Efficient Digital Publishing for Inscriptions
Associate Director for Digital Programs and Senior Research Scholar
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
No one would argue at a gathering such as this that it will ever be possible to make it “easy” to publish inscriptions. But we should at least remind ourselves of the range of expertise and the quantity of effort the task demands. For a long time it has been the common – and justified – expectation that preparing digital epigraphic editions requires much more effort and expense than doing the work in print, especially when one attempts to seize opportunities that are unique to or enhanced by the digital context. Indeed, this has sometimes been offered as a sufficient reason not to adopt a digital approach, or to limit oneself to the dissemination of digital facsimiles of a print object (e.g., PDF files).
My paper will focus on struggles and successes in making the EpiDoc approach to epigraphic publication efficient and effective: capitalizing on the benefits of semantic markup and digital access while lowering hurdles to adoption. In particular, we will consider recent developments in open-source software for the iterative, collaborative, and “born-EpiDoc” digital publication of inscriptions and papyri.