Friday, December 12, 2008

New ISAW faculty: Beate Pongratz-Leisten

ISAW has just named its third full-time faculty member: Beate Pongratz-Leisten as Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies (from September, 2009). You can read more about Prof. Pongratz-Leisten's academic achievements and research interests on the ISAW Faculty page.

The Institute has also just added new pages listing our:

End of an era

After four years of business success, the place I've dubbed my "coffice" is closing, so its owner and founder, Pete Abashian, can pursue other interests.

So the question for other regulars at Aromas is: who all is going to show up on the last day, Saturday, 20 December, to say goodbye and good luck to staff and friends?

And, gentle readers, if you've ever dreamed of owning and running a great coffee shop / cafe, this one is for sale.

Digital resources on the edge

At ISAW we're thinking about ways we can assist the scholarly community in identifying, rescuing and preserving (we've been calling it "backstopping") digital scholarly resources of value. As we continue to think about it, and start a dialog with colleagues, we should consider the Early Christian/Jewish Writings rescue effort (going on right now) as an important case study.

And here's a question for the folks involved in that effort: is there some way we could help?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nearest book

I'm now hemmed in by this meme, so I'll purge it:
Nora M. Dimitrova, Theoroi and Initiates in Samothrace: The Epigraphical Evidence, Hesperia Supplement 37, American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Princeton, NJ, 2008, no. 22, l. 20.

This was selected according to the following viral criteria, which I now inflict on you gentle readers:
  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.
The fifth line on page 56 (line 20 in the inscribed text) was the best I could do since this inscription is a long and fragmentary list of names and doesn't really have sentences.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adoption, Fostering, Abortion and Marriage

Recent events impel me to depart briefly from the customary DH geekery here to say, as calmly, respectfully and as earnestly as I can:

If you think that this country or one of its states should inhibit medical and legal opportunities for its citizens to obtain safe abortions and/or prohibit the fostering or adoption of orphaned children on the basis of the marital status or sexual orientation of the prospective parents, but you do not already have an adopted or foster child in your loving home, I urge you to search your heart and ask it this question before you hoist another placard, pen another letter to an editor or vote on another ballot initiative: "Why not?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BAtlas Grids in KML (some of them)

Would you like to have simple polygons of the Barrington Atlas map grid squares? Maybe for munging an existing placenames list up against BAtlas IDs?... We're using them to help keep you updated on Pleiades content digitization status.

We've started putting the grids up on the web in KML 2.2 under a cc-by-sa license. We'll keep you posted as we add more. Meanwhile, get them here:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

William Adams: Nubia's Other Civilization: the forgotten glories of the medieval kingdoms.

A lecture in New York:

William Y. Adams
Nubia's Other Civilization: the forgotten glories of the medieval kingdoms.
Date: November 20
Time: 12:00 pm
Location: ISAW, 2nd Floor Common Room

Mario Liverani: The History of the Sahara in Antiquity: Mirage or Scientific Project?

A lecture in New York:

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Annual Leon Levy Lecture
Date: November 13
Time: 6:00 pm

Lecturer: Professor Mario Liverani, University of Rome "La Sapienza"
Topic:"The History of the Sahara in Antiquity: Mirage or Scientific Project?"
Please RSVP to

Sabine Huebner: Household and Family in Past Time: The Roman East and West

A lecture in New York:

Sabine Huebner (Columbia University)
Household and Family in Past Time: The Roman East and West
Date: November 12
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: ISAW, Salmon Room on the 2nd Floor

Beate Pongratz-Leisten: Astralization of the Gods and the Concept of the Divine in Ancient Mesopotamia

A lecture in New York:

Beate Pongratz-Leisten (Princeton University)
Astralization of the Gods and the Concept of the Divine in Ancient Mesopotamia
Date: November 11
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: ISAW, Salmon Room on the 2nd Floor

Anne Porter: Of Bricks and Bodies: Integrating history, archaeology and an anthropology of art in the study of the ancient Near East

A lecture in New York:

Anne Porter (University of Southern California)
Of Bricks and Bodies: Integrating history, archaeology and an anthropology of art in the study of the ancient Near East
Date: November 10
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: ISAW, Salmon Room on the 2nd Floor

Daniel Potts: East of Ur and west of Meluhha, or what Elam, Ansan, Dilmun, Magan, Marhasi and Simaski were up to in the late 3rd millennium BC

A lecture in New York:

Daniel Potts (University of Sydney and The Institute for Advanced Study)
East of Ur and west of Meluhha, or what Elam, Ansan, Dilmun, Magan, Marhasi and Simaski were up to in the late 3rd millennium BC

Date: November 6
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: ISAW, Salmon Room on the 2nd Floor

CNRS-NYU Inaugural Workshop on Early Mathematics

This just in:

CNRS-NYU Inaugural Workshop on Early Mathematics

November 24 and 25th, 2008

New York University's new Institute for the Study of the 
Ancient World (ISAW) has made a major commitment to the study of the mathematical sciences in antiquity through the appointment of Alexander Jones as Professor of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity. The CNRS research group REHSEIS (Recherches épistémologiques et historiques sur les sciences exactes et les institutions scientifiques) has from its beginnings developed research on mathematics in ancient Asia (China: K. Chemla, India: A. Keller, Mesopotamia: C. Proust).

Within the context of the recently set up NYU—CNRS Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social sciences (UMI 3199), ISAW and REHSEIS intend to join forces and develop a joint research program on the mathematcal sciences in antiquity. The workshop marks the beginning of this collaborative effort. It aims at exploring the hypothesis that resituating mathematical developments in the context of distinct professional groups is an essential goal if we are to restore the variety of mathematical practices in the past and thereby to identify more easily instances and modes of transmission between professional milieus and geographical regions of the ancient Old World.

If you wish to attend the workshop, please contact Alexander Jones (, 212 992-7816). Space is limited.


Monday, November 24, at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 15 E. 84th Street

9:00 A.M.: Coffee

9:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
  • Karine Chemla (REHSEIS, CNRS & University Paris Diderot P. 7)
    Introductory words
  • Christine Proust (REHSEIS)
    Structure of series texts: a new approach of cuneiform mathematical corpus
  • John Steele (Brown University)
    Shadows in Babylonian Astronomy
  • Agathe Keller (REHSEIS)
    Reflecting on the different social groups that produced mathematical knowledge and texts in ancient India: different research perspectives, with a special emphasis on the history of versified problems and the perspective they open.
1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.: Lunch (buffet)

2:30 P.M. - 6:00 P.M.
  • Toke Knudsen (SUNY)
    The Direction of Down and Adhesive Antipodeans: Tradition and Innovation in Medieval Indian Astronomy
  • Michio Yano (Kyoto Sangyo University)
    Buddhist astronomy and astrology
  • Karine Chemla (REHSEIS)
    Writing down texts for algorithms: views from ancient China
Tuesday, November 25, at the NYU/CNRS International Research Center, 4 Washington Square North, 2nd floor

9:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
  • Alexander Jones (ISAW, NYU)
    Introductory words
  • Markus Asper (NYU)
    Narratives in Greek Mathematics?
  • Joe Dauben (CUNY)
    Archimedes and Liu Hui on Circles and Spheres
  • Alexander Jones (ISAW, NYU)
    Parapegma puzzles: reconstructing Greek documents on stellar risings and setting

