Forum for Classics, Libraries and Scholarly Communication
Meeting of January 6, 2007, San Diego, California
Present: S. Choudhury (Johns Hopkins University, [email protected]), G.
Crane (Tufts University, [email protected]), P. Graham (UC
Davis, [email protected]), G. Heverly (New York University,
gera[email protected]), C. Jones (ASCSA, [email protected]), R.
Lindau, Chair, (Princeton University, [email protected]), C.
MacKay (Bryn Mawr, [email protected]), C. Mardikes (University of
Chicago, [email protected]), R. Arvid Nelsen (UC San Diego,
[email protected]), G. Paganelis (California State University
Sacramento, [email protected]), D. Sullivan, Secretary (UC Berkeley,
[email protected]), Yang Wang (Princeton University,
[email protected]), T. Temple Wright (Center for Hellenic
Studies, Harvard University, [email protected])
In elections for the coming two year period, Heverly was elected Chair
and Sullivan was chosen as Secretary.
Center for Hellenic Studies
Temple Wright, Librarian for Acquisitions, Reference and Visitor
Relations, introduced the Center’s programs and activities. Founded in
1961, its mission is to “rediscover humanism.” It has both educational
and research components, hosting seminars, concerts and symposia,
research fellows, and publishes works in print and online, aiming at
the broadest possible audience. The library, of 57,000 volumes, has
been built on the nucleus of Werner Jaeger’s personal collection, and
is now moving beyond its original focus on Hellenic philology to
include collections supporting research in Roman studies, art history,
and other aspects of classical antiquity.
Consortium of Hellenic Studies Librarians (CoHSL)
Paganelis and Lindau reported on the meeting of this group held at the
Gennadius Library in Athens in December 2006. For details on the
Consortium, see http://www.princeton.edu/~rlindau/CoHSL.htm
Represented at the meeting were American and Greek research libraries,
the ASCSA, and CRL. Along with tours of various libraries in Athens,
the conference focused on achieving better bibliographic control of
Greek language materials, digitization projects in Greece, ways to
achieve better resource sharing to build collections in Hellenic
studies, and a project to index periodicals concerning post-Byzantine
Hellenic culture, which Paganelis leads. The conference revealed many
stand-alone digitization projects at academic libraries and research
institutions in Greece; one fruitful outcome may be that Greek and
American libraries will join forces more effectively to make these
accessible. CRL has expressed interest in digitizing the microfilmed
holdings of Greek newspapers dating from the 19th century onwards held
by the Boule library. Mardikes suggested that the Forum might help by
dividing up efforts among its members to catalog digital resources
being created in Greece. She will investigate and report at the next
meeting. [Note: Rhea Karabelas Lesage has since published an overview
of the Athens meeting, "The Modern Greek Resources Project Meeting: A
Preliminary Report," Bulletin of the Modern Greek Studies Association,
vol. XXXVIII, p. 48-52.]
Open Content Alliance
Choudhury gave background on the Open Content Alliance. Originating
from a proposal by Brewster Kahle to digitize 100 million public
domain books and once supported by Microsoft and Yahoo, the Alliance
is now independent of commercial sponsorship and oriented towards
cooperation with scholars and librarians to determine which materials
should be scanned first. The Sloan Foundation has provided funding for
scanning based on the collections of Johns Hopkins. Hopkins is
collaborating with OCLS to produce records for scanned texts. Heverly
praised the idea of using experts—scholars and librarians—to determine
which texts should be scanned (as opposed to the “wall-to-wall”
approach of Google), and suggested the Forum could play a role in
helping set OCA’s priorities. Choudhury agreed that the Forum could be
of assistance in matching supply and demand for their digital
Crane reported that Perseus has adopted a Common Content license for
all its public domain content. The project has a $1 million grant from
the Mellon Foundation in three subject areas: Classics, the early
modern period, and English studies. They will be exploring how to turn
imaged pages into searchable text, automated translation, and how to
turn unstructured text into data. He gave as an example of the latter
the need to code texts in a way that would distinguish like-named
entities such as the Salamis in Cyprus from the Salamis near Athens.
The project is also working on creating a FRBR-ized catalog of the
source texts in their collection.
Heverly reported on two topics:
During the past year, the APA solicited input from the Forum on the
servicing of subscriptions to both the hard copy and the online
version of L’Année philologique. The APA has also signalled support
for the Forum’s suggestion to appoint a working group of its members
to study the online L’Année interface and recommend improvements.
Sullivan volunteered to lead this group; its other members are:
MacKay, Mardikes, Paganelis, Wang, and Karen Green, who could not
The NEH has made a challenge grant to the APA in the amount of
$650,000 dollars to support a new American Center for Classics
Research and Teaching, one of whose chief activities will be the
continuing operation of the American office of L’Année. The APA must
raise $2.6 million in order to receive the full challenge grant.
Heverly will distribute the APA case statement to members of the Forum
and asked everyone to review it and to assist in identifying potential
donors through their own contacts with their departments, individuals,
foundations, and companies in the business of scholarly publishing and
the book trade. (All suggestions for donor prospects should be sent
to: [email protected] ).
Finding Aid for the archives of classical scholars
The group discussed both the current online incarnation of this
and the project itself.
Some felt that the current design, as a stand-alone database, will
tend to hide the information it might eventually contain from search
engines such as Google and also asked whether a wiki might be a better
tool for organizing a collaborative project on this scale.
The question was also raised whether the project was itself redundant,
as it ultimately relies on existing access to archives through such
general databases as Archives USA and ArchivesGrid.
APA Task Force on Electronic Publishing
Mardikes, who serves on the task force, reported.
Plans are underway to digitize the set of microfiche produced by the
APA in the 1980s and have the resulting files mounted in an Open
The task force will also recommend establishing a separate editorial
board for a series of scholarly monographs to be published primarily
in electronic form. The task force’s final report can be read at: