After 5 years, I’m leaving ISAW and NYU. Friday (the 13th!) is my last day.
It’s been a tremendous privilege to work here, work largely funded by the
National Endowment for Humanities (and thereby many of you dear readers), but
I can no longer deny my itch to get back to my professional passions: maps and
mapping data for the web. Building classics research infrastructure and trying
to change scholarly communication has been very interesting, but in all
honesty, I’d rather be making better maps and better mapping infrastructure.
On Monday I’ll be just a normal user of Pleiades and no longer responsible for
its day to day operation. Leaving the engine room will be a big change for me.
Looking back, I’m very proud of what I’ve helped the Pleiades community
accomplish. We built a framework for correcting and extending the Barrington
Atlas gazetteer and provided a spatial foundation for future digital classics
projects. We were pioneers in microattribution. The idea of URIs for
classical concepts that we championed is now entirely mainstream, as is the
idea of interacting with classical resources using HTTP and REST. Development
in the open, with open source licensing, public source repositories, and public
mailing lists is now the norm. We took the public funding of Pleiades very
seriously and spun out useful open source GIS software like Shapely and Fiona.
And the GeoJSON format has roots in Pleiades, maybe you’ve heard of it?
I’ll miss being paid to work at one of the hubs of collaboration between all
the wonderful folks at the Alexandria Archive, American Numismatic Society,
Ancient World Mapping Center, Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing,
Epigraphic Database Heidelberg, Kings College (London) DH, Pelagios, and Portable Antiquities Scheme. It’s
been an honor, everybody. Thank you.
Of all these collaborations, it’s the one with Tom Elliott, my boss, that I’ll
miss the most. NYU is a big company and some things that go down at big
companies are less than ideal, but he has been the ultimate firewall;
bureaucratic nonsense never leaked through into my work life. Tom’s the glue
that holds the digital classics field together and his vision of it makes
positions like mine (no Classics Ph.D. required!) possible. Most of all, he’s
my friend. Thanks, Tom.
I’ve got 2 more days of documentation sprinting ahead of me and
then I’ll be available for new work.