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Digital Archimedes Palimpsest

This just in:
Ten years ago today, a private American collector purchased the Archimedes Palimpsest. Since that time he has guided and funded the project to conserve, image, and study the manuscript. After ten years of work, involving the expertise and goodwill of an extraordinary number of people working around the world, the Archimedes Palimpsest Project has released its data. It is a historic dataset, revealing new texts from the ancient world. It is an integrated product, weaving registered images in many wavebands of light with XML transcriptions of the Archimedes and Hyperides texts that are spatially mapped to those images. It has pushed boundaries for the imaging of documents, and relied almost exclusively on current international standards. We hope that this dataset will be a persistent digital resource for the decades to come. We also hope it will be helpful as an example for others who are conducting similar work. It published under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution license, to ensure ease of access and the potential for widespread use. A complete facsimile of the revealed palimpsested texts is available on Googlebooks as "The Archimedes Palimpsest." It is hoped that this is the first of many uses to which the data will be put.

For information on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, please visit:

For the dataset, please visit:

We have set up a discussion forum on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project. Any member can invite anybody else to join. If you want to become a member, please email:

I would be grateful if you would circulate this to your friends and colleagues.

Thank you very much
Will Noel
The Walters Art Museum
October 29th, 2008.
I found it a bit tricky to find the Google Books version of this, so here's the link.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Near Eastern Prosopography and Onomastics

Charles Helton wants a Lexicon of Greek Personal Names for Sumerian and Akkadian. What's the state of prosopographical and onomastic research in that context and the status of relevant projects (digital or otherwise)?

The DH Stack(s)

Lots of interesting posts in the last couple of days about Digital Humanities skills, software and cyberinfrastructure initiatives:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

American School Corinth Volumes on JSTOR

Charles Watkinson has just announced, via the website of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, that the following publication series is being made available digitally to subscribers of JSTOR (3 year moving wall):
  • Corinth: Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ISSN 1558-7185)
See the announcement for details and background.

Happy Birthday, Chiron!

Χείρων·(Chiron), the "collaborative space for teachers of classics" is two years' old. Congratulations!

If you're not familiar with Chiron, check out the "About" page (Spanish; English)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tom Tartaron on "Mycenean Coastal Worlds" in Huntsville, 2 October 2008

On Thursday, 2 October, at 7:30 p.m. the North Alabama Society of the Archaeological Institute of America will host a lecture by Prof. Tom Tartaron (Dept. of Classics, University of Pennsylvania) entitled "Mycenean Coastal Worlds." Tartaron is co-director of the Saronic Harbors Archaeological Research Project, which is studying the "first ever positively identified Mycenean harbor" and fortified port town at a site on the Saronic Gulf now called Kalamianos (Penn Current Research article; Penn Museum News article).

The lecture will be held in the Chan Auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (map, courtesy UAHuntsville Theatre).

More on the Zotero lawsuit

Hugh Cayless, who originally tweet-alerted me to the Zotero lawsuit, now has blogged about it (with some encouraging words for Dan Cohen and the GMU team): "Go Zotero!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Reuters (EndNote) sues George Mason over Zotero

By way of the Courthouse News Service we hear that:

Thomson Reuters demands $10 million and an injunction to stop George Mason University from distributing its new Web browser application, Zotero ... Reuters claims George Mason is violating its license agreement and destroying the EndNote customer base.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why email a newsletter but not post it?

I have to confess publicly, at the risk of being thought rude, that I was dumbfounded to read Polly Low's comment this morning:
The absence of the latest newsletter from the BES website is deliberate — only [listserv] subscribers get the cutting-edge news!
Why on earth would a professional academic organization with a web presence and a mission statement thereon that contains the following words limit themselves in this way?:
to promote the study of inscriptions, texts and historical documents ... disseminating news of the latest developments in epigraphic studies, in Britain and around the world
Or is the real issue that "subscribers" = "members" and timely access to the newsletter is seen by the Society as an exclusive benefit of membership?

Database Normalization and the Historian

Over at the UVA Library's Scholar's Lab Blog, Jean Bauer has a useful post ("Normality: For or Against") in which she considers the process of database normalization, its value in the context of particular historical research tasks, and the interesting problems that arise when you consider publishing such a database -- designed originally to support a particular line of inquiry -- for the use of other scholars.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moontown Fly-In 2008: 20-21 September

Blake Mathis just sent an email to the Moontown Airport announcements list (where I as a non-piloting neighbor lurk; kml):

Annual Fly-In Reminder, This Saturday & Sunday, tell your friends!

All, this is a friendly reminder of the BIG, FANTASTIC and FUN, Annual Moontown Fly-In, THIS Saturday and Sunday, September 20-21. There is will lots of planes, lots of people, food and lots of fun. Plan to bring your family out to an Old Fashion Grass Field fly-In, the way it used to be. Bi-wings, homebuilt, Cubs, Champs and many more. No admission charged for the fly-in.

Tickets are still on sale for the Saturday night dinner banquet at George’s hangar. This annual event has featured speakers from Astronauts to Authors. This year, the planning committee asked me to MC the evening and present to you some of our own local legends from around our community. Come enjoy a special evenings with friends as we look to the past and learn what it was like to serve in the military during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Whether it was storming the beaches at Normandy or flying bombers round the clock to intimidate Russia, the brave service of these people helped make America what it is today. They will share a few details of their service. Hear serious stories of survival; as well as some humor that sometime kept them going. Who knows, we might even talk George into dancing for us!

Visit the website for details on the entire weekend event and call the lounge to get your tickets for the dinner banquet, Before They Are Gone! 852-9781. Be sure to forward this to your friends. See you there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First Thousand Years of Greek: Utilities

I recently blogged the announcement of the CHS-sponsored First Thousand Years of Greek project. It looks as if Neel is beginning to roll out related code, documentation and information on the CHS Digital Incunabula site.

Wine, Treasure, and (Mayan) Archaeology in Huntsville

Help support the lecture series of the North Alabama Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.

On Saturday, November 15th, 7:00-9:00 PM, NASAIA will host a wine tasting at the Lowe House (210 Williams Street) the elegant, historic home of UAHuntsville President Dave Williams. Sommelier Tami Herrington of Pinnacle Imports will guide guests through the wines of South America. As you sample these fine wines you can bid on the treasures available in a silent auction. As a special event, renowned NASA archaeologist Dr. Tom Sever will give a brief talk on his most recent research on the Maya.

Tickets available for $25/glass, $40/couple, and $15/seniors. Please Contact Lillian Joyce for tickets:

Sarah Parcak on Egypt in Huntsville, September 17

The North Alabama Society of the Archaeological Institute of America is hosting Dr. Sarah Parcak for two talks next Wednesday:
  • Women and Power in Antiquity: A New Kingdom Case Study from Deir el-Medina, Thebes, 2:20 p.m. in Roberts 419 on the UAH campus
  • Making the Mummies Dance from Space: Using Satellite Imagery to Find Ancient Egypt, 7:30 p.m. in the Chan Auditorium (first floor Business Administration Building) on the UAH campus
You can read more about Dr. Parcak's work, and much else, on the NASAIA blog, Excavate!

