Digital Classics Outside the Echo-Chamber

Dublin Core


Digital Classics Outside the Echo-Chamber


Digital Classics


This volume, edited by the organizers of the “Digital Classicist” seminars series, presents research in classical studies, digital classics and digital humanities, bringing together scholarship that addresses the impact of the study of classical antiquity through computational methods on audiences such as scientists, heritage professionals, students and the general public. Within this context, chapters tackle particular aspects, from epigraphy, papyrology and manuscripts, via Greek language, linguistics and literature, to imaging and modelling of artefacts, architecture, and technologies and methods in digital classics research. The book is aimed for scholars in the various fields of history, classical studies, digital humanities and archaeology. It will also be of interest to researchers in library and information sciences, informatics and pedagogy. The chapters will be divided into three sections: Section 1: Teaching will discuss the contribution of digital humanities to pedagogy, teaching and learning in the classics, including the creation of classroom or online materials for the study of languages, texts or topics in ancient history and archaeology, and the teaching of digital humanities techniques such as text encoding and linguistic analysis. All of the chapters in this section acknowledge that the division between digital methods for teaching, and research into digital tools is a porous one, and that digital approaches are helping to break down the divide between the researcher and the student. Section 2: Knowledge Exchange will focus on digital research projects or activities that bring together scholars or practitioners from outside of the traditional disciplines classicists and digital humanists are used to working with, or from outside of academia at all. Collaborations with the medical sciences, with library and cultural heritage institutions, and with media and gaming industries all benefit both parties, with expertise and new insights into research questions moving in both directions. Section 3: Public Engagement will discuss issues such as crowd-sourcing or “citizen science”, which serves not only to harvest the expertise or enthusiasm of non-specialists on a large scale, but arguably even more profitably engages the crowd with scholarly materials in a way that they might never have considered before; also publications of classical material that are targeted at a non-academic audience: popular books, documentaries, games, open access publications that are available far beyond the university library. Considering that the research that enables the production of such scholarly materials is often made possible thanks to public funding we believe that more attention could profitably be paid to reflecting on the extent to which the wider public is aware of and benefits from— and even is able to contribute to—such materials. Some of the chapters in this volume arose from papers given at the Digital Classicist seminars in Berlin or London between 2011 and 2013, but the majority are newly conceived or commissioned afresh for this publication. The international community of scholars in which this collection is coming into being, however, has been formed around both sets of seminars (plus those in Leipzig, New York University and Tufts, Boston), a series of conference panels, and previous volumes arising from them published by the Digital Medievalist journal, Ashgate Press and a supplement to the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies respectively. These publications have proved popular with both digital humanities and traditional classics audiences, and have been widely reviewed in the journals of both disciplines. A similarly wide audience is envisioned for the current volume, which will be of relevance both to scholars in the various fields of classics, archaeology and history covered by the chapters (from epigraphy, papyrology and manuscripts, via Greek language, linguistics and literature, to imaging and modelling of artefacts and architecture) and to academics in digital humanities, library and information science, informatics and pedagogy whose domain of expertise is relevant to the technologies and methods further applied and discussed in the chapters. All of the chapters in this volume are conventional scholarly contributions in their own right, presenting research questions in classics or digital humanities (or in many cases both). They are all also examples of work within one of the most important area of academia today: scholarly outputs that address an audience other than the colleagues who work down the corridor (or at the other end of a VOIP connection) from us, be they our students, academics in very different fields from our own, or the broader public. As Greg Crane has argued, collaboration particularly with better-funded and more high-tech disciplines is essential to digital humanities but even more so to digital classics. Especially in the current climate of challenges to academic budgets and resources, the importance of engaging with audiences outside of our own discipline is clear, both in terms of academic survival, and for meeting the criteria of academic role descriptions, promotion review panels or institutional assessments, which include impact, engagement, teaching and environment as well as conventional research output. The international perspectives on these issues are especially valuable in an increasingly connected, but still institutionally and administratively diverse world. The research addressed in several chapters in this volume includes issues around technical standards bodies like EpiDoc and the TEI, engaging with ways these standards are implemented, documented, taught, used in the process of transcribing and annotating texts, and used to generate publications and as the basis for advanced textual or corpus research. Other chapters focus on various aspects of philological research and content creation, including collaborative or community driven efforts, and the issues surrounding editorial oversight, curation, maintenance and sustainability of these resources. Research into the ancient languages and linguistics, in particular Greek, and the language teaching that is a staple of our discipline, are also discussed in several chapters, in particular for ways in which advanced research methods can lead into language technologies and vice versa and ways in which the skills around teaching can be used for public engagement, and vice versa. A common thread through much of the volume is the importance of open access publication or open source development and distribution of texts, materials, tools and standards, both because of the public good provided by such models (circulating materials often already paid for out of the public purse), and the ability to reach non-standard audiences, those who cannot access rich university libraries or afford expensive print volumes. Linked Open Data is another technology that results in wide and free distribution of structured information both within and outside academic circles, and several chapters present academic work that includes ontologies and RDF, either as a direct research output or as essential part of the communication and knowledge representation. Several chapters focus not on the literary and philological side of classics, but on the study of cultural heritage, archaeology, and the material supports on which original textual and artistic material are engraved or otherwise inscribed, addressing both the capture and analysis of artefacts in both 2D and 3D, the representation of data through archaeological standards, and the importance of sharing information and expertise between the several domains both within and without academia that study, record and conserve ancient objects. Almost without exception, the authors reflect on the issues of interdisciplinarity and collaboration, the relationship between their research practice and teaching and/or communication with a wider public, and the importance of the role of the academic researcher in contemporary society and in the context of cutting edge technologies. How research is communicated in a world of instant- access blogging and 140-character micromessaging, and how our expectations of the media affect not only how we publish but how we conduct our research, are questions about which all scholars need to be aware and self-critical.


Gabriel Bodard
Matteo Romanello



Ubiquity Press, London


Rika Zulfia


Creative Commons





Gabriel Bodard and Matteo Romanello, “Digital Classics Outside the Echo-Chamber,” Open Educational Resource (OER) - USK Library, accessed February 29, 2024,

Document Viewer