiple researchers, which is not unusual, the relevant documentation and metadata may be difficult to compile and the intellectual property issues may be somewhat complicated.

Trevor: Why are the libraries at UMD the place to do this kind of curation and preservation? In many cases scientists have their own data managers, and I imagine there are contributions to this project from researchers at other universities. So what is it that makes UMD the place to do it and how does doing this kind of activity fit into the mission of the university and the libraries in particular?

Karl and Robin: While there are well-funded research projects that employ data managers or dedicated IT specialists, there are far more scientists and scholars who have little or no data management support. The cost of employing a data manager, even part-time, is too great for most researchers and often too great for most collaborations. In addition, while the IT departments at universities provide data storage services and web servers, they are not usually in the business of providing curatorial expertise, publishing infrastructure and long-term preservation and access. Further, while individual researchers recognize the importance of data management to their productivity and impact, surveys show that they have relatively little time available for data curation and preservation. There is also a deficit of expertise in general, though some researchers possess sophisticated data management skills.

Like many academic libraries, the UMD Libraries recognize the importance of data management and curation to the progress of knowledge production, the growth of open science and the success of our faculty and students. We also believe that library and archival science provide foundational principles and sets of practices that can be applied to support these activities. The Research Data Services program is a strategic priority for the University of Maryland Libraries and is highly aligned with the Libraries’ mission to accelerate and support research, scholarship and creativity. We have a cross-functional, interdisciplinary team in the Libraries–made up of subject specialists and digital curation specialists as needed–and partners across the campus, so we can bring a range of perspectives and skills to bear on a particular data curation project. This diversity is, in our view, essential to solving complex data curation and preservation problems.

We have to acknowledge that our work on the EDD involves a number of people in the Libraries. In particular, Jennie Levine Knies, Trevor Muñoz and Ben Wallberg, as well as University of Maryland iSchool students Marlin Olivier and, formerly, Sarah Hovde, have made important contributions to this project.

NEH Office of Digital Humanities Update

Berlin 9 Conference on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences & Humanities

By NEH Staff

Berlin 9 Conference logo

Berlin 9 Conference on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences & Humanities

The Berlin 9 Conference on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, held November 2011 in Washington, D.C., examined the impact that Open Access can have in advancing the conduct and communication of research and scholarship, with a particular focus on the impact this can have on the public. The conference brought together key stakeholders from the library, academic, and museum communities to explore the opportunity the digital environment presents to ensure permanent, sustainable, and equitable access to our nation’s educational and cultural resources. The conference was funded by a Digital Humanities Cooperative Agreement with the Association of Research Libraries (HC-50009-11).

Case Studies on Sustainability for Digital Resources in the Humanities

By NEH Staff

 Host Institution Support Beyond the Start Up Phase cover

Case Studies on Sustainability for Digital Resources in the Humanities

A cooperative agreement between NEH and Ithaka to perform case studies on the topic of long-term sustainability for digital scholarly projects to analyze the successes and challenges of different sustainability strategies and revenue models, and point the way toward best practices for supporting online resources. This study was funded by a Digital Humanities Cooperative Agreement (HC-50005-09) and provided the foundation for the final report, “Sustaining the Digital Humanities: Host Institution Support Beyond the Start Up Phase.”  This report examines institutional support frameworks and administrative attitudes toward sustaining digital humanities projects in higher education, as well as provides guidance for on-campus sustainability workshops and a research toolkit to facilitate the continuation of this research.  The final report was funded by a Digital Humanities Implementation Grant (HK-50022-12).

Encouraging Digital Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities

By NEH Staff

University Press of North Georgia logo

Encouraging Digital Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities

This project, led by University Press of North Georgia, brought together directors of university presses and experts in publishing and peer review to explore the process for publishing born-digital book length scholarly monographs in the humanities in order to encourage their support, acceptance, and use in academia and work toward developing a sustainable model to increase both institutional and technical support for digital monographs. The project was supported by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (HD-51539-12).

Read the project’s white paper.

Building an Open-Source Archive for Born-Digital Dissertations

By NEH Staff

Digital Dissertation Depository (D3) logo

Building an Open-Source Archive for Born-Digital Dissertations

This workshop, hosted by Michigan State University in the summer of 2012, explored relevant issues and identified requirements for the development of an open-source archive, Digital Dissertation Depository (D3), for the preservation of dissertations that incorporate interactive or dynamic digital media. The workshop was funded by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (HD-51561-12).

Media Systems: Envisioning the Future of Computational Media

By NEH Staff

Media Systems logo

Media Systems: Envisioning the Future of Computational Media

The Media Systems project identifies key opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for the future of creating and understanding media — a future in which computation will play an increasingly important role. The project began with the Media Systems convening (held at UC Santa Cruz in 2012), which brought together field-leading participants from media-focused computer science, digital art, and the digital humanities — located in and across universities, industry, federal agencies, publishers, and other stakeholders in the future of media. Different participants focused on diverse aspects of how new media forms are impacting culture, education, the economy, and other areas of national importance, using examples ranging from the World Wide Web to computer animation, and from video games to social media. Participants engaged in deep conversation focused on a coherent set of shared activities, which comprise computational media.  A Digital Humanities Cooperative Agreement (HC-50011-12) provided funds to support the travel and participation in the convening of eight humanities and humanities-related interdisciplinary scholars. The workshop was co-funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Microsoft Research.

Watch videos from the 2012 Media Systems convening and read the Media Systems project Final Report.

Shared Horizons: Data, Biomedicine, and the Digital Humanities

By NEH Staff

Shared Horizons logo

Shared Horizons: Data, Biomedicine, and the Digital Humanities

The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), working in cooperation with the Office of Digital Humanities at the NEH and the National Library of Medicine at the NIH, hosted the Shared Horizons symposium in April 2013.  The symposium explored collaboration, research methodologies, and the interpretation of evidence arising from the interdisciplinary opportunities in this burgeoning area of biomedical-driven humanities scholarship.  There were opportunities for disciplinary cross-fertilization through a mix of formal and informal presentations, which promoted a rich exchange of ideas about how large-scale quantitative methods can lead to new understandings of human culture. Bringing together researchers from the digital humanities and bioinformatics communities, the symposium explored ways in which these two communities might fruitfully collaborate on projects that bridge the humanities and medicine.  The symposium was supported by a Digital Humanities Cooperative Agreement with additional support from Research Councils UK (HC-50015-12).

Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film

By NEH Staff

 Early Black Film logo

Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film

Organized by the Black Film Center/Archive, this conference and workshop in November 2013 brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, moving image archivists, and technology specialists in digital humanities to consider how digitization of early motion picture film might be improved to better capture the physical attributes of the film print.  The conference and workshop were funded by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (HD-51642-13).

Watch videos from the conference and the workshop

Bringing Digital Humanities to the Community College and Vice Versa

By NEH Staff

Digital Humanities at the Community College logo

Bringing Digital Humanities to the Community College and Vice Versa

This project, funded by a Digital Humanities Start-Up grant (HD-51671-13), conducted a survey of community college faculty and administrations and hosted a series of workshops at the Community College Humanities Association annual meeting to consider how community colleges can better participate in and contribute to the multiple ongoing conversations about digital humanities teaching and research.  

"Are We Speaking in Code?" (Voicing the Craft & Tacit Understandings of Digital Humanities Software)

By NEH Staff

speaking in code workshop logo

"Are We Speaking in Code?" (Voicing the Craft & Tacit Understandings of Digital Humanities Software)

In November 2013, The Scholars’ Lab at UVa Library convened a summit and planning meeting for intermediate-to-experienced digital humanities software developers for critical discussion and hands-on activities to further articulate and theorize the intellectual work behind the technical development of digital projects. The workshop was supported by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant (HD-51674-13).

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Book Scanning News from Open Greek and Latin Project

Book Scanning Contract
The Open Greek and Latin Project has recently signed a contract with the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) to scan books dating between 1922-1984*. In particular, we are digitising editions that are in the public domain under European law. The EU allows its state members to assert copyright protection over scholarly editions for up to 30 years after publication. The argument has been made that an edition’s critical apparatus constitutes a separate work. In light of this debate and of all applicable copyright regulations, we have adopted the following strategy:
  • Editions published after 1922 whose editor(s) died before or during 1943 are being digitised in full (reconstructed text and critical apparatus).
  • Editions published after 1922 whose editor(s) died after 1943 are only partially digitised (reconstructed text only).
The contract runs until the end of 2014 so we need to be selective. While starting, of course, with Lipsiae: Teubner editions, our list will extend to other series.
SLUB scans will be added to SLUB’s digital collection and will ultimately be ingested in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek.
Please address any comments, suggestions or questions to Greta Franzini at franzini(at)informatik(dot)uni-leipzig(dot)de

dh+lib: where the digital humanities and librarianship meet

We’re Looking for dh+lib Review Editors-at-Large for Fall 2014

The dh+lib Review, a volunteer-driven service for highlighting and sharing the best of digital humanities and libraries, is looking for editors-at-large for the Fall 2014 semester. We’ve had a steadily increasing number of editors-at-large for each of the five semesters the Review has been in operation, and we’re hoping to continue the trend. Sign up for a shift today!

The snippets, which appear on the dh+lib homepage, in a weekly newsletter sent to the ACRL Digital Humanities Interest Group listserv, and in our Twitter stream, are selected from an aggregated stream of content that is produced and shared by the dh+lib community. This stream – in the form of RSS feeds – casts a wide net and includes content produced by librarians, archivists, museum workers, faculty, information professionals, and technologists, just to name a few.

The post-publication filtering process relies heavily on the work of our editors-at-large, who volunteer for one-week shifts to survey the stream of content and select what should be highlighted on the dh+lib homepage. Once the editors-at-large have made their nominations, the editors (currently, Zach Coble, Caro Pinto, and Roxanne Shirazi), make a final selection decision, write a brief snippet providing context for each resource, and then publish the week’s batch each Tuesday.

Are you interested in volunteering for the dh+lib Review? It’s an easy way to get involved in the dh+lib community and great for staying current with conversations in DH. Editors-at-large commit to a one-week shift that involves approximately 20 minutes a day. We currently need editors-at-large for the Fall 2014 semester – sign up today!

The post We’re Looking for dh+lib Review Editors-at-Large for Fall 2014 appeared first on dh+lib.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Latest 20 Additions to PropylaeumDok

Latest 20 Additions to PropylaeumDok
1. Assmann, Jan (1994) Vertikaler Sozialismus. Solidarität und Gerechtigkeit im altägyptischen Staat. In: Faber, Richard (Hrsg.): Sozialismus in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Würzburg 1994, pp. 45-60
2. Hoff, Ralf von den (2001) Die Posen des Siegers. Die Konstruktion von Überlegenheit in attischen Theseusbildern des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. In: Hoff, Ralf von den and Schmidt, Stefan (Hrsgg.): Konstruktionen von Wirklichkeit: Bilder im Griechenland des 5. und 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.,. Stuttgart 2001, pp. 73-88
3. Yule, Paul (1993) Excavations at Samad Al Shan 1987 - 1991, summary. In: Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabien Studies, 23 (1993), pp. 141-153
4. Kahl, Jochem (1995) Der Gebrauch morphologischer und phonologischer Stilmittel im Großen Aton-Hymnus. In: Gestermann, Louise (Hrsg.): Per aspera ad astra. Wolfgang Schenkel zum neunundfünfzigsten Geburtstag. Kassel 1995, pp. 51-89
5. Lohwasser, Angelika (1995) Die Darstellung der kuschitischen Krönung. In: 3. Ägyptologische Tempeltagung Hamburg, 1. – 5. Juni 1994. Systeme und Programme der ägyptischen Tempeldekoration. Wiesbaden 1995, pp. 163-185 (Ägypten und Altes Testament ; 33,1)
6. Stadler, Martin (2005) Irmtraut Munro, Ein Ritualbuch für Goldamulette und Totenbuch des Month-em-hat, mit Beiträgen von Robert Fuchs und Katrin Janis, Studien zum Altägyptischen Totenbuch 7, Harrassowitz Wiesbaden 2003. ISBN 14309726. In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, 5 (2005), pp. 245-250
7. Assmann, Jan (1993) Literatur und Karneval im Alten Ägypten. In: Döpp, Siegmar (Hrsg.): Karnevaleske Phöänomene in antiken und nachantiken Kulturen und Literaturen, Bochumer Altertumswissenschaftliches Colloquium Bd.13. Trier 1993, pp. 31-57 (Stätten und Formen der Kommunikation im Altertum ; I)
8. Assmann, Jan (1993) Politisierung durch Polarisierung. Zur impliziten Axiomatik altägyptischer Politik. In: Raaflaub, Kurt; and Müller-Luckner, Elisabeth (Hrsgg.): Anfänge politischen Denkens in der Antike. Die nahöstlichen Kulturen und die Griechen. München 1993, pp. 13-28
9. Feucht, Erika (1997) Der Weg des Hori (TT 259) ins Jenseits. In: Warsaw Egyptological Studies I, Essays in honour of Prof. Dr. Jadwiga. Lipinska. Warschau 1997, pp. 85-91
10. Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (1990) Vermerke. Zum Verständnis kurzer und formelhafter Inschriften auf ägyptischen Denkmälern. In: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, 46 (1990), pp. 127-156
11. Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (1992) Ein Würfelhocker des Amunpropheten Djedbastetiufanch (Kairo JE 37597). In: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, 48 (1992), pp. 57-64
12. Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (1989) Die Inschriften der Schreiberstatue des Nespaqaschuti. In: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, 45 (1989), pp. 203-205
13. Polz, Daniel (1995) Excavations in Dra Abu el-Nasa. In: Egyptian Archaeology, 7 (1995), pp. 6-8
14. Polz, Daniel (1993) Bericht über die 2. und 3. Grabungskampagne in der Nekropole von Dra' Abu el-Naga/Theben-West. In: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, 49 (1993), pp. 227-238
15. Polz, Daniel (1997) An architect's sketch from the Theban necropolis. In: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, 53 (1997), pp. 233-240
16. Burkard, Günter (1988) Ptahhotep und das Alter. In: Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 115 (1988), pp. 19-30
17. Burkard, Günter (1980) Bibliotheken im alten Ägypten. In: Bibliothek, Forschung und Praxis, 4 (1980), pp. 79-115
18. Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (1996) "Horizont" und "Verklärtheit": Zur Bedeutung der Wurzel Ax. In: Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, 23 (1996), pp. 201-215
19. Hoff, Ralf von den (2011) New research in Aizanoi 2007 - 2009. In: Bilgen, N. (Hrsg.): Archaeological Research in Western Central Anatolia. Kütahya 2011, pp. 122-139
20. Hoffmann, Friedhelm (1994) Frandsen, Paul John (ed.), The Carlsberg Papyri 1: Demotic Texts front the Collection. With Contributions by K.-Th. Zauzich, W.J. Tait and Michel Chauveau. Copenhagen, Museum Tusculanum Press, 1991 (30 cm, vm + 142 pp., 10 pls.) = Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, CNI Publications, 15. ISSN 0902-5499, ISBN 87 7289 1. In: Bibliotheca Orientalis , 51 (1994), pp. 282-289

ASOR Blog (American Schools of Oriental Research)

“Gilgamesh: Civilization vs. Natural World,” Featuring J.J.M. Roberts

In this episode, ASOR’s own Ancient Near East Today editor, Alex Joffe spoke with Jimmy Jack McBee Roberts (J. J. M. Roberts) the William Henry Green Professor of Old Testament Literature (Emeritus) at Princeton Theological Seminary. The podcast focuses on a newly published tablet that is shedding new light on the Epic of Gilgamesh. The epic follows the perilous journeys of […]

Bill Caraher (The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

Three Calls for Papers: Slow, Public, and Craft

If you just managed to submit your abstract for the Archaeological Institute of America’s Annual Meeting and still have some energy before classes start in earnest, then I have a few possible, last minute calls for papers to fill up the idle hours.

The great thing about these opportunities is that they all look to a shorter form of writing (6000 words or less!) and position themselves in the relatively uncharted (academic) territory of creative non-fiction and less formal, professional writing. 

Slow. Feel free to circulate this to your creative non-fiction types who are not archaeologists. The call is for a special edition of North Dakota Quarterly that I’m editing with Rebecca Rozelle-Stone of our department of philosophy and religion. We’re looking for thoughtful, interesting, and critical perspectives on the “slow movement” as well as fiction. I’m working on a more systematic and cohesive version of my slow archaeology screed. The contributions should be no longer than 6,000 words and will be peer-reviewed. This is due October 1!

Public. The Joukowsky Institute at Brown is hosting a competition for accessible archaeological writing and inviting everyone in the world to contribute an entry. The goal of the contest is to highlight high quality archaeological writing that nevertheless preserves the complexity and excitement associated with the archaeological process. The papers should be between 5000 and 6000 words and are due September 1. There is also a prize of $5000 for the best paper and that paper and the eight runners-up will be published. I can’t help but thinking that this is the kind of competition that should be crowd sourced. All the contributions should be made public and some kind of voting system should be put in place (perhaps like the system put in place for SXSW panels). After all, it seems like this kind of competition should be judged by someone other than the faculty and students from the Joukowsky who have generally focused on academic writing! 

Craft. Like last fall, I’m hosting a series of blog posts (short(ish) articles  on “Archaeology and Craft” here on my blog. With some luck and coordination, I hope to crosspost them over at Then Dig. The plan is to get them out as a short volume within a year via the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. The contributions can be any length, but since they start on a blog, I generally nudge folks to keep them under 5000 words. Of course, we can always split longer posts into two or more parts. Drop me an email if you want to contribute. I have a few contributions already, but I like to have five or six before I start to post them regularly. 

I just realized this weekend that I’m officially under contract as of August 15, so I need to start to get focused on my official sabbatical “to do” list (and a post on that will be forthcoming). Hopefully these opportunities will give you productive distractions as the grind of semester looms!

Digital Humanities Universität Leipzig

Book Scanning Contract

SLUB logoThe Open Greek and Latin Project has recently signed a contract with the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) to scan books dating between 1922-1984*. In particular, we are digitising editions that are in the public domain under European law. The EU allows its state members to assert copyright protection over scholarly editions for up to 30 years after publication. The argument has been made that an edition’s critical apparatus constitutes a separate work. In light of this debate and of all applicable copyright regulations, we have adopted the following strategy:

  • Editions published after 1922 whose editor(s) died before or during 1943 are being digitised in full (reconstructed text and critical apparatus).
  • Editions published after 1922 whose editor(s) died after 1943 are only partially digitised (reconstructed text only).

The contract runs until the end of 2014 so we need to be selective. While starting, of course, with Lipsiae: Teubner editions, our list will extend to other series.

SLUB scans will be added to SLUB’s digital collection and will ultimately be ingested in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek.

Please address any comments, suggestions or questions to Greta Franzini at franzini(at)informatik(dot)uni-leipzig(dot)de


*Most editions predating 1922 have already been digitised and are available online via the HathiTrust Digital Library and Archive.org.

NEH Office of Digital Humanities Update

NEH Workshop on Military History: Doing the History of the Military & Foreign Policy in the Digital Age

By NEH Staff

NEH Workshop on Military History logo

NEH Workshop on Military History: Doing the History of the Military & Foreign Policy in the Digital Age

A Cooperative Agreement between the NEH and the NuLab at Northeastern University (HC-50021-14), with further participation from the Society for Military History, to host a two-day professional development workshop, to be held October 10-11, 2014 in Boston, on the application of digital humanities methodologies to military history.  Workshop lecturers will be leading scholars from the digital humanities community, providing hands-on instruction in topics like GIS, deep mapping, and network analysis. Participants, drawn from the military history community, will learn new ways to conduct their research using the latest in digital tools and techniques.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Roma illustrata

Roma illustrata. Représentations de la ville
Responsables : Philippe Fleury et Olivier Desbordes
2008, 16 x 24, br., 458 p., ill.
ISBN : 978-2-84133-310-3
Cet ouvrage rassemble les vingt-quatre communications prononcées lors du colloque Roma illustrata organisé à l’université de Caen Basse-Normandie en 2005 autour du Plan de Rome de Paul Bigot et de son double virtuel. Cette rencontre s’est ouverte de façon très large à la question de la représentation de la ville et de ses symboles. Il s’agissait de mettre à contribution, dans une confrontation sans a priori disciplinaire ou méthodologique, différentes approches possibles : littéraires, iconographiques et archéologiques.
Philippe Fleury : Avant-propos
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Jean-Pierre Adam : La première ville nouvelle de l’Histoire : une capitale pour l’Éternité
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Vers 2700 avant J.-C., le roi Djeser, souverain d’une Égypte unifiée, fait élever sur le plateau désertique dominant à l’ouest sa capitale Memphis, un simulacre de cette ville, sur lequel il va régner pour l’Éternité. Imhotep, architecte du roi, imagine, pour la première fois de l’Histoire, de bâtir cette cité éternelle, non plus en briques crues, matériau humble et périssable, mais en pierres finement taillées et assemblées, et au centre de laquelle va se dresser le tombeau royal, qu’il voudra signal perceptible sur l’horizon par toutes les générations. Le défi étonnant lancé par Djeser fut un aboutissement et un triomphe sur le temps, puisque aujourd’hui, après 4700 ans, la Memphis d’Éternité demeure le complexe funéraire le plus vaste et le plus monumental, au sens étymologique du terme, qu’un roi ait jamais élevé. Or, cette réalisation hors du commun constitue à la fois le premier ensemble architectural de pierre, géométriquement conçu et discipliné de l’humanité, mais aussi la première « ville nouvelle » qui fut jamais imaginée. Une ville dont le paradoxe inouï est qu’elle ne fut conçue que pour des morts.
The first new town in History : a capital for Eternity
Around 2700 BC, King Zoser, ruler of a Unified Egypt, laid out in the desert plateau to the west of his capital Memphis, a dummy copy of his city, where he would reign for Eternity. The King’s architect, Imphotep, conceived for the first time in history a city built not in the traditional, humble, crumbly baked brick, but in exquisitely dressed and fitted stone. At its heart a great royal tomb was going to be built, an unmistakeable feature on the horizon, bearing witness for all generations to come. The striking challenge thrown down by Zoser was to claim a victory that overcame time itself, so that now, some 4700 years later, the Eternal City of Memphis remains the most monumental and most extensive funeral complex ever achieved by any monarch. Yet this extraordinary achievement would constitute both Man’s first architectural complex built in stone and laid out along strict geometric lines and the first “new town” ever conceived : an incredible paradox, given that it was designed for the exclusive use of the dead.

Jean-Luc Bastien : Les temples votifs de la Rome républicaine : monumentalisation et célébration des cérémonies du triomphe
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Pendant les trois derniers siècles de la République, la construction de temples votifs a été un des modes privilégiés de commémoration des triomphateurs. Il semble d’ailleurs exister un lien entre l’aptitude à triompher et celle à assurer le processus de construction d’un temple votif. Un général n’ayant pu accéder au triomphe se voit pratiquement privé de la possibilité d’assurer son processus votif. La construction d’un temple constitue un des principaux supports de mémoire pour les triomphateurs. Cette problématique est abordée ici à partir de l’étude du calendrier et notamment des corrélations existantes entre les dies natalis des temples et les dates des cérémonies triomphales.
The votive temples of republican Rome : the monumental character and celebration of the triumph
During the three centuries of the Republic, the construction of votive temples had been one of the favoured ways of commemorating the achievements of victorious generals. There seems indeed to be a link between the ability to triumph over enemies and the ability to ensure that a votive temple would be built. If a general were to prove unable to attain a triumph, he would find himself virtually deprived of any possibility of instigating the votive process. For those generals granted a triumph, known as Triumphators, the building of a temple constituted one of the main means of underpinning the memory of their victories. This problematic is examined here through a study of the calendar and in particular the existing correlations between the dies natalis of temples, and the dates of triumphal ceremonies.

Stéphane Benoist : Les processions dans la cité : de la mise en scène de l’espace urbain
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L’identité politique et religieuse de Rome s’affirme par l’expression ordonnée et en mouvement d’une société parcourant un espace défini partagé entre hommes et dieux. Témoignages littéraires, épigraphiques, numismatiques et iconographiques illustrent cette représentation consciente d’une ciuitas, en tant qu’espace et communauté.
Processions within the city : from staging to the urban space
The political and religious identity of Rome asserted itself through the ordered expression of a society moving across a defined space shared between men and gods. Letters, literature, coins and iconography testify to this conscious representation of a ciuitas, as urban space and as community.

