Posts Tagged ‘ipad’


SmartPhone Dictionary Apps for Greek and Latin

September 15, 2011

To be filed under: this is why it’s good to hold an office hour in the department and chit-chat with the graduate students…

It turns out, there is an app for that.  In response to the question, “How did you look that up so fast?” the student responded, “I have a Lewis and Short app ($3.99) on my iPhone.”  Turns out there’s an Liddell-Scott-Jones app too ($1.99) – the student said the iPhone 3 supports a Greek keyboard for input and “it was the best $1.99 I ever spent.” Some commenters I’ve read prefer the Lexiphanes app ($3.99) which includes both LSJ and a Homeric lexicon. By the same developer (and Classics PhD candidate), Harry Schmidt, as Lexiphanes is Lexidium ($3.99).  I highly recommend Schmidt’s website for those interested in computer-aided philology – it was new to me and he has interesting posts as well as a not-yet-iPhone program called Andromeda, a “platform for digital philology,” that sounds worth watching.

These aren’t new tools – RogueClassicism reported on Schmidt’s iPhone aps in 2009 – but I have a dumb phone, myself, so they were new to me.  Since I’ve written about portable digital tools for language students in the context of our Kindle experiment, I thought a post was worthwhile. If you have students with iPhones/iPads/iPod Touches (iPods Touch??), you might want to suggest these apps to them for inexpensive dictionaries-on-the-go.  A quick Google suggests that there is an Android LSJ app ($2.99) but it works with a romanized keyboard only; and there’s a Lewis’ A Latin Dictionary app for Android ($2.99) but not one for the full Lewis and Short.

There’s some further discussion on the Textkit boards about reading classical texts on iPhones, if you want to look for more leads for good apps and general commentary on e-texts in classics.

Got another favorite I didn’t find?  Leave a comment or drop me a line.  Thanks!


On iPads in Fieldwork and Digital Workflow

October 5, 2010

I have kept thinking about the iPads at Pompeii topic over the past week.  William Caraher has too, and posted about a digital workflow for excavations.  Since my old research interest in fieldwork was largely on methods in archaeological field survey, my thoughts naturally headed towards what one could do with iPads in surveys.  Since iPads (and iPhones and iPod Touches) all have GPS capabilities, in theory you could equip a field survey team with an array of devices.  The team leader would have a iPad, having the need for more detailed and extensive data collection – and also a map big enough to try to figure out where you are!  The fieldwalkers could each have an iPod Touch.  Instead of “clickers” for artifact counting, an app could be customized to allow taps for counts of artifacts (or multiple types of artifacts depending on the situation – i.e. sherds, tiles, lithics, etc.)

The GPS should – in theory – allow exact calculation of routes walked  (I don’t honestly know if GPS is yet this good – I left fieldwork in 2001, before GPS was much use for survey, because it wasn’t precise enough and wasn’t cheap enough – but I do know that fitness apps like “Runkeeper” purport to collect detailed information about distance and path traveled.)  One could take photos of artifacts encountered in the field and automatically associate them with tracts in the database, and one could photograph artifacts collected as a caution against the lost or mislabeled bag of sherds (when you spend 8 hours a day living out of a backpack and traveling several miles, bags of sherds are more likely to go astray than when you are in a trench.)  All the benefits of an iPad in a trench would apply, essentially, plus the added GPS bits.

So, now I just need a field survey project and a friendly contact at Apple to provide me with devices, app programming support, and a photographer for the advertising layout…

Thinking about a digital workflow also got me thinking about how the researcher – the reader of scholarly books and articles –  is moving towards a digital workflow.

It seems like many academics I know are “belt-plus-suspenders” types who keep a .pdf AND a print copy of a scholarly article, not least because their research process involves taking notes with a pen on the print article. Maybe we’re all kinesthetic learners and find the physical act of writing makes us retain information better than typing does, or maybe we just haven’t devised a good workflow for taking notes digitally in direct association with the .pdfs yet.

Benjamin Wolkow, UGA Classics’ new Visiting Assistant Professor (whom I welcome!), has a Wacom tablet and pen that he uses to take notes “digitally” directly onto a .pdf of an article, which he can then save with his notes attached. I think he started because the tablet and pen helped prevent mouse-related repetitive stress injury, but what a neat trick! The basic tablet-and-pen combo is only about $70 – cheap enough that experimenting with adding this to your research workflow is a possibility.

wacom bamboo tablet

A neat EndNote Library filled with digitally marked-up .pdf files could replace bulging file cabinets – and fit on a thumb drive.


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…


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.)