Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Petition and Ancient History

Over 5000 people signed up for the No. 10 Petition calling for the UK Prime Minister to "Halt plans by the OCR to abolish the Ancient History A-level". (For background see "Ancient history A-level faces axe", Education Guardian, March 30, 2007; "Boris joins the toga party for cause of ancient history", Education Guardian, May 14, 2007; "MP dons toga for history protest", BBC, May 15, 2007).

Concern had been expressed:
Plans have been revealed to remove the A-level in Ancient History from schools in the UK. The periods covered by this course shaped and influenced the world we live in today, including our notion of Democracy itself. Study of such events can only benefit future generations. It must be protected, not forgotten.
The Prime Minister's office has now responded:
This issue has now been resolved. In the House of Lords debate on 16 May 2007, Lord Adonis stated that the Government was not content to see the withdrawal of Ancient History as a free-standing examination at A level. OCR has worked with the Joint Association of Classical Teachers (JACT) on a new Ancient History specification which was accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) last year and will be taught from September, 2008.
It should, perhaps, be noted that the House of Lords debate predated the petition which closed on April 4, 2008.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Using Maps

David Instone-Brewer of Tyndale House in Cambridge has posted a useful overview of using maps ("Maps & Geography in Biblical Studies", April 22, 2008). He covers three aspects:
  1. Interactive maps & GoogleEarth
  2. Traditional maps & powerpoint maps
  3. Photos of places & archaeology
There are obvious uses well beyond Biblical Studies.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Exploring Tangible Benefits of E-Learning

The UK JISC report "Exploring Tangible Benefits of E-Learning: Does Investment Yield Interest?" (April 2008) is now available.


The first decade of the 21st century is already on the wane and we stand at an interesting point as regards the use of technology to support and enhance learning and teaching. The fact that we still refer to much of this enhancement as e-learning (and still disagree about what the term actually means) signals that the relationship between technology and learning is not as yet an entirely comfortable one. e-Learning still carries with it a sense of something 'other' and few institutions can say that a sound understanding of available technologies, their capabilities and current examples of appropriate usage, forms a cornerstone of the curriculum design process.

Within the academic community there remains a sizable proportion of sceptics who question the value of some of the tools and approaches and perhaps an even greater proportion who are unaware of the full range of technological enhancements in current use. Amongst senior managers there is a concern that it is often difficult to quantify the returns achieved on the investment in such technologies.

On the other hand those in the vanguard of technical developments are already signalling the 'Death of the VLE' (Stiles 2007) and heralding a new set of approaches based on a different pedagogic outlook and on the underlying technologies and social and collaborative tools that are collectively labelled the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Past Preservers

Past Preservers is in search of Experts, Presenters, Researchers and your Projects and Ideas

Past Preservers is happy to announce that we are now seeking experts and advanced students to help in the production of major documentary projects to be filmed in Egypt and elsewhere.

We are looking for rising specialists in all areas of Egyptology, archaeology, and related areas of historical study who will readily and energetically share their knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject, both on camera and off it, as either “talking heads” in television documentaries or as researchers behind the scenes.

This exciting work will afford the opportunity to learn in a hands-on way how the sciences of archaeology and historical analysis are conveyed through the various media of documentary television and film, and promises to be an interesting way to gain exposure in the field and see how documentaries are actually made.

Additionally, we welcome fresh ideas for media projects and are eager to help our talent pursue new avenues of research and presentation; a major part of Past Preserver's job is to provide the best possible representation and support for a new concept or project as it makes its way from mere suggestion to fully fleshed-out production, and we hope you will feel welcome in bringing forward your best and brightest.

If interested, please send a current CV, including date of birth, nationality, and mention of any previous experience working in the media, along with a photograph of you, to sam@pastpreservers.com


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Update on the Mandaeans

April DeConick has posted two items on her blog related to the only Gnostic group from the ancient world that has survived until our time. The first asks what can be done to help the Mandaeans, and offers some recommendations from Mr. Suhaib Nashi, the president of the Mandaean Associations Union.