Dominique Briquel : Rome comme ville étrusque
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Même si les récentes découvertes d’A. Carandini sur le Palatin montrent que la Rome du VIIIe siècle apparaissait déjà comme une véritable ville, beaucoup d’historiens soutiennent toujours l’idée que Rome est, en tant que ville, une création de l’époque des rois étrusques, et que cette influence étrusque a fait passer l’Vrbs du stade d’un conglomérat de villages à celui d’une cité. Cette conception de Rome trouverait un appui dans la littérature antique, puisque Denys d’Halicarnasse se réfère à des historiens grecs pour lesquels Rome était une polis Tyrrhènis. Mais un examen de la tradition littéraire conduit à relativiser cette perception. Chez Denys, cette définition de l’Vrbs est tributaire d’une représentation archaïque de l’Italie en deux parties : au sud, la partie touchée par la colonisation grecque ; au nord, celle restée indépendante, qui avait reçu la dénomination de « Tyrrhénie » d’après le nom du peuple indigène le plus important. Les auteurs latins n’ont pas davantage mis en relief le caractère étrusque de Rome. Certes la tradition souligne à l’envi certains apports étrusques ; mais il s’agit de points particuliers, qui n’impliquent pas la présence d’éléments de population toscans dans l’Vrbs. Ils ont parfois donné lieu à une entreprise de « désétrusquisation », visant à minimiser la dette des Romains envers leurs voisins du nord ; ils sont à ce titre un des points du débat important qui s’est fait jour sur ce thème à la fin de la République et à la période augustéenne. Mais si l’apport des Étrusques est admis sur certains points, le Romain ne reconnaît guère sa dette envers le monde étrusque : la tradition ne fait état que d’apports humains réduits, liés à certains groupes socioprofessionnels. Les influences artistiques ou linguistiques sont très peu soulignées ; l’idée d’une introduction de l’écriture par les Étrusques est occultée. Ce qui transparaît dans les textes, c’est principalement l’idée d’apports humains, linguistiques, culturels à partir du monde grec – au point que certains apports étrusques sont rapportés à la Grèce. La tradition littéraire latine est tributaire d’une vision qui ne pose le monde romain que par rapport au modèle grec : elle se ressent d’une situation où l’importance ancienne de l’Étrurie ne venait plus à la conscience des Romains.
Rome as an Etruscan city
Even if the recent discoveries of A. Carandini on the Palatine show that VIIIth century Rome was already looking like a true city, many historians cling to the idea that Rome, as a city, is a creation of the period of the Etruscan kings, and that this Etruscan influence carried the Vrbs from a collection of villages to that of a true city. This idea of Rome is backed by Classical literature, since Denys of Halicarnassus refers to Greek historians for whom Rome was a Tyrrhenian polis. But closer examination of this literary tradition leads us to set this perception in context. For Denys, this definition of the Vrbs follows on from the archaic representation of Italy divided into two parts : in the south the area colonised by the Greeks, in the north, the area remaining independent, assuming the name “Tyrrhenia” after the name of the dominant native people. Latin authors did nothing more to highlight the Etruscan character of Rome. It is true that this tradition falls over itself to underline certain Etruscan characteristics ; but it is always limited to certain particular points which taken together do not add up to the presence of a Tuscan population as such within the Vrbs. It has even given rise on occasion to a campaign of “De-Etruscanisation” whereby the debt of the Romans towards their northern neighbours is played down. They are for this reason one of the major points of issue which surfaced at the end of the Republic and the Augustan period. But if the influence of the Etruscans is admitted in certain areas, the Roman himself would hardly ever acknowledge his debt towards the Etruscan world : literary sources only mention a trickle of human contact limited to certain socio-professional groups. Artistic and linguistic influences are barely mentioned ; the idea of the Etruscans introducing writing is set aside. The main thing to emerge in the texts is contact with the Greek world through linguistic, cultural and human congress. The Latin literary tradition is an offshoot of a vision which only sets the Roman world in relation to the Greek model : it arises from a situation whereby the ancient importance of Etruria no longer registered with the Roman mind.

Jacqueline Champeaux : Images célestes de Rome : la Ville et ses incarnations divines
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La puissance temporelle de Rome s’est incarnée successivement en plusieurs figures divines qui, plus que les protectrices célestes de la Ville, sont ses incarnations surnaturelles. Celle que nous appelons la Dea Roma est en fait d’origine grecque (apparue au IIIe siècle), et sa figure symbolique ne s’est imposée que lentement dans le monnayage et l’idéologie de la République. Au temps d’Auguste, une nouvelle entité, une Fortuna Vrbis, qu’il conviendra de définir plus précisément, n’est pas parvenue à s’imposer de façon durable. C’est dans ses associations impériales, d’abord, sous Auguste, à la divinité du Prince, puis, sous Hadrien, à Vénus, mère de la nation romaine, que Roma, désormais titulaire d’un temple, accédera pleinement au statut divin. À travers ces alliances successives s’affirme l’image idéale que Rome Éternelle entend donner d’elle-même à ses citoyens et au monde.
The staging of the Augustinian re-foundation of Rome in the “Room of the Masks” in the house of Augustus in the Palatine
The “Room of the Masks” is part of the private quarters of the Palatine residence of Augustus. Its decoration, which dates from between 36 and 28 BC, is centred on the landscape of the betyle or elevated stone altarpiece. In this landscape the association of the Apollonian “betyle” with the Romulean javelin and the Augustinian Roma quadrata, as identified by A. Carandini, symbolises the re-foundation of Rome by Augustus under the auspices of Apollo. Through its allusion to the foundation of Rome by Romulus, this new foundation of Rome is presented as a return to the tradition, highlighted by the dialogue brought into play between the landscape of the betyle and the other landscapes in the room, evocating rustic sanctuaries. However if the decoration makes a new Romulus of Octavius Augustus, the relations one can make out between all the different parts of the fresco, the pinakes, down to the smallest detail, present Augustus as the political legatee of Caesar, through the coming of this new Alexander. The inscription of “betyle” landscape in the transposition painted on the frons scaenae reveals the stage setting, in the true sense of the term, of the assumption of power by Augustus and the construction of a new Rome.

Laurence Chevillat : La mise en scène de la refondation augustéenne de Rome dans la « Salle des Masques » de la maison d’Auguste au Palatin
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La « Salle des Masques » fait partie des quartiers privés de la demeure palatine d’Auguste. Son décor, qui date des années 36-28 avant J.-C., est centré sur le « paysage au bétyle ». Sur ce paysage, l’association du bétyle apollinien avec le javelot romuléen et la Roma quadrata augustéenne, identifiée par A. Carandini, symbolise la refondation augustéenne de Rome sous les auspices d’Apollon. Par son allusion à la fondation de Rome par Romulus, cette nouvelle fondation de Rome est présentée comme un retour à la tradition, souligné par le dialogue instauré entre le paysage au bétyle et les autres paysages de la pièce, évocation de sanctuaires rustiques. Cependant, si ce décor fait d’Octave-Auguste un nouveau Romulus, les relations qu’il est possible de déceler entre toutes les parties de la fresque, des pinakes jusqu’au moindre détail, présentent Auguste comme l’héritier politique de César, à travers l’avènement d’un nouvel Alexandre. L’inscription du « paysage au bétyle » dans la transposition peinte d’une frons scaenae dévoilerait la mise en scène, au sens propre, de la prise du pouvoir par Auguste et la construction d’une nouvelle Rome.
The staging of the Augustinian re-foundation of Rome in the “Room of the Masks” in the house of Augustus in the Palatine
The “Room of the Masks” is part of the private quarters of the Palatine residence of Augustus. Its decoration, which dates from between 36 and 28 BC, is centred on the landscape of the betyle or elevated stone altarpiece. In this landscape the association of the Apollonian “betyle” with the Romulean javelin and the Augustinian Roma quadrata, as identified by A. Carandini, symbolises the re-foundation of Rome by Augustus under the auspices of Apollo. Through its allusion to the foundation of Rome by Romulus, this new foundation of Rome is presented as a return to the tradition, highlighted by the dialogue brought into play between the landscape of the betyle and the other landscapes in the room, evocating rustic sanctuaries. However if the decoration makes a new Romulus of Octavius Augustus, the relations one can make out between all the different parts of the fresco, the pinakes, down to the smallest detail, present Augustus as the political legatee of Caesar, through the coming of this new Alexander. The inscription of “betyle” landscape in the transposition painted on the frons scaenae reveals the stage setting, in the true sense of the term, of the assumption of power by Augustus and the construction of a new Rome.

Élizabeth Deniaux : Les tempêtes et la vie politique : recherches sur l’imaginaire des Romains de la fin de la République
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La mer a toujours suscité chez les Romains des sentiments de crainte, transmis par les textes littéraires qui utilisent de multiples comparaisons maritimes. Les métaphores qui assimilent les troubles de la vie politique aux tempêtes permettent de cerner les contours de cette peur à la fin de la République. L’homme politique doit apprendre à les subir et à les affronter. À l’époque des guerres civiles, nos sources mettent l’accent sur la Fortune des grands hommes qui savent affronter aussi bien les dangers de la mer que ceux de la politique. L’histoire de César et de sa Fortuna en est l’exemple le plus extraordinaire.
Storms and politics : research on the imagination of the Romans at the end of the Republic
Through literary sources the sea always evoked fear among the Romans, and maritime comparisons were very common. Metaphors which likened life’s vicissitudes to a storm at sea help us to mark out the nature of that fear towards the end of the Republic. The politician had to learn to quell and confront them. At the time of the civil wars, our sources highlight the role of the Fortune of great men who knew just as well how to confront the terror of the high seas and those of politics. The history of Caesar and his Fortuna is the most extraordinary example of this.

Christine Dumas-Reungoat : La dimension symbolique de Babylone et du lien qui unit le roi à sa ville d’après l’Enuma eliš, Marduk, Créateur du monde et le Poème d’Erra
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Dans les mythes cosmogoniques de Mésopotamie, les villes occupent une place de tout premier ordre, faisant partie des toutes premières choses créées. C’est le cas, entre autres, de Babylone. Les dieux y élisent domicile, et ainsi s’élabore dans les textes mythologiques l’image d’une « ville sainte », que les auteurs grecs, admiratifs de la ville historique, n’ont pas vraiment saisie. Babylone, dans ces textes, est le centre de l’univers parce que Marduk, son roi, est également le roi des dieux et de l’univers. Or, comme le raconte le Poème d’Erra, quand le dieu de la guerre, Erra, dans sa folie belliqueuse, cherche à détruire l’univers, il lui faut chasser Marduk de Babylone, car c’est la présence du dieu dans sa statue, abritée dans son temple, qui préserve la bonne marche du monde. L’auteur du texte, en transposant fort probablement plusieurs données historiques au plan mythique pour montrer comment Erra – se substituant au roi – parvient à détruire, en particulier, les habitants de Babylone et la ville elle-même, met en évidence les deux dimensions de la ville, « ville sainte » et ville historique, ainsi que le lien consubstantiel qui unit le roi à sa ville – et symboliquement – le dieu à l’univers.
The symbolic dimension of the link that connected the king to his city,according to the Enuma elis, Marduk, Creator of the World ant the Poem of Erra
In the cosmogonic myths of Mesopotamia the town was of key importance, being among he very first created things. This was the case, among others, of Babylon. The gods took up residence and thus the mythological texts elaborate the image of a “Holy City” that Greek authors, admirers of the historic town, did not fully grasp. Babylon, according to these texts, was the centre of the universe because Marduk, its king, was also king of the gods and of the universe. However, as the Poem of Erra relates, when the god of war, Erra, in his warmongering folly, sought to destroy the universe, he had to drive Marduk of Babylon out, for it was the presence of the god in his statue, housed in its temple, which maintained order in the world. The author of the text, in transposing what were probably several historical elements into the realm of myth, shows how Erra, setting himself up in the king’s place, managed in particular to destroy the inhabitants of Babylon and the city itself. The author highlights the two dimensions of the town, the “Holy City” and the historic city, as well as the co-substantial link that united the king to his city and, symbolically, the god to the universe.

Caroline Février : Ponere lectos, deos exponere. Le lectisterne, une image du panthéon romain ?
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La cérémonie du lectisterne, qui consistait à convier les dieux à un banquet solennel dans le but de les apaiser, est sans doute l’un des rites expiatoires les plus spectaculaires de la religion romaine. Apparu au début du IVe siècle, à l’instigation des décemvirs sacris faciundis, responsables à Rome des cultes étrangers, le lectisterne s’impose comme une pratique rituelle innovante, dont le caractère grec ne semble guère contestable : inspiré des rites de convivialité de la Grèce, le festin sacré réunit, au centre de l’Vrbs, des divinités anthropomorphes qui, exceptionnellement, se « donnent à voir » aux hommes. Image ou mise en scène d’un sacrifice grandiose, le lectisterne évoluera néanmoins au cours de sa brève existence pour devenir un rite d’expiation global et, de ce fait, presque infaillible. En conviant les douze grands dieux d’une religion hellénisée, Rome se conciliait, à travers eux, le panthéon tout entier.
Ponere lectos, deos exponere. The lectistern, an image of the Roman pantheon ?
The ceremony of the lectistern, which consisted of gathering the gods to a solemn banquet in order to appease them, was undoubtedly one of the most spectacular of the expiatory rites of the Roman religion. The lectistern imposed itself as an innovatory ritual practice around the beginning of the IVth century, on the instigation of the decemvirs’ sacris faciundis, the priests responsible in Rome for foreign cults. The convivial and festive Greek characteristics of the rites seem unquestionable. In the centre of the Vrbs anthropomorphic versions of the divinities allowed themselves – unusually – to be seen by men. These images and the staging of grandiose sacrifices before them, the lectistern would nevertheless evolve over its brief existence to become a global rite of expiation, and, as thereby, practically infallible. By inviting the twelve great gods of the Hellenised religion, Rome was able to appease, through them, the whole pantheon of gods.

