Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eisenbrauns Love Poetry Contest

Thought readers of this blog might want to enter...we will be giving away books to the winners :)

Love is in the air! We're looking for a few good scholars to display both eros and erudition in our first (and possibly last!) Ancient Near Eastern Valentine's contest.

We want no more than three of your original[*] compositions, in any ancient Near Eastern language (we'll bend the rules a bit and allow Greek), accompanied by an English translation. Artwork is similarly welcome. All entries should be sent via e-mail to akerr at eisenbrauns dot com before noon on Wednesday, February 13.

The decisions of the judges will be final and, most likely, extremely arbitrary. Prizes will be given. Winners will be announced on February 14, 2008, and winning entries will be showcased on the Eisenbrauns website. Submitting an entry constitutes permission to reproduce your work.

[*] We have memorized the entire corpus of Near Eastern poetry, and will be watching for cheating. OK, we haven't — but someone out there will catch you at it if your words are not your own, and that wouldn't be good. So don't.

Author Rights: Using the SPARC Author Addendum to secure your rights as the author of a journal article

Some useful advice on using the SPARC Author Addendum, which is is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your article.

AIA Podcasts

The Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology in the Mediterranean Interest Group of the AIA has posted their recent panel at the Annual Meeting in Chicago as a series of podcasts.  The panel, entitled "The Archaeology of Xenitia: Greek Immigration and Material Culture," (abstract) was organized by Kostis Kourelis (Clemson University) and Lita Tzortzopoulou-Gregory (La Trobe University) and sought to bring together the study of archaeology and material culture with the diverse experiences of the immigrant Greek community in Chicago and elsewhere in the US and the world.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Electric Archaeology

Shawn Graham has published a collection of his posts at Electric Archaeology through the print-on-demand site You'll see from his post that we both share an interest in using services such as Lulu to lower the cost of print publication. Obviously, I approve of this step and hope it furthers the ongoing process of increasing the number of venues for scholarly output. I don't mean by this that blog posts need to appear in print in order to be taken seriously. Rather, I welcome any format that increases access.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Al-Ahram Weekly | Heritage | Screen rites

Al-Ahram Weekly | Heritage | Screen rites

A positive review at last of a archaeological documentary, even if it was a bit of a soap opera.

"It was quite by chance that I turned on the TV last summer and found myself watching the most gratifying coverage of an excavation I have ever seen. The subject of the documentary was an intact chamber at the bottom of a shaft not far from the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. No fewer than seven coffins were discovered -- two of them apparently intact -- along with 29 large storage jars. Since the step-by-step coverage of the excavation may not be screened again -- and even if it is, people may not have a chance to see it -- I shall describe the events that led up to the official opening of the large sealed coffin in an ongoing and enormously challenging project"

Review by Jill Kamil

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting

Alun Salt is my new guru. In a recent post, he put me onto the Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting and their Research Blogging aggregator.

The basic goal is to allow "readers to easily find blog posts about serious peer-reviewed research, instead of just news reports and press releases." They provide guidelines and technological mechanisms for self-identification of those posts in which blog authors "thoughtfully address" the content or outcomes of peer-reviewed research.

The emphasis is so far largely on science, but there's nothing stopping ancientists of all stripes taking a similar approach. Indeed, Alun has just invoked the BP3 badge and guidelines in writing about Peter Heslin's reconsideration of the so-called Horologium Augusti in the latest issue of the Journal of Roman Studies.

I'm curious: do others here see value in this initiative? Pitfalls? If so, why?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Collaborating to Improve Library Collections

Over at Current Epigraphy we're taking some steps to try to improve library holdings of epigraphic publications. We hope that we'll be joined there by other scholars and librarians, and mimic'd on other subfield blogs as well.

This was Gil Renberg's idea: a place to share notices of useful publications (print or electronic) that seem to have escaped the collections dragnet and are therefore dangerously (preservation) or disruptively (research support) underrepresented in a nation's or a region's libraries.