"A New Low in the Exploitation of Adjunct Faculty"?

The above quote is attributed to Gwendolyn Bradley, of the American Association of University Professors, in this morning's issue of Inside Higher Education where Scott Jaschik writes about a "New Form of Adjunct Abuse":
At San Antonio College ... adjuncts are being encouraged to take on extra courses, ... [but] the college is asking some part timers ... to agree in writing to pretend that they aren’t teaching 12 credits. ...

Gerald J. Davey, an adjunct at San Antonio College who has served as the adjunct representative on the Faculty Council there, did not sign a waiver, but he has spoken with those who have and is angry about the system being used. Davey said that, in years past, once an adjunct has had a contract for 12 credits, benefits and higher pay scales have kicked in — and that the waivers are an attempt to limit what adjuncts receive from the college.

I can't help but draw attention to this most unfortunate of "context-sensitive" advertisements that appeared alongside Jaschik's story:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pinakes: Greek texts and manuscripts

Post by Arietta Papaconstantinou noted just now on the papy list (closed archive, sorry, so no link to original message):
Pinakes: Greek texts and manuscripts

The Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (CNRS, Paris) is happy to announce that the Pinakes database (formerly Greek Index Project) is now available for consultation in a free web version.

The database lists the manuscripts of Greek works written prior to A.D. 1600, for the most part recorded in printed catalogues of manuscripts.

The current version of Pinakes includes 200,000 entries. It provides manuscript listings for 13,000 works, which represent almost 40,000 manuscripts from 1,300 libraries worldwide. The records are intentionally brief and concise. The focus is on the content of each manuscript (authors and works). Dates are given according to catalogues. Basic codicological and paleographical information is provided only insofar as it is related to the texts.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Copyright and artifacts

Kevin Smith's "Copyright use case on a Grecian urn," Scholarly Communications @ Duke (6 September 2008) is worth a read. One highlight:
owning an object in the public domain, like a classical vase, does not create any intellectual property rights. Simply by owning and displaying the vase the museum does not gain a copyright interest where there was no such interest before

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Osgood on Linderski's Roman Questions 2

Just one highlight in a BMCR Review well worth reading:
Specialists in a range of sub-fields will be consulting this volume for years to come, and the indices facilitate this. As Linderski observes, "without detailed indices all texts but particularly inscriptions are half mute" (412), but as he also points out, one now wants more: electronic editions fully machine-searchable. Academic publishers need to keep up with technology at the rate scholars do or they risk obsolescence.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

BAtlas IDs: first full release (all maps)

Grab the whole thing here:

Let me know what problems you find.

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-09-04
This is the first complete release.
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 100, 101, 102
List of all maps presently covered: 1-102 (complete)

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.
  • No changes to previously released IDs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

BAtlas ID update: Maps 1-6 and 65

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-09-03
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 1, 1a, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 64
List of all maps presently covered: 1-99

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

  • No changes to previously released IDs.
  • Note that map 64 was erroneously listed as included in previous releases, but was not present. This difficiency is corrected with this release.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Would TS/SCI Jesus do?

I'm outraged. When I started this blog, I vowed to myself to confine its scope to my professional work and to local matters where I live. But I can't let this pass:
In sum, our investigation concluded that [former U.S. Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales mishandled classified materials regarding two highly sensitive compartmented programs. We found that Gonzales took his classified handwritten notes home and stored them there for an indeterminate period of time. The notes contained operational aspects and other information about the NSA surveillance program that is classified at the TS/SCI level. By regulation, such material must be stored in a Sensitive Compartmented Storage Facility (SCIF). At the time he took these materials home, Gonzales did not have a SCIF at his house. Although Gonzales did have a safe at his residence at this time, we found that he did not use it to store the notes.

We also found that Gonzales improperly stored other highly classified documents about the two compartmented programs in a safe at the Department that was not located in a SCIF. Several employees in the OAG had access to the safe where Gonzales stored the documents even though they lacked the necessary security clearances for this information. We concluded that Gonzales’s mishandling of both the notes and the other classified documents violated Department security requirements and procedures.
You can read the nauseating details via various liberal, elite gay-married terrorist media outlets:
I'll skip most of the rest of the ranting and just say this. There are plenty of folks over the years -- hardworking, well-meaning, patriotic folks in government service, the military and working for defense contractors -- who've been investigated, counseled, sanctioned, disciplined, busted, fired and even confined for accidentally mishandling classified information at levels far lower than TS/SCI.

And the Department of Justice decides not to seek prosecution for a man who was too busy (or something) to properly safeguard this stuff according to well-established procedures?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Public Transit in Huntsville

Good to learn, via the Huntsville Times, that the "City Looks to Improve Public Transit System." I hope that Louise Heidish (the PR/Marketing Specialist they've hired) knows something about the web and can advise the city on some good, working, location-based and webfeed-enabled services to make trip planning and stop-finding easier, and to keep us abreast of route changes and other news. Doesn't look like she has a web presence though ...

Get Paid to Read Greek!

From Greg Crane:

Contribute to the Greek and Latin Treebanks!

We are currently looking for advanced students of Greek and Latin to contribute syntactic analyses (via a web-based system) to our existing Latin Treebank (described below) and our emerging Greek Treebank as well (for which we have just received funding). We particularly encourage students at various levels to design research projects around this new tool. We are looking in particular for the following:
  • Get paid to read Greek! We can have a limited number of research assistantships for advanced students of the languages who can work for the project from their home institutions. We particularly encourage students who can use the analyses that they produce to support research projects of their own.
  • We also encourage classes of Greek and Latin to contribute as well. Creating the syntactic analyses provides a new way to address the traditional task of parsing Greek and Latin. Your class work can then contribute to a foundational new resource for the study of Greek and Latin - both courses as a whole and individual contributors are acknowledged in the published data.
  • Students and faculty interested in conducting their own original research based on treebank data will have the option to submit their work for editorial review to have it published as part of the emerging Scaife Digital Library.
To contribute, please contact David Bamman ( or Gregory Crane (

For more information, see

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barrington Atlas ID update: maps 89-99

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-28
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99
List of all maps presently covered: 7-99

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.
  • No changes to previously released IDs.

All 2,183 of you

Sometime this month, the diligent pigeons at Google Analytics tallied the twothousandth unique visitor in the history of this blog. Here's what they tell me about y'all:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

AIA News feed?

Can I really be right that the AIA website does not have a webfeed for its News section?

The First Thousand Years of Greek

The Center for Hellenic Studies has just announced, via its website, a project led by Neel Smith (Holy Cross) entitled "The First Thousand Years of Greek." I reproduce the entire announcement here, since the CHS website isn't set up to let me link directly to the announcement itself:
The First Thousand Years of Greek aims to create a corpus, to be made available under a free license, of TEI-compliant texts and lemmatized word indices coordinated with the on-line Liddell-Scott-Jones lexicon from the Perseus project. The coverage ultimately should include at least one version of every Greek text known to us from manuscript transmission from the beginning of alphabetic writing in Greece through roughly the third century CE.