Jean-Claude Golvin : À propos de la restitution de l’image de Puteoli. Correspondances,ancrage, convergences
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Parmi les exemples susceptibles de permettre d’énoncer clairement de nouvelles règles d’exploitation des images anciennes, le cas de Pouzzoles était particulièrement intéressant. Il permettait l’exploitation d’une série de dessins sur verre très connus de façon beaucoup plus poussée que jusqu’à présent, de la célèbre peinture de Stabies représentant un port, de dessins anciens du port et de la grande jetée et de toutes les données archéologiques connues publiées par P. Sommella et par la suite. La synthèse de toutes ces données a permis d’aboutir à une image cohérente et évocatrice de ce grand port de l’Antiquité où figurent tous les édifices connus encore visibles (amphithéâtre, marché, thermes et ceux dont la position et l’image ont pu être restituées). Les notions de correspondance (occurrence du même élément dans deux images), de convergence (présence d’un élément dans des documents de nature très différente) et d’ancrage (présence dans une image d’un élément dont l’existence est connue par des indices matériels) ont été définies.
About the image of Puteoli : correspondences, roots, convergences
The example of the port of Pouzzoles is particularly illuminating in highlighting how how to make best use of ancient images – a use pushed well beyond what has been done hitherto in such cases. This example draws upon a series of well-known engravings on glass, on the famous painting of Stabies representing a port, of ancient drawings of the port and of the great pierhead or jetty, together with all the known and published archaeological data by P. Sommella and others. The synthesis of all this data has allowed us to arrive at a coherent and evocative image of this great port of Antiquity where all the great public buildings known and still visible (the amphitheatre, the market place, the public baths) and those whose position and likeness have been able to be reconstituted. The notions of correspondence, convergence and pinpointing are identified. Correspondence is taken to mean where the same element occurs in two images, convergence where the presence of an element is indicated in documents which, of its nature is very different, and fixing, the presence in an image of an element whose existence is known by material indicators.

Jean-Pierre Guilhembet et Angeline Fallou : Sedvm regionvm locorvm nomina (Cicéron). La Rome antique à travers ses toponymes : les vici
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L’analyse de la toponymie urbaine est bien souvent négligée par les toponymistes : elle ne manque pourtant pas d’intérêt pour l’histoire urbaine, est-il besoin de le rappeler. Dans le cas de la Rome antique, le corpus disponible n’a que rarement fait l’objet de remarques d’ensemble, alors que les études monographiques, souvent passionnantes, abondent. Les noms de uici constituant une part prépondérante (près du quart) des toponymes (au sens strict du terme) de l’Vrbs parvenus à notre connaissance, il est légitime de leur accorder une attention particulière, d’autant plus que ne peut manquer de se poser à leur sujet la question récurrente de leur classement comme odonymes et / ou microtoponymes. Après une présentation succincte des orientations et des difficultés de l’approche toponymique, il s’agira, dans les limites fixées par la documentation, de proposer quelques observations sur ce corpus, à partir des problématiques classiques de la toponymie urbaine : typologie, origines, strates, enjeux…
Sedum regionum locorum nomina (Cicéron). The vici : antique Rome through its place names
The analysis of the urban toponymy has so often been neglected by toponymists. Yet we need to recall that it is not without interest for urban history. In the case of Antique Rome, the corpus of work available hardly makes any general remarks about it, but monographic studies, often full of interest, abound. As it is the names of vici that make up the largest single part (nearly a quarter) of toponyms (in the strictest sense of the word) that have come down to us, it is perfectly legitimate to accord them particular attention, especially as we cannot escape the recurrent question as to whether they might not be better classified as odonyms and / or microtoponyms. After a brief review of the orientations and difficulties of the toponymic approach, as far as the documentation allows, it is the purpose of this talk to put forward some observations on this corpus, as they arise from the classic problematics of urban toponymy : typology, origins, strata…

Corinne Jouanno : Rome vue de la Grèce : l’exemple d’Épictète
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Épictète a vécu longtemps à Rome, où il fut esclave d’Épaphrodite, l’affranchi de Néron, puis professeur de philosophie, avant d’être frappé par le décret d’expulsion de Domitien. Or la ville de Rome occupe une place importante dans la géographie imaginaire des Entretiens, où elle constitue, avec Athènes et Gyaros, un triangle symbolique : elle incarne le lieu du pouvoir, des plaisirs, des affaires, et constitue un pôle attractif pour le profane, mais dangereux pour le philosophe, à l’inverse d’Athènes, ville d’études, et de Gyaros, terre d’exil. Raisons biographiques et philosophiques se conjuguent pour expliquer le caractère négatif de cette image de Rome, fortement influencée par le souvenir des années noires du règne de Néron et de Domitien, et par ailleurs victime d’une entreprise systématique de dépréciation du pouvoir temporel.
The example of Epictetus : Rome seen from Greece
Epictetus lived for a long time in Rome, where he was a slave of Epaphroditus, freed under Nero, became a teacher of philosophy, before suffering exile under Domitian. However the city of Rome takes up a large part of the imaginary geography of the Conversations where the city forms, along with Athens and Gyaros, a symbolic triangle : it embodies the seat of power, of pleasure, of business, and is a honeypot for the profane – but this is dangerous for the philosopher, in opposition to Athens, the city of learning, and of Gyaros, the land of exile. Biographical and philosophical reasons come together to explain his negative depiction of the character of Rome, heavily influenced by the dark years under the reign of Nero and Domitian, and, elsewhere, victim of a systematic enterprise of the depreciation of the temporal power.

Marie-José Kardos : L’Vrbs dans les Satires de Juvénal
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Juvénal assure avoir trouvé l’inspiration de ses Satires dans les rues de Rome, et ses pages les plus célèbres en décrivent avec beaucoup de verve les embarras et les dangers, de jour comme de nuit. De sa vision pessimiste d’une réalité contemporaine à laquelle il oppose des temps anciens idéalisés découle l’image négative qu’il offre de l’Vrbs dans son oeuvre, contrairement à d’autres écrivains de sa génération. Le Cirque, où la foule se déchaîne, les forums, où l’argent règne en maître, au mépris du droit et du mérite, les temples, négligés ou souillés par la débauche, édifices publics et monuments sont les témoins de la corruption générale ; l’évocation des statues des triomphateurs, le rappel du sauvetage du Palladium lors de l’incendie du temple de Vesta font ressortir la décadence morale du temps par comparaison avec la vertu des ancêtres, tandis que les références à l’Asylum du Capitole ou à l’Ara Maxima du forum Boarium illustrent la déchéance des Romains en général et de certaines grandes familles en particulier. C’est aux quartiers d’habitation du nord-est de la Ville que Juvénal s’intéresse le plus : Subure et son effervescence, les tranquilles Esquilies et le Viminal envahis par les Orientaux  ; à propos de ces quartiers, aux détails pittoresques donnés sur l’Agger, domaine des saltimbanques et des charlatans, s’ajoutent des allusions à l’époque où Hannibal menaçait la Ville. Cependant la nostalgie du passé s’exprime surtout dans la description de la « Vallée d’Égérie » près de la Porte Capène, dont la source n’a plus rien de naturel, comme dans le nom d’Ouile donné aux Saepta, dont les commerces de luxe voisinent désormais avec le sanctuaire d’Isis, et celui de « Champ de Tarquin », désignant le Campus qui, dans cette Rome dégénérée, a perdu tout caractère « martial ».
The Vrbs in the Satires of Juvenal
Juvenal maintained that he found his inspiration for his Satires in the streets of Rome and his best known pages provide a heady description of the confusion and dangers of city life, by day and by night. His pessimistic vision of contemporary reality is set against idealised ancient times, from which flows the negative image of the Vrbs in his work, in sharp contrast to other writers of his generation. The Circus, where the crowd goes wild, the forums where money is master while right and merit go to the wall, the neglected temples, or those desecrated by debauchery, public buildings and monuments are all testimony to general corruption ; the evocation of statues of triumphators, the memory of Palladium being saved during the fire at the temple of Vesta, all this highlighted the moral decadence of the times, in contrast to the virtue of the ancients, while the references to the Asylum of the Capitol or the Ara Maxima of the forum Boarium illustrate the moral collapse of Romans in general and certain families of rank in particular. Juvenal took the closest interest in the north-east quarters of the town : the bubbly Subure quarter, the quiet Esquilies and the Viminal full of Orientals ; and while on the subject, the picturesque details given on the Agger, the street acrobats and charlatans to which are added allusions to the time when Hannibal threatened the city. Even so, the nostalgia for times past expresses itself above all in the description of the “Valley of Egeria” near the Capenus Gate, the name Ullage, given to the Saepta, where shops selling luxury goods juxtaposed the sanctuary of Isis, and where the Campus of Tarquin, had now, in this degenerate city of Rome, lost all its original military character.

Françoise Lecocq : Les premières maquettes de Rome. L’exemple des modèles réduits en liège de Carl et Georg May dans les collections européennes aux XVIIIe-XIXe siècles
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Inspirée de la technique traditionnelle des crèches de Noël napolitaines en liège, la « phelloplastique  » est mise au service des voyageurs du Grand Tour, des collectionneurs d’antiquités et de grands architectes, comme Louis-François Cassas ou Sir John Soane, pour fabriquer des maquettes des ruines antiques d’Italie à l’époque de la redécouverte archéologique de Paestum, de Pompéi et de Rome. Des artistes italiens comme Augusto Rosa, Giovanni Altieri, Antonio Chichi, les exportent dans les diverses cours et capitales d’Europe, de Londres et Stockholm à Saint-Pétersbourg, avant d’être concurrencés en Allemagne par Carl May, pâtissier de la Cour de Ludwig Ier de Bavière à Aschaffenburg. Son oeuvre, mécénée par le souverain et poursuivie par son fils Georg, constitue la plus importante collection au monde de maquettes de monuments romains en liège, avec une cinquantaine de pièces, dont un Colisée de 3 mètres de long. Outre leur statut d’objets d’art, elles constituent, de par leur rigueur scientifique, un précieux témoignage en trois dimensions sur la Rome contemporaine, complémentaire des gravures de Piranèse ou des tableaux de Giovanni Panini et Hubert Robert. La collection a été récemment restaurée et remise en valeur.
The first models of Rome. The example of cork models made by Carl and Georg May in the European collections in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries
“Phelloplastic” was used by travellers on the Grand Tour, collectors of classical antiquities, and famous architects like Louis-François Cassas or Sir John Soane, in order to make models of the antique ruins of Italy at a time when the archaeological treasures of Paestum, Pompeii and Rome were being rediscovered. Italian artists such as Augusto Rosa, Giovanni Altieri, Antonio Chichi were all exporting them to the courts and capitals of Europe, to London, to Stockholm and to Saint-Petersburg. But in Germany, Carl May, Pastry Cook to the Court of Ludwig 1st of Bavaria – who patronised the work – created a competitive technique, using cork. Inspired by the traditional technique used in Neapolitan Nativity models, Carl, along with his son Georg, who continued the project, constructed over fifty cork models of Roman monuments, the largest such collection in the world. The Colosseum alone had a diameter of over 3 metres. Quite apart from their status as works of art, they make up a valuable testimony in three dimensions to contemporary Rome, complementing the engravings of Piranese or the paintings of Giovanni Panini and Hubert Robert. The collection has been recently restored and displayed in new facilities.

