Archive for July, 2010


Journal Tables of Contents Update

July 28, 2010

I posted just a couple of weeks ago about ways to keep track of journal tables of contents online.  I quickly got a very helpful comment from Roddy McLeod directing me to JournalTOCs, a resource similar to TicTOCs.  It lists 108 journals under Classical Studies, and 65 under Archaeology.  It also has an API, for you programmers out there.

I also, as a followup to my post about, discovered that one can “follow” journals at that site, and in so doing, get links to newly published articles at the journal’s home page.  There are browseable lists of journals for specific disciplines, though they aren’t easy to find from the basic journals page.  Here are journals in Archaeology (91), Classical Archaeology (29) and Classics (10) – note there is overlap.  The journal following interface allows searching by keyword (including truncated keywords, like “librar” for library, librarian, etc.) as well as presenting journals in alphabetical order by title.  Another way to find journals of interest, especially if your research does not fall neatly into one discipline, is to look for a scholar who shares your research interests and see what journals she is following.

journals interface at

I couldn’t find any description of how journals are added and what digital tool is being used to get the tables of contents, but I did find that some journals that don’t make their tables of contents available by RSS do show up on the list (one example is the American Journal of Archaeology).  If a journal you’re interested in isn’t listed, there is a button to “suggest a new journal,” (on the right here) which asks for the title, home page, and description, and states that submissions will be reviewed (maybe even by a human!?!).  In general, Journals looks as though it is one of the newer features of the site (it’s not mentioned in the FAQ or their blog, and there’s no direct link from the header of the site), but it has a lot of potential.  They have a nice clean interface; they just need a librarian to help make sure ISSNs are included for all titles, work on searchability for article titles, and so much more…


Social Networking and Academia

July 26, 2010

Now that everyone and (no joking) her dog is on Facebook, has the time come for social networking to have an effect on academia?  There have been academic and research-related “social” sites for some time now – (part of Nature Publishing) broke big in 2005, and CiteULike happened at about the same time.  Both of these allow the bookmarking of web pages, like, but have a special focus on online academic journal articles.  They pull metadata from the articles to create an accurate mini-citation in your list of resources, and allow lists of articles or web pages to be tagged, shared, and fed out via RSS; you can also explore others’ lists and discover new research articles that way.  I explored Connotea pretty thoroughly in early 2007, but haven’t used it since then.

Mendeley is a more recent entrant into the arena (2007), with a desktop as well as a web application, although like Zotero (2006)  it bills itself most prominently as a reference management software (like EndNote or Refworks) that just happens to have a social dimension.  More truly social, with a goal of promoting campus research and fostering intra-campus collaboration is BibApp, an application developed by librarians and technologists at two university campuses.  Here, the researcher is the focus of the site (not the individual paper or citation) and the institution is the impetus for organizing and collecting the published works of the researcher.

Right now, I’m most interested in, though.  I’ve had an account at for a couple of months now, and I think it’s a new idea that could encourage some interesting changes in academic culture.

Phoebe Acheson's page at

1.  It increases the visibility of an academic career.  The site comes up quite high in a Google search; higher, I find, than one’s departmental web page.  Also in contrast to a departmental web site, I have instant control over what is on my profile; if I update my resume I can simply upload the new version, without having to work through a web administrator.  (I toy with turning off the feature that emails me when someone searches for me on Google and lands at the site.  While one knows, rationally, that people do search for one on Google, it is a little disconcerting to hear about it I find!) In the difficult employment environment academics face, any tool that lets you promote your academic work and manage your own academic ‘brand’ for free is a good one.

2.  It serves as a de facto high visibility repository for open-access papers.  Researchers can easily upload copies of their published or unpublished works to the site.  Scholars should, of course, only upload papers they hold the copyright of, so do read your publishing contracts carefully to make sure you hold the copyright in your own work if you want to post your papers or book chapters online.

A couple of things I wonder about:

1.  If I switched university affiliations, how would that be handled?  Right now the url for my page starts with “uga,” but academics do move around, especially at the early stages of their careers, and I suspect this site is aimed at scholars writing PhDs or assistant professors (the Facebook generation?) rather then senior faculty. (I seem to see a lot of UK-based grad students on the site especially – note the site itself is UK-based.)

2. Will people make connections using that turn into academic collaborations?  While I treat Facebook as a public forum, and don’t post anything there I wouldn’t say to my postal carrier (or my boss!), my “friends” are almost all people I have actually met and interacted with.  I am, on the other hand, comfortable “following” the work of scholars I don’t know at  Will graduate students and early-career faculty reach out to each other and turn “following” into collaborating?  If so, could this have an effect on the culture of academia, which (at least in the humanities) is not very collaborative?


Mabel Lang (1917-2010)

July 23, 2010

I just received an email from Bryn Mawr (my alma mater) telling me that Miss Lang died on Wednesday, at 92.

I took “Baby Greek” after her 1988 retirement, but Miss Lang was a legendary figure in my undergraduate days.  Bryn Mawr president Jane McAuliffe writes:

Professor Lang was raised in Hamilton, New York.  She earned her AB from Cornell (1939) and her MA (1940) and PhD (1943) from Bryn Mawr College. She commenced teaching at Bryn Mawr in 1943 and served on the faculty of the Greek Department for 45 years, before retiring in 1988.

