Archive for August, 2010


Resource Review: Latin Grammars

August 30, 2010

On to latin grammars, a subject I know very little about indeed.  Thank heavens for Jenkins, who rounds up the top choices very neatly.  This post covers the most popular latin grammars for English-speakers; others will follow with more specialized works.  Most grammars are kept in the stacks at the UGA library; many also live in the Alexander Room in Park Hall.

The newest, and most elementary, is James Moorwood, A Latin Grammar (1999), which is at Main 3rd Floor PA2087.5 .M67 1999.  Jenkins (no. 537) describes it as “relatively abbreviated” but “easy to navigate and more comprehensible [than others] to contemporary students.”   It is widely available in paperback from under $20, so probably many students purchase this.  Although an Oxford publication, it is not available through Oxford Reference Online.

The traditional standby is Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, which we have at UGA (Main 3rd Floor PA2087 .A525 1983 and Alexander Room ) and is also available online at Perseus.  The 2001 reprint includes Anne Mahoney, Overview of Latin Syntax (2000), which is also available online at Perseus.  Jenkins (no. 526) has faint praise, but praise nonetheless: “a quite reliable descriptive grammar of latin, possibly the best available in English.”  This too is available in print relatively cheaply (lists at $38, but Amazon currently has it for $26).

Less preferred, according to Jenkins (no. 531) is Hale and Buck, A Latin Grammar, at Main 3rd Floor PA2087 .H168 1966 and the Alexander Room. While this is  “a reliable and readily available descriptive grammar of latin,”  its unusual arrangement and poor indexing means many people choose Allen and Greenough.  It is also in (re)print and lists at $34, available for $26 at Amazon.


Meta Moment on “Bing Scholar”

August 26, 2010

As far as I can tell, there is no Bing Scholar.  Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, does work with Wolfram Alpha to supply answers to factual & mathematical questions, and has a “Bing University” search, but they don’t have the complex agreements with multiple scholarly publishers that Google Scholar does, allowing them to index scholarly journal articles.

But a fair number of people seem to wish there was a Bing Scholar, based on the searches that lead people to my blog.  These include:

  • bing google scholar
  • bing scholar
  • bing scholar search
  • use bing to search for scholarly article
  • google scholar for bing
  • scholar bing
  • google scholar like bing
  • microsoft bing scholar
  • is there a google scholar on bing

I especially like the last one, which demonstrates how thoroughly the Google brand is attached to scholarly article searches online.  It’s like saying, “Can I buy a Big Mac at Burger King?”

So far, Google is still the only major search engine with Big Macs Scholar.


Reserves: A Librarian’s Plea for Back To School

August 25, 2010

We start the fall semester early at UGA, so we’re halfway through the second week of classes already.  In my desk shifts – both in person at the Main library, and my “virtual” desk shift via chat – the number one question is “How do I get the GALILEO password?”   But that’s not the subject of my plea.  The second most common question at the start of the semester is, “Do you have my textbook in the library?”

Generally, we do not (despite what a bunch of students say in comments to this Times piece).  Libraries don’t automatically purchase textbooks.  We may have an older edition, whether “older” means 2006 or 1973.  If we do, it’s almost always already checked out by the time Student Y comes to the desk, having been nabbed by an especially quick classmate.  And that demonstrates why we don’t buy textbooks – we can’t possibly buy enough copies for even a graduate seminar, let alone a lecture of 300 people (remember, UGA has 36,000 students).  And no, you cannot get a copy by Interlibrary Loan.  In fact, our ILL policy explicitly states that we will not borrow textbooks (and in any case, we couldn’t get anybody to loan them to us – they are in the same boat).

What’s my plea, then?  My plea is to the faculty.  Yes, at UGA a large percentage of the students receive the HOPE scholarship, which includes a textbook allowance (although a small one), and some of the students come from affluent backgrounds, such that black SUVs driven by college students are referred to as HOPE cars (because parents spent the money saved on tuition on wheels for Junior).  But there are students at UGA who are supporting themselves, and for whom every penny counts.

If you assign a textbook for your class, and the library owns a recent or current edition, please place it on print reserve, so as many students can have access to it as possible (in 3 hour increments, at UGA).  If the library doesn’t own a copy, and you’ve got a spare, consider placing your own copy on reserve.  If a publisher gave you a free copy to entice you to use the textbook, consider donating your copy to the library AND placing it on reserve, rather than selling it for half price at Amazon.  (If you’re receiving adjunct pay, go ahead and sell the book – you need the money more, my friend.)