In 2008, the capabilities of consumer-level personal computers, the tools available specifically for working with ancient Greek, and above all the publication of digital resources under licenses enabling scholarly use place the dream of the First Thousand Years of Greek within reach. Gregory Crane and the Perseus project have augmented Liddell-Scott-Jones with unique identifiers on every entry, and released this under a Creative Commons (free) license. Peter Heslin, whose work has always been a model of appropriate free licensing, has recently published in Diogenes 3 a polished library for working with the TLG E corpus, and by applying the open-sourced Perseus morphological parser to every word in the TLG E word list and then publishing the resulting index, has shown how even data sets with a restrictive license like the TLG can be used to create valuable new free resources. Hugh Cayless' transcoding transformer has become an indispensable piece of the programmer's toolkit, as support for Unicode continues to mature in a range of programming languages on different operating systems. At the Center for Hellenic Studies, Neel Smith and Christopher Blackwell have led the development of Canonical Text Services (information at chs, or mirrored here), a network service that retrieves passages of text identified by canonical references.

By combining public-domain readings of ancient texts or translations, which can be automatically transferred from digital collections such as the TLG, Perseus, and Project Gutenberg, with existing free resources, the CHS team will automate —and make it possible for others to automate— the most tedious aspects of creating the First Thousand Years of Greek. What we currently lack, and must create manually, is shockingly basic: an inventory of existing ancient Greek texts. The TLG Canon is a useful reference, but it is an inventory of print volumes, not of Greek texts. (So Ptolemy's Geography appears as two works in the TLG Canon because the TLG used two different print editions for different parts of the work; and of course entries for texts in “fragments” collections appear in the TLG Canon even though they do not exist as independent texts.) An inventory of Greek texts preserved by manuscript transmission will necessarily present a selection of material that is radically different from the material found in the TLG Canon.

In addition to historical metadata included in such an inventory, we need to determine for each text how it should be cited, and how that citation scheme should be mapped on to the TEI's semantic markup. There is no way to avoid making these editorial decisions individually for each text included in the First Thousand Years of Greek, but once the citation scheme has been been organized for a given text, we should be able to extract readings automatically from the TLG, Perseus, or Project Gutenberg, and then apply software to the extracted content to generate the new texts and indices of the First Thousand Years of Greek.

The quality of existing digital and print editions across the set of texts covered by the First Thousand Years of Greek will not be perfectly even. This will certainly mean that coverage of some parts of the project will advance more quickly than others. The CHS team expects that by beginning with material already available in good digital and print sources, we can gather a significant corpus quickly, and continue to expand its coverage over time. In the fall of 2008, the project is focusing on the first thousand years of Greek verse, with the goal of creating a complete corpus of all Greek texts in verse known through manuscript copying through the third century CE. The CHS welcomes collaborators, and invites any individuals, groups, or institutions who would like to contribute or just find out more about the First Thousand Years of Greek to email the project lead, Neel Smith, at first1kyears at

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Canadian Epigraphic Mission of Xanthos - Letoon (Lycia)

It's been a long time since I had an interesting conversation about digital approaches to epigraphic publication with Patrick Baker during the Epigraphic Congress in Barcelona. It's been not quite so long -- but clearly too long -- since I had a close look at what he and Gaétan Thériault have been doing since then with the Xanthos/Letoon epigraphy site:
  • Creative-commons licensing (cc-by-nc-nd)
  • Info on the project
  • Yearly reports on the survey seasons
  • Articles, papers, lectures and conferences
  • A documentary database including photographs of inscriptions and squeezes

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ann Macy Roth on Egypt in Huntsville: Monday 25 August 2008

The North Alabama Society of the Archaeological Institute of America is hosting Professor Ann Macy Roth for two talks next Monday:
  • Hatshepsut: Women and Power, 2:20 p.m. in Roberts 419 on the UAH campus
  • Androgeny and Blurred Boundaries in Ancient Egypt, 7:30 p.m. in the Chan Auditorium (first floor Business Administration Building) on the UAH campus
You can read more about Dr. Roth's work, and much else, on the NASAIA blog, Excavate!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BAtlas ID Update: Maps 28-34, 67-71, 81-83

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-20
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 81, 82, 83
List of all maps presently covered: 7-88

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

* No changes to previously released IDs.

Natual Language Toolkit (NLTK) penetration?

I'd be interested to know of digital classicists, antiquisters and those inhabiting neighboring nodes who are making use of NLTK and what your impressions of strengths and weaknesses are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BAtlas ID update: Maps 7-9, 26-27

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-19
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 7, 8, 9, 26, 27
List of all maps presently covered: 7-27, 35-66, 72-80, 84-88

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.
  • No changes to previously released IDs.

Maia Adjustments

The following feeds have been removed from Maia because they are generating errors on access and I have not been able to identify alternatives:
The following feeds remain removed from Maia for reasons previously identified:

Monday, August 18, 2008

BAtlas ID update: Maps 19, 41-48

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-15
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 19, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48
List of all maps presently covered: 10-25, 35-66, 72-80, 84-88

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.
  • No changes to previously released IDs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Atlantides: lists, comments out; BMCR in

Jo Cook is not the only one who didn't like my experiment with including comment and list archive feeds in the Maia and Electra aggregators. I don't like it either. They're out.

Meanwhile, BMCR has started producing a blog version of their reviews. It puts out a feed that properly handles the pubdate element. I've added that feed to Maia (see earlier comments on the direct BMCR feed). Thanks to Camilla MacKay for the notice.

Friday, August 8, 2008

BAtlas ID update: Maps 14-18, 24, 25, 39, 40

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-08
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 39, 40
List of all maps presently covered: 10-18, 20-25, 35-40, 49-65, 72-80, 84-88

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

* No changes to previously released IDs.

Model Beijing

I was psyched to learn, through this morning's Huntsville Times, that the simulation development group at my old employer, AEgis Technologies Group, is getting their 3D modeling work showcased on NBC's Olympics coverage. I had a chance to get the guided tour last year; they're doing some great work, using a combination of sharp people, innovative methods, DigitalGlobe (and other) imagery and open-source software.

They've set up a demo site where you can find out more and play with some of the models: Virtual Beijing of Olympic Proportions.

I do have to correct one what must be a blunder in the Huntsville Times' write up: the images used cannot all be free ... it's the software they're using that's open-source. Or maybe the confusion is over the difference between "freely available" (i.e., not classified) and "free" (as in better than cheap).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bamboo Rising: Are Databases the "New Ground" of Humanities Research?

For those who didn't have a chance to participate in one of initial Project Bamboo workshops, or who haven't had an opportunity to catch up with what's going on now in that context, I thought I might provide a pointer to the Project Bamboo Planning Wiki.

One current activity there is an attempt to Identify Themes of Arts and Humanities Scholarly Practice. My feed reader tells me that there's only one actual theme defined in this new section (just a bit ago), but I bet there will be more soon. The sole present one was offered by F. Allan Hanson (U. of Kansas, Anthropology):
  • Ground of Research: "Humanities research is changing (or will change, or should change) from being grounded in texts (bibliographies) to relational databases."
I bet my legions of gentle readers have some opinions about this assertion. Feel free to comment in the comments, or on your blog, or on a public list ... or in the Bamboo Planning Wiki itself.