Miss Lang, as she was known to many, began her service to Bryn Mawr as Warden of Rockefeller Hall (1942-1945).  She served the College in a number of administrative capacities: Acting Dean of the College, Dean of the Sophomore Class, and Secretary of the Faculty (1970-1975). In 1961, she became Chair of the Department of Greek and held the position, without sabbatical, until her retirement 27 years later.

A revered and formidable presence on campus, Professor Lang was an inspiring, caring and demanding teacher.  Professor Lang taught her signature undergraduate course – “Baby” Greek – almost every year, introducing nearly a thousand students to the language. Her graduate seminars on Homer and Thucydides set a standard across her academic field.

On a less academic note, Professor Lang was the beloved stage manager of a number of Bryn Mawr College Faculty Shows including:  Standing Room Only (1943), Top Secret (1947), Kind Hearts and Martinets (1951), and The Profs in the Pudding (1955).

Professor Lang was a prolific and celebrated scholar, who wrote twelve books and more than fifty articles, spanning the fields of history, epigraphy, and archaeology. As a Fellow of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, she excavated at the Acropolis and the Agora; this led to the publication of the first guide to the Agora, four Agora picture books, and three scholarly volumes in the esteemed Agora series. In the 1950s and 1960s, she participated in excavations at Gordion (Turkey) and the Palace of Nestor at Pylos (Greece) that led to numerous publications. Particularly seminal were her reconstruction of the frescoes at Pylos and her interpretation of tablet fragments in Linear B (the script of the Mycenaeans). Professor Lang’s later scholarship on Herodotus, Homer, and Thucydides was equally impressive and well-received.

Professor Lang’s academic contributions were widely recognized. She was awarded the Blegen Research lectureship at Vassar College (1976) and chosen to deliver the Martin Classical Lectures at Oberlin College (1982). Honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship to Greece, three honorary degrees, and membership in the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German Archeological Institute, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi.

Details about memorial services will be forthcoming.

There’s no post on the BMC website yet, so nothing to link to, but I expect there will be soon (Edit: yup. Same content as above).  Wikipedia has a short list of some of her publications, with links to those available online (mostly the Agora-related pamphlets).


Resource Roundup: Topography of Rome

July 19, 2010

I got a mysterious email from GIL (UGA’s online library catalog) this past week.  Someone sent me the catalog record for Platner and Ashby’s Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.  The mystery part is, there was no note or accompanying email from anyone I know explaining that they’d sent it to me because…   Possibly the catalog is developing HAL-like tendencies and wants to tell me something.  I’m choosing to take it as a sign from the universe that I should do a blog post about resources for the topography of Rome.

catalog record for Plattner and Ashby

I originally put these together for a page of resources for the UGA Study Abroad summer program in Rome.  A big part of the curriculum is the topography of Rome class, and there are now many wonderful digital resources available on this topic.

  • Google Earth Ancient Rome 3D Requires the download of Google Earth; Rome is presented is 320 C.E.
  • Rome Reborn (UVA) This academic consortial project began in 1997 and furnished the models for the Google Earth Ancient Rome layer; their goal is to model the city from ca. 1000 B.C.E. to 550 C.E.
  • Aquae Urbis Romae (UVA) A cartographic exploration of the relationship between Rome’s water supply and urban development; currently explores 750 B.C.E to 1700 C.E.
  • Digital Roman Forum (UCLA) Displays images of the buildings in the Forum on June 21, 400 C.E.
  • Interactive Nolli Map (Oregon) Exploration of various aspects of Giambattista Noli’s 1748 map of Rome, with maps and essays.
  • Digital Forma Urbis Romae (Stanford) The 1186 fragments of the Severan Marble Plan of Rome (ca. 203-211 C.E.), with essays and bibliography.
  • Lacus Curtius (Chicago) Includes a gazetteer of Rome (Topographia Urbis Romae) and the full text of Platner and Ashby’s Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

Not Rome, but Roman, and very cool: Google Street View now includes Pompeii!

(The mystery eventually got solved – our Reference copy of Platner and Ashby has gone walkabout.  While the Circulation staff does a search, if you’re the person who wanted it, let me know – I’ll hook you up with the online version!)


Resource Reviews: Greek Dictionaries

July 12, 2010

Greek language dictionaries are less numerous and diverse than the Latin.  According to Jenkins, there is really only once choice for a basic Greek dictionary: Liddell, Scott, Jones (LSJ), available in three sizes, discussed by Jenkins as no. 511. 512, 513 (are undergraduates still taught to call them the Little Liddell, Middle Liddell, and Great Scott?).  It covers Greek from Homer to ca. 600 AD.  The UGA Libraries have multiple copies and multiple editions, and keep the 1996 reprint of the Greek-English Lexicon (Jenkins’ no. 511) in the Reference collection (Main Reference PA445 .E5 L6 1996).  The 1940 printing – the same basic edition, the 9th, as the 1996, but lacking the revised supplement – is available online through Perseus.  Most undergraduates and many graduate students will use the Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Jenkins no. 513) for their day-to-day needs; it is widely available new in the $45 price range.  LSJ is not available digitally as part of the Premium Collection of Oxford Reference Online or  Oxford Language Dictionaries Online.

