Christopher Blackwell and Ross Scaife
Introduction: The CHS Workshop on Technology and the Classics
The first ever CHS Summer Workshop on Technology took place at the Center in Washington DC from June 23 through June 29, 2003. The papers published in this edition of Classics@ directly resulted from that workshop and represent some of what was discussed among the participants. Here we would like to recapitulate briefly the ideas behind this effort.
This workshop was designed to bring together a group of scholars interested in the possibilities afforded by the electronic manipulation of texts, and particularly how current standards — XML, XSLT, and Unicode, to name a few — can help us create, analyse, connect, and share the materials with which we work. Among our group were some just beginning to work with these technologies, and others more experienced, and a few experts. Some on the group have indeed played important roles in defining the essential standards and implementing the basic technologies for them.
The essential goal of the workshop was for all of us to take one or two steps forward from wherever each of us was going in. More specifically, we hoped to increase the number of scholars doing this work, which the Center for Hellenic Studies sees as an appropriate direction for our discipline. We hoped to raise the standard, already high, of this work. We hope to encourage collaboration among scholars, and interaction among resulting projects. And we hoped that events like this help our discipline come to terms with and value this sort of scholarly work alongside of more traditional scholarly activity.
There were three primary goals for the workshop:
- Teaching the basics of marking up texts using TEI-conformant XML to anyone who did not already know it; this will include helping them set up a working environment.
- Learning from some early pioneers in classics and technology, who have valuable datasets that could become even more valuable if they could interact with other current projects.
- Providing space for people at all stages of technological skill and experience to share ideas, make connections, and build esprit de corps. In particular we wanted to gather some advanced practitioners together for a week to (a) help with #1, (b) think about how best to do #2, and (c) push forward the state of the art for our discipline, if possible.
Beyond those primary goals, we also hoped that the workshop could serve the mission of the CHS in several ways. Broadly, to encourage projects that foster the Center’s mission to disseminate widely Hellenism, defined as broadly as possible. More specifically, to increase the number of professionals in the discipline who can contribute to the Center’s goals of wedding traditional scholarly values to a new openness, a new commitment to reaching wide audiences, and desire to present knowledge in ways hitherto impossible; and to encourage and help those who are already pursuing those goals. Naturally we also looked forward to a certain amount of show-and-tell, to illustrate by means of existing projects the potential for the near future.
This edition of Classics@ does not by any means pretend to capture the full range of IT-related activities currently underway in Classics. Nonetheless wehope that it provides a useful historical snapshop of some interesting projects and perspectives at a particular historical moment for both the Center and our discipline.
To refer to this please cite it in this way:
Christopher Blackwell and Ross Scaife, “Introduction: The CHS Workshop on Technology and the Classics,” C. Blackwell, R. Scaife, edd., Classics@ volume 2: C. Dué & M. Ebbott, executive editors, The Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University, edition of April 7, 2004.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.