NYU Programming Job: Papyrological Navigator

New York University: Programmer/Analyst (7421BR)

New York University’s Division of the Libraries seeks a Programmer/Analyst to work on the "Papyrological Navigator" (, a major web-based research portal that provides scholars worldwide with access to texts, transcriptions, images and metadata related to ancient texts on papyri, pottery fragments and other material. The incumbent will work closely with the Project Coordinator (at Columbia University) and with scholars involved in the project at NYU's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Duke University and the University of Heidelberg, as well as with NYU Digital Library Technology staff.

The incumbent's initial responsibilities will include: migrating existing PN software applications from Columbia University to NYU; optimizing performance as needed; establishing a robust production environment at NYU for the ongoing ingest and processing of new and updated Greek text transcriptions, metadata and digital images; performing both analysis and programming of any required changes or enhancements to current PN applications.

This is a grant-funded position and is available for 2 years.

Candidates should have the following skills:

  • Bachelor's degree in computer or information science and 3 years of relevant experience or equivalent combination
  • Must include experience developing applications using Java
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Java, Tomcat, Saxon, Lucene, Apache, SQL, XML, XSLT
  • Experience with metadata standards (e.g. TEI, EpiDoc)
  • Experience working in a Unix/Linux environments
  • Preferred: Experience with image serving software (eRez/FSI), Java Portlets, Apache Jetspeed-2, and Velocity templates.
  • Preferred: Experience designing, building, and deploying distributed systems.
  • Preferred: Experience working with non-Roman Unicode-based textual data (esp. Greek)
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills

Applicants should submit resume and cover letter, which reflects how applicant’s education and experience match the job requirements.

Please apply through NYU's application management system:

At this page click on "External Applicants" then "Search Openings." Type 7421BR in the "Keyword Search" field and select search. NYU offers a generous benefit package including 22 days of vacation annually. NYU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

New York University Libraries: Library facilities at New York University serve the school’s 40,000 students and faculty and contain more than 4 million volumes. New York University is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, the Research Libraries Group, the Digital Library Federation; serves as the administrative headquarters of the Research Library Association of South Manhattan, a consortium that includes three academic institutions. The Library’s website URL is

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

BAtlas IDs: Maps 10-13, 20-21, 49

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-05
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 49
List of all maps presently covered: 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 35, 36, 37, 38, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 84, 85, 86, 87, 87 inset, 88

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

* No changes to previously released IDs.

Pondering Change to Atlantides Aggregators: Excavation Blogs

The subscription list for Maia Atlantis is getting pretty huge. In a recent post, Bill Caraher reminded me that there's a big (and growing) genre of excavation blogs. I think this genre is heavily underrepresented in the Atlantides feed aggregator constellation.

It occurred to me that it might be worthwhile to put dig-specific blogs into their own aggregator, and pull the few currently in Maia out and put them there too.

On the up side, that might help keep Maia to a manageable size. On the down side it would mean splitting up what has, until now, been a one-stop shop for ancient world blog content. And there would inevitably be some blogs in which lots of interesting non-excavation posts appear alongside hard-core dig news and status.


Monday, August 4, 2008

BAtlas ID update: maps 23, 84, 85, 87, 87 inset, 88 and fixed dates

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2008-08-04
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 23, 84, 85, 87, 87 inset, 88
List of all maps presently covered: 22, 23, 35, 36, 37, 38, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 84, 85, 86, 87, 87 inset, 88

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.
  • All readme files, dated folders and compressed tar files have been modified and renamed as necessary to redress the erroneous substitution of 2007 for 2008. No changes to IDs have occurred.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

BMCR and SAFE Events Feeds Pulled from Maia

It is with regret that this morning I have pulled the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) Most Recent Articles feed from the list of feeds aggregated by Maia Atlantis. I took this step in accordance with my own Atlantis Suppression Policy.

It would appear that every time the BMCR adds a new article, dates on all articles in the feed are updated to present. As of this writing every single entry contains an identical "pubdate" tag with the value "03:49:18, Sunday, 03 August 2008" even though some of the entries have been in the list since it was first deployed a few weeks ago. This is non-standard behavior, and has the effect of pushing all the BMCR entries, in a block, to the top of any feed reader or aggregator, ahead of other content that is actually new. And in most feed readers they will show up highlighted or bolded, to indicate "new content." The appropriate behavior is to adjust dates only on those entries that have been added or substantially changed.

The Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) Events Feed is also blocked because it is forward-dating announcements of events to the date of the event, rather than the date of the entry. For example, the current feed contains a single entry with the following pubdate: "Thu, 16 Oct 2008 07:00:00 EST". This is the event date, not the publication date of the feed entry. This is also abuse of feed entry date fields and has the effect of causing these entries to linger at the top of the aggregation list for weeks or months until the date of the event passes.

I will be contacting the editors of both resources in the hopes of resolving these technical difficulties so that their content can once again be featured in Maia Atlantis.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hidden Web: Don't Love It, Leave It

There's been a bit of buzz lately about Google's "failure" to effectively search the "hidden (deep) web". In the discussions I've been seeing, the hidden web is equated with stuff in academic and digital library repositories, i.e., "OAI-based resources" (which I assume to mean OAI/PMH).

I have to say: repositories != hidden web. The hidden web is simply the stuff the search engines don't find. Systems that surface information about their content only through OAI/PMH interfaces might make up a small part of the hidden web because they're not being surfaced to the bots, but frankly the hidden web holds way more stuff than what's in Fedora and DSpace at universities. Just ask Wikipedia.

The assertion that repository content == the hidden web is circular and false rhetoric that obscures the real problem: people are fighting the web instead of working with it. If you fight it, it will ignore you. This sort of thinking also makes hay for enterprises like the Internet Search Environment Number that seem to me to be trying to carve out business models that exploit, perpetuate and promote the cloistering of content and the rationing of information discovery.

Yesterday, Peter Millington posted what's effectively the antidote on the JISC-REPOSITORIES list (cross-posted to other lists). I reproduce it here in full because it's good advice not just for repositories but for anybody who is putting complex collections of content on the web and wants that content to be discoverable and useful:
Ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
Peter Millington
SHERPA Technical Development Officer
University of Nottingham

You may have set up your repository and filled it with interesting papers, but it is still possible to screw things up technically so that search engines and harvesters cannot index your material. Here are seven common gotchas spotted by SHERPA:
  1. Require all visitors to have a username and password
  2. Do not have a 'Browse' interface with hyperlinks between pages
  3. Set a 'robots.txt' file and/or use 'robots' meta tags in HTML headers that prevent search engine crawling
  4. Restrict access to embargoed and/or other (selected) full texts
  5. Accept poor quality or restrictive PDF files
  6. Hide your OAI Base URL
  7. Have awkward URLs
Full explanations and some solutions are given at:

If you know of any other ways in which things may go awry, please contact us and we will consider adding them to the list.
I'm happy to say: Pleiades gets a clean bill of health if we count nos. 5 and 6 as non-applicable (since we're not a repository per se and we don't have a compelling use case for OAI/PMH or PDF).

