Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ALA 2010 Annual Meeting Report

ALA Annual 2010 Joint Meeting of the Philosophical Religious and Theological (PRT) and Classical Medieval Renaissance Discussion Group (Washington, D.C. Saturday, June 26th, 2010)

New Developments in Online Publication

Convened by Colin McCaffrey, Washington University in St. Louis, and Joshua Barton, Michigan State University.

1. George Leaman, Director of the Philosophy Documentation Center (PDC), debuted a beta version of PDC’s forthcoming product, Philosophy Research Index. PDC is actively seeking feedback on their new resource. Those interested can see further information, including how to set up a free trial, here:

Leaman demonstrated many features from a live instance of the index. He emphasized that they are striving for "complete" coverage of a portion of philosophical literature, rather than selective coverage. A goal of the product is to include bibliographic information for philosophy literature in many Western languages. To this end, the index includes a translation feature, to roughly translate information such as article titles into English. Other features include faceted browsing, links to share items via social networking sites, and a timeline visualization of search results.

When asked about how PDC’s product would compete with Philosopher’s Index, the established philosophy index used in North America today, Leaman pointed to his product’s scope. He indicated that materials would be indexed more thoroughly, not selectively, and that non-English materials would have a greater representation. His hope is that North American and European bodies of philosophical literature will find a greater shared readership through the use of PDC's forthcoming index.

2. Damon Zucca, Executive Editor, Reference Division, at Oxford University Press, discussed two products: Oxford Biblical Studies Online (OBSO) and Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO). OBSO brings together Oxford’s reference works on the Bible into one integrated resource. Presenting from screen captures, Zucca demonstrated OBSO as an immersive biblical studies tool, appearing to have relatively seamless navigation between the various resources within. More information is available on the OBSO site: The full list of OBSO contents is here:

The other product, Oxford Bibliographies Online, consists of a series of discipline-based bibliography modules that can be searched and accessed together or separately, such as Classics, Philosophy and Renaissance & Reformation. OBO modules bring together citations to the essential literature through the guidance of an expert in the field. Each entry (e.g. Feminist Philosophy in the Philosophy module) has its own scholarly expert guiding the user through citations to essential and helpful works, from general to specific. Citations included are not limited to Oxford publications. More information is available at the OBO site:

3. "Moving to Online Publications: Practices, Policies, and Goals of the Center for Hellenic Studies." Noel Spencer and Jeremy Linn presented an overview of the Center of Hellenic Studies's online publication program.

CHS is a research institute located in Washington, D.C. affiliated with Harvard University. It was established in 1962 as "an educational center in the field of Hellenic Studies designed to re-discover the humanism of the Hellenic Greeks." Responding to trends affecting libraries and publishing, CHS is taking advantage of digital technologies to expand its publishing program online. This includes publishing monographs and journals (Classics@) as well as innovative projects in the "digital humanities," such as the Homer Multitext. CHS has also established a IT/Humanities Non-Residential Fellowship for scholars working on technological projects.

CHS takes advantage of open-source software and open standards for publishing online, utilizing TEI-XML for its documents and developing an interactive structure for using texts online. It has moved authors into the production processes, having them submit marked-up text. Texts are released with a creative-commons license. Navigating copyright issues, especially regarding images, in a way that maximizes the reach of publications while ensuring proper attribution remains a challenge.

Presentation Slides (on Slideshare)
Note: The background images for these slides where compiled from the Venetus A manuscript of Homer (Marcianus Graecus Z 454=822, currently in the Marciana Library, Venice).

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