Philippe Anna-Maria Liberati : L’evoluzione urbanistica di Roma dall’età arcaica al tardo impero attraverso il diritto e le sue fonti. Alcuni esempi
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Après avoir illustré la représentation de Rome à l’époque impériale par l’examen de la grande maquette de la Rome antique conservée au Musée de la Civilisation de Rome, lors du colloque « Rome An 2000. Ville, maquette et modèle virtuel », A.M. Liberati cherche maintenant à approfondir quelques aspects du développement urbanistique de la cité. Pour cela, elle s’est servie, comme clé de lecture, d’un type particulier de sources : les textes juridiques. Partant du présupposé que la genèse de certains espaces urbains et l’organisation juridique de Rome se sont mutuellement influencées, elle a reparcouru la topographie de la cité, de l’époque romuléenne à l’empire tardif, en donnant des exemples à l’appui de cette thèse. Parmi les types d’édifices publics qui peuvent le mieux exprimer cette idée ont été choisis les lieux consacrés à l’administration de la justice ; ceux-ci seront ensuite examinés en tenant compte de l’évolution du procès criminel et privé. Quand on passe de la vie publique à la vie privée, le droit de propriété sera illustré relativement à quelques aspects de sa connotation urbaine. On verra comment l’évolution de la cité a conduit à la création d’autres droits réels : les seruitutes, la superficies et l’habitatio. Le respect des règles qui y sont rassemblées aurait dû permettre aux habitants de l’Vrbs de mieux profiter de l’espace urbain lui-même, en réalité non dépourvu de problèmes, comme le font apparaître les nombreux cas d’actions en justice qui sont exposés. Rome était une cité compliquée et chaotique, et assez souvent de nombreux dangers pour la sécurité des citoyens étaient inhérents aux bâtiments eux-mêmes. Cette considération introduit l’examen de quelques droits d’obligation. Justinien, dans ses Institutiones, prévoit quelques sources d’obligations, définies comme des « quasi-délits » et qui sont étroitement liées au développement urbanistique de Rome.
L’evoluzione urbanistica di Roma dall’età arcaica al tardo impero attraverso il diritto e le sue fonti. Alcuni esempi
In the symposium “Rome 2000 AD, city, a real and a virtual model”, the author illustrated the representation of Rome in the Imperial age through an examination of the great model of Antique Rome preserved in the Museum of Civilisation in that city. The author now sets out to deepen our understanding of some aspects of the urban development of the city. To achieve this, as a key to the lecture, she relies upon a particular type of source : legal texts. Starting on the supposition that the development of certain urban spaces and the legal framework of Rome mutually affected each other, she has gone over the topography of the city, from the Romulean period up to the Late Empire, citing examples to support her thesis. Among the public buildings that can best express this idea, have been selected buildings to do with the administration of justice. These are then examined in the light of the evolution of the criminal and private legal process. Turning from public to private life, property rights will be illustrated in relation to some aspects of its urban connotation. We will see how the evolution of the city led to the creation of other real legal rights : the seruitutes, the superficies and the habitatio. Abiding by the rules that were drawn up should have allowed the inhabitants of the Vrbs to gain the maximum advantage from the urban space itself, which in reality was not without its problems as a number of legal cases the author outlines will show. Rome was a complicated and chaotic city, and quite often the buildings themselves presented a number of real and inherent risks to the citizens. The examination of some rights of obligation were brought into being : Justinian, in his Institutiones, foresaw some sources of obligation, defined as “quasi-criminal acts” and which were closely linked to the urban development of Rome.

Sophie Madeleine : La troisième dimension des insulae d’après les symboles de la Forma Vrbis Romae
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Cette communication propose de donner un des exemples méthodologiques d’évaluation de la troisième dimension des édifices, souvent détruite et pourtant indispensable à leur reconstitution virtuelle, en utilisant la Forma Vrbis Romae. Cette méthode sera appliquée à un type architectural très précis, les insulae, dans le but de proposer des images virtuelles en trois dimensions d’immeubles romains et, plus largement, de rues qui en sont bordées. Nous verrons comment repérer les insulae sur la Forma Vrbis, comment les étages y sont représentés, afin de proposer une estimation de leur élévation, pouvant atteindre une vingtaine de mètres. Ces résultats seront ensuite confrontés aux textes législatifs, afin de voir si la hauteur des insulae représentées sur la Forma Vrbis Romae correspond aux « normes » définies. La communication s’achèvera par une proposition de reconstitution virtuelle d’une rue romaine, élaborée dans le cadre de l’équipe « Plan de Rome » de l’université de Caen.
The third dimension of the insulae, as illustrated by the symbols of the Forma Vrbis Romae
This paper sets out a methodological example using the Forma Vrbis Romae to evaluate the three dimensions of buildings which have often been destroyed, however it is vital to a virtual reconstruction of the same. This method will be applied to a particular feature of architecture : the insulae. The insulae will serve to illustrate virtual images in 3D of Roman apartment buildings and more generally the roads that are lined by them. We will see how to spot the insulae on the Forma Vrbis, and, by using the Forma Vrbis Romae how the different storeys of the buildings may be represented, in order to work out how high they once were – which could reach over twenty metres. These results will then be set against legislative texts in order to see if the height of the insulae represented in the Forma Vrbis Romae corresponds to the defined “norms”. The paper will conclude with a proposed virtual reconstruction of a Roman street, created by the Rome Mapping team of Caen University.

Nicole Méthy : Rome vue par un Italien du second siècle : le témoignage des lettres de Pline le Jeune
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Dans les lettres de Pline le Jeune, envisagées comme des témoignages sur la pensée de leur auteur, la ville de Rome n’est, dans sa matérialité, qu’à peine entrevue. Car son nom devient un double symbole, celui de valeurs et celui de la vie urbaine. Les valeurs romaines sont avant tout morales et tenues pour essentiellement occidentales. La vie urbaine se définit par la présence de la société et des contraintes qu’elle impose. Pline, en cela, suit la tradition. Il s’en démarque, cependant, par la perspective adoptée et le jugement porté. Rome se distingue de toute autre cité, par sa culture et non plus par son rôle politique. En dépit de cette supériorité, elle ne doit pas constituer une destination unique ou un but ultime. La vie la meilleure intègre, à parts égales, Rome et la campagne provinciale. Cet idéal, dans lequel la petite patrie a au moins autant d’importance que la grande, doit son originalité au dépassement de la hiérarchie traditionnelle. En Italien, Pline a un point de vue qui n’est ni étroitement romain ni purement provincial. En homme du second siècle, il incarne la transition entre un monde ancien, convaincu de la suprématie romaine, et un monde nouveau, qui fonde cette suprématie sur d’autres bases et n’y voit plus un absolu.
Rome seen by an Italian of the Second Century : the testimony of the letters of Pliny the Younger
In the letters of Pliny the Younger, which were written with a view to revealing the thinking of their author, the material city of Rome barely gets a mention. For its name became a double symbol, those of its values and those of its urban life. The Roman values are above all moral and are essentially western. Urban life is defined by the presence of society and the constraints it imposes. Pliny was following the tradition in all this. He stands out however by the perspective he adopted and the judgement he brought to bear. Rome was different from all other cities by its culture and no longer by its political role. In despite of this superiority it must not make up a unique end in itself or a final destination. The best life integrated in equal measure Rome and the provincial countryside. This ideal, where local loyalties had at least as much importance as larger loyalties, owes its originality to the sense of the traditional hierarchy of being overwhelmed. In Italian, Pliny has a point of view which is neither narrowly Roman nor purely provincial. As a man of the second century, he embodies the transition between the ancient world, convinced of Roman superiority, and the new world, which bases this supremacy on other bases and where one no longer sees an absolute.

Michel Jean-Louis Perrin : Hraban Maur et Rome : l’exemple d’un grand ecclésiastique à l’époque carolingienne
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Hraban Maur (780-856) a fait une très grande carrière ecclésiastique, qui commença sous Charlemagne et connut son apogée sous Louis le Pieux et Louis le Germanique. Si on cherche à savoir ce qui apparaît de Rome chez Hraban, il faut se rappeler qu’il n’est jamais allé physiquement parlant à Rome, à la différence d’Alcuin, son maître. Si nous faisons rapidement le bilan d’un ensemble monumental, Rome y apparaît comme un lieu bien entendu, mais aussi comme une ville, et même la Ville par excellence, dotée d’édifices remarquables, une ville à l’histoire militaire, politique, religieuse hors pair. Hraban s’attarde particulièrement à parler de Rome, puissance dominante du monde, dans ses rapports difficiles avec les Juifs, Rome, la ville où saint Paul a été martyrisé, la ville de l’Église, des martyrs et de leurs reliques, des papes – et donc le centre du pouvoir ecclésiastique –, mais aussi celle d’hérésies. Tout cela manifeste avec évidence la place éminente de Rome la Ville devenue chrétienne, ce que signifie encore « en creux » la censure persistante de l’expression communis patria. Une comparaison rapide avec Alcuin dessine les mêmes lignes de force, mais avec une différence importante : Alcuin est allé à Rome et en Italie. Il n’y a pas chez Hraban l’équivalent du carm. 25, 1 (PL 101, 778D-779A). Mais chez l’un et l’autre, Rome est essentiellement la ville des apôtres et des martyrs, de saint Paul, des papes, avec tout ce que cela implique, en un mot la capitale du monde.
The example of a great man of the church in the Carolingian period
Hraban Muar (780-856) enjoyed a great career in the Church, which started under Charlemagne and reached its height under Louis the Pious and Louis the German. If one sets out to know how Rome appeared at his time, we should recall that he, unlike Alcuin his teacher, never physically went to Rome. If we make a rapid summary of the monumental ensemble, Rome appeared as a well spread out site, but also as a city, even a City par excellence, endowed with remarkable public buildings, and an unrivalled military, political and religious history. Hraban spoke of Rome at some length, the dominant world power, with its difficult relations with the Jews, Rome, the town where Saint Paul had been martyred, the city of the Church, of martyrs and their relics, the city of Popes, and therefore the seat of ecclesiastical power – but also of heresies. All that was plainly highlighted in this city that played an eminent role as the city that became Christian, that is still set against a background of the persistent censorship of the expression of the communis patria. A quick comparison with Alcuin sketches out the same lines, but also an important difference : Alcuin went to Rome and to Italy. There is no equivalent to be found in Hraban of carm. 25, 1 (PL 101, 778D-779A). But for both, Rome is essentially the city of the apostles and the martyrs, of Saint Paul, the Popes, with all that implied, and, in a word, the capital of the world.

Anne-Valérie Pont : Valeurs culturelles et politiques du beau paysage urbain à Smyrne et à Nicomédie, du IIe au IVe siècle
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L’« ornement de la cité » est devenu un enjeu essentiel de la vie civique en Asie et dans le Pont-Bithynie à l’époque romaine. La prolifération des constructions, que l’on observe alors dans des cités de toutes tailles, ne doit pas être vue comme un signe de romanisation ou de la maiestas imperii, comme on le trouve dans les lettres de Pline le Jeune à Trajan. Elle ne l’était pas en tout cas aux yeux des habitants des cités grecques d’Asie Mineure occidentale, qui considéraient la beauté de leur cité comme un achèvement de l’hellénisme d’époque impériale. Selon Aelius Aristide, Smyrne est un « modèle de cité ». Nulle n’est plus belle ni ne répond mieux à l’esthétique des espaces urbains alors définie dans cette région de l’empire. Les inscriptions honorifiques pour ses évergètes constructeurs, l’impulsion décisive donnée par les sophistes, au premier rang desquels figure Antonius Polémon, et enfin le titre très particulier qu’elle reçoit de la part de Caracalla, celui d’« ornement de l’Ionie », confirment la richesse de cette esthétique, qui renvoie à des valeurs morales et politiques vivantes. Nicomédie forme un contrepoint à cette vision : à partir du début du IIIe siècle, l’intérêt que lui portent les empereurs brouille son identité de cité grecque, si bien qu’Ammien Marcellin finit par qualifier cette capitale de « région de Rome ». L’Empereur y figure comme seul constructeur, comme à Rome, et pour des bâtiments inhabituels dans ces provinces, un palais, un cirque. Comme le montrent les deux exemples si différents de Smyrne et de Nicomédie, l’esthétique urbaine traduit, en Asie Mineure occidentale, une conception culturelle et politique spécifique de la beauté de la cité.
The cultural and political values of the beautiful urban landscape of Smyrne and Nicomedia in the 2nd and 4th centuries
The “ornament of the city” has become an essential challenge within Asian and Pont-Bithyian civic life in the Roman period. The proliferation of constructions which we observe across cities of all sizes, must notbe seen as a sign of Romanisation of or maiestas imperii, as we find in the letters of Pliny the Younger to Trajan. There were not, at any rate, so seen in the eyes of the inhabitants of the Greek cities of western Asia Minor, who considered the beauty of their city as an achievement of Hellenism in the Imperial Age. According to Aelius Aristide, Smyrna is “Model City”. No other city is more beautiful nor responds better to the aesthetic of urban spaces as defined at that time and in that region of the Empire. The honorific inscriptions for the constructors, the decisive impulsion given by the Sophists, the chief of whom was Antonius Polemon, and finally that special title, “the ornament of Ionia”, that it received from Caracalla, all these factors confirmed the richness of this aesthetic, which went back to living moral and political values. Nicomedia formed a counterpoint to this vision : from the beginning of the IIIrd century the interest shown by the Emperors confused its identity as a Greek city, to a point that Ammien Marcellin ended up by describing this capital as a “region of Rome”. As in Rome, the Emperor was the sole builder, and a palace and a circus – unusual buildings for provincial towns – appeared. Smyrna and Nicomedia, two very contrasting examples demonstrate, in western Asia Minor, how the urban aesthetic was able to translate a specific cultural and political idea of the beauty of the city.

