Archive for September, 2010


New Books at the Blahblah Library

September 29, 2010

Chuck Jones recently raised the topic of Acquisitions Lists published online by various key libraries at his Ancient World Online.  His suggestions, augmented by those added in comments, are the following:

I looked at a couple of other schools and found that in many cases while no official list is published, it is possible to generate a list and then narrow it down by call number range, for example, to find a list of new books in one’s field of interest.  Bryn Mawr is like this, for example (one can customize the page and set it to email a new list weekly, so you could see all books added to the Carpenter Library, for example), and Princeton has a similar interface.

So too is the UGA Library catalog; we have a “new book” search in the GIL Classic interface, which can then be sorted by call number.  Because books relevant to Classics fall into multiple possible call numbers, I decided to do a test of how long it would take me to generate a list of relevant new books added to the UGA Libraries in a sample week.  The answer: about 20 minutes.

Of the 609 items added to the Main Library collection on the week ending 9/28/10, I judged 11 to be relevant to the interests of the Classics Department of UGA, based solely on their titles taken in conjunction with their Library of Congress call numbers.  I found skimming titles an easier way to go through the list than call numbers, since I did not have a specific set of call number ranges in mind as targets.  In fact, call numbers included B, BJ, D, DF, DS, GT, and PA.

The next question becomes, is it worth it for me to spend about half an hour each week culling new books of possible interest to Classics, and emailing the faculty and graduate students?  I do run into some of them regularly as they peruse the new book shelves in the Main Library, so clearly our acquisitions are of some interest.  Perhaps I shall survey the faculty and see if this service would be valuable to them.

For the record, this week’s list is as follows (I am probably overly-inclusive, if anything, especially when it comes to archaeological works – one’s prejudices at work!):

      Author:  Brickhouse, Thomas C., 1947-
       Title:  Socratic moral psychology
    Location:  'Main 6th floor
 Call Number:  B317 .B695 2010
      Author:  Berg, Steven, 1959-
       Title:  Eros and the intoxications of enlightenment : on Plato's Symposium
    Location:  'Main 6th floor
 Call Number:  B385 .B47 2010
       Title:  Greek and Roman philosophy 100 BC-200 AD
    Location:  'Main 6th floor
 Call Number:  B505 .G74 2007
      Author:  Thorsteinsson, Runar M.
       Title:  Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism : a comparative study of ancient morality
    Location:  'Main 6th floor
 Call Number:  BJ221 .T46 2010
      Author:  Fournier, Julien, 1978-
       Title:  Entre tutelle romaine et autonomie civique : l'administration judiciaire dans les provinces hellenophones de l'empire romain, 129 av. J.-C-235 ap. J. C
    Location:  'Main 4th floor
 Call Number:  D5 .B4 no. 341
      Author:  Sjoˆgren, Lena.
       Title:  Fragments of archaic Crete : archaeological studies on time and space
    Location:  'Main 4th floor
 Call Number:  DF221.C8 S55 2008
       Title:  Athenian Agora : new perspectives on an ancient site
    Location:  'Main 4th floor
 Call Number:  Folio DF287.A23 A84 2009
      Author:  Monroe, Christopher Mountfort, 1963-
       Title:  Scales of fate : trade, tradition, and transformation in the eastern Mediterranean, ca. 1350-1175 BCE
    Location:  'Main 4th floor
 Call Number:  DS62.23 .M66 2009
      Author:  Lemos, T. M. (Tracy Maria)
       Title:  Marriage gifts and social change in ancient Palestine, 1200 BCE to 200 CE
    Location:  'Main 2nd floor
 Call Number:  GT2774.5.P19 L46 2010
      Author:  Van Laer, Sophie.
       Title:  Preverbation en latin : etude des preverbes ad-, in-, ob- et per- dans la poesie republicaine et augusteenne
    Location:  'Main 3rd floor
 Call Number:  PA2137 .V36 2010
      Author:  Petsalis-Diomidis, Alexia.
       Title:  Truly beyond wonders : Aelius Aristides and the cult of Asklepios
    Location:  'Main 3rd floor
 Call Number:  PA3874.A7 P48 2010

Resource Review: Greek and Latin Syntax

September 27, 2010

Jenkins discusses two essential works on syntax, one each for Greek and Latin.  There are also recent essays on syntax available at Perseus.  I have also listed a new work on syntax which has appeared since Jenkins was published in 2006.