And while we’re on the topic of reserves, if you assign a paper on a single topic to a class of 20, and all the students are going to want the same 10 library books, get ahead of them, and put those on reserve, too!  Often the most motivated student checks out all the relevant books early on, and the last-minute-Charlies throw themselves on the mercy of a librarian (or resort to Wikipedia, or plagiarism.)  You will receive much better papers if you make sure all your students have access to key works from the library, and better papers are so much more fun to grade, aren’t they?


Greek Dictionaries: New Testament and Later

August 23, 2010

Jenkins discusses several dictionaries of later Greek, some of which we have in Reference and some in the stacks.  I am considering a consultation with my colleague who works with the Religion department to make sure the most useful works are in our limited Reference space.

Jenkins highlights (no. 501) Bauer’s (rev. Aland) Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2000), Main Reference PA881 .B38 2000,  as the “standard lexicon for New Testament Greek,” and a “useful tool for all who deal with Hellenistic and later Greek.”  It covers early Christian writers but also the Septuagint, Philo and Josephus, papyri, and some Byzantine authors.  At UGA, we also have older editions in the library stacks (i.e. Main 3rd Floor PA881 .B3 1957) that can be checked out.

Jenkins recommends Lust’s Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (no. 514), Main 3rd Floor PA781 .L8 1992, as the “best choice” for the “many peculiarities” of this text, and a modern lexicon.

We do not own a copy of G. Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford 1961), though I suspect maybe we should, and perhaps we once did and our copy was lost.  (Worldcat reveals that many libraries in the state system do have it, so GIL Express can come to the rescue of any of our faculty or students in need.)  Jenkins (no.  509) describes it as a supplement to LSJ 9th ed. (discussed here), covering “Clement of Rome (1st century A. D.) to Theodore of Studium (d. 826 A. D.)” and highlighting “theological and ecclestiastical vocabulary.”

Not discussed by Jenkins, but in Main Reference are:

For post-classical Greek, there are:

Sophocles, Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100) Main Reference PA1123 .S712.  Jenkins (no. 517) describes this “as the only Greek-English lexicon for the Byzantine period,” although it is essentially unaltered since its initial publication in 1870.  For the Roman period, Liddell and Scott (discussed here) is usually as good.

Jenkins does not discuss Du Cange, Glossarium et Scriptores Media et Infimae Graecitatis Main Reference PA1125 .D8 1943, which we keep in Reference.  Its origins are in the 17th century, and as the title indicates, is a Greek-Latin rather than Greek-English dictionary for the later periods.   It is available in digital format for free download through the Anemi Digital Library of Modern Greek Studies at the University of Crete.


Resource Roundup: Footage of Triremes!

August 17, 2010

A friend who is a historian of 20th century technology, but teaches “Western Civ,” recently asked an assembled group of experts his Facebook friends if any movie buff among them could recommend films with footage of ancient naval battles, preferably Greek and involving triremes.  (I’m betting he’s teaching Salamis).  A couple of people mentioned Cleopatra and Ben Hur, but of course neither of those are Greek.  I don’t know of any trireme-featuring films myself, not being much of a movie buff – does 300 involve naval battles at all?  Or is there anything in the new Clash of the Titans?

I do know about triremes, though.  I’ve been to see the H. N. Olympias, the replica trireme built by the Trireme Trust and the Greek Navy, launched in 1987. The Olympias is planning to make its first visit to the United States in 2012 – any New York based rowers (who are on the shorter side – it’s apparently a bit cramped inside) should consider volunteering!

The BBC documentary about the Olympias trials was titled “The Trireme Quest” (and was released on VHS) and the Trireme Trust site mentions that other sea trials were filmed by “Channel 4 and Greek film crews.”  Probably some tourists whipped out their video cameras during the sea trials as well!  Youtube has some footage of the Olympias and clips about triremes, unfortunately usually unsourced and probably under somebody’s copyright (in several clips the History Channel “H” logo is visible).   A decent clip including the Olympias under oar and interviews with Ioannis Koliniatis is here;   it looks like the entirety of the History Channel’s “History’s Turning Points – (480 BC) The Battle of Salamis” is online, too.  Then there’s this History Channel parody – geeky-classicist humor for the win!

There are tons of images of triremes – drawings, plans, and photos of Olympias – available in Google Image search and also at Flickr (including Creative Commons-licensed images like the one below, taken by Kenny Murray off of Poros in 1987!).


A fine starting place for scholarly and popular bibliography about ancient Greek ships in general, and the Olympias in particular, is available at the Trireme Trust.


Greek Dictionaries: Etymological

August 9, 2010

I discussed the most fundamental Greek dictionaries in an earlier post. In this post I turn to etymological dictionaries of Greek, as well as mentioning a few lesser-used dictionaries that UGA continues to keep in its Reference area.