Bruno Poulle : Rome vue par l’humaniste Jean-Jacques Boissard (1528-1602)
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Humaniste protestant, J.-J. Boissard a écrit une ample Topographia et Antiquitates Vrbis Romae, près de quarante ans après avoir séjourné à Rome. Sa description de la ville traduit à la fois son amour de l’Antiquité et sa volonté de sauvegarder par la mémoire des ruines menacées. Somme érudite axée sur la statuaire et sobre dans son admiration, cette topographie doit beaucoup à des sources livresques contemporaines. Boissard présente une Rome presque exclusivement antique et morte, dont la froideur est tempérée par sa conception et sa pratique de l’amitié.
Rome as seen by the humanist Jean-Jacques Boissard (1528-1602)
Some forty years after staying there, the Protestant humanist J.-J. Boissard wrote a large volume entitled Topographia et Antiquitates Vrbis Romae which described both his love of Antiquity and his desire to save for posterity the ruins under threat. This topographic study owes much to contemporary writings ; it is an erudite outline focussed on the statuary and, while sober and full of admiration, Boissard presents a dead, Antique city. His cold analysis is tempered by his idea and practice of friendship.

Manuel Royo et Brice Gruet : Décrire Rome : fragment et totalité, la ville ancienne au risque du paysage
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Ce travail emprunte pour partie son titre à celui de l’ouvrage de C. Edwards : Writing Rome. Cependant, à la différence de l’auteur britannique, notre perspective, sinon notre approche, se fera à travers la question du paysage, notion controversée s’agissant de l’Antiquité, et sur le regard que l’on porte par le biais des mots qui le qualifient. Parler de l’apparence de la ville, comme l’ont fait certains auteurs latins, implique une mise à distance – au moins intellectuelle –, préalable indispensable à toute conception paysagère de l’espace vécu. Ce recul suppose à son tour une pratique particulière du regard, comportant des « codes » propres à cette culture et organisant la « mise en cadre » de son objet ; celle-ci décide aussi du choix privilégié de certains supports et oriente l’usage de ces images et le rôle que l’on entend tenir dans le tableau ou face à celui-ci.
Writing Rome : fragment and totality ; the ancient city threatened by landscape
This work at least in part owes its title to the work of C. Edwards, Writing Rome. However we differ from the British author as, from our perspective and in our approach, is made through the question of the landscape, a controversial notion when it comes to Antiquity. It is also made through the observation of landscape as identified through the bias of the words that qualify it. To speak of the appearance of the city, as certain Latin authors did, implies a distancing, at least an intellectual distancing, as an indispensable preamble to any idea of the landscape as a livedin space. This detached attitude supposes in turn a particular way of looking, consisting of codes unique to this culture and organising the setting up of a “framework” for its object. This also decides the privileged choice of certain supports and orientates the images and the role that one expects to maintain in the picture, or when standing before the same.

Pierre Sineux : Pour une relecture des récits de guérison de l’Asklépieion de l’île Tibérine
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Dans la deuxième moitié du IIe ou au début du IIIe siècle après J.-C., on inscrit en grec, sur une stèle de marbre, de courts textes qui racontent comment des malades venus au sanctuaire d’Asklépios-Esculape ont trouvé, à la suite d’un rêve, la guérison. Relire ces textes aujourd’hui revient à montrer comment ils participent à la tradition des « récits de guérison » des sanctuaires asklépieiens du monde grec et à examiner la confrontation de cette tradition grecque aux réalités cultuelles et culturelles de la Rome impériale, ce qui implique notamment de s’interroger sur la question de leur réception et sur leurs fonctions.
Re-reading the accounts of healing in the Asklepieion on the Tiberine Island
In the second half of the IInd and beginning of the IIIrd centuries AD, short Greek texts cut on a marble stela describe how the sick came to the sanctuary of Askleplios-Esculape and, after a dream, were made well. A re-reading of these texts today shows how they were part of the tradition of “accounts of healing” of asklepian sanctuaries of the Greek world. We examine the confrontation of this Greek tradition with the realities of Imperial Roman cults and cultures, which implies in particular an examination of their reception and their functions.

Jean-Paul Thuillier : Une journée particulière dans la Rome antique. Pour une topographie spor tive de l’Vrbs
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La lettre de Pline le Jeune 9,6 fait apparaître que Rome se vide de ses habitants au moment des jeux du cirque, et vit alors une sorte de « journée particulière ». On voudrait étudier ici la topographie sportive de l’Vrbs, comme on a pu parler d’une topographie des exécutions ou des opérations financières, et on ne se limitera pas à la seule situation, d’ailleurs bien connue en général, des édifices de spectacle. Le fait que la Rome antique a été une mégapole et que le Grand Cirque par exemple était situé en pleine ville ont eu des conséquences importantes, mais les mouvements de la foule des supporters n’avaient pas pour seul but la zone de la vallée Murcia, entre Palatin et Aventin. Des nécropoles, les sièges des différentes factions, des rues et des places pouvaient être investis par les supporters des couleurs et les fanatiques des ludi circenses : le témoignage d’Ammien Marcellin ne manque pas d’intérêt à ce sujet.
A special day in the antique Rome : the sportive topography of the Vrbs
The Letter 9.6 of Pliny the Younger shows how Rome emptied of its inhabitants when the games were played in the Circus, and lived out a sort of “special day”. We set out here to study the sportive topography of the Vrbs, just as one has been able to talk about the topography of executions and of financial dealings, and we do not limit ourselves here to the one situation, well-known in general, of the buildings for public entertainments. The fact that Antique Rome was a megopolis and that the Great Circus for example was situated in the heart of the city had considerable consequences, but the flow of the crowds of supporters did not merely head for the area of the Murcia valley, between the Palatin and the Aventin. The necropolises, the seats of different factions, the streets and squares could be filled by the supporters of different colours, and the fanatics of the ludi circenses : the testimony of Ammien Marcellus is not without interest on this subject.

Hubert Zehnacker : La description de Rome dans le livre V du De lingua latina de Varron
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Au livre V du De lingua latina, Varron examine les mots de la langue latine exprimant en prose les différents aspects de la notion d’espace. Cette recherche, dont le caractère étymologique est fortement marqué, aboutit à une enquête sur les toponymes de la ville de Rome, qui prend en compte d’abord les noms des lieux, puis ceux des monuments. La méthode de Varron tient compte de l’enseignement d’Aristophane de Byzance autant que de celui de Cléanthe ; le savant romain veut combiner la théorie de l’analogie et celle de l’anomalie ; les mots prennent leur origine à la fois dans la physis et dans la thésis. Varron privilégie donc les étymologies les plus anciennes, remontant de l’époque des rois de Rome et de celle de Romulus au moment de la venue d’Hercule et d’Évandre, et même, parfois, aux temps immémoriaux de Saturne. Lorsqu’il cite les poètes latins dans la droite ligne d’Aristophane de Byzance, Varron se réfère de préférence aux plus anciens d’entre eux ; il a recours aussi au document vénérable que sont les Livres Pontificaux. Au total, Varron offre l’explication étymologique d’un nombre important de noms propres relatifs à la ville de Rome ; certains sont des hapax, d’autres concernent des réalités en voie de disparition de son temps. Une rapide comparaison du texte de Varron avec le livre II du De republica de Cicéron, le livre V de Strabon et le livre III de Pline l’Ancien montre la profonde originalité de la démarche adoptée dans le De lingua latina : à travers les données linguistiques, Varron cherche à atteindre l’essence même du site et de la ville de Rome.
The description of Rome in Varro’s Book V of the De lingua latina
In Book V of the De lingua latina Varro examines the Latin words that express in prose the different aspects of the notion of space. This research, in which the etymological character is particularly marked, leads to an investigation of the toponyms of the town of Rome. This investigation takes into account first the place names, then those of the public monuments. Varro’s method look as much to the teaching of Aristophanes of Byzantium as much as to that of Cleanthus ; the Roman savant sets out to combine the theory of analogy and anomaly. Words find their place both in the physis and in the thesis. Varro emphasises the etymologies of the most ancient etymologies, going back to the time of the Kings of Rome and to that of Romulus at the time of the coming of Hercules and Evandre, and even sometimes, back to the Time Immemorial of Saturn. When he quotes from the Latin poets going back in direct line to Aristophanes of Byzantium, Varro prefers to refer to the most ancient among them ; he also falls back on venerable documents which are the Pontifical Books. Altogether, Varro offers the etymological explanation of a large number of proper names relating to the City of Rome ; some of them are hapax (only one example of the word’s use exists) ; others concern realities that were disappearing in his own time. A rapid comparison of Varro’s text with that of Book II of Cicero’s Republic, Strabo’s Book V and Pliny the Elder’s Book III, shows the profound originality of what the De lingua latina sets out to achieve : through linguistic data Varro looks to reach into the essence itself of the site and of the city of Rome.

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August 17, 2014

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Jocari: Ancient Games

Jocari (latin iocari s’amuser, iocus jeu)
Site francophone de référence sur les jeux et jouets des époques antique, médiévale et renaissante, issu de la recherche scientifique
Jocari : une énorme base de données…
…sur les jeux et les jouets, et surtout, les sources archéologiques, iconographiques et écrites les plus pertinentes sur le sujet !

Né d'une collaboration entre deux archéologues qui se sont « prises au jeu » : l'une, Ann-Laure Oosthoek, éditeur de publications scientifiques sur l'histoire et les langues anciennes ; l'autre, Catherine Breyer, œuvrant dans le domaine de la sensibilisation au patrimoine, au sein de l'association archeolo-J, le site Jocari présente de manière aussi agréable que rigoureuse le monde des jeux et jouets des temps anciens (jusque 1789*). Il va au-delà de la présentation des jeux et jouets ! Il offre, en outre, quelques possibilités pour vraiment les découvrir en y jouant grâce aux règles écrites, aux plateaux de jeux dessinés et aux diverses consignes qui permettent d'y prendre du plaisir, entre amis ou en famille.
Que ce soit dans la lecture ou dans l'exploration des jeux : bonnes découvertes et bon amusement !

Happy 20th Birthday to Egyptology Resources!

It's our 20th Anniversary!!