One of the advantages of UGA’s new GIL-Find online catalog is it allows the creation of stable urls with search results.  So if you’re interested in the list of all 95 works on latin syntax at the UGA Libraries, look here (the search is a subject search on the Library of Congress subject heading Latin Language – Syntax).


  • Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek VerbMain 3rd Floor PA369 .G657s 1876 and Alexander Room; available online at Perseus.  This work, finalized in 1890, remains  “the most comprehensive and reliable handbook in English on Greek verbs,” according to Jenkins (no. 530).  Note that Goodwin is also the co-author of one of the standard Greek grammars.
  • Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax (2000).  Available online at Perseus.

All works at the UGA Libraries with the Library of Congress subject heading “Greek Language – Syntax”.


iPads in New Places!

September 23, 2010

In the trenches, that is.  At the University of Cincinnati’s excavations at Pompeii (note, this links to the Apple site, so it’s essentially an ad, but the content seems fairly neutrally descriptive and not too puffed up, and there are pictures!)

I’ve never taken any kind of computer into the field with me – though I have toted a digital camera (I haven’t been a field archaeologist since 2001).  I have indeed suffered through the toil of data input from paper notes to the big database.  But I’d worry a lot about breaking the iPad…


Resource Roundup: Classics Blogs

September 21, 2010

Librarians blog, people.  Sometimes I wonder if every librarian under 40 has a blog.  Archaeologists blog a little.  Classical philologists, not so much. So there are relatively few “must-follow” blogs for Classical Studies, in my opinion.  Those few are:

  • The Bryn Mawr Classical Review.  Most people aren’t so conscious that this is a blog, as it uses the blog medium to feed content that is just a traditional book review.  I love the BMCR, even if I only skim the reviews, and you should too.
  • The Ancient World Online (AWOL) by Charles Ellwood Jones of NYU.  Collects open-access online journals and other publications about the ancient world, with excellent international coverage.  There are occasional mentions of other online projects or issues related to ancient studies.
  • Rogueclassicism, by David Meadows.  This is more of a mixture of things – “this day in ancient history”, pull-outs from list-servs announcing conferences and colloquia, references to Classics in pop culture, new archaeological discoveries.  To me it’s the most useful general classics blog.
  • Then there’s Atlantides: Feed Aggregators for Ancient Studies, by Tom Elliot of NYU, who as far as I can tell includes the above and pretty much everything else in the realm of ancient world blogging, from Spanish-language archaeologists to vastly different perspectives on cultural heritage preservation to New Testament scholars.  There are multiple feeds available at the link above, rough-sorted by topic.  Subscribe to a feed and you get all the posts from all the blogs on that feed (hence the name “aggregator.”)  Maia Atlantis is the big one; the full list of blogs covered, in alphabetical order, is along the right sidebar.  It’s a bit like drinking from a fire hose to subscribe to the whole thing, but I suggest doing so for a bit, and then subscribing individually to those blogs that interest you and unsubscribing to the feed as a whole.

I’d also like to highlight a couple of blogs I just like.  Blogging (if done well, in my opinion) is kind of personal, and sometimes you like a blogger’s voice and want to follow him or her, despite having little direct interest in his area of study.  Sometimes you GET interested in his area of study!  So here are a few voices I enjoy and find thought-provoking:

A reminder – Bloglines has announced it is going away October 1st, so if you use that as an RSS reader you will need to switch.  I use Google Reader, which is the largest alternative to Bloglines – I switched a while ago, fed up with how often Bloglines was down.  If you hate Google Reader, a librarian blogger I like, Swiss Army Librarian, just did a round-up of RSS readers that are not Google Reader, so you may find one you like.  While twitter and Facebook are discovery tools for new blog content for me, I still rely heavily on an RSS reader to keep up with the things I am devoted to.


Yes, Homer on your iPads, Please!