Disclaimer: we are exploring the use of OAI/ORE through our Concordia project. One of the things we like most about it is that its primary serialization format is Atom, which is already indexed by the big search engines. With the web.

Can you believe it?

So, how long was it before the Mulder/Hades/Orpheus nexus dropped on your head like an anvil from Zeus? It was the dog that put me over the edge.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Outfox Shoutout

I wanted to blog about this as soon as it hit my feedreader, but then there was that proposal to finish. Anyway:

One of the highlights of a decade spent at Carolina was getting to work with Gary Bishop, a professor in the Department of Computer Science. We found ourselves in a collaboration initiated by Jason Morris, a blind Classics graduate student who was deeply interested in ancient geography and for whom Braille maps constituted a ridiculously low-bandwidth, low-resolution disappointment. The idea of producing immersive spatial audio maps took off in the hands of a group of Gary's undergraduate students and, with some seed money from Microsoft Research, this one initiative blossomed into a research and teaching program in assistive technology.

Gary's recently blogged about a cool new project: the Outfox extension for Firefox, which:
allows in-page JavaScript to access local platform services and devices such as text-to-speech synthesis, sound playback and game controllers
It's open source (BSD License), and you can help.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

BAtlas IDs: 4 more sets in Asia Minor, plus Cyprus

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2007-07-26
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 62, 63, 66, 72, 86
List of all maps presently covered: 22, 35, 36, 37, 38, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 86

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

* No changes to previously issued files in this release

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feed me, Seymour

It will come as no surprise to the legions of loyal readers here that I'm giving a hearty +1 to David Meadow's call for more antiquity-oriented websites to highlight and alert us to changes by incorporating web feeds.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BAtlas IDs: 10 more maps

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2007-07-22
Reference URL:

New maps covered in this release: 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60
List of all maps presently covered: 22, 35, 36, 37, 38, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 65, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

* Still suppressing ID creation for roads; have also added suppression for "coastal change" (so far only seen in Map 53)
* No changes to previously issued files in this release

Fall Institute in Digital Libraries and Humanities 2008

Just noted by way of TEI-L:
Announcing: FIDLH the Fall Institute in Digital Libraries and Humanities

in Atlantic Canada at the University of New Brunswick
Electronic Text Centre at UNB Libraries
September 25th, 26th, and 27th
Cost: $300.00


Thursday September 25th
  • Open Journal Systems (OJS) for electronic journal management
  • Institutional Repositories
Friday September 26th
  • XML for journal articles
  • XML for primary source texts
  • XML for electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs)
Saturday September 27th
  • Data Conversion and Digital Imaging
Also featuring talks by Atlantic Canada researchers including:
  • Richard Cunningham, Acadia University
  • Margaret Conrad, CRC, University of New Brunswick
  • Tony Tremblay, CRC, Saint Thomas University

Delta Hotel
Special Institute rate until by August 25th

Details will follow soon. For more information email Susan Oliver or Lisa Charlong

Prayer Answered: BMCR gets feed!

Thanks to Troels I got a happy surprise this morning. The Bryn Mawr Classical Review has published a web feed of recent reviews. This is great news for dissemination, data sharing and general all-around knowing what's going on. I have already added the feed to the Maia Atlantis aggregator. Now we just need to encourage more people -- including me -- to write and submit more reviews of web publications!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kostis Kourelis on GIS and Greek history

Kostis Kourelis has recently posted the third entry (Mapping Eleia) in an interesting series on toponyms, archaeology and GIS. There's no distinctive tag, so I'll explicitly link to the two previous posts as well:
He makes some useful observations about the challenges of working with historical GIS, including sourcing spatial data, tracking name changes and appropriations, addressing the shifting locations of particular conceptual places, navigating the influence of politics (both past and present) and handling issues of languages, scripts and transliteration.

Apropos language, script and transliteration there are many things to consider. It's in this domain of course that the simple, flat-file approach to GIS often breaks down, particularly given the problems of change over time and of fragmentary witnesses. For Pleiades -- which was designed with an object-oriented data model -- we record individual name variants, each of which has a language-and-script combination, an "original script" representation (using Unicode) and a transliteration. We can have as many names assigned to a given "place" as we have variants (or theories).

We have our own slightly idiosyncratic transliteration scheme for classical Greek (inherited from the Barrington Atlas; one of the major benefits of Pleiades is the ability to add back the original orthography). We could easily add multiple transliteration schemes (and the corresponding strings generated programmatically from the Unicode Greek). We may well need such a development when we move, as we eventually must, to include historical toponymy in Arabic (where both past and present variation in transliteration schemes renders even recent bibliography a veritable maze).

If you're trying to do this ArcGIS, you'll probably have to set up a relational database or manage a series of joined tables manually.

BAtlas IDs update: IDs for 9 more maps

README file for Barrington Atlas Identifiers, version published 2007-07-21
Reference URL:

New maps covered: 35, 36, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80

Major classes of change from prior versions are listed below. Consult individual files named like map22-diff.txt for output files differencing from prior version to this version.

* No changes from prior versions beyond the addition of data for new maps.

CFP: Space and Place in the Roman World

David Meadows has posted a call for papers that I've missed elsewhere, for an edited volume of papers to be entitled "Experiencing Space and Place in the Roman World." Abstracts by 31 October 2008; final papers in early 2009.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Aggregator: Ancient Inscriptions (Merope)

I've added a new feed aggregator: Merope Atlantis. This one grabs up feeds from three different Flickr groups in which some very good pictures of inscriptions are regularly being posted:
I hope soon that it will also begin to include images and texts posted elsewhere.

BAtlas ID update: add map 55, more fixes


  • Eliminated duplication/collision problems with alias id values. Although the combination of label + map number + grid square is almost perfectly unique across the entire atlas, the same cannot be said for features not appearing on the maps (like "unlocated" and "false" toponyms), nor for alternative aliases, such as those created for individual constituent names in a multi-name label. Where possible, these collisions are eliminated by adding a one-up numbering scheme (postfixed) on the id, or by omitting non-primary alias alternatives where necessary. The one-up postfix numbers are also reflected in matching captions (in parentheses).
  • Corrected initial two-capitals error in geographic names and associated captions generated when a parenthetical variant indication leads the toponym (e.g., (L)Ibida, which should produce the variants "Libida" and "Ibida", not "LIbida" and "Ibida".
  • Captions for "group" features now read like "aqueduct group" instead of "aqueduct-group".
  • Suppress serialization of a few redundant captions

Open Antiquist

Hooray for the organizers and members of Antiquist, who today have implemented their decision to convert the archives of their discussion list (which goes back to September 2006) from private to public! Antiquist describes itself as:
An online community of people working with computing in the heritage sector.