Round about mid-August 1994, I set up this site. I still believe it was the first Egyptology site on the net, and certainly it is the only page from that area still going. So I'm celebrating! The site is not as important as it once was, as there are so many other options available, but I'm proud of what it has achieved...

local pages

Open Access Journal: The Journal of Ancient Numismatics

The Journal of Ancient Numismatics (JAN) 

The Journal of Ancient Numismatics (JAN) is a free online journal dedicated to the study of Ancient and Medieval numismatics and history.
We are very pleased to announce that thanks to the generous sponsorship of http://agoraauctions.com we will begin publishing again!
The Journal will be published electronically ever quarter starting some time in March and all members of the Agora Auctions mailing list will be notified.
We are always looking for good article submissions. If you have an article you would like to submit please contact us.
You can sign up for the mailing list HERE

Volume 1, Issue 1 - April/May 2008 (Issue Index)
Introduction Letter

Is Our Right to Collect in Jeopardy?
By: Alfredo De La Fé

Analysis: One of the Joys of Ancient Coin Collecting
By: Wayne G. Sayles

Coins of the Bible - New Data Sheds Light on Hasmonean Coin Theories
By: David Hendin

Late Roman Coin Hoards and Wansdyke
By: Keith Nurse

In The News - Articles and Press Releases of Interest to Ancient Numismatists
Volume 1, Issue 2 - June/July 2008 (Issue Index)
Grading Ancient Coins (A comparison by type)
By: Alfredo De La Fé

Colin Kraay's Explanation of the Phenomenon of Overstruck Reverses on Roman Imperial and Provincial Coins By: Curtis Clay

Money Minting Brits: Coin Clipping in Late/Post Reform Britain
By: Keith Nurse

Pro Mn. Fonteio C. f.
By: Mark Passehl

The Technical Obverse: Another archaic convention
By: Wayne G. Sayles
The cornucopia served as a Jewish symbol
By: David Hendin
In The News - Articles and Press Releases of Interest to Ancient Numismatists

Volume 1, Issue 3 - (Issue Index)
A Greek Coin Refresher Course
By: David Vagi

Lucullus, A Second Best Hero of the Roman Republic
By: Marvin Tameanko

Dating Some Republican Mini-Issues
By: Mark Passehl

What Makes a Collection Important?
By: Wayne G. Sayles

A Double-Portrait Elagabalus and Julia Paula From Perinthus
By: Curtis L. Clay

The Amphora Was Used For Temple Wine Libation
By: David Hendin

Numismatic Collaboration in Some Former Soviet Bloc Nations
By: Georges Depeyrot

MEDIA REVIEW - Three Excellent Ancient Numismatic Websites
By: Alfredo De La Fé

In The News - Articles and Press Releases of Interest to Ancient Numismatists
Volume 1, Issue 4 (Issue Index)
Livia - The First Augusta of Rome
By: Marvin Tameanko

Britain's First Coins
By: Chris Rudd

The World of Coin Forgery
By: Ilya Prokopov

A Strange Fantasy Caracalla Overstruck on Menander
By: David MacDonald

Vilonius Strabo
By: Mark Passehl

Black Sea Hoard Controversy Dies with a Whimper
By: Wayne G. Sayles

The Birth of Islamic Coinage - The Orthodox and Umayyad Caliphate
By: Sameer Kazmi

Images of Africa on Roman Imperatorial Coinage as Propaganda at the End of the Republic
By: Gabriella Vlahovici Jones (University of Maryland Eastern Shore)

In The News - Articles and Press Releases of Interest to Ancient Numismatists

August 16, 2014

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Open Access Journal: ANMED: News of Archaeology from Anatolia's Mediterranean Areas

[First posted in AWOL 16 June 2009. Updated 16 August 2014]

ANMED: News of Archaeology from Anatolia's Mediterranean Areas
ISSN: 1303-9660
ANMED, one of the annual periodicals by Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilisations, has been published bilingual in Turkish and English in Antalya since 2003.

Within the frame of the Institute's foundation goals and priorities, the preliminary annual reports of excavations, surveys, restoration-conservation projects and other archaeological works by scientific missions undertaken in the region identified as Anatolia's Mediterranean Areas, that is encompassing ancient Lycia, Pamphylia, Cilicia and Pisidia, constitute the scope of ANMED

ANMED Issues

ANMED 2014-12

ANMED 2013-11

ANMED 2012-10

ANMED 2010-8

ANMED 2011-9

ANMED 2009-7

ANMED 2008-6

ANMED 2007-5

ANMED 2006-4

ANMED 2005-3

ANMED 2004-2

ANMED 2003-1

Open Access Journal: Argos: Revista de la Asociación Argentina de Estudios Clásicos

Argos: Revista de la Asociación Argentina de Estudios Clásicos
ISSN 1853-6379
Misión Publicar artículos, notas breves y reseñas sobre temas de filología, filosofía, historia y arte grecorromanos, producidos por investigadores argentinos y extranjeros.

Vol.    Número

August 15, 2014

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Research is Magic: An Interview with Ethnographers Jason Nguyen & Kurt Baer

Jason Nguyen and Kurt Baer, PhD students in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, drawn in the style of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

Jason Nguyen and Kurt Baer, PhD students in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, drawn in the style of “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic”

The following is a guest post from Julia Fernandez, this year’s NDIIPP Junior Fellow. Julia has a background in American studies and working with folklife institutions and worked on a range of projects leading up to CurateCamp Digital Culture in July. This is part of a series of interviews Julia conducted to better understand the kinds of born-digital primary sources folklorists, and others interested in studying digital culture, are making use of for their scholarship.

When Hasbro decided to reboot their 1980s “My Little Pony” franchise, who would have guessed that they would give rise to one of the most surprising and interesting fan subcultures on the web? The 2010 animated television series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” has garnered an extremely loyal–and as a 2012 documentary put it, “extremely unexpected”–viewership among adult fans. Known colloquially as “bronies” (a portmanteau of “bro” and “ponies”), these fans are largely treated with fascination and confusion by the mainstream media. All of this interest has resulted in a range of scholars in different fields working to understand this cultural phenomena.

In this installment of the NDSA Insights Interview series, I talk with Jason Nguyen and Kurt Baer. Both PhD students at Indiana University in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Jason and Kurt decided to study this unique subculture. Their website is where they both conduct their field research, blog about their findings and invite feedback from the community.

Julia: Can you tell me a little bit more about bronies (and pegasisters)? How do they define themselves? How long have these movements been occurring and where are they communicating online? Do you have any sense of how large these communities are?

Jason: An important starting premise for us is that bronies attach a wide variety of different values and identity markers to the label of brony, imagining and experiencing their relationships to one another in multiple ways–sometimes even conflicting ones. Nonetheless, there are some shared histories that nearly all bronies will describe as specific to this community. Specifically, bronies as a concept unique from My Little Pony fandom arose out of the relaunch/reboot of the Hasbro franchise as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in fall 2010. Lauren Faust, particularly known to this group for her work with her husband Craig McCracken on Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, developed the idea and wrote for the show through its first two seasons, and her gender politics has a lot to do with the complex and often non-normative characterization of the ponies. Because of that, bronies will generally start with the content of the show as reason enough for being a fandom: it is smartly written and portrays a positive, socially-oriented world view. Some bronies will portray this oppositionally to other, more negative media, but at the same time, many are involved in multiple fandoms and are often fans of “darker” work as well.

In any case, the label of “brony” has a pretty specific starting point, arising out of the show’s popularity in 2010 on 4chan, which was to some extent ironic, i.e. “Haha, we’re grown men watching a little girls’ show,” though I think the irony of that moment is always overstated (since irony is a useful footing to allow a grown man to watch a little girls’ show if he so desires). Over the following year, the bronies started to overtake 4chan and were kicked out; 4chan eventually opened /mlp/ for them, but the conflict lasted for a few months and was an impetus to organize elsewhere on the web.

At this point, things get more complicated, because people who like FiM search for other fans online, but the cross-demographic appeal means that reasons for being a fan and even ways of being a fan are not necessarily shared in the way you might expect of a more homogenous group. For example, fans coming from other “geek” fandoms are used to the convention scene and fandom as a sort of genre (keeping in touch with friends online, then getting together a few times a year at a convention), but for many bronies, this is the first time they have participated in this kind of mass-mediated imagined community.

Kurt: As far as numbers go, it is really hard to tell how large the brony community is. This is partly due to the varying definitions of what makes a “brony.” However, the brony community (or communities) is quite large and very active both online and off. For instance, Bronycon, the largest brony convention, brought in over 8,000 people last year, Coder Brony’s 2014 herd census received over 18,000 responses from all around the world, and Equestria Daily is, as of now, rapidly approaching 500 million hits on their website. There are brony communities all over Facebook and Reddit (which even has multiple subreddits devoted to sorting out all of the MLP subreddits). There are very active 4chan, Twitter, SoundCloud and DeviantArt communities; brony groups on other online games ranging from Team Fortress to Minecraft to Clash of Clans; over a dozen 24-hour streaming radio stations for Brony music; and major news sites such as Equestria Daily and Everfree that link bronies to relevant information from all over the web. What’s more is that these “communities” are not discrete from one another. People bounce between platforms all of the time, sometimes between different online personas, making coming up with specific numbers very difficult.

Julia: How is your approach to studying bronies similar or different from approaches to studying other fan cultures, and for that matter, any number of other modes of participatory culture?

Jason: In a lot of ways, I don’t think the work we are doing is all that different than many ethnographic studies insofar as the basic process of participant observation is concerned. As for the field of fan/fandom studies, we have thus far not cast our work in that light, though not because of any strong feelings either way. Fandom studies has a strong thread of reception and media studies coming from a more literary and cultural studies perspective that we enjoy but it’s not our theoretical foundation (I’m thinking of Henry Jenkins’ early work, for example).

That emphasis on broad cultural production that I think is heavily influenced by the legacy of the Frankfurt School is perhaps one difference, since we are strongly ethnographic and thus more granular in our approach. That said, many scholars we might read in a fandom studies class have used ethnographic and anthropological methods as well, such as Bonnie Nardi in her great “My Life as a Night Elf Priest” about the “World of Warcraft” fandom.

Kurt: Ultimately, while we might be one of a few people researching about people and brightly colored ponies on the internet at the moment (that number is always growing), the questions that we are looking to understand and the ways that we are trying to understand them are quite similar to research coming from a long line of ethnographers dating (in the anthropological imagination, at least) all the way back to Bronislaw Malinowski. Perhaps one relatively substantial difference that we have at least been trying for, however, lies in the fact that we are trying to use the blog format to allow for more back-and-forth interaction between us and the people who we are studying/studying with than the traditional ethnographic monograph allows. While many ethnographers (such as Steven Feld in his ethnography “Sound and Sentiment”) are able to get feedback from the people they study with and incorporate that into the writing process (or at least their second editions), we have been trying to find ways to speed up that process of garnering feedback, learning from it, and using that knowledge as a means for further theorization.

Screenshot of the Research is Magic blog, which serves as a space for dialog with research participants.

Screenshot of the Research is Magic blog, which serves as a space for dialog with research participants.

Julia: You’ve stated that your blog “represents an attempt at participant-observation that collapses the boundaries between academic and interlocutor.” Can you expand on this? What are some of your goals with this blog? Why start your own blog as opposed to gathering data and engaging with bronies on their own virtual “turf,” like websites like Equestria Daily?

Kurt: One important bit of background information that I feel is important to bring up here is that Jason and I both come from fields that focus primarily upon ethnographic research, and in fact, the blog itself was started as part of a course in creative ethnography taught by Dr. Susan Lepselter that Jason and I took at Indiana University. In approaching this research ethnographically, we wanted to be able to ask questions and elicit observations from bronies themselves in addition to analyzing the various other types of “texts” such as the show itself, other websites, and pre-existing conversations. We also wanted to be clear and open about the fact that we are researchers conducting research. We figured that starting our own blog would give us the space that we needed to be able to ask questions and make observations while still being clear about our research and research objectives. Through our interactions with people on social media sites and on places such as Equestria Daily, it has been our hope that the blog becomes a space that is part of different bronies’ “turfs,” where they can go to interact with us and each other and discuss different aspects of being a brony.

As far as our attempts to collapse the boundaries between academic and interlocutor goes, one of the things that drew us to the brony community in the first place is that they are already very involved in theorization about themselves and about the show. They talk about what it means to be a brony, provide deep textual analyses of the show and its themes, and grapple with the social implications of liking a show that some people think that they shouldn’t. Rather than us going into the “field,” collecting data about bronies, and then returning to write that information up in an article to be published in an academic journal, we hoped to create a space where we can theorize together and and where all of the observations and ideas would be available in the same space to serve as material for more conversation and theorization.

Jason: Another way to think about this is that there is nothing more brony-like than to start a space of your own online. As Kurt has recounted above, bronies have been quite prolific in their production of cyberspaces for communal interaction, and not all of them are big like Equestria Daily. Of course there are always the YouTube stars and Twitter celebrities of any mass-media fandom, but the more mundane spaces are equally important, and the process of making a website, maintaining a Twitter profile, etc.–in short, creating a presentation of self as brony researchers amongst other people similarly engaged in a presentation of self as bronies–has been invaluable in our experience of the “participant” part of participant-observation. We both have web presences, as most bronies do before they join the fandom, but many choose to create fandom-specific identities, and that means anchoring those identities somewhere; we’ve in part chosen to anchor our brony-related identities on the website.

Photoshop of the MLP:FiM villain Discord with the intellectual hero Michel Foucault by Jason

Photoshop of the MLP:FiM villain Discord with the intellectual hero Michel Foucault by Jason

With all that said, we do spend a lot of time investigating bronies in other spaces and in less explicitly theoretical ways. We live-tweet (tweeting comments about something as it occurs) new episodes from time to time, which is a really fun experience that lets us interact with both fans and show staff alike. I have drawn fan art and Kurt has made fan music that we have shared via Twitter, Reddit and our site.

So we like to think that we are doing both things at the same time. Of course it is important for anyone doing anthropologically informed ethnography to meet people where they are and explore their lives as they lead them, but at the same time, many fans have shown an interest in a space where they can read about and join in conversations that marry explicit theorization with personal observations of their fandom, and the “Research Is Magic” blog produces a hybrid narrative framing that we found was not previously existing in either academic or brony fandom spaces.