September 20, 2010

I am turning in a grant application today – a grant for funds to purchase a pool of Kindle e-book readers on behalf of the digital library I work in, to be used in classes experimenting with digital reading, writing, and researching using e-book readers.  Our pilot class is in the English department, but I’m hoping to interest some Classics faculty in the project if it gets funded.  So the recent buzz-generating Chronicle of Higher Ed article about the e-book reader “discouragement” (not a ban!) at St. John’s College in Annapolis has kept popping up while I’ve been writing.

Here’s what I sent to  my work list-serv when someone circulated the article:

Just for the record, y’all, Digital Classics is a large and growing field, and the massive and esteemed collection of digital texts of ancient Greek (Thesaurus Linguae Gracae; which has core texts available to the public and a full collection to which UGA Classics subscribes) was begun in 1972!!  And you can read it on your iPad.

If our grant is funded, I plan to be embedded in the upper-level English class that’s the pilot (Environmental Literature – should be interesting!) to experience and observe how (if!) reading a text – and we’ll be sampling novels, essays, and poetry as well as criticism – differs when an e-book reader is the medium.  We’ll also look to see if the classroom dynamic changes when all the course texts are available on a single device everyone brings to class, allowing easier consultation and cross-referencing.  I’ll also be working to get all course readings available either through reserves, through free online text for out-of-copyright works (while consulting with the faculty member to choose appropriate editions) or by linking students to texts for sale.   (And why aren’t we asking for iPads?  Because while they are way cool, they also cost more than three times what the new Kindles do, and for literature, I don’t see much benefit to their added capabilities, i.e. color, easier video, etc.)


Information Literacy for Classics Majors

September 15, 2010

Librarians are very gung-ho about a topic that many non-library academics haven’t even heard of: information literacy. Information literacy is defined as the skills and basic knowledge needed for the student to operate successfully in the world of information – think “computer literacy” but for information. Librarians visit classes – at UGA we work with a lot of ENGL 1101 classes, and at other schools librarians have a mandate to do a class session in all first-year English classes – and in the course of orienting students to the library’s physical and online resources, also try to introduce basic skills and concepts for college-level research, like criteria for evaluating a web page or article (who is it by, why was it written, who is it aimed at, are the facts it presents accurate, is it trying to argue a specific thesis?), what an academic citation is, what a scholarly journal article is and what peer review means.

At some schools, the Classics department and the library have worked together to develop a set of information literacy standards for Classics majors. One set of criteria I found posted online are those from Classics at Smith College:


By the time of their graduation all Classics majors should understand how scholars of Classical Antiquity conduct research and how they communicate the results of their work to colleagues. One way of describing this understanding is “information literacy” – i.e. the ability to conceptualize what information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use this information.

There are then specific skills and resources students should know and know how to use, listed out by the level and type of class being taken (i.e., Greek at the 200 level.)

Carleton College has a page that not only lists the desiderata for Classics Information Literacy but describes the process by which the standard was developed and a required Analecta Technica – a junior year portfolio:

The overall goal of the Analecta Technica is to demonstrate that students are ready to analyze and interpret elements (e.g. texts, artifacts, institutions, etc.) of the ancient Greco-Roman world within their various contexts (e.g. political, social, linguistic, etc.) through the use of primary sources as evidence and secondary sources to situate their work in the context of the discipline. To achieve this goal, students will need to be able to locate, utilize, and cite the sources indicated above.

The Classics department often thinks of itself – and promotes itself – as a place to acquire a strong liberal education.  Information literacy skills like critical thinking, as well as writing and language skills, are associated by students and faculty alike with Classics in a study by the Center for Hellenic Studies (The Classics Major and Liberal Education, Liberal Education, vol. 95 no. 2, Spring 2009).  Have you thought about the information literacy skills you want your students to come away from your class with? Would talking about this explicitly help your department?  If so, don’t hesitate to contact your librarian liasion, who will probably jump into the topic with great enthusiasm.


RefWorks for Classicists Workshop

September 14, 2010

This is obviously of most interest to my readers actually located in Athens, GA!  Here’s the content from the flyer:

RefWorks for Classicists
A workshop on bibliographic & citation management software.

