From Breadth to Depth. A digital collection of editions of Greek Tragedies

The Open Greek and Latin (OGL) project at the “Alexander von Humboldt Chair for DH” aims to represent “every source text produced in Classical Greek or Latin from antiquity through the present”. But how would we or the users measure the success of this enterprise? What metrics can we employ? The number of authors and works included or the coverage (expressed in percentage or any other ratio) of digitized texts over the totality of surviving materials are obvious answers that come to everybody’s mind; yet, when dealing with ancient texts, these concepts are more ambiguous than they appear. One aspect that is often overlooked is that the vast majority (if not all) of ancient texts exist in many different versions. The great majority of literary works survive in manuscripts that were copied in different periods and from different originals and may therefore contain variant readings on many passages. In addition, the scholars and the editors of those texts have taken different positions on how to choose the correct variants or, for instance, on how to reconstruct the missing part of a broken inscription or what letter to read in a damaged papyrus. Their editions vary on many significant points from one to another. Thus, it is not just the interpretation of an ancient work that is controversial. Very often the reconstruction of the text that is printed as “the original” in a book is extremely problematic and open to discussion. Readers who have some familiarity with Greek tragedy would know that the formula pathei mathos (“learning through suffering”) encapsulates the laws that Zeus has set for mortals in the...

Research Data, the Humanities, and the First Four Centuries of Print

Research Data, the Humanities, and the First Four Centuries of Print Gregory Crane (gcrane2008@gmail.com) (Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities at Universität Leipzig & Professor of Classics and Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship at Tufts University) November 2014 I am writing about the critical importance of research data as a topic for humanists — we cannot flourish in a digital age unless we are able to understand and to manage the data that we need for our research, our teaching and our overall contributions to intellectual life of society as a whole. My ultimate goal is to analyze, as precisely as I can, what infrastructure has been developed in Europe and North America, especially from the large European projects Clarin.eu and Dariah.eu upon which humanists can actually build — when projects set out to produce infrastructure, it can be difficult to distinguish the language of the proposed infrastructure from the infrastructure that has actually been produced. The use case for this exploration will be the challenge of moving not only the Perseus Digital Library but also more than a dozen other established projects on Greco-Roman culture, from both Europe and North America, into a shared, computational space that can support hundreds of thousands of users and analysis of Greco-Roman cultural influence in millions of digitized sources. I have chosen, however, to publish this essay first, because I think that, before getting into the details of particular infrastructure projects in both sides of the Atlantic, I would like to consider the potential benefits that the transnational Research Data Alliance (RDA) offers humanists and to suggest  a concrete,...

So you want to become a professor of Greek and/or Latin? Think hard about a PhD in Digital Humanities

So you want to become a professor of Greek and/or Latin? Think hard about a PhD in Digital Humanities Gregory Crane (Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities at Universität Leipzig & Professor of Classics and Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship at Tufts University) Leipzig November 2o, 2014 I decided to write this piece because this is the time of year when those who wish to become professional students of Greek and Latin are deciding where they should apply for graduate schools. I am now starting to see that the most interesting Phd projects on Greek and Latin are taking place in PhD programs for the Digital Humanities and I think that anyone who wishes to develop a career of sustained satisfaction needs to think carefully about how they move forward. At the present time, I am not aware of any traditional program in Greek and Latin that prepares students for satisfying and sustainable careers. This essay falls into three parts. First I suggest some words of caution, including the well-known challenges about actually landing a permanent faculty position, the amount of work that you will need to commit if you want to maximize your chances for success and then, more substantively, something about the actual work that supports faculty Greek and Latin faculty positions in the United States and (much of) Europe. The second section briefly touches upon some fundamental topics that we must resolve if we are to rethink the study of Greek and Latin (as I think we must if we are to survive, or perhaps even flourish): the information that we produce, the...