We're trying to use the blog medium to our advantage as well, so we're tagging relevant posts as concerned with "rare publications". This gives us a thematically browseable list, together with a corresponding web feed.

You can read more about the initiative at CurEp: "New and Rare Publications" (22 Jan 2008).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Existing Aggregators: a meta-report

As Sean and I work on setting up our own aggregator service, we'll be looking around to try to make sure we're not duplicating effort. I'll periodically post notes here regarding other feed aggregation services that authors and readers of this blog might find interesting or useful.

The Digital Arts and Humanities website has several feeds of interest, including its news hub (a feed aggregator), which can be browsed online or syndicated via an RSS 2.0 feed. The site provides mechanisms for thematic browsing of its own internal content as well, and many of these are also available as feeds, for example: Classics and Ancient History as an HTML summary vs. Classics and Ancient History as a feed.

The eclassics ning ring has feeds too (now universally available, yay), including:

Blogging Archaeology: A MetaReport

Bill Caraher continues his conversation on academic blogging and archaeology with Blogging Archaeology: A MetaReport

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mobile Learning and Museums

I have been enjoying a day taking part in a discussion of "Mobile Learning in Higher Education: The Discipline Dimension" (hosted by the UK Higher Education Academy). Professor Mike Sharples of the University of Nottingham drew our attention to MyArtSpace. The project was partly funded by the UK Government Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
My Art Space is an interactive service that enables visitors to museums and galleries to 'collect' cultural artefacts with their mobile phone.
This now has a commercial outlet via OOKL. Although this project was aimed at secondary education, the technology has an application for Higher Education.

Details for the mLearn2008 conference are now available. This will be hosted by the University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and IT (8-10 October 2008), and will take place on the edge of historic and rural Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The deadline for submitting papers and abstracts is in April.

"Creating Preservation-Ready Web Resources"

In the new issue of D-Lib Magazine: January/February 2008, Volume 14 Number 1/2. ISSN 1082-9873, is the article: Creating Preservation-Ready Web Resources, by Joan A. Smith and Michael L. Nelson.

It addresses important issues all of us building Web Resources should be thinking about.

There are innumerable departmental, community, and personal web sites worthy of long-term preservation but proportionally fewer archivists available to properly prepare and process such sites. We propose a simple model for such everyday web sites which takes advantage of the web server itself to help prepare the site's resources for preservation. This is accomplished by having metadata utilities analyze the resource at the time of dissemination. The web server responds to the archiving repository crawler by sending both the resource and the just-in-time generated metadata as a straight-forward XML-formatted response. We call this complex object (resource + metadata) a CRATE. In this paper we discuss modoai, the web server module we developed to support this approach, and we describe the process of harvesting preservation-ready resources using this technique.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Do we need an aggregator?

Does our community need an aggregation service (i.e., a "blog river" or "feed of feeds")?

For example, the code4lib community uses software called Planet to aggregate content from its members' blogs, which can then be consumed in various ways.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Web 2.0 for Classics and Archaeology

The UK Higher Education Academy (HEA) sponsored a day school, "Supporting Teaching and Learning in Archaeology and Classics", in October 2007. The report (by Andrew Cochrane), links to podcasts, image libraries etc is now available from the HEA website.

AJA and open access

In the contex of his "Mediterranean Ceramics Reference Stability Report, Number 4" at Mediterranean Ceramics, Sebastian Heath makes some comments on the changes underway at AJA online. The AIA will cease to make PDFs of the American Journal of Archaeology's articles available for free download. Articles will be available via the commercial service Atypon. The change was announced in this letter from Naomi Norman, the AJA Editor-in-Chief. It is not clear, to me at least, what will become of the exsting five years of AJA. (None of them, by the way, can be easily printed). For the time being they remain accessible, and there are copies of some of the archive at the Wayback Machine.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Query for the AWBG