The second post draws attention to the recently-published human rights report about the plight of the Mandaeans, whose historic homeland is in Iraq and Iran.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Drills, Small (and Large) Animals, Sharing, Grumpy Optimists

In the fascinating conversation where Charles Watkinson set the stage; Sebastian Heath responded; Charles replied; Bill Caraher piped in; Tom Elliott went stratospheric; Eric Kansa accepted the challenge; Bill speculated about small fry; Peter Suber took note of the taxonomy; and most recently (so far) Sebastian waxed optimistic, there has been some great stuff. Keep it up!

It occurs to me that some rather ambitious projects seeking to offer generalized platforms for the archiving and distribution of archaeological data have not yet come up in the conversations, and I wonder why not. Among the things I'm thinking of are:

I know that Eric and Sebastian are connected with the first of these, and Eric with the third. Are there other parallel efforts underway?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dig It!

Those who subscribe to the Biblical Archaeology Society's e-mail updates will already be aware of the resource Find a Dig, which provides information about opportunities to volunteer and participate in archaeological digs in various parts of the world.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Open access and the cost of articles

I'm no expert in the economics of scholarly journals, but I don't think publishers will want to drop their prices very much. I doubt they make much money selling articles. The purpose for the high prices is not to make money. Rather, it is to restrict access to those with subscriptions (whether individual or institutional), hoping that people like us will go ahead and subscribe (or get our libraries to subscribe). One solution is for the authors of articles to self-archive them on the internet so that they can be downloaded by readers (see my post on this, with links to other sites). Universities and other institutions should set up institutional repositories for this purpose. When that doesn't happen (because universities like my own Arizona State University drag their feet), authors should scan their articles and post them on personal web sites (as I do). If authors get enough emails pestering them for pdfs of articles, it may help spur them to post them on the internet.

So if you want a copy of an article, email the author. And if you think it unfair for commercial (and other) publishers to limit access to the results of research, help support efforts toward open access of various kinds. A good place to start is Peter Suber's overview of open access, and his blog.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Per Article Charges?

As a follow up to Chuck's previous post on open access publications, I compiled a table of per article charges from a selection of more-or-less ancient-world related journals. You should be able to follow the links to pages that document this information. But if you get through to the article, that may be because you're coming from a subscribed IP range. If no source is given, the link is to the JSTOR version. The '(*)' on the second row indicates that I didn't see the price for an AJA article from Atypon, but I think $10.00 is right.

JournalArticle Price (USD)
American Journal of Archaeology (JSTOR)10.00
American Journal of Archaeology (Atypon)10.00 (*)
American Journal of Philology10.00
Archaeometry (Blackwell)29.00
Classical JournalNA
Classical Philology14.00
Classical Quarterly19.00
Classical Review19.00
Greece & Rome19.00
Harvard Studies in Classical PhilologyNA
Hesperia (JSTOR)12.00
Hesperia (Atypon)10.00
Internaional Journal of Nautical Archaeology (Blackwell)29.00
Journal of Hellenic Studies12.00
Journal of Roman Studies12.00
Transactions of the American Philological AssociationNA
Dumbarton Oaks PapersNA
Oxford Journal of Archaeology (Blackwell)29.00
Harvard Theological Review (Cambridge)15.00
Cambridge Archaeological Journal (Cambridge)15.00

Many people will know that I am not inclined to charge for the distribution of information, but I don't want to beat that (very much alive) horse right now. I do wonder if anybody from a journal, Atypon or JSTOR would be willing to dramatically drop these prices, at least on an experimental basis. How about 50 cents per article? It seems to me that the price/demand curve might work in everybody's favor. Many more copies would be sold, people like me couldn't complain nearly so much. I'm guessing that the answer is bound up in the perceived necessity to maintain a printed version but a small test of micro-payment supported digital distribution might be interesting.

AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 1

Future issues of AWOL have moved to a new home

AWOL - The Ancient World Online

This is the first of an occasional series within AWBG highlighting important open access collections of publications.

