Digital Classicist: Re-use of Open Source and Open Access Publications in Ancient Studies

multipaper session
  1. 1. Gabriel Bodard

    King's College London

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Those of us who publish humanities data in digital
form often make the claim that one of many advantages of electronic publication is the ability to make
available source data for re-use and analysis by future
scholars. If the source data, and possibly also the tooling or a processing statement, is made not only available but licensed for re-use, this potentially allows asynchronous collaborators, reviewers, and others to test the
published conclusions, to apply different assumptions to
the data. Where the digital source and processes are an
essential part of the commentary published and conclusions drawn, it is arguable that it would be academically
irresponsible not to make these resources available for
replication and testing of ones conclusions. Humanists
have always recognise the importance of publishing with
full bibliography, history of scholarship, and critical apparatus; but we might also learn from the physical sciences where experimental methodology and raw data are
essential elements of the publication of any research.
This is a solid general statement, and I have made these
sorts of arguments myself (e.g. in DM 4 [2008]; Bodard/
Garcés in M. Deegan & K. Sutherland, Text editing, print,
and the digital world [2009]), but there is often relatively
little evidentiary support in the form of openly published
datasets that have been independently tested or re-used
by other projects. In this panel we aim to bring together
several examples of the re-use of datasets relating to the
ancient world by projects other than those that created
them. The participants in this panel have all either (a)
published data or developed tools under an Open Access/
Source license, or (b) made use of Open Access/Source
materials in original research projects of their own.
• The issues we shall address in this panel will include:
• The importance of open licensing in addition to
merely making material “free” (not having to ask
• Electronic publication as resource creation versus
self-contained research output;
• Advantages of publishing source code and methodology as well as polished output of data and conclusions;
• Enabling re-uses that cannot be predicted by the creator of the original product;
• Re-use strategies: improving access or interface versus creating new interpretations or aggregations;
• Re-use as non-concurrent collaboration, improving
data and interpretation;
• Issues of re-publication: attribution, versioning, and
The papers in this panel stem from very different projects
with a range of approaches and agendas. The LaQuAT
project is based almost entirely upon re-use of published
data, and so relies on the Open Access publication of primary sources (or the goodwill of scholars where data is
incomplete or unlicensed). Pleiades is creating data, or
newly aggregating it from multiple scholarly sources, to
publish under a Creative Commons license (AttributionShareAlike), and exploit and contribute to several Open
Source software projects. The Homer Multitext is a project that both relies on open standards and tools, and produces large quantities of open-licensed raw data. All are
projects that value collaboration, both direct in terms of
working with colleagues in the same or other disciplines,
and indirect in the sense of producing scholarly outputs
that are conducive to building upon, adapting testing,
and re-using.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None