As I'm still in catch-up-but-nearly-there mode, I think I'll make my initial post here as a sort of question which has been nagging me for a while. I've been trying to keep up on podcasts -- especially those at ITunesU -- which have to do with the ancient world somehow. But what I haven't been able to find (and am starting to think it doesn't exist) is some 'metathing' which tells when something has been added to ITU. For example, I have just come across a lecture by Garrett Fagan on social dynamics at the Roman games and it doesn't show up, e.g., when one types 'ancient rome' in ITunes searchbox. It does show up if one types 'roman', however. Of course, there are plenty of podcasts which have rss feeds outside of ITunes, but an awful lot of ITunesU university courses don't. This is something I would find annoying if I didn't have this nagging feeling that I'm missing something obvious.

So ... how are other Ancient World Bloggers keeping up with podcasts from ITunesU? And have folks found an intuitive way to actually link to them at ITunes?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Open Access Blogging

I became intrigued by how prevalent open access licenses are in the ancient world blogging community so I made a list based on AWBG contributors. I mean this only as a descriptive exercise as I'm guessing that some bloggers haven't given this issue much thought and that some have good reasons for going open access or for not doing so.

I went through the contributors list quickly and used the first ancient world themed blog I could find for each name. My apologies in advance for any mistakes.

No statement:
James Baker: JC Baker
William Caraher: The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World
Jim Davila:
Dan Diffendale: Tria Corda
Ioannis Georganas: Mediterranean Archaeology
David Gill: Looting Matters
Mark Goodacre: NT Gateway Weblog
Sean Graham: Electric Archaeologist
Charles Elwood Jones: Persopolis Fortification Archive Project
Kathrin Kleibl: Gräco-Ägyptische Religion und Heiligtümer
Antonio Lombatti: Pseudoscienze cristiane antiche e medievali
James McGrath: Exploring Our Matrix
Duane Smith: Abnormal Interests
Neel Smith: Vitruvian Design
James Spinti: Idle musings of a bookseller
Judith Weingarten: Zenobia: Empress of the East

Creative Commons
Tom Elliott: Horothesia
Sebastian Heath: Mediterranean Ceramics
Eric Kansa: Digging Digitally
Charles Watkinson: Charles Watkinson's blog

Some of the contributors to AWBG are also contributors to the Stoa. I didn't see an explicit license on the front page there. Nor is there one on this blog.

Abzu Widget

I have built an Abzu Widget. You can see it in action on down on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Evaluating Web Content in the world of Web 2.0

Laura B. Cohen and Trudi E. Jacobson have written a guide to Evaluating Web Content in the age of Web 2.0. So far as I know this is the first attempt to articulate principles for the evaluation of wikis, blogs, social networking sites and so on. I think you'll find it worth a look, and comment if you will, here or there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Blogging the AIA/APA

Mary Beard at A Don's Life, and again.

Dan Diffendale at Tria Corda, and again, and yet again.

Tom Elliot at Current Epigraphy, at Horothesia, and at The Stoa.

Troels Myrup at Iconoclasm.

James Spinti at Idle Musings of a Bookseller here and here

Has anyone else blogged from the AIA/APA meetings? Let us know!

Friday, January 4, 2008


I posted a picture of the photomosaic that Eisenbrauns is using this year as a banner on my blog, but thought others might enjoy it, too, so here it is. There are about 9800 book covers in it.

Here is a close up of the bust so you can see the book covers:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New British Biographies for the Ancient World

Some new on-line biographies for ancient historians and archaeologists have appeared in the latest update (January 2008) of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
Access is via Athens password.

Search Oxford DNB

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

100 things we didn't know last year ... even about the ancient world

The BBC blog has published a list of "100 things we didn't know last year".

At no. 14, between "Tony Blair does not keep a personal diary" and "10% of university work from across the UK is plagiarised", is "Antony and Cleopatra were ugly". I suggest you follow the link to the story from the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne.