[Humanist] 24.20 job at Brown; undergrad research at Perseus

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri May 14 09:36:37 CEST 2010

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 20.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Gregory Crane <gregory.crane at tufts.edu>                   (53)
        Subject: Undergraduate Research Opportunity for Latin/Computer
                Science withPerseus at Tufts University

  [2]   From:    Julia Flanders <Julia_Flanders at brown.edu>                 (19)
        Subject: Job announcement: Director of Digital Technologies, Brown

        Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 09:32:12 -0400
        From: Gregory Crane <gregory.crane at tufts.edu>
        Subject: Undergraduate Research Opportunity for Latin/Computer Science with Perseus at Tufts University

We have been informed that we will probably receive funding for two 
undergraduate research positions for this coming summer. This would be 
from a US source and the students will probably have to be US citizens 
or residents. There is very little lead time. The work described would 
be accessible to Classicists. The ideal outcome would be to have this 
turn into undergraduate theses.

Please pass this along. Applications will be examined on a rolling basis 
until the two positions are filled.

With the rise of large open digitization projects such as the Internet 
Archive and Google Books, we are witnessing an explosive growth in the 
number of source texts becoming available to researchers in historical 
languages. The Internet Archive alone contains over 12,585 texts 
catalogued as Latin, including classical prose and poetry written under 
the Roman Empire, ecclesiastical treatises from the Middle Ages, and 
dissertations from 19th-century Germany written – in Latin – on the 
philosophy of Hegel. At 1.7 billion words, this collection eclipses the 
extant corpus of Classical Latin by several orders of magnitude and 
begins to offer insight into grand questions such as the evolution of a 
language over both time and space.

One of Tufts’ goals in this data-intensive computing project is to be 
able to track the spread of linguistic features within a language and 
ideas across languages over the two millennia that Latin was used as a 
lingua franca across Europe. While much of this research operates on the 
textual data itself, the ability to chart such movement in both space 
and time requires accurate extra-textual metadata, including both the 
place and date of a work’s composition. The library records available to 
us, in contrast, report the place and date of publication for a specific 
edition – which, for historical texts, is often far removed from the 
time and place of original composition. For establishing the differences 
in usage between the Latin of Vergil’s Aeneid and that of Jean Calvin’s 
Institutio Christianae Religionis, it is far more important for us to 
know that the former was composed ca. 19 BCE and the latter in 1536 CE 
than the date of any later editions.

In this project, undergraduates will supplement the existing million 
book metadata by researching the dates and locations of composition for 
the subset of the Internet Archive collection that has been catalogued 
(or otherwise identified) as being written in Latin. While some authors 
(like Vergil and Calvin) have more-or-less established dates and places 
of composition for their works, others (such as more obscure medieval 
authors) do not. In either case, both will require the student to 
conduct substantial research to determine the date of original 
publication (if one exists) or to delimit the smallest time window 
possible given the state of current research on each author. This will 
require students to leverage their skills as nascent humanists while 
also placing an emphasis on computational thinking, exposing them to the 
far wider range of tasks to which traditional modes of scholarship can 
be applied.

The resulting data that will be produced as part of this internship is 
crucial for allowing us to begin analyzing the spread of linguistic 
features across space and time – it simply cannot be done with the 
existing metadata in the collection. The research experience of 
undergraduates here will, in a very tangible way, contribute to the 
success of the larger project.

        Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 11:40:26 -0400
        From: Julia Flanders <Julia_Flanders at brown.edu>
        Subject: Job announcement: Director of Digital Technologies, Brown University

This position should be of interest to many in the digital humanities  

The Director of Digital Technologies provides leadership, vision, and
strategic direction for the Brown University Library in the
development, delivery and integration of new and existing systems and
technology services and digital initiatives across the libraries. S/he
oversees the management of the department’s three units: Integrated
Technology Services, Systems and Technical Support and the Center for
Digital Scholarship and will actively seek partnerships with other
Library departments and organizations external to the Library. The
incumbent will stay abreast of emerging developments, issues and
trends and will be a leading force in the introduction and application
of new technologies that improve, enhance and extend Library services.

To see complete position announcement and apply online, go to:

Best wishes, Julia

Julia Flanders
Director, Women Writers Project
Center for Digital Scholarship, Brown University Library

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