Jenkins compares two major etymological dictionaries: Chantraine and Frisk.  Hjalmar Frisk’s Griechisches Etymologisches Worterbuch (Jenkins 507), described as “the standard etymological dictionary for the Greek language,” is at Main Ref PA445 .G3 F9 1960.  (The catalog is probably still showing this as at the Repository (off-site storage) but I have pulled it and asked that it be sent back to Main Reference).

Chantraine’s Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue Grecque (Jenkins 503) is at Main Ref PA422 .C5.  We also have a 2-volume edition in the circulating collection (Main 3rd Floor PA422 .C5) which I am happy to see is currently checked out! Jenkins describes Chantraine as “more concerned with the histories of the word than with their origins and linguistic affiliations.”  It was also written late enough to take advantage of the decipherment of Linear B, unlike Frisk.

The standard Greek prose composition dictionary discussed by Jenkins (no. 522) is still kept in Main Reference – and there’s even a copy in the Science Library Reference area, leading me to imagine physicists and forestry students painstakingly composing papers in Attic Greek!  It is Woodhouse, English-Greek Dictionary, Main Reference PA445 .E5 W6 1932b

We also have a dictionary of early Greek (Homer, including the epics and the hymns, and Hesiod) in Main Reference.  The Lexicon des Fruhgriechischen Epos (Main Reference PA422 .S6) is not discussed by Jenkins.  It is a just-completed German project that began in 1944, based at Goettingen:  “The Lexikon lists all words and names appearing in the above-mentioned texts, together with all their instances (except some indeclinables). Articles usually contain sections on etymology, metrics, ancient explanations, and modern secondary literature, while analysis of meaning occupies the central position.”


On Classification

August 3, 2010

One of the joys of holding a weekly office hour in a department is the accidental conversations that emerge when you run into students or faculty by chance.  Today Chuck Platter and I brainstormed a bit about what we might accomplish with a visit from me to his graduate-level Greek Prose class.  We talked about serendipity and the discovery of scholarly materials, and he brought up the Warburg Library, of which I should probably be ashamed to say I had never heard (except that as a teacher and librarian, my personal motto is that one shouldn’t be ashamed about what one doesn’t (yet) know – one should be inspired to learn about new things!)

Most academic libraries in the US use the Library of Congress (“LC”) classification system to order their books.  When I worked at Duke, that library still used the Dewey Decimal classification, most familiar to users of US public libraries.  Duke converted to LC while I worked there (a massive undertaking very neatly accomplished, if I who was a small gear in the process may be permitted to say so.)  It was fascinating to watch the books move about and regroup as they changed from Dewey to LC – some books that had been shelf-mates stayed so, and some ended up at opposite ends of the call number range.

As a former archaeologist, I have long known that classification is almost always a scheme imposed by the scholar on the material.  While the goal is to ‘carve nature at its joints,’ it is sometimes not clear at all where the joints lie, and even those who think they see clearly are bringing intellectual and cultural preconceptions about the nature and existence of joints to the material in question.  It is the same in library science, but of course print books must go somewhere, so one has to decide whether a Roman culinary treatise should go with latin literature or ‘cookery’ (which Subject Term was recently eliminated from the LC Headings as too old-fashioned, although I kind of love it.)

Back to the Warburg Library.  It is associated with the Warburg Institute at the University of London, and originated as the personal library of its namesake, Aby Warburg, a German scholar of the history of art.  Its classification scheme has four major headings: Action – Orientation – Word – Image.  The graphic below helps illustrate more clearly what these mean.

Within these  larger categories are sub-headings, with 3-letter “Classmarks” for individual topics. Thus KNN is Roman Mosaics and Painting, and there’s a list of books in classification order available through the online catalog.  The books are almost certainly in a different arrangement that they would be if the same books were shelved according to the LC classification.

Discovery is an important part of scholarship, and looking at familiar things with a new slant can be revealing.  I always encourage graduate students who are accustomed to doing online searches for books to browse the library stacks instead (or “also”) – they will find some of the same things they discovered in the online catalog, but new things as well, and the juxtapositions can be revealing or thought-provoking.  So the opportunity to view a collection of books classified in the Warburg scheme can spark new ideas for scholarship or lead to the discovery of works you’d never run across before – because at your university, some of them were shelved with the cookbooks, in the Science Library.

A note for UGA faculty and students, I am holding my Fall 2010 Office Hours from 1-2pm on Tuesdays in Park Hall 222 – the newly rearranged Alexander Room.  The carpet was cleaned, and the tables have been put back in such a way as to make the room look 6 feet wider.  I, at least, am seeing the space with fresh eyes!