Revised Statement on Computer Support

Classical studies has a tradition of active involvement with information technology (IT). Due to the early availability of machine-readable Greek and Latin texts, as well as early and ambitious efforts to coordinate these and other data for the purposes of research and pedagogy, Classics has rightly been regarded as a leader in the use of digital technology for humanistic inquiry. The purpose of this document is to outline support considerations that may help Classics maintain this position of leadership.

  1. Computer literacy. Many basic resources of Classical scholarship and pedagogy are now digital. Among these resources are text, image, and bibliographical databases and other online resources. Teachers of Classics are also increasingly making use of online and digital resources in their classes — a trend that will surely continue. With full awareness of demands on time and the constraints of local finances, the Society nonetheless affirms as an ideal the following:
    1. Working scholars and teachers should as a matter of course include digital literacy among the goals of their own continuing education.
    2. Training in the use of digital tools should also be a basic part of graduate education, with due concern for the hiring, support, and promotion of faculty who offer this training.
  2. Development and use of digital resources. Development of electronic tools for research and teaching is typically guided principally by scholars and teachers. But faculty will often require aid in the construction of such tools and may also require significant training if they are to realize the advantages offered by digital technology. Specifically, institutions are urged to provide support personnel to offer advice and technical assistance.
  3. Support for non-traditional scholarship and teaching in technological areas. Faculty members who develop or disseminate digital pedagogical materials, research tools, or scholarly products should receive due recognition. Included here is the support and promotion of scholars who create technologies that permit other scholars to pose new questions in their research or teach their classes in new ways by, for example, creating and curating databases, or developing software specific to Classics research or teaching. This work requires expertise in both digital methods and Classical scholarship, may involve intellectual and imaginative effort of a high order, and directly benefits the profession. In recognition of these facts, and with the express purpose of fostering more creative activity combining these skills, the Society urges that departments and institutions give due recognition in the tenure and promotion process to contributions to the classics that make significant use of electronic technologies. Digital contributions should be evaluated as other comparable materials, through external review by experts, allowing also for the metrics they themselves can produce (e.g., website visits), and without prejudice to the forms in which such contributions are commonly disseminated.

Digital publication of traditional forms of scholarship, whether as transferred versions of books and articles or new formats, is becoming an important part of classical research and education, allowing both scholars and the broader community to engage more quickly and easily with perspectives on classical antiquity. Digital publication formats have the potential to be disruptive, since they may or may not be produced by long-established publishers or be subject to a traditional peer-review process. Those who use and evaluate scholarly work at all levels are encouraged to judge these scholarly products as they do others, by their intrinsic quality.

Institutions are encouraged to contact the SCS Publications and Research Division for guidance in cases where local resources are inadequate to evaluate non-traditional contributions.

Adopted by the SCS Board of Directors, January 11, 2015

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