Thursday, December 8, 2011

ISAW Digital Programs Vision Statement

AWOL is a product of the Library of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient Word, in close association with the ISAW Digital Programs Department.  ISAW Library fully endorses the following vision statement.

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Digital Programs Vision Statement


Unfettered access to ancient world information: any resource, any time, anywhere, anyone.


Create key information resources for ancient studies, together with the platforms and communities that enable them.
In order to shape and secure the future of innovative teaching and research at ISAW and beyond, we work with others to nurture new and important information resources for the ancient world, especially those that connect and contextualize information across institutional, methodological, and technological divides. ISAW takes a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to ancient studies, eschewing the geographically and linguistically bounded modes of scholarly inquiry and communication that have dominated the field. Accordingly, the Digital Programs team builds infrastructure that bridges gaps in content and function while handling the inherent diversity of languages, scripts, geography, chronology, methodology, and the like. The resulting tools and data further ISAW’s mission best when we create them in collaboration with scholars, students and enthusiasts from both inside and outside the Institute and empower them as creators, curators, and users. It is becoming increasingly clear that without active and participatory user communities, digital information is at risk of decay, loss, and irrelevance. Moreover, quality and sustainability are undercut by sequestration behind paywalls, idiosyncratic interfaces, proprietary formats, and rigid editorial processes. Therefore, we cultivate empowered communities through partnership, openness, usable tools and an embrace of the web with the belief that users will identify, invent, contextualize, and promote better resources for the study of antiquity than any single project or institutional team.

The Digital Programs team has a role in everything from basic information technology support and the management of the Institute’s website to a range of online publication projects touching on historical geography, papyrology, epigraphy and more. Under the leadership of the Associate Director for Digital Programs, the team works closely with colleagues at ISAW and across NYU, as well as with collaborators at a number of other institutions. Digital Programs work is funded through a combination of ISAW funds and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other entities.

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