Friday, March 28, 2008

Comment feed recycle?

Well, either my feed reader is playing up, or Blogger somehow/why reset all comment feeds this morning. And it's not just this blog: the comment feed for AWBG reset too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Subaudible to me: APIS News and Updates

No easily spotted webfeed for APIS News and Updates either. Bummer.

Concordia grant award

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a nice event at the Folger library during which the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities announced the award of 5 grants under the NEH/JISC joint Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration rubric (press release).

I'm happy to report that Pleiades is part of one of the winning proposals. The award goes jointly to ISAW at NYU and to CCH/Classics at King's College, London for a collaboration we're calling "Concordia" (to reflect its focus on cross-project interoperability). The principal investigators are Roger Bagnall and Charlotte Roueché. Sean Gillies, Gabriel Bodard and I will join them in working on the project. The period of performance is 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009.

What will we do?
Our advisory board:

Subaudible to me: Digital Medievalist News

I can't find a web feed for Digital Medievalist News. Bummer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Connections: Ross Scaife

There's no point in reiterating here what Dot, Brent, Chris and Cathy have so eloquently written about Ross. Even though I'd had the news of his death privately over the weekend, the deep emptiness of his being gone didn't really hit me until I saw the first public notice on Classics-l. There's something brutally liminal about a death notice in a professional forum, no matter how gently written: it is the crisp, formal ceremony that transfers a person from the active present to the static past of the discipline.

This sombre realization is rippling through the web of connections that was Ross' personal and professional network. You can detect it in the spattering of blog posts, emails and the subdued communications of his many colleagues and friends.

And yet, it is clear that the interpersonal fabric Ross wove will be a lasting, living contribution to the field, and to our lives. There are so many people Ross introduced to each other and encouraged in collaborative digital classics work. He watched our backs when things got rough, applauded our successes, pulled us out of ditches, and kicked our asses well and thoroughly when we deserved it. Vast indeed is the sea of those whom Ross has mentored and enabled.

I've written elsewhere about Ross's contribution to the EpiDoc effort. Pleiades owes him an equal debt. It was Ross's 2001 invitation to speak at the Center for Computational Sciences in Lexington that first forced me to formalize the ideas that I'd been batting around privately with Richard Talbert, Stephen MacGregor, Hugh Cayless, Noel Fiser, Amy Hawkins and others in Chapel Hill. And it gave those ideas their first public airing. Ross and I had originally discussed them, along with Sebastian Heath and Neel Smith, in Newport the previous year. Ross helped us refine the plan through subsequent iterations and grant proposals and, when it emerged that UNC could not provide us with the class of hosting we needed for development, he offered server space belonging to the Stoa. The collaborative editorial approach embodied in the Suda Online underlies our model for the Pleiades workflow, to be rolled out later this year. Ross remained deeply engaged in both the vision and the technical details of Pleiades, even during his illness. Without him, Pleiades would not be.

And so I have now both sadly and joyfully yielded -- like Patrick, Melissa, Troels, Hugh and others -- to the compulsion to hold up for you to see one more swathe of the Rossian fabric, saying "Look! Here's another bit he did with us. Doesn't it shine, gold and purple in the sun?"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Disabling keystroke activation of Frontrow in Mac OSX

My productivity has been taking a hit lately because of Apple's default keystroke sequence for Frontrow. I have no beef with the software, but it's been driving me crazy that I frequently overshoot CMD+GRAVE and hit CMD+ESC, which invokes a full-screen blackout, followed by a slow fade-in of the Frontrow interface, which can't be banished (using the ESC key) until it's fully displayed. Yes, it's all about my sloppy typing, but still .... Argh!

Given that I'm still re-adjusting to the Mac (having been moved to Windows ca. 1998 -- long before the advent of OSX -- and only recently re-mac'd), I wasn't sure where to look to fix this. Thanks to motulist and xUKHCx over at the Mac Basics and Help forum on MacRumors (by way of Google), I now have the answer.

Standby for a work speed-up!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Behold the power of the ORE

Dan Cohen rocked my feed reader this morning with news that the Open Archives Initiative has unveiled the Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) Specification. This initiative came in below my RADAR (as so many things do!); Dan's post is well worth a close reading, both as an introduction and as a rationale.

As I understand it so far, ORE provides a structured method for mapping relationships between digital resources (different formats, multiple versions, works that cite other works, reviews of works, etc.). Any party -- an author, an archivist, a (e)journal editor, an automated process -- can construct these maps and then publish them via a serialization format for use by other individuals and processes. As Dan writes:
Today's scholarship ... cannot be contained by web pages or PDFs put into an institutional repository, but rather consists of what the ORE team has termed “aggregates,” or constellations of digital objects that often span many different web servers and repositories ... By forging semantic links between pieces entailed in a work of scholarship [ORE] keeps those links active and dynamic and allows for humans, as well as machines that wish to make connections, to easily find these related objects. It also allows for a much better preservation path for digital scholarship because repositories can use ORE to get the entirety of a work and its associated constellation rather than grabbing just a single published instantiation of the work.
Sean and I have been poring over the ORE Spec for the last hour or so, and especially the section on the primary serialization format for ORE Resource Maps, which makes use of Atom.

Pleiades fans will already know that, at the beginning, Sean designed into our publication interface an Atom+GeoRSS serialization component (e.g., Pleiades Cyrene in Atom), and that he is a vocal advocate for RESTful geoapps that employ Atom and other appropriate formats. Last Friday, I gave a presentation about Atom+GeoRSS for cross-project interoperability to an audience at the British School in Rome. This approach that has grown out of our Pleiades work. In comparing where we have been going with where ORE is going, it's clear that the practice is very close (as Sean points out). In coming days I'll be reworking the example to match the ORE spec, and we'll be doing some upgrades to our standard Pleiadic Atom feeds as well.

Watching Omeka

Shawn is trying out Omeka. Thanks, and thanks for blogging about the experience. We're beginning to think about what we'll do for online avatars of ISAW exhibitions beginning in 2009, and so Omeka is on our list of things to look at closely.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Journals@Classics-l: digital vs. print and open vs. not

G. Rendell's Friday piece at Inside Higher Ed (Journal Boxes) has touched off a couple of interesting threads at classics-l:
Unfortunately, the discussion has almost immediately got itself wrapped around an axle of conflation. Pacem the subject line, there are two axes of interest here, not one:
  1. Print vs. digital (delivery format)
  2. Open access vs. subscription-based services (licensing and distribution policy)
When these two axes get conflated, we immediately see (as here) a boiling over of the ire of non-affiliated scholars (and those affiliated with financially challenged institutions) who feel locked out of access to important (digital) journals they feel they'd be able to get access to if those journals were in print. This is often painted as a reason why journals should not "go digital" when in fact it's simply evidence of bad (or indifferent) decision making when it comes to publication models.

Proponents of open access should be at pains to point out this difference, lest their baby get thrown out with the bathwater. Editors of fee-and-subscription-based journals should be prepared to explain and revise their licensing and access policies to address the legitimate concerns of scholars in the long tail outside the wealthy-tier institutions.

Aside: it's irritating that the UKY listserv software breaks topic threads on a month transition. Somebody should complain.