  • When: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 4:30-5:30pm
  • Where: Park Hall 149
  • Who: interested Classics Graduate Students, Undergraduates, and Faculty.
  • Why:  Manage information, save time & effort

Bibliographic management software allows you to export citations from library catalogs or article databases, store the citations and .pdfs of articles in a database and make notes on them, and insert citations in your Word documents.  UGA has site licenses for RefWorks and EndNote; there are others free on the web (Zotero, Mendeley, etc.)

This workshop will focus on setting up a RefWorks account, working with the most common sources for Classics, and issues and concerns related to Classics (i.e. European-style titles, Greek fonts).  If you’d like to work with me to learn EndNote, please email and I will be happy to meet with you one on one or in a small group.

Trying to decide between RefWorks and EndNote?  See the chart below and also


  1. Web-based, only available when you are online.
  2. Your citations and pdfs are available on any computer with internet.
  3. No need to download new versions / software patches: seamless updates.
  4. Can attach up to 500 MB of files to citations.
  5. RSS feed reader and storage built in (great for repeating searches at set intervals).
  6. Interface for PDA/smartphones.
  7. Works more seamlessly with L’Annee Philologique.


  1. Software you download to a computer, so can be used when you are not online.
  2. Your citations and pdfs are stored in a document (.enl file, a “library”), so using multiple computers requires planning ahead & a thumb drive.
  3. Yearly and more frequent releases of software updates which you may install to keep current.
  4. Can attach unlimited amount of files to citations for archival purposes.
  5. New optional Endnote Web makes citations more portable.

Both: support Unicode for Greek characters, work well with exports from most article databases and library catalogs, offer many formatting choices for bibliographies, support plug-ins for Microsoft Word that allow seamless citation insertion in documents, and with with Macs as well as PCs.


Digital Classics: What is it?

September 10, 2010

If you, like me, are trying to wrap your mind around the Digital Humanities/Digital Classics revolution, there’s a great new resource available.  Matteo Romanello, a PhD Student at King’s College, London, is assembling a bibliography on Digital Classics as part of his research.  He has created a group using the online citation software Zotero (which has social features allowing users to share citations), and is also replicating the list at the Digital Classicist Wiki. In his post at announcing this project, he also notes the existence of a larger and more comprehensive bibliography on Digital Humanities that Alison Babeu has assembled at CiteULike.

I’d love to see some annotations – even one-sentence summaries – describing what the articles are about!  Titles can be so opaque sometimes.  But that’s the annotated-bibliography obsessed librarian in me.  Perhaps if I can find the time to read the articles, I can add some annotations myself (one of the joys of a wiki!)  I’m glad to see inclusion of DOIs and links to online publishers for many of the citations; links to records for the books/book chapters would be lovely, too.


Resource Review: Basic Greek Grammars

September 8, 2010

As there are three choices for entry-level latin grammars, so too for Greek:

Like its parallel for latin, James Morwood’s Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (2001) is described by Jenkins (no. 538) as “compact and focus[ed] on Attic Greek” and “an excellent reference for students; the more advanced should use Smyth.”  At UGA it is shelved at Main 3rd Floor PA258 .M89 2001.  This is probably a common undergraduate purchase, as the list price is under $20. Like Morwood’s latin grammar, although this is an Oxford publication, it is not available through Oxford Reference Online.

Smyth is the classic, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, which Jenkins (no. 541) notes is “for over 70 years the standard reference Grammar of ancient Greek for English-speaking students.”  It is available on Main 3rd Floor PA258 .S6 and the Alexander Room; as well as online at Perseus.  Jenkins does note that  “scholars will need to supplement it with” other works, which will be treated in an upcoming post.

The third choice is Goodwin and Gulick, Greek Grammar (Main 3rd Floor PA258 .G66 1930b and Alexander Room). Jenkins (no. 529) calls it  “clear and concise, although with much less linguistic background than Smyth.”


Oxford Bibliographies Online: More Rant Than Review

September 1, 2010

Oxford has begun to publish a product called Oxford Bibliographies Online.  These are lengthy annotated bibliographies, written by scholars, on various topics.  There are Subjects (15 available the first year, including Classics), each with ca. 50 topic entries (Classics has 51, from Aeschylus to Virgil).  Topics have logical subdivisions; Virgil, by Elaine Fantham and Emily Fairey, for example, has Introduction, Life, Reference Works, Bibliography, Eclogues (Texts, Translations, Scholarship), Georgics (ditto), Aeneid (ditto plus Stylistic Analysis, Myth Religion and Prophecy, Literary and Historical Context), and Reception (over different periods.)

I think this is a wonderful idea;  OBO’s editor describes it as a response to the problem of “too much information” in the digital age, and a scholarly pathfinder more valuable than a search engine. Print annotated bibliographies have long existed; my resource reviews on this blog are incredibly indebted to Fred W. Jenkins’
Classical Studies: A Guide to the Reference Literature, a published annotated bibliography.  The OBO  is “born digital” and seems to take good advantage of that fact, making use of OpenURL technology and links out to web sources (including  The topics are peer-reviewed and scheduled to be updated and revised quarterly.

I’m a little troubled by the economics of this product, however.  I gather (an acquaintance knows someone who wrote a topic treatment) that the authors are minimally compensated for their work, as with most academic publications.  I think in the case I heard about, the author of a bibliography section received several hundred dollars’ worth of OUP books, plus of course the prestige.  OUP is charging a fair amount for the product, of course – from Laguardia (link below):

There are two options for acquiring OBO: by subscription or by perpetual access. Subscriptions are based on institution size and range from $395 per subject for the smallest institutions to $995 for the largest. The more subjects a library subscribes to, the more you save (from five percent up to 20 percent). Perpetual Access is initially provided at a price that includes the first three years of updates (the period of exponential planned growth for the file, with subsequent years providing updates rather than major growth). After the first three years, there will be a hosting and updating fee, while customers not wanting to pay for hosting and updating have the option of owning the content (in some format) that they can keep and self-host, depending upon upgrades and developments in technology. Perpetual access pricing ranges from $3,160 per subject to the smallest institutions to $7,960 to the largest institutions. The more subjects a library “buys,” the more it saves via discounts.

Oxford is running an “inaugural year” special that entitles libraries to discounts on top of the multiple subject savings. For libraries that purchase all modules this year (15 different subjects), the publisher is offering an exceptional deal; call your Oxford reps for details.

There are also individual subscriptions available, and free 30-day trials available for those considering a purchase.  Right now UGA, like many academic libraries, is in no position to spend $1000 a year for access to 50 bibliographic essays in Classics, much less a greater amount for “perpetual access.”  Most libraries are currently trying hard to cut as few resources as possible in the face of budget cuts and continuing journal price inflation.

So here’s my heresy – why couldn’t annotated bibliographies for subjects be written by faculty (or librarians, or even graduate students writing PhDs who spend years on literature reviews) and hosted in a freely accessible manner on the web – say, as part of Perseus, for example?  Or a specially-created Classics Annotated Bibliography Wiki?  Or a university or library web site?  Or even – horrors – added into existing Wikipedia entries on the topic! (The last would be the best way to reach the masses – interested amateurs and undergraduates – and direct them into scholarly resources, since Wikipedia is generally the number one result on any Google search and, whether we like it or not, the first place students go to find information.  The Virgil article at Wikipedia already has the basic structure of the Virgil topic in OBO, though it is rather skimpy on the scholarly bibliography.)

Oxford is certainly adding value to the work of the scholars who write the content for the OBO.  There is significant organizational work (anyone who has edited a scholarly journal knows all about the cat-herding involved) and technical work; I imagine the academics who edit the Subjects do most of the editorial work, and the peer reviewers are minimally compensated. The product looks good and should be easy to use (we haven’t requested a trial).  But is Oxford adding value to the tune of $1000 per subject per year?  My beloved Jenkins cost me about $40, in paperback (I bought a personal copy), and I don’t have to pay for it annually.

Reviews of OBO include:

Please link me to further reviews in comments if you know of any.