The Future of L’Annee PhilologiqueApril 17, 2012
I am possibly the last Classics-related blogger to post the petition asking the German government and/or Heidelberg to reconsider defunding the German office of L’Annee; North American readers should also have a look at today’s APA’s blog post on the subject, which makes the activities of the several national offices of the APA more clear to those not familiar with them, and vaguely promises some future call to action. It seems the German office has fallen prey to one of the classic Catch-22 situations of academic funding: there are funds for exciting new projects, but it’s very hard to fund a project that has been going on for 100 years, no matter how useful it may be.
I hope and trust that L’Annee will not go away; it remains the most comprehensive bibliographic index for Classics. I will admit to indulging in some private speculation about what I might design to replace L’Annee Philologique if it did go away (first, I’d have a much more robust subject classification using a standard vocabulary of keywords). I also wonder if there are any good numbers out there (public numbers) about how often L’Annee is used, and by whom. I was rather surprised when the new interface debuted a couple of springs ago, and nobody seemed to notice for several weeks, suggesting that the average Classics scholar does not use L’Annee every day, or even every week. For the Younger Generation (aka These Kids Today) is Google Scholar coming first?
In other news, I am still working at the University of Cincinnati Classics Library, currently on a part-time basis (by my choice) doing a shift of the journals. It’s rather meditative, looking at the rows of bound volumes, and thinking about the venerable reliables that crank out an issue faithfully every year, and have done so for 125 years; the hopeful upstarts that published for a decade and then died; the lean years (World War II is notable in the thinness of many European titles) and the skipped issues, and the journals that keep getting fatter. Sometimes I have deep thoughts, and then other times I just think too many articles are being published, and my thumb hurts.