Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Oriental Institute publications online open access

On April 27th, 2009, the Oriental Institute published another suite of Egyptological titles from its backlist.

My list of all Oriental Institute publications online is now updated to include these eleven titles

AWOL - The Ancient World Online - 2

The Oriental Institute Electronic Publications Initiative. Originally posted April 9, 2008. Updated April 30, 2007 with the addition of more CAD and CHD volumes; updated September 16, 2008 with the addition of OIP 130; updated January 6, 2009 with the addition of OIP 135; Updated January 27, 2009 with the addition of OIMP 29. Updated March 16, 2009 with the addition of OIS 5. Update April 28, 2009 with the addition of a suite of older OI volumes on Egyptian subjects.

Starting in 2005, the Oriental Institute committed to digitizing all of its publications and making them available online, without charge. The minimum for each volume, old and new, current and forthcoming, will be a Portable Document Format (PDF) version following current resolution standards. New publications appear online at or near the time they appear in print. Older publications will be processed as time and funding permits. More than one hundred volumes are now online.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New online open access journals

New, or newly discovered, open access online journals:

Journal@rchive, is an archive site of J-STAGE operated by the Japan Science and Technology Agency. They are now serving a suite of journals focusing on antiquity. In addition, like all big aggregators of journal content, they have a search function which allows the discovery of lots of scholarship buried in unlikely places. For instance, a search for "mesopotamia" will produce a findset of articles included in the journals listed below, but also in such places as Japanese Journal of Breeding and Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Ser. B: Physical and Biological Sciences.

For antiquity the following journals are important:
And I will not fail to mention:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Virtual Manuscript Room

The University of Birmingham's Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing is developing the Virtual Manuscript Room
The Virtual Manuscript Room (VMR) will bring together digital resources related to manuscript materials (digital images, descriptions and other metadata, transcripts) in an environment which will permit libraries to add images, scholars to add and edit metadata and transcripts online, and users to access material.The centrepiece of the VMR will be full digitized manuscripts from Birmingham's Mingana collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts, previously unavailable on the web, with descriptions from the printed catalogue.

Two other groups of content, amounting to over 50,000 digital images of manuscripts, 500 manuscript descriptions and around 1000 pages of transcripts, will be included in the VMR: materials relating to the New Testament and to medieval vernacular texts (Dante, Chaucer, and others).

The Birmingham VMR will integrate with a parallel VMR already under construction at the University of Münster, Germany, with the aim that users may access material seamlessly from either VMR, as if the two were one.This integration will be built on agreed naming systems for resources, and agreed Web 2.0 service protocols for requesting and supplying resources from each server, thus permitting users to draw together (‘mash-up') materials seamlessly as required. The VMR will also be linked through to the online archive catalogue and to the Birmingham University Institutional Repository.
Images of the pages in more than seventy manuscripts are already accessible, and they provide a couple of useful RSS feeds.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

de Gruyter Open Library

An interesting and welcome announcement is circulating from Walter de Gryuter about their new de Gruyter Open Library:
In order to support innovations in scientific publishing Walter de Gruyter is pleased to announce the introduction of an enhanced feature in its publications: de Gruyter Open Library. Effective immediately, authors of journal articles and book chapters in collected volumes and series titles have the option of making their accepted articles freely accessible on the service Reference Global.

de Gruyter Open Library will be offered in addition to the subscription or purchase-based publication channels, which remain free of charge to authors. This will result in a mixture of traditionally published and open access articles within the online version of journals and ebooks. Open access articles will be clearly indicated on the online's list of contents. Online, print and combined subscription options will continue to be available to institutions and individuals.

de Gruyter Open Library is only available to authors whose articles have been accepted for publication. Therefore, all submitted papers will continue to undergo the established, entirely independent peer-review processes.
To be included in the Open Library authors or their institutions or funding agencies will be required to pay an access fee of 1,750 Euro.

At first glance the project mentions only "journal articles and book chapters in collected volumes and series titles". Likewise it seems that the project is entirely prospective. One hopes that they will eventually include mongraphs and pack-list titles.

De Gryuter has a very strong list in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and a not inconsiderable number of these titles are available online by license already.

