Update on Digital Latin Library

The Digital Latin Library (DLL) will be a site on the Internet where people with varying levels of interest and expertise in Latin can find, read, discuss, study, teach, edit, and annotate Latin texts of all eras, whether for personal use or for open-access, peer-reviewed publication by one of the three learned societies affiliated with the project: the American Philological Association (APA), the Medieval Academy of America (MAA), and the Renaissance Society of America (RSA). Similar to a traditional public research library, the DLL will have a catalog, a variety of collections of texts and reference materials, and working space for both individuals and groups. Unlike a research library, it will also provide tools to facilitate the creation and publication of open, born-digital critical editions and other scholarly and pedagogical resources that take full advantage of powerful technologies and techniques such as Linked Open Data (LOD), information visualization, and visual data analysis, opening up new possibilities for the communication of scholarly ideas.

In the last year, with the support of a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (AWMF), members of the APA, the MAA, and the RSA explored the possibility of creating a resource that would usher in a renaissance in scholarly editing and communication in all fields concerned with the Latin language. The group determined that it is not just feasible, but highly desirable to pursue an implementation grant to build a virtual, ubiquitous, sustainable, working space for scholars and readers of Latin texts.

The recent launch of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has demonstrated the power of Linked Open Data in making information from disparate sources available through a single point of access. Instead of keeping copies of documents and files on its own servers, the DPLA provides ready access to collections in hundreds of other libraries all at the same time. Because those institutions already use commonly accepted standards for their data and metadata, the DPLA can harvest that information and make it available in a single, uniform interface.

The DLL aims to do for Latin what the DPLA has done for materials in public libraries across the United States: provide a single point of access to all Latin texts on the Internet, along with resources and a place for reading and working with them. A major challenge for the DLL is that the Latin projects already in existence do not have much in common other than that they are on the Internet. That is why the DLL working group devoted a significant amount of our planning phase to discussing and developing a metadata standard for describing authors and works in a way that addresses the unique challenges of ancient resources such as fragmentary texts, spurious works, florilegia, myriad anonymous authors, and the intricate relationships between manuscripts.

Since existing catalogs or catalogs in development (e.g., the Perseus Catalog, the Classical Works Knowledge Base) of Latin literature stop at the eighth century CE, a mission of the DLL will be to expand and extend the coverage to authors and texts through the middle ages and into the Renaissance. To that end, the DLL team will spearhead the effort to promote adoption of LOD and a common metadata standard on other sites so that we can approach our admittedly asymptotic goal of providing a single point of access to all Latin texts in existence.

But the DLL will be more than just a virtual card catalog; it will be a library in every sense of the word, with resources and support for the production of new scholarship and educational materials. Once users find the texts they want to read, they will be able either to visit the site that hosts it or, if the text is openly available and in a compatible format, to import it into a working space for use with the resources of the DLL. A number of interfaces will facilitate activities such as reading and annotating texts, either privately or in open collaboration with other users; textual analysis with grammatical, lexical, and search tools; visual analysis with highly interactive data navigation and dissection tools; and collaborative learning and scholarship.

The Library of Digital Latin Texts.  Although some patrons will use the DLL’s space for private study or teaching, others will use it to produce new critical editions and submit them for publication to one or more of the learned societies affiliated with this project. These editions, published together as The Library of Digital Latin Texts, will gradually become not only the centerpiece of the DLL, but standard editions for scholarly use, since they will provide much more information about texts and their transmission than traditional print editions can. The Library of Digital Latin Texts will also provide a reliable model for peer-reviewed publication in the era of Open Access.

The Library of Digital Latin Texts is in many ways the boldest part of this entire project, since it will reimagine the critical edition for the digital age. The editorial techniques established over centuries of practice and scholarly debate will not be swept aside; rather, The Library of Digital Latin Texts will provide an outlet for realizing the full potential of those techniques, long hampered by the constraints of traditional print publication.

Until recently, none of the Latin texts available online had a critical apparatus, which meant they were of limited use to scholars. There are two main reasons for the absence of the critical apparatus: copyright protect and technical difficulty in displaying the information. To date, the sites that have presented an apparatus with their texts have more or less reproduced the format of a printed edition, leaving editorial information abbreviated and removed to the bottom or side of the page. In the case of a printed edition, this format makes economic sense: publishers are reluctant to sacrifice room on the page for something that only specialists will understand.