Julia: One of the reasons bronies as a group are so interesting is because they appear to subvert both gender and age norms. But you argue that “an analytical orientation that positions bronies as resisters trivializes their rich social interactions and effaces complicated power dynamics within and peripheral to the fandom.” That’s some dense language! Can you unpack this a bit for us?

Kurt: Essentially, our argument here is one against the tendency to find resistance and subversion and then get carried away insisting on interpreting everything about the group in that light. There is certainly some very interesting subversion of age and gender norms going on in the fandom, but bronies are not only, or even (I would argue) primarily, resisting. Most bronies that we have talked to don’t think of themselves as being oppositional, but instead as simply liking a show that they like. While it is both productive and interesting to look at the ways that bronies are resisting gender norms, it is also very easy for academics to fall into the trap of casting everything in that light, limiting the rich and complex social interactions of bronies to a romanticized narrative about bronies rising up together and resisting the gender stereotypes of larger society.

Jason: Resistance as a concept works because of a binary opposition: X resists Y. However, multiple competing discourses may be at work and are probably not all aligned to one another. For example, earlier this year, a North Carolina school kept a nine year old boy from bringing his Rainbow Dash backpack to school because it was getting him bullied by other students. On one level, the reasoning on all sides is obvious. To the other boys, a boy wearing “girly” paraphernalia is ripe to be bullied. The school counselor wanted to ensure the boy’s safety, so removed what was believed to be the problem. Some parents were concerned that the boy was being punished for simply expressing himself, and that the bullies should have been punished instead. …

So, while each person appears to act in resistance according to a particular discourse of meaning, and each person may have a particular narrative, the entire scenario is complicated by these competing ideas of masculinity that intersect with ideologies of personal freedom and liberty. Rainbow Dash (the character on the backpack), for example, is clearly written as a “tomboy” character–good at sports, adventurous, daring and 20 percent cooler than you. If a boy was going to pick a character to identify with that does not break existing standards of masculinity, she would be the one; thus, insofar as male fans identify with her, they’re also identifying with characteristics that don’t challenge their heteronormativity. But she is also the one covered in rainbows, and that has a particular valence as a form of non-heteronormative imagery (e.g. LGBT rights symbolism). In short, there is a density of meaning attached to Rainbow Dash that complicates people’s responses, though I would argue that it’s that complexity and density of meaning that allows different groups to be drawn to MLP in the first place.

Kurt: The ways in which people are using the show in relation to gender norms further complicate things. While in many ways bronies are challenging gender norms through their liking the show and re-defining ideas about masculinity, in other ways many bronies are super heteronormative. While they like a show that some people think is for girls, their argument is less about the fact that gender norms need dismantling than it is about the fact that the show is written in a way that is appealing to heteronormative men and that men can still be manly while liking MLP. The World’s Manliest Brony, for instance, while going against gender norms in some ways by embracing MLP and re-enforcing the manliness of giving charitably, also reinforces them in others–leaving many ideas of masculinity intact but drawing MLP into the list of things that can be manly.

Julia: Psychologist Marsha Redden, one of the conductors of The Brony Study, stated in an interview that the fandom is a normal response to the anxiety of life in a conflict-driven time, saying “they’re tired of being afraid, tired of angst and animosity. They want to go somewhere a lot more pleasant.” Likewise, a lot of what you talk about on your blog has to do with the positivity of the actual show, how each episode has a positive message and emphasizes the importance of friendship and other values.  It feels very rare that we hear something positive about bronies from the mainstream media. Can you talk a bit about this? What draws adults to the show, and to the community? What do you make of the moral panic surrounding Bronies in the mainstream media?

Jason: At the risk of sounding a little persnickety, I’d like to suggest that we invert the way we think about such causal explanations. Explanations similar to Dr. Redden’s–basically, some version of the idea that the world is a rough and cynical place and that MLP presents an alternative space, no matter how delimited or constrained, that is more trusting and open–are pretty common within the fandom as part of people’s personal narratives for why and how they became bronies (obviously, this is not true for everyone, but it’s clearly a fandom trope). In anthropology itself, scholars like Victor Turner and Max Gluckman have suggested that certain carnivalesque (to borrow Bakhtin’s term) rituals act as a kind of “safety valve” for a society to release its pent up frustrations and conflicts without destroying the order of things, and some version of that idea is laden in Redden’s theory and that of many bronies. There are many bronies who see involvement in fandom and watching the show as that safety valve.

But there are many others who narrate their experience as simply watching a show that they like–just like any other show–and, to their surprise finding outside resistance. Indeed, we don’t expect people to explain their affinity for most elements of popular culture. You need not justify why you watch “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones.”

The fact that causal explanations that answer why you are a brony are central to the narratives of many bronies does not really indicate too much about their truth value, but they are a useful indicator of where society draws its lines and how people who find themselves on the wrong sides of social lines create meaning based on their situations. Here, I’m drawing heavily on Lila Abu-Lughod‘s ideas about resistance as a “diagnostic of power” that points us to the methods and configurations of power (“The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power Through Bedouin Women,” 1990). In this case, bronies (and researchers) find themselves having to produce narratives that can explain why they have crossed norms of gender and age appropriateness, even if they don’t live by those norms themselves. Jacob Clifton in “Geek Love: On the Matter of Bronies” does a great job arguing that, being the first generation raised by feminists, of course these young men don’t see any difference between Twilight Sparkle or Han Solo being their idols.

Kurt: Ultimately the fact that bronies have to justify why they like the show is in many ways coming from the fact that they get such negative press and draw such negative stereotypes. We haven’t done too much to tease out what actually draws people to the show, although we’ve seen many people give many different reasons as we’ve gone about our research–the good writing and production, the positive themes, the large and thriving fan community, having friends and relatives that like the show, that they just somehow liked it, etc. I’m not sure that there is necessarily one, or even a few, things inherent in the show or the fandom that draw people to it any more than there being something inherent in basketball that makes people want to watch it. There are a lot of really complex personal, psychological and socio-cultural things at work in personal preference and the reasons people give usually seem to explain less about why they like something (I couldn’t tell you why I like Carly Rae Jepson or George Clinton) than they give culturally-determined reasons why it might be okay for them to like it.

Julia: Right now you have the benefit of both directly looking for source material on the open web, and having it come to you (through participation on your blog). Given your perspective, what kinds of online content do you think are the most critical for cultural heritage organizations to preserve for anthropologists of the future to study this moment in history?

Kurt: That’s a tough one, as even with our research on bronies I feel like everywhere I look, I see someone joining the Brony research herd with a new and different focus. Although we try to do a lot of our work by talking and collaborating directly with bronies, we’ve dealt with Twitter exchanges, media reports about MLP, message board archives, brony music collections, the show itself and just about anything that we can find where people are exchanging their ideas about the fandom. Others have dealt with collection of fanfics, sites dedicated to discussing MLP and religion, fan art, material culture and cosplay, and just about anything else you can think of. I’m always finding people who focus upon and draw insight from archives (both in the sense of actual archives and in the super-general sense of “stuff people use as the basis of their research”) that I would never have thought to use.

This being said, as someone that primarily studies expressive culture (my degree is from the department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology), I tend to place a lot of importance on it. The amount and quality of the music, art, videos, memes, stories, etc. floating around within the fandom has never ceased to astound me and was one of the primary reasons that I became attracted to the fandom in the first place. I feel like these bodies of creative works–from “My Little Dashie,” “Ponies: The Anthology,” and “Love me Cheerilee” to the Twilicane memes and crude saxophone covers of show tunes –are very important to the fandom and to those that want to understand it as scholars.

Jason: Broadly speaking, anthropologists have taken two approaches to describing the lives of others to their audience. The first is like a wide-angle lens, allowing someone to get a sense of the full scope of a social phenomenon, but it has trouble with the details and the charming little moments of creativity and agency–like fan-created fluffy ponies dancing on rainbows or background ponies portrayed as anthropologists studying humankind. Archival work needs that little-bit-of-everything for context, but it also needs a macro lens that can capture more of those particular and special moments. In anthropology, it might be akin to the difference between Malinowski’s epic “Argonauts of the Western Pacific”–a sprawling work that tried to introduce the entirety of a culture to us–and something like Anthony Seeger’s “Why Suyá Sing,” which performed the humbler, but no less impressive, task of letting us experience the nuances of a single ritual.

Since we can’t archive every little thing to that level of detail … we have to make choices, and that’s where bronies themselves are the best guides. What moments mattered to them, and “where” in cyberspace did they experience those moments? For a concrete example, the moment Twilight Sparkle gained her wings and became an alicorn princess (she was previously just a unicorn…thanks M.A. Larson) was particularly salient in the community, suggesting for some fans Hasbro’s stern hand manipulating the franchise. While there are some other similar instances, the unique expressions through Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. during and immediately following the Season 3 episode “Magical Mystery Cure” (when that transformation occurs) provide a really important look into what holds meaning for this fandom.

On a technical level, I think that means being able to follow links surrounding particular events to multiple levels of depth across multiple media modalities.

Julia: If librarians, archivists and curators wanted to learn more about approaches like yours what examples of other scholars’ work would you suggest? It would be great if you could mention a few other scholars’ work and explain what you think is particularly interesting about their approaches.

Jason: One place to start is to consider what the cultural artifact is and what it is we are analyzing, interpreting, preserving, archiving, etc., because it is not, ethnographically speaking, simply media that we are studying. As Mary Gray has insisted, we should “de-center media as the object of analysis,” instead looking at what that media means and how it is contextualized. For the archivist or curator, I think that means figuring out how people come to understand media and how they attach particular ideologies to it. Ilana Gershon’s “The Breakup 2.0″ and her work on “media ideology” broadly are great examples of shifting our attention so that we can hold both the “text” and “context” in view simultaneously.

Another example is danah boyd’s recent study of young people and their social media use, “It’s Complicated,” in which she inverts older people’s assumptions that teenagers’ social media use is crippling their ability to socialize, instead arguing that the constant texting and messaging indicates a desire to connect with one another that is born out of frustration with the previous generation’s (over-)protectiveness: truancy and loitering law, curfews, school busing, constant organized activity, etc. She arrives at that conclusion not only by studying teens’ messages, but by analyzing the historical conditions that produce the very different concerns of teens and their parents.

Kurt: As far as our approach goes, we’ve also been influenced by scholars working creatively with ethnography as a form or working just outside of its purview. We’ve brought up Kathleen Stewart’s “Ordinary Affects” in our blog and academic papers several times because it has been extremely influential upon both of us through its attempt to understand and express the ordinary moments in people’s lives that, while not unusual, per se, seem to have a weight to them that moves them somewhere in some direction–the little moments that are both ordinary and extraordinary, nondescript and meaningful. Susan M. Schultz’ “Dementia Blog” also comes to mind. While it isn’t necessarily an ethnography, per se, Schultz utilized blogging and its unique structural features (namely, that newer posts come first so that reading the blog in order is actually going backwards in time) as a means of looking into the poetics and tragic beauty of dementia while also expressing and understanding her own feelings as her mother’s mental illness progressed.

Jason: We are not too familiar with scholars who are interacting with fans in precisely the way that we are (or whether there are any), though it is important to be aware of the term “aca-fan” (academic fan) in fandom studies and some of the works being produced under that rubric. Henry Jenkins titles his website “Confessions of an Aca-Fan,” for example, and writes for an audience that includes both scholars and people interested in fandoms in general. The online journal Flow is another example that is somewhat more closely related to our blog, expressly attempting to link scholars with members of the public interested in talking about television. I’m also personally influenced by the work of Michael Wesch and Kembrew McLeod, both scholars who attempt to engage their students and the public in novel ways using media and technology.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Virgil's Garden: Hortus Virgilianus

Virgil's Garden: Hortus Virgilianus
Holt Parker

Vergil's Garden
Hortus Vergilianus
Le Jardin de Vergile
Il Giardino virgiliano
Die Planzenwelt Vergils
Vergil's Garden is an illustrated guide to the plants in Vergil's Georgics. I plan to expand the site later to include the Eclogues and Aeneid.
You can enter and navigate in any number of ways.
Click on one of the link below to go to the text of the Georgics.
Each book is linked to the Latin text as broken up into segments at Perseus (with dictionary and parsing aids). You can set either Latin or English translation as your default there. The names of the plants are highlighted and a click will take you to a page with pictures of the plants, their scientific names (genus and species), and the common names in English, French, German, and Italian. Clicking the Latin name will take you to the entry in Lewis and Short. Almost all links open in a new page, so you can have the text, the pretty pictures, etc., all open on your desktop. At the bottom of each page is a set of navigation links to return you to the main pages in that same window.