Archive for the ‘Tutorial’ Category


Finding CIG Citations

January 13, 2016

tl; dr version:

For the Corpus Inscriptionem Graecarum (CIG), all you need to know to find the inscription you want is its unique number, and this is just what most citations will give you. Inscriptions are numbered continuously starting at CIG 1 and continuing through all volumes and parts (ending at CIG 9926).

So, the inscription CIG 284 is 284th from the beginning of the set (it happens to appear in volume 1 part 2).

At the University of Cincinnati’s Burnam Classical Library, some friendly librarian of yore helpfully labeled the volumes with the CIG numbers contained therein:

photo of spines of CIG volumes

  • Volume 1: CIG 1-1792
  • Volume 2: CIG 1793-3809
  • Volume 3: CIG 3810-6816
  • Volume 4: CIG 6817-9926











Story version:

I got a message (on Facebook!) from a friend who is a first-year graduate student in Classics, with a background heavy on philology and light on history/archaeology.

I have a CIG number for an inscription (CIG 284) but I have no idea how to find what volume this would be in.

I’ve been staring at a shelf for like five minutes and I can’t figure out which one would be relevant and/or correct. How do I find this out?

My friend already knew that CIG stood for Corpus Inscriptionem Graecarum (WorldCat record, including volume and parts listings), published by August Bockh between 1828 and 1877. She was standing in front of the print volumes, which are generally next to the much more voluminous volumes of Inscriptiones Graecae (IG), which was created as a continuation of CIG, which I suspect is what perplexed my friend so thoroughly. Note that this, like many 19th century German reference works, is entirely in latin as that was the contemporary lingua franca for the scholarly community.

Since the CIG volumes are old enough to be no longer in copyright, they are available as downloadable .pdf files at Scribd. Many thanks to the communal effort of the group Patrologia Latina Graeca et Orientalis ( which made these available! I have not checked these thoroughly for accuracy but in my random perusings have found them to be complete and fully accurate. Links to individual .pdfs at Scribd follow:

The inscription CIG 284 turns out to be the Shield of Alkamenes, which has been owned by the British Museum since 1805 (item number 1805,0703.232), and they have a very nice online catalog of objects. The entry has an image AND bibliographic citations!


Note, as for this inscription, many things originally published in CIG have been subsequently republished in IG, so to be thorough you may need to look up a given inscription in multiple reference works – perhaps a future post will tackle the complexities of IG citations!


THATCamp SE 1: Timelines Assignment

March 7, 2011

This past Friday and Saturday I attended THATCamp SE (The Humanities and Technology Camp, a fairly informal “unconference” that is held locally or regionally), and Sunday I attended virtually via the twitter feed and some public Google docs that were being created.  So this week will be filled with “what I did and why it was cool for me”, with hopefully some “this might be cool for you to try as a classics teacher or researcher” added just for you, dear reader.

Friday was “BootCamp SE,” designed to provide hand-on skills training.  This post is going to highlight the first session, an hour and a half spent “Visualizing Time and Space with Simile Widgets and Google” with Brian Croxall. Although he was prevented by some sneaky smart quotes from having a dramatic reveal at the end of the session, I came away with a great classroom assignment for any class working with chronologies or historic events.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Created a Google Documents spreadsheet and filled it with some data: a title for the event, start date, end date (if not a one-day event), longer description of the event, a link to an online image, longitude and latitude coordinates (grabbed from Google maps), and a broad category.
  2. Pulled up an html editor, cut and pasted some code that Brian had pre-staged for us, and put the web page online (we didn’t technically do all of this, but I did the parts we didn’t get to by myself in odd moments during the day today.)
  3. Profit!  Okay, at least, Timeline! (Note mine is all about 1913, because I’m still deep in that Reacting to the Past game I mentioned the other week. Also it has a bug – the categories on the right sidebar aren’t showing, because I am not an Actual Rock Star. Yet.)

So, let’s say I was teaching a class in Aegean Prehistory and wanted to address the hanging points for the chronology. (I did an assignment like this as an undergrad, using actual graph paper, in a class taught by Jim Wright). Here’s what I’d do:

  1. Assign the students to collect the information needed for the Google spreadsheet.  I might group them into teams – you all deal with Aegean artifacts found in Egyptian contexts, you all deal with radiocarbon dates, etc. This would be a homework assignment, with a reading list of print sources suggested (and places to look online to find artifact images to include).
  2. My “homework” would be to set up the Google spreadsheet and “invite” all the students, so they could add their events/artifacts. I’d also pre-stage the web page using the Timeline Simile scripts, and make it live on a web space.
  3. Meet in a classroom with computers, or ask students to bring laptops, and have them fill in the Google spreadsheet in class. I’d have the web page showing live, so that as students added events to the timeline they would show up one by one.
  4. I’d make the “how I did this” piece available to the students, so they could use the Timelines for future projects.

Brian has a tutorial online that you can use to teach yourself everything you need to assign a Timeline in a couple of hours, I’d say (maybe even less if you are already comfortable with Google Docs, editing html, and have a web space to put stuff up.)  Others at the session mentioned that this might be useful for their dissertation research (keeping events in order and reminding oneself what was happening simultaneously), and as a spatial exercise (since the events have latitude and longitude, you can also produce a map of “events”). Would this be useful to you, in your research or teaching?  Feel free to brainstorm in comments.


