Friday, November 7, 2014

From Stone to Screen: Putting the Squeeze on Digitization

From Stone to Screen: Putting the Squeeze on Digitization
There are over 1,000 artifacts and squeezes  of inscriptions in the collection of the  Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies of The University of British Columbia. Until now, the collection was only available on site in Vancouver. We are excited to announce the beginning of our effort to make these objects available for study to scholars and students around the world.

The majority of our squeeze collection is of inscriptions found in the Athenian Agora and include the Athenian Tribute Lists from the 5th century BCE. The squeeze collection was primarily the work of Malcolm McGregor, head of the UBC Classics Department from 1954 to his retirement in 1975. The artifacts were donated to the department by George Fuller and are currently awaiting in-depth study. The collection consists of a number of lamps, glazed ceramics and amulets from North Africa, Palestine and Egypt.

Graduate students from the CNERS Department at UBC have begun a collaborative project to create a digital database of the department’s archaeological teaching collections for the benefit of students and faculty alike. There is a significant collection of archaeological material in the possession of the department that is, at present, inaccessible and unavailable to students. Through the creation of a digital database we aim to fulfil the following objectives:

1) to create a useful and meaningful online resource that can be modified and augmented in future years;
2) to bolster the department’s online presence; and
3) to establish a collaborative project for the graduate students to contribute to and work on together with the hopes of gaining experience in the Digital Humanities and creating a legacy for future students.

The fundamental project would consist of the database itself. We envision a multi-lingual, navigable resource which allows students to examine the objects for purpose of individual study or as a pedagogical tool. The first category of objects to be studied will be the epigraphic squeezes currently stored in the slide room. These are an obvious first choice, as their utility as a resource for countless members of the department is undeniable. By making these available, students and faculty will have the opportunity to study epigraphic records which are valuable for scholars of literature, history, and archaeology alike. Ideally, the squeezes would be studied individually, catalogued, photographed (and possibly scanned), and then entered into a digital database.
And see also AWOL's entry on the McGregor Squeeze Collection Digitization

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