At the moment there does not seem to be a limiter allowing users to identify open access material in the search tools available via Global Reference.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Digital publishing initiative for New World Archaeology

It's a big day for announcements of open access New World Archaeology initiatives. Variations of this press release are making the rounds of the mailing lists. The version quoted below is from the University of Arizona Press blog:

The University Press of Colorado, Texas A&M University Press, University of Alabama Press, University of Arizona Press, University Press of Florida and University of Utah Press will jointly explore ways to deliver data- and illustration-rich digital editions of cutting-edge archaeological research. The project, called the Archaeology of the Americas Digital Monograph Initiative, will give scholars and professional archaeologists the ability to review supplemental data not often contained in conventionally published volumes.

“This initiative will push the boundaries of the scholarly monograph,” said Darrin Pratt, director of the University Press of Colorado. “To date, most digital publication has been the simple replication of print books in PDF or HTML format.”

Enhanced by large data sets, color illustrations, video components, three-dimensional, rotatable images and, in some cases, interactive components such as reader commenting, the digital platform could “stretch our very conception of the book,” Pratt said.

The University Press of Colorado will administer the planning grant, which will fund a shared project manager. If the program reaches full implementation, the presses could potentially create a third party entity devoted to the creation and maintenance of the digital platform. The presses also plan to work on a business model for the proposed platform.

Meredith Morris-Babb, director of the University Press of Florida said development of a strong fiscal model is critical to the project's success.

“Generating sustainable levels of revenue from digital publications has proved tricky for university presses,” she said.

University of Arizona Press Editor-in-Chief Allyson Carter said the strength of the archaeology-focused digital initiative lies in the depth and breadth of the participating presses in New World archaeology.

Together, the participating presses publish more than 70 titles in this field annually, focusing on the southeastern and southwestern United States, the Mountain West, Great Basin, Texas, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean as well as the early hunter-gatherers that peopled the Americas.

The presses plan to develop a prototype digital book, providing a workable platform that could potentially be used by scholarly presses around the world. While the initiative will involve publishing many of the same books both in print and digital form, the participating presses will enhance digital editions with data not currently available in most printed books in the field.

Like scholarly books in other humanities fields, sales of archaeology titles remain limited. Presses also must enforce strict length and image limitations to constrain production costs.

“Many archaeologists have turned to supplementary CDs and personal Web sites as a place to post important context missing from their print work,” said Mary Lenn Dixon, editor-in-chief of Texas A&M University Press. “We hope this initiative will help these authors reconnect that context to the arguments made in their books.”
And see also the Digital Antiquity project, as well as Charles Watkinson's comments on both.

A New Project: Digital Antiquity

Archaeoinformatics.org has changed into Digital Antiquity.

In a series of announcements over the past week, Digital Antiquity has made its presence known:
... Digital Antiquity will establish a financially and socially sustainable, national/international, on-line digital repository that is able to provide preservation, discovery, and access for data and documents produced by archaeological projects. The repository, known as tDAR (for "the Digital Archaeological Record") encompasses documents and data derived from ongoing research (more than 50,000 field projects are conducted in the US each year) as well as legacy data collected through more than a century of archaeological research in the Americas. With the active participation of the discipline, this initiative has the potential to transform the practice of archaeology and to revolutionize our knowledge of the past by enabling synthetic and comparative research on a scale that has heretofore been impossible.

With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding, Digital Antiquity will support a full-time Executive Director (search in progress), two software engineers, a data curator, and clerical staff (all to be hired as soon as the Executive Director is on-board). The Executive Director's management of Digital Antiquity is overseen by a 12 member Board of Directors and informed by a distinguished external Science Board of professionals in archaeology and computer and information science. Digital Antiquity is currently housed at Arizona State University, as a collaborative effort with the University of Arkansas, the Pennsylvania State University, the SRI Foundation, Washington State University, and the University of York...
They are searching for a full-time Executive Director, and will hire two software engineers, a data curator, and clerical staff as soon as the Executive Director is on-board.

The Digital Antiquity wiki will be very interesting to watch, especially if they deploy a news feed.