Antiquist is primarily a communication network - a way for us to talk, argue, experiment, share ideas, and solve common problems.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BAtlas ID update: add map 37, various fixes

Latest XML in

I've added a read-me file, as well as text files containing diffs between previous and current versions of the individual xml files. The readme file says:
  • altered citations so that location descriptions for unnamed features are enclosed in parentheses
  • fixed bug in processing of fragmentary, unreconstructable geognames so that lacunae are signaled with parentheses around ellipsis (...) instead of ellipsis alone; also, mark them correctly as completeness="non-reconstructable" instead of type="variant"
  • remove inverted quotes from geogname variants and instead mark them as accuracy="inaccurate"
  • handle group notation in location description for unnamed features like aqueducts and villas so that, e.g., Map-by-Map directory entry in Aqueducts for map 22 C5 with location description "Nicopolis ad Istrum (2)" becomes "aqueduct-group-nicopolis-ad-istrum-22-c5" instead of "aqueduct-nicopolis-ad-istrum-2-22-c5"; this also adds a new element child of indicating the number of features associated with the group.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

BAtlas ID update: add map 73, revise captions for rivers, islands and island groups

I have just updated the XML files providing Barrington Atlas IDs and associated information (background). The following additions and changes were made
  • IDs added for Map 73 (Ammon)
  • All files refreshed so that alternative captions for rivers, islands and island groups with multiple names all carry the appropriate formulaic postfix expression (fl., Ins. Inss.); no alias IDs have been changed; no geogname elements have been changed; no features have been added or removed
Copies of the prior versions are available for reference in an appropriately-dated subdirectory, e.g.:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barrington Atlas IDs

Update: follow the batlasids tag trail for follow-ups.

Back in February, I blogged about clean URLs and feed aggregation. In March, we learned about the ORE specification for mapping resource aggregations in Atom XML, just as we were gearing up to start work on the Concordia project, with support from the US National Endowment for the Humanities and the UK Joint Information Services Committee.

Our first workshop was held in May. One of the major outcomes was a to-do for me: provide a set of stable identifiers for every citable geographic feature in the Barrington Atlas so collaborators could start publishing resource maps and building interoperation services right away, without waiting for the full build-out of Pleiades content (which will take some time).

The first fruits can be downloaded at: . All content under that URL is licensed cc-by. Back versions are in dated subdirectories.

There you'll find XML files for 3 of the Atlas maps (22, 38 and 65). There's only one feature class for which we don't provide IDs: roads. More on why not another time. I'll be adding files for more of the maps as quickly as I can, beginning with Egypt and the north African coast west from the Nile delta to Tripolitania (the Concordia "study area"). Our aim is full coverage for the Atlas within the next few months.

What do you get in the files?

IDs (aka aliases) for every citable geographic feature in the Barrington Atlas. For example:
  • BAtlas 65 G2 Ouasada = ouasada-65-g2
If you combine one of these aliases with the "uribase" also listed in the file ( you get a Uniform Resource Identifier for that feature (this should answer Sebastian Heath's question).

For features with multiple names, we provide multiple aliases to facilitate ease of use for our collaborators. For example, for BAtlas 65 A2 Aphrodisias/Ninoe, any of the following aliases are valid:
  • aphrodisias-ninoe-65-a2
  • aphrodisias-65-a2
  • ninoe-65-a2
Features labeled in the Atlas with only a number are also handled. For example, BAtlas 38 C1 no. 9 is glossed in the Map-by-Map Directory with the location description (modern names): "Siret el-Giamel/Gasrin di Beida". So, we produce the following aliases, all valid:
  • (9)-38-c1
  • (9)-siret-el-giamel-gasrin-di-beida-38-c1
  • (9)-siret-el-giamel-38-c1
  • (9)-gasrin-di-beida-38-c1
Most unlabeled historical/cultural features also get identifiers. For example:
  • Unnamed aqueduct at Laodicea ad Lycum in BAtlas 65 B2 = aqueduct-laodicea-ad-lycum-65-b2
  • Unnamed bridge at Valerian in BAtlas 22 B5 = bridge-valeriana-22-b5
Unlocated toponyms and false names (appearing only in the Map-by-Map Directory) get treated like this:
  • BAtlas 22 unlocated Acrae = acrae-22-unlocated
  • BAtlas 38 unlocated Ampelos/Ampelontes? = ampelos-ampelontes-38-unlocated = ampelos-38-unlocated = ampelontes-38-unlocated
  • BAtlas 65 false name ‘Itoana’ = itoana-65-false
The XML files also provide associated lists of geographic names, formatted BAtlas citations and other information useful for searching, indexing and correlating these entries with your own existing datasets. What you don't get is coordinates. That's what the Pleiades legacy data conversion work is for, and it's a slower and more expensive process.

Read on to find out how you can start using these identifiers now, and get links to the corresponding Pleiades data automatically as it comes on line over time.

Why do we need these identifiers?

Separate digital projects would like to be able to refer unambiguously to any ancient Greek or Roman geographic feature using a consistent, machine-actionable scheme. The Barrington Atlas is a stable, published resource that can provide this basis if we construct the corresponding IDs.

Even without coordinates, other projects can begin to interoperate with each other immediately, as long as they have a common scheme of identifiers. After using BAtlas URIs to normalize, control or annotate their geographic description, they can publish services or crosswalks that provide links for the relationships within and between their datasets. For example, for each record in a database of coins you might like links to all the other coins minted by the same city, or to digital versions (in other databases) of papyrus documents and inscriptions found at that site.

Moreover, we would like other projects to start using a consistent identifier scheme now, so that as Pleiades adds content we can build more interoperation around it (e.g., dynamic mapping, coordinate lookup, proximity search across multiple collections). To that end, Pleiades will provide redirects (303 see other) from Barrington Atlas URIs (following the scheme described here) as follows:
  • If a corresponding entry exists in Pleiades, the web browser will be redirected to that Pleiades page automatically
  • If there is not yet a corresponding entry in Pleiades, the web browser will be redirected to an HTML page providing a full human-readable citation of the Atlas, as well as information about this service
So, for example:
  • will re-direct to
  • will re-direct to until there is a corresponding Pleiades record
The HTML landing pages for non-Pleiades redirects are not in place yet, but we're working on it. We'll post again when that's working.

Why URIs for a discretely citable feature in a real-world, printed atlas?

I'll let Bizer, Cyganiak and Heath explain the naming of resources with URI references. In the parlance of "Linked Data on the Web," Barrington Atlas features are "non-information resources"; that is, they are non-digital/real-world discrete entities about which web authors and services may want to make assertions or around which to perform operations. What we are doing is creating a stable system for identifying and citing these resources so that those assertions and operations can be automated using standards-compliant web mechanisms and applications. The HTML pages to which web browsers will be automatically redirected constitute "information resources" that describe the "non-information resources" identified by the original URIs.


If I get a comment box full of requests for a blow-by-blow description of the algorithm, I'll post something on that. If you're really curious and energetic, have a look at the code. It's intended mostly for short-term, internal use, so it's not marvelously documented. Yes, it's a hack.

One of the big headaches was deciding how to decompose the complex labels into simple, clean ASCII strings that can be legal URL components. Sean blogged about that, and wrote some code to do it, shortly after the workshop.

Credit where credit is due

Sean and I had a lot of help from the workshop participants (Ben Armintor, Gabriel Bodard, Hugh Cayless, Sebastian Heath, Tim Libert, Sebastian Rahtz and Charlotte Roueché) in sorting out what to do here. Older, substantive conversations that informed this process (with these folks and others; notably Rob Chavez, Greg Crane, Ruth Mostern, Dan Pett, Ross Scaife†, Patrick Sims-Williams, Linda Smith and Neel Smith) go back as far as 2000, shortly after the Atlas was published.