Free of those constraints, editions published in The Library of Digital Latin Texts will have an enhanced critical apparatus capable of far more than listing variants and conjectures. Editors will be able to explain in situ their arguments for or against certain readings, calling upon all of the resources of the web (e.g., descriptions and/or images of the manuscript in question) for support. Scholarly discussion of the editor’s decisions can occur in real time, instead of according to the timetables of the diverse outlets that publish textual notes and reviews. Because the entries will be in human- and machine-readable form (i.e., according to the standards of the Resource Description Framework), they will be readable and queryable by both humans and machines, which means that even the sophisticated word-searches that we have been able to perform with existing tools will pale by comparison, since the robust techniques of data analysis will finally become available to scholars of Latin texts. As more editions are added to The Library of Digital Latin Texts, its capabilities will increase, as will the possibilities for new avenues of research.

The commitment of the APA, MAA, and RSA to vet proposals for new editions and to provide peer review and editorial oversight through their respective research and publications divisions is the most exciting component of the project’s sustainability. In the past, organizations such as the APA entered into partnerships with commercial presses to print, bind, market, and distribute their scholarly resources. Such partnerships often involved the author and/or the author’s home institution paying subvention fees or other expenses associated with commercial ventures. The DLL eliminates those expenses. Scholars will produce editions and submit them to the appropriate learned society for review. The learned society will decide whether or not an edition is worthy of publication. Those deemed worthy will be published under the aegis of the learned society on the DLL in an openly accessible form, under a Creative Commons license. The entire process will preserve the time-honored elements of scholarly publication: independent scholarship, peer review, endorsement by an editorial board, and the widest distribution possible.

Samuel J. Huskey
APA Information Architect and DLL Project Director
 

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A black-figure vase depicting three chorus-men costumed as warriors, wearing individually crested helmets, “riding" three partners in horse costume.

A conspicuous theme in Aristophanic comedy is the civic motivation of Athenian citizens, which is presented as highly problematic. Judges and Assembly-goers are portrayed consistently as motivated not by any sense of civic duty but by monetary incentives — the misthos dikastikos and the misthos ekklēsiastikos, respectively. Some scholars have considered this portrayal of everyday citizens as narrowly profit-driven and utterly selfish to be proof of Aristophanes’ elitist and anti-democratic views. Indeed, such a commentary on civic motivation vis-à-vis incentives seems to align with that of Plato, whose Sokrates famously asserts that Perikles’ introduction of public payments made Athenians “idle, cowardly, talkative, and avaricious” (Gorg. 515e).

Yet an examination of Aristophanes’ plays through the lens of behavioral science allows for a radically different reading. This is the reading I offer in my dissertation, Enter homo oeconomicus: Civic Motivation and Civic Education in Aristophanic Comedy.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/19/2021 - 11:21am by .

Registration for the 2022 hybrid annual meeting is now open! If you would like to attend the meeting in person, you need to register on or before Friday, November 19 in order to obtain the early registration rate. Please note that there is no early rate for virtual attendance. You can register online here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/15/2021 - 12:14pm by Helen Cullyer.
A window display featuring books about Greek myth, a model of the Ishtar Gate, and a large papier-mache figure of Poseidon.

Growing up, one of my favorite shows was Star Trek: The Next Generation. At the risk of angering my fellow Trekkers, I am a Captain Picard guy all the way. In TNG and the subsequent movie, the concept of “First Contact” is a vitally important hinge point in human history. The term refers to the first time that one planetary civilization — in this case, humans — comes into contact with another, most famously the Vulcans. First Contact is something that is always meant to be planned, considered, and carefully done at precisely the right time. First Contact is also one of the guiding principles I follow as a middle school ancient history teacher. Instead of alien civilizations from space, I bring groups together across time, right here in my classroom — Ancient civilizations and modern 11-year-olds.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/15/2021 - 9:50am by .
A section of a painted fresco showing a woman with auburn hair tied into a low bun. She wears a laurel crown and a turquoise toga over one shoulder, and she looks down to her right.