For the first installment, I have chosen CEFAEL: Collections de l'Ecole française d'Athènes en ligne. This remarkable collection seems not to be very well known. Including more than 450 volumes, CEFAEL is organized into eighteen series covering the full range of publications of the French School in Athens, including 118 volumes of their journal: Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique (BCH)

Études épigraphiques
Collection destinée à regrouper les corpus d'inscriptions ne se rapportant pas directement aux sites traditionnels de l'EfA ou des recueils de choix d'inscriptions. Paraît depuis 1992.
3 volumes, 4 issues

Études thasiennes
Série consacrée à la publication finale des fouilles et des recherches menées par l'EfA sur l'île de Thasos. Paraît depuis 1944.
18 volumes, 10 issues

Études péloponnésiennes
Série consacrée à la publication finale des fouilles et des recherches menées par l'EfA dans le Péloponnèse, notamment à Argos et à Gortys d'Arcadie. Paraît depuis 1956.
11 volumes, 11 issues

Études crétoises
Série consacrée à la publication finale des fouilles et des recherches menées par l'EfA en Crète, essentiellement à Malia. Parait depuis 1928.
32 volumes, 28 issues

Études chypriotes
Série consacrée à la publication finale des fouilles et des recherches menées par l'EfA sur l'île de Chypre, notamment à Amathonte. Paraît depuis 1983.
15 volumes, 10 issues

Travaux et mémoires
Série destinée à accueillir les thèses et travaux des anciens membres étrangers et d'autres chercheurs, remplacée dès 1978 par les Suppléments au Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique. Paraît depuis 1929.
21 volumes, 20 issues

Tables du Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique
Volumes de tables recensant la matière publiée dans les volumes du Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique de 1877 à 1970, selon une table des auteurs, un index des matières et un index épigraphique.
4 volumes, 3 issues

Suppléments au Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique
Série dans laquelle sont publiés soit des actes de colloques, la plupart organisés sous l'égide de l'EfA, soit des monographies concernant d'autres sites que les sites traditionnels de fouilles de l'EfA. Paraît depuis 1973.
40 volumes, 35 issues

Sites et monuments
Inaugurée avec la première édition du Guide de Délos en 1965, la série comprend des guides archéologiques consacrés aux sites explorés par l'EfA, dont certains sont traduits en grec, en anglais et en allemand.
17 volumes, 15 issues

Recherches franco-helléniques
Publications de travaux et recherches menés en collaboration entre le Service des antiquités grec et l'EfA. Paraît depuis 1990.
3 volumes, 3 issues

Hors collection
Sont regroupés sous cette appellation une quarantaine d'ouvrages publiés par l'EfA, dans la plupart des cas en co-édition avec d'autres institutions.
13 books

Fouilles de Delphes
Série consacrée à la publication finale des fouilles et des recherches menées par l'EfA sur le site de Delphes. Paraît depuis 1902.
4 volumes, 33 issues

Exploration Archéologique de Délos
Série consacrée à la publication finale des fouilles et des recherches menées par l'EfA sur le site de Délos. Paraît depuis 1909.
37 volumes, 31 issues

Corpus des Inscriptions de Delphes
Série consacrée à la publication finale des inscriptions découvertes sur le site de Delphes. Paraît depuis 1977.
3 volumes, 3 issues

Champs Helléniques Modernes et Contemporains
Série destinée à accueillir les travaux de la Section des études sur la société grecque moderne et contemporaine. Paraît depuis 2000.
3 volumes, 3 issues

Bulletin des Études Grecques Modernes et Contemporaines
Périodique annuel qui recense les chercheurs travaillant sur la Grèce moderne et contemporaine et présente leurs productions scientifiques. Paraît depuis 1996.
6 volumes, 5 issues

Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique
Périodique annuel constitué de deux fascicules semestriels : le premier fascicule contient exclusivement des articles concernant tous les aspects de la civilisation grecque, de la préhistoire à la fin de l'époque byzantine ; le second fascicule regroupe, outre quelques articles, les rapports annuels sur les travaux conduits en Grèce et hors de Grèce par l'EfA et des organismes qui collaborent avec l'EfA, ainsi que la chronique de toutes les fouilles effectuées sur sol grec par l'ensemble des organismes grecs et étrangersParaît depuis 1877 ; il succède au Bulletin de l'École française d'Athènes (1868-1871)
118 volumes, 161 issues

Bibliothèques de l'Ecole française d'Athènes et de Rome - Série Athènes
La plus ancienne des collections, fondée en partenariat avec l'École française de Rome pour accueillir les thèses et travaux des anciens membres de ces deux institutions. Paraît depuis 1874.
108 volumes, 72 issues

AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 1
AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 2
AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 3
AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 4
AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 5
AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 6
AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 7

Future issues of AWOL have moved to a new home

AWOL - The Ancient World Online