Many thanks to all!

in the Wild

Sebastian Rahtz has already mocked up an example service for the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. It takes a BAtlas alias and returns you all the name records in their system that are associated with the corresponding place. So, for example:
This is just one of several services that LGPN is developing. See the LGPN web services page, as well as the LGPN presentation to the Digital Classicist Seminar in London last month.

Sebastian Heath, for some time, has been incorporating Pleiades identifiers into the database records of the American Numismatic Society. He has blogged about that work in the context of Concordia.

Do you have an application? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

EpiDoc in Bologna

Last week I had the opportunity to give a seminar on EpiDoc as a guest of Prof. Carla Salvaterra and the Department of Ancient History at the University of Bologna. We titled the session "Digital Publishing with EpiDoc: Epigraphy, Papyrology, Interoperability."

I had a delightful time, and greatly appreciated extended discussion with the faculty and students who participated.

For what they're worth, I've posted my slides:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Open Library API, Bibo Ontology and Digital Bibliographies

I bet we're going to want to fiddle with the Open Library API and the Bibo Ontology in the context of the Pleiades bibliography application (and some others we're thinking about, like a next-generation Checklist of Editions for papyri and the like).
  • Seek and get digital books from the Open Library.
  • Use Bibo in other-than-html serializations of the underlying MODS records, and maybe even microformatishly in the HTML version. (We already use COinS -- for interop with Zotero -- but it's lossy, ungainly and suboptimally human-readable).
Thanks to Dave Pattern (via planet code4lib) for the pointer to the OA API).


Now back up and running: all public-facing services hosted on (including the Concordia website, the Pleiades development environment, the Atlantides feed aggregators and the inscriptol mercurial repository) are up and running.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Update (0855 EDT, 13 May): at present the server is down; individual services, beginning with Concordia, will come back up as they are reinstalled over the course of today.

It's time for a server operating system upgrade, so will be down today (6 May 2008), between noon and 8:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern time (GMT/UTC + 5). The length of the outage is likely to be shorter than this window. The Atlantides feed aggregators, as well as the Pleiades and Concordia development environments will be inaccessible during this upgrade. will remain up and accessible throughout.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sharing the road

So, you find yourself in a free-wifi coffeeshop (or similar venue), where you're sharing bandwidth with others. You have a bunch of really big files that you need to transfer to a remote server so collaborators can get at them. You know that upload speed at your location is throttled pretty aggressively (my usual haunt has Bell South DSL, and I've never seen a big upload average higher than 48Kbps). So, it's likely that if you blast that stuff out it'll slow everybody in the venue (I tried. It did.).

This uses all the bandwidth it can get:
This is more neighbor-friendly (my max upload speed is set to 10Kbps):
rsync --bwlimit=10 -e ssh
I really don't want to get thrown out of here ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

La construcción de una identidad provincial

José-Vidal Madruga sent me a notice about this interesting conference, set for 8-10 May in Sevilla. GB has already blogged it at Current Epigraphy, but the announcement I received has names of papers, so ...


La construcción de una identidad provincial La experiencia hispana

8-10 mayo 2008

Coordinación : A. Caballos Rufino Universidad de Sevilla S. Lefebvre Université de Bourgogne

Organisation : Universidad de Sevilla | Casa de Velázquez

Entidades colaboradoras: Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla. Consejería de Cultura. Junta de Andalucía Universidad de Sevilla. Facultad de Geografía e Historia Universidad de Sevilla. Departamento de Historia Antigua

Jueves 8 mayo

Aula Carriazo - Facultad de Geografía e Historia - Universidad de Sevilla

17 h 00 - 20 h 00

Presentación A. Caballos Universidad de Sevilla y S. Lefebvre Université de Bourgogne

P. Le Roux Université de Paris 13-Villetaneuse Introduction: identité civique, identité provinciale

F. Pina Polo Universidad de Zaragoza Etnia, ciudad y provincia en la Hispania republicana

M. Navarro Caballero CNRS-Centre Ausonius-Université de Bordeaux III Référents identitaires. Groupe, culture et territoire. L'identité celtibère dans le cadre de la province de Citérieure


Viernes 9 mayo

Aula Carriazo - Facultad de Geografía e Historia - Universidad de Sevilla

09 h 30 - 13 h 30

S. Lefebvre Université de Bourgogne Onomastique et identité provinciale: le cas de "Lusitanus"

S. Marcos Université de Paris I Espace géographique, espace politique : La frontière provinciale, une limite déterminante ?

F. J. Navarro Santana Universidad de Navarra El gobierno de la Tarraconense y la identidad de la provincia

R. Haensch Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik, Munich Das Verhältnis von Statthaltern zu ihrer Provinz

M. Gordón Peral Universidad de Sevilla Estructura funcional y vertebración provincial: el conventus Hispalensis

E. Melchor Gil Universidad de Córdoba Elites supralocales en la Bética: entre la civitas y la provincia


17 h 30 - 20 h 00

G. Chic García Universidad de Sevilla Los elementos económicos en la integración de la provincia Bética

A. Dardenay Université de Toulouse II-Le Mirail La diffusion iconographique des mythes fondateurs de Rome dans l'Occident romain : spécificités hispaniques

A. A. Reyes Domínguez Universidad de Sevilla La imagen como soporte de difusión ideológica en la provincia

M. Hainzmann Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz 'Nationale' Identität im Lichte des Götterkultes. Das Beispiel Noricums


Sábado 10 mayo

Salón de Actos - Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla

09 h 30 - 14 h 00

J. C. Saquete Chamizo Universidad de Sevilla La religión como elemento de integración de las provincias y los provinciales hispanos en época imperial

L. Brassous Université de Pau Les capitales des provinces d'Hispanie après la réforme administrative de Dioclétien

F. Wulff Alonso Universidad de Málaga Hablando de identidades. Debates teóricos y reflexiones historiográficas entre la República y el Imperio


Sesión de Clausura

F. Beltrán Lloris Universidad de Zaragoza " sola omnium provinciarum uires suas postquam uicta est intellexit": Hispania como referente identitario en el mundo romano"

Visita al Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla

CVZ Casa de Velázquez | c/ Paul Guinard, 3 | 28040 Madrid | España | e-mail Tlf: (00 34) 914 551 580 Flora Lorente | Fax: (00 34) 914 551 597

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Planets: Concordia and Pleiades

Neither Pleiades nor Concordia has its own news blog; and I hope you'll forgive the fact that the team members were reluctant to create same, since some of us already blog in multiple places. The solution? Aggregate and filter our regular blog posts into project-specific streams. So today I have added to the Atlantides system the following:
  • Concordia: News and Views (html | rss)
  • Pleiades: News and Views (html | rss)
Hat-tip to the filter in Sam Ruby's Venus.

Monday, April 7, 2008

More Traffic!

How, you ask? Just put the word "vulgar" in the title of your post and get Sean to link to it. Referral bonanza!