The history of emotion studies

Emotion, generally referred to in the ancient world as pathos (from which we get words like sympathy and empathy), or adfectus (which refers to a state of body and/or mind and from which the word affect derives), is a term of fairly recent vintage. Coined in the mid-16th century, it became the expression of choice in the 19th. These days, it is most generally thought to refer to a strong feeling deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others, but there is a long and ongoing debate about the precise nature and function of emotion that stretches back not only to Darwin and James, but also to the ancient world. Aristotle and the Stoics, for example, debated some of the same points that modern proponents of Affect and Appraisal theories of emotion do.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/12/2021 - 1:40pm by Jennifer Devereaux.
A book cover with a pink and white geometrically-patterned background. In the middle stands a cartoon man with a beard, a bald head, a toga, and a walking stick. He is surrounded by stars and symbols. A small, gray dog at his feet sniffs an ant.

Do you know any kids? Do they like books? Do you want to lure them down the path of Classical Studies before paleontology fever sets in? The good news is that there’s a new resource in development to help you do just that. I’m please to introduce Calliope’s Library: Books for Young Readers.

Figure 1: Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby. Krishni Burns writes, “I appreciate a modern-day Persephone who sets the curtains on fire to get the fire department’s attention, because trapped isn’t the same as helpless.”

Last year, the SCS blog provided several useful resources to help you find books for young Classics fans, among them Sarah Bond’s excellent post about titles that Classical scholars who are also parents have shared with their own children. In the post, Dr. Bond linked to a Twitter thread full of wonderful book recommendations. Twitter being what it is, that thread is now gone.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/08/2021 - 12:27pm by .

SCS is pleased to announce that the 2021 Outreach Prize Winner is Mallory Monaco Caterine (Tulane University). You can read the award citation below:

At its best, outreach work not only reaches out, but it also invites in. Exceptional outreach work welcomes members of the broader public into conversations about the ancient world and fosters meaningful relationships that inform and enrich all participants, whether they are scholars, students, or community members. In recognition of her exemplary work in this area, the Society for Classical Studies is pleased to award the 2021 Outreach Award to Mallory Monaco Caterine for her work with Nyansa Classical Community in New Orleans. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 11/08/2021 - 8:39am by Helen Cullyer.
A beige sarcophagus covered in relief carvings of men and animals.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 111 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 11 countries, including Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/05/2021 - 10:16am by .
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NEH Public Scholars Grant (December 15, 2021 Deadline)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites applications for the 2021-22 round of the Public Scholars program, which supports the creation of well-researched nonfiction books in the humanities written for the broad public. The program welcomes projects in all areas of the humanities, regardless of geographic or chronological focus. The resulting books might present a narrative history, tell the stories of important individuals, analyze significant texts, provide a synthesis of ideas, revive interest in a neglected subject, or examine the latest thinking on a topic. Books supported by this program must be written in a readily accessible style, must clearly explain specialized terms and concepts, and must frame their topics to have wide appeal. They should also be carefully researched and authoritative, making appropriate use of primary and/or secondary sources and showing appropriate familiarity with relevant existing publications or scholarship. Applications to write books directed primarily to professional scholars are not suitable.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 11/03/2021 - 2:09pm by Erik Shell.

(Re)Ordering the Gods. The Mythographic Web through Times

Warburg Institute, 25-26 November 2021

Free online workshop (register HERE for the Zoom link)

Organiser: Céline Bohnert (U. Reims, Warburg Institute Visiting Fellow)

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 11/03/2021 - 10:47am by Erik Shell.

We are writing to share the Call for Proposals for The Routledge Companion to Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship, a new edited volume on theories and practices of the publicly engaged humanities to be published in 2023 by Routledge. 

The core of this companion will consist of 25 wide-ranging, practice-based essays, exploring the history, concepts, and possible futures of publicly engaged humanities scholarship in the United States. To build a foundation for these futures, this volume will collect case studies grounding discussion of their methodologies and objectives. 

The project meets an acute need in the field of publicly engaged humanities scholarship, and we hope it will serve as a standard reference guide for future training in a higher education context. 

Following an introduction to the field and its history and methods, the volume will be organized around five areas of particular impact in public humanities scholarship: 

  1. Informing contemporary debates

  2. Amplifying community voices and histories

  3. Helping individuals and communities navigate difficult experiences

  4. Preserving culture in times of crisis and change

  5. Expanding educational access

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 11/03/2021 - 9:46am by Erik Shell.

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