"middle Liddell" - by marmaduk at flickr, under a creative commons license

The only other general Greek-English dictionary discussed by Jenkins is the old print Thesaurus  Graecae Linguae (no. 505), which he describes as, “based on obsolete texts and methods” (with origins in the Renaissance) and of use now only to specialists; UGA’s copy remains in Main Reference at PA442 .E8 1954.

For examples of use, scholars are directed to the digital Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG, no. 519), a much-heralded and appreciated resource which is one of the pioneering works of digital humanities (begun in 1972!).  The TLG includes the digitized, searchable text of “virtually all Greek texts surviving from the period between Homer (8 c. B.C.) and the fall of Byzantium in A.D. 1453,” and includes “more than 105 million words from over 10,000 works associated with 4,000 authors” (source: their history pages). The UGA Libraries do not subscribe to the TLG, but the Classics Department does, and several of the computers in the Gantz Computer Lab in Park Hall have registered IP addresses.  Many of the most commonly used texts in TLG are part of the freely available Abridged Online version.

Etymological dictionaries and those that cover New Testament or Byzantine Greek will be discussed in future posts.


Journal Tables of Contents Alerts

July 7, 2010

Many scholarly journals now make their tables of contents available digitally upon publication of a new issue, by email and/or RSS (collect RSS feeds using Google Reader or Bloglines).  Some classics journals now provide this service.  There is a site which collects such feeds, called ticTOCs.  It currently has feeds for 16 journals categorized as Classical Studies (Acta Antiqua, Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia, Ancient Society, Antik Tanulmányok, Classical Antiquity, Classical Philology, The Classical Quarterly, The Classical Review, Forschung im Ingenieurwesen, Hermes, Hesperia, Historia, History of Political Thought, Journal for the Study of Judaism, Kadmos, Mnemosyne); depending on your research interests you may also want to search for other subjects.  Archaeology as a subject search turns up 56 titles, for example (including Anatolica, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Ancient Society, Archaeometry, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Karthago, Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Praehistorische Zeitschrift), Literature has 143, and various subclasses of History include over 200 titles.  There’s a short guide to using ticTOCs written by the Cornell Libraries for those who need help getting started.

In many of these cases, you can also go directly to the digital home of the journal (Google the title) and look for an RSS button (they are usually orange and squarish, see below) or link for a table of contents alert.

rss button

A third option is to set up an alert using an article database that provides online access to the journal.  The major Classics-specific databases do not provide alerts, but many journals are available in full-text through a generalist database; at UGA, for example, the GALILEO database Academic Search Complete, provided by Ebsco, provides current full-text coverage of Classical Philology, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Greece & Rome, Antiquity, and many (many!) others.  To receive an email when new articles from a given journal are published, set up an alert that runs a search on the journal title and emails you when new articles are found. UGA has a guide that covers setting up alerts in several databases, including those provided by Ebsco,


Dyabola Tutorials

July 2, 2010

Dyabola is the name we in Classics usually use to refer to the Archäologische Bibliographie (also sometimes called the Realkatalog) of the Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut, an excellent resource for bibliography in the art and archaeology of the Mediterranean world.  The Archäologische Bibliographie is actually only one of a number of resources available through Projekt Dyabola (see also their blog) on the web, but it is the main one, and the only one to which UGA subscribes.

Dyabola includes citations for books, chapters, journal articles, festschriften and book reviews, but does not contain the full text of these reources. As of this writing it includes citations from 1956- May 2010, and has ca. 566,535 items by ca. ca. 96,813 authors.  There is a free version of the database called Zenon DAI, which has a rather different interface.

I used Dyabola as a graduate student in the late 1990s, and found that once you got used to its unusual interface, it was a powerful tool for discovering citations on a topic.  I’m re-immersing myself in it right now to start teaching it to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students.  My first step has been to gather existing online descriptions of and tutorials for Dyabola.  These include:

  • Youtube videos created by Michael Hughes of NYU in late 2009.  This is where I recommend anyone new to Dyabola to start (at least until I can develop my own tutorial!).  There are two, beginning and advanced, and they are fairly short (less than 5 minutes) and clear.
  • A static web page at UC Berkeley gives an overview of searching for those who hate to learn by video; a similar page is provided by the American Academy in Rome, and another at Bryn Mawr.
  • Dyabola’s own directions are somewhat difficult to use, but for those wrestling with complex searches, or seeking to really understand the database’s power, they are useful.  They are available in English.
  • in 1995, the Bryn Mawr Classical Review published John Tamm’s discussion of Dyabola (which was then available on CD-Rom), which remains useful for its description of the scope and structure of the database.  Reading this detailed review will make younger scholars realize (and older scholars remember) how very blessed we are by the advances in technology that have taken place over the intervening 15 years.

Know of a resource for getting to know Dyabola that I’ve missed?  Please met me know in comments!