And see also the Archaeology of the Americas Digital Monograph Initiative, as well as Charles Watkinson's comments on both.

Open access to ancient South Asia?

Spurred by a comment Steve Farmer made on the Indo-Eurasian_research list, I began to wonder what open access resources there are for the study of ancient South Asia. I know of the Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, and of the central place INDOLOGY: Resources for Indological Scholarship plays as a clearing house for such material. There is, of course, the Digital South Asia Library. What else is there?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Electronic Publications Initiative of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

The Oriental Institute has published a short statement about its Electronic Publications Initiative. They report that
Statistics on downloads of electronic files and sales of printed books are tracked, and sales of the printed volumes have not decreased! Indeed, after the complimentary distribution of twenty-one titles in 2008 that had for many years only been available in print, sales of these titles increased by 7% compared with the previous two years.
This strikes me as very significant indeed! If open access can now demonstrated to increase the sales of back list titles, one of the primary arguments against providing open access for back-list titles evaporates. In fact it seem to indicated that open access, if thought of as promotional, might actually increase a publisher's revenue stream. It would be nice to see the documentation for this OI data presented in detail. It will also be interesting to see how this pattern develops over time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SOAS Research Online

The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London has a very interesting and useful eprint server. From the point of view of ancient studies, there is a lot of material at the Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East, significantly a large set of full-text, open access articles by Andrew George. Many of the entres include bibliographic metadata, but it possible to limit a search to include only open access full text results.

George, Andrew. Babylonian and Assyrian: a history of Akkadian From: Postgate, J. N., (ed.), Languages of Iraq, Ancient and Modern. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, pp. 31-71
George, Andrew. Babylonian texts from the folios of Sidney Smith, part three: a commentary on a ritual of the month Nisan From: Guinan, Ann K. and Ellis, Maria deJ. and Ferrara, A. J. and Freedman, Sally M. and Rutz, Matthew T. and Sassmannshausen, Leonhard and Tinney, Steve and Waters, M. W., (eds.), If a Man Builds a Joyful House: Assyriological Studies in Honor of Erle Verdun Leichty. Cuneiform Monographs (31). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, pp. 173-185
George, Andrew. Gilgamesh and the literary traditions of ancient Mesopotamia From: Leick, Gwendolyn, (ed.), The Babylonian World. London: Routledge, pp. 447-459
George, Andrew. In search of the é.dub.ba.a: The ancient Mesopotamian school in literature and reality From: Sefati, Y, (ed.), "An Experienced Scribe who Neglects Nothing". Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Jacob Klein. Bethesda, Md: CDL Press (USA), pp. 127-137
George, Andrew. Palace names and epithets, and the Vaulted Building Sumer [2001-2002]
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh I, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh II, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh III, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh IV, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh V, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh VI, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh VII, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh VIII, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh IX, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh X, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh XI, score transliteration
George, Andrew. SB Gilgamesh XII, score transliteration
George, Andrew. Sources of the Standard Babylonian poem
George, Andrew. The civilizing of Enkidu: an unusual tablet of the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic. Revue d'assyriologie [2007]
George, Andrew. The Epic of Gilgamesh: Thoughts on genre and meaning From: Azize, J and Weeks, N, (eds.), Gilgamesh and the World of Assyria. Proceedings of the Conference Held at the Mandelbaum House, the University of Sydney, 21-23 July 2004. Ancient Near Eastern Studies Supplement (21). Leuven: Peeters, pp. 37-66
George, Andrew. The Gilgamesh epic at Ugarit Aula Orientalis [2007]
George, Andrew. Ur-Namma B 71 Nouvelles assyriologiques brèves et utilitaires
George, Andrew. What's new in the Gilgamesh Epic? Bulletin of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies, 34
Schwemer, Daniel. Hittite Prayers to the Sun-god for Appeasing an Angry Personal God. A Critical Edition of CTH 372–4 In: Jacques, M., (ed.), “Mon dieu, qu’ai-je donc fait ?” Les prières pénitentielles (dingir-šà-dab-ba) et l’expression de la piété privée en Mésopotamie. Habilitationsschrift Zürich

Search around a bit, you're sure to find other interesting things.