Digital Classicist/ICS Work in Progress Seminar, Summer 2009

This years Digital Classics seminar is due to begin on June 5. The classics field is one of the most active in the Digital Humanities and this years seminar has attracted many international speakers discussing diverse topics from Herodotus, to Philology, to agent-based modelling. For those historians and academics who are not particularly strong in classical thinking (like myself), these forums are still valuable for learning about the computational methods that may be useful for other areas of the humanities. The evening usually ends in lively discussions in one of London’s finest watering holes.


Digital Classicist/ICS Work in Progress Seminar, Summer 2009

Fridays at 16:30 in STB3/6 (Stewart House), Senate House, Malet Street,
London, WC1E 7HU
(July 17th seminar in British Library, 96 Euston Rd, NW1 2DW)

June 5 Bart Van Beek (Leuven)
Onomastics and Name-extraction in Graeco-Egyptian Papyri
June 12 Philip Murgatroyd (Birmingham)
Starting out on the Journey to Manzikert: Agent-based modelling and
Mediaeval warfare logistics
June 19 Gregory Crane (Perseus Project, Tufts)
No Unmediated Analysis: Digital services constrain and enable both
traditional and novel tasks
June 26 Marco Buechler & Annette Loos (Leipzig)
Textual Re-use of Ancient Greek Texts: A case study on Plato’s works
July 3 Roger Boyle & Kia Ng (Leeds)
Extracting the Hidden: Paper Watermark Location and Identification
July 10 Cristina Vertan (Hamburg)
Teuchos: An Online Knowledge-based Platform for Classical Philology
July 17 Christine Pappelau (Berlin) *NB: in British Library*
Roman Spolia in 3D: High Resolution Leica 3D Laser-scanner meets
ancient building structures
July 24 Elton Barker (Oxford)
Herodotos Encoded Space-Text-Imaging Archive

July 31 Leif Isaksen (Southampton)
Linking Archaeological Data

August 7 Alexandra Trachsel (Hamburg)
An Online Edition of the Fragments of Demetrios of Skepsis


We are inviting both students and established researchers involved in
the application of the digital humanities to the study of the ancient
world to come and introduce their work. The focus of this seminar series
is the interdisciplinary and collaborative work that results at the
interface of expertise in Classics or Archaeology and Computer Science.

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

For more information please contact,,, or, or
see the seminar website at

Press Release: Fedora Commons and DSpace Foundation Join Together to Create DuraSpace™ Organization

(This is indeed excellent news for the Open Repositories movement in terms of creating such a large player in the field and in terms of pooling the expertise of both organisation to help foster an open research commons online).
(Fedora hats…much more interesting than Press Releases!)
Ithaca, NY, Boston, MA — Fedora Commons and the DSpace Foundation, two of the largest providers of open source software for managing and providing access to digital content, have announced today that they will join their organizations to pursue a common mission. Jointly, they will provide leadership and innovation in open source technologies for global communities who manage, preserve, and provide access to digital content.
The joined organization, named “DuraSpace,” will sustain and grow its flagship repository platforms – Fedora and DSpace. DuraSpace will also expand its portfolio by offering new technologies and services that respond to the dynamic environment of the Web and to new requirements from existing and future users. DuraSpace will focus on supporting existing communities and will also engage a larger and more diverse group of stakeholders in support of its not-for-profit mission. The organization will be led by an executive team consisting of Sandy Payette (Chief Executive Officer), Michele Kimpton (Chief Business Officer), and Brad McLean (Chief Technology Officer) and will operate out of offices in Ithaca, NY and Cambridge, MA.

JISC Digitisation projects

JISC (the Joint Information Services Committee) fund a number of digitisation projects with content that spans nearly five centuries of British history.  Some notable examples include British Newspapers 1620-1900 and the 19th Century Pamphlets Online. The manifold importance of digitisation is that the records are made easily accessible to scholars and the general public, and two once the records are ‘data’ they can be used in new ways to gain fresh insights from the data (especially in a large-scale quantitative sense such as parsing 2 centuries of Legal or Parliamentary records).  The UK is fortunate in that it has invested so heavily in digitising some of its immense human history so that now this ‘data’ can be imaginatively used in new ways. As new computational tools and methods are developed, more usages of this data will be found (as long as the data is structured and preserved in a useful way).

(this is just a crappy JPEG I have used as an example. Not the real deal).

Institutional repositories and data re-use for the humanities

(originally written for

Institutional repositories have become increasing important systems to store the rising amount of data produced by researchers. An institutional repository may be university wide or subject specific. They may serve the needs of a particular institution, a group of institutions, a nation, or an entire region. Examples include the UK’s Archaeological Data Service (ADS) the History Data Service (HDS) , the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA), and the European wide Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) and the Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN)

Institutional repositories collect digital data and usually make it available to a global audience. They may contain an assortment of digital objects including pre and post print articles, theses and dissertations, and results from research such as databases, images, surveys, teaching materials, and computing tools.

Once materiel is in a repository; another researcher may download it to be reused in their own research. Most institutional repositories work in this way; although there is a trend towards building systems to re-use this data in sophisticated, distributed ways through ‘Cyberinfrastructures’ and Virtual Research Environments (VREs).

Some of the most interesting academic questions for humanists is how do you incorporate data produced in the context of another research project in your own research? What new insights arise, what new problems arise, and how does this data impact upon the underlying evidence layers of your research? If anyone has experience of this; I would be extraordinarily interested to hear from you as I am developing a series of case studies around this problem.

(Western Union’s Automated Electronic Telegraph)

The Virtual Museum of the Pacific: A Semantic Web-based Content Management System

The Virtual Museum of the Pacific (VMP) is a Rich Internet Application with a Web Services architecture used to manage and navigate 400 objects from the Australian Museum’s ( Pacific Island collections. This project tests a new means of facilitating access for Indigenous people and researchers to museum-based digital collections whose artefacts are physically distributed and often not on public display. The project has two dimensions: at the technical level the focus is on leveraging metadata used in curatorial management to produce a Web-based content management system for representing collection resources as a dynamic associative network; at a museological level the focus is on studying the effective means of presenting and interacting with this semantic network for traditional owners, the general public, researchers and curators (link)