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!


Tutorial for New L’Annee Philologique Interface

June 4, 2010
Here’s a link to a first draft of a tutorial for the new interface to L’Annee.  I’ll be teaching the interface to a class (UGA’s Summer Classics Institute students) for the first time on June 14th, so it may see some revision after that. I teach the interface “live” in the classroom, and ask the students to follow along on the computers in the teaching lab, but I give them a powerpoint tutorial to come back and refer to if they get stuck when they are on their own.
L annee philologique_online_new
If anyone would like to refer others to this tutorial, or embed it in your course pages (it does embed, but this blog style does not support embeds), feel free to do so, with proper attribution of course.

Tutorials for L’Annee Philologique

March 26, 2010

This is a write-up I did for a class in the fall of 2009, evaluating existing tutorials for a database and then creating one of my own.

L’Annee Philologique (, by subscription)

L’Annee (as it is commonly known) is a subject-specific database for Classical studies – languages, history, art, and archaeology.  It originated as a print index in the 1920s and has been published annually since then.  The index became available on CD-Rom in the 1990s, and a web version is now available.  Entries from the print indexes covering 1924-2007 are now searchable through the online L’Annee, and new volumes are added annually; 2008 is expected to be available online in September 2010.  The indexing work of L’Annee is supported by national research funds in France and the United States, as well as several academic institutions.  It has offices in France, the US, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain, generally attached to academic institutions.  Each office has a specific scope of materials to index, based on country of publication.  L’Annee’s goal is to provide a comprehensive index of the international research literature in Classical Studies, and to that end it indexes about 1500 journals as well as books, festschriften, dissertations, and book reviews.

L’Annee’s online user interface has long been a trial to researchers in Classics; the database is useful because of its content, and in spite of its interface (which is available in English).  One can search by Modern Author (there seems to be some authority control), Full Text (which is a keyword search of the citation; the database does not contain full text of articles), Ancient Author and Text (authority control is also in effect), Subjects and Disciplines (subject headings, which are nested although very broad – “archaeology” is one; also they were unfortunately changed with v. 67 (1997) so one can either search before-1997 headings or 1997-on headings, but not both), Date, and Other Criteria.  Generally, to conduct an effective search on a topic requires the building of a search: for example, if one were looking for articles about the treatment of guests in the works of Homer one could search for the ancient author Homer, search for “guest” in the Full Text (making sure to search for the word meaning “guest” in at least German and French in addition to English), and then combine the result sets using AND in the search builder.  L’Annee does allow citations to be emailed, downloaded, or exported to a bibliographic management software (directly to Refworks, through the use of a filter with EndNote.)

To develop my tutorial, I relied on my personal experiences searching L’Annee as a researcher, and on my experience demonstrating this database for graduate students and undergrads in library instruction sessions.  Even some faculty have remarked to me that they did not know about the possibility of combining searches using AND, OR, or NOT in L’Annee until I demonstrated this feature to a class.  I included some sections in the tutorial as a direct result of questions I have fielded from students about the use of L’Annee, especially the section on exporting citations to RefWorks.  While I was working on the tutorial I sent out a message on Facebook to my Classics contacts asking for specific tips or tricks about how to best use L’Annee.  I also emailed the list of first-year Classics graduate students at UGA asking for any suggestions they might have.  I was not entirely surprised to get no response from either; I suspect most researchers in Classics, even those who use L’Annee regularly, still feel uncomfortable using it and do not consider themselves experts.

I also looked for existing tutorials on library or Classics department web sites that provided instruction in using L’Annee.  An annotated list follows:

Davidson College Library (
This web page with screen shots was developed by Susannah Boylston.  It provides a basic overview of searching in L’Annee, presented in short, topical chunks of information.

University of New Brunswick Libraries ( )
This is a rather longer and more detailed web page with screen shots, created by Leanne Wells. It is simple but fairly comprehensive.

Temple University Library ( )
This is an animated web tutorial with audio of librarian Fred Rowland describing what is happening on the screen and giving additional information.  The tutorial begins somewhat abruptly, without an introduction.  The tutorial covers only “Full text” searching, and then finding the text of a desired article through the Temple Library web site; it is quite short.

University of Texas at El Paso Library (
This animated web tutorial was developed by Nancy Hill.  There is no audio, except clicks and the noise of typing.  Text boxes in red that appear on the screen explain the steps the user should take.  The video is several minutes long, but the viewer can advance the images by hand if she feels it is progressing too slowly.

Universitat Wurtzberg Universitatsbibliothek ( )
This video tutorial, with audio commentary (in German) by Christiane Maibach, is available in 12 sections, divided by topic.  Subtitles are available in case the user is on a computer without available sound.  Each section of the tutorial is quite long and rather slow, but the division into sections allows the user to concentrate on the topic desired.  It is extremely comprehensive, if unfortunately not very useful for most American students, since it is in German.

My tutorial: