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Digital resources supported by the ICS

Written by Gabriel Bodard |

The primary role that my colleagues and I serve at ICS Digital, as set out in the digital strategy document, is to “provide a point of contact and support for national infrastructure for digital research and teaching in the study of the ancient world, as part of the research promotion and facilitation role of the Institute and the School.” As well as conducting our own research and teaching, our priorities include to “support individual research projects as appropriate, encourage good practice in digital classics across the discipline,” and “align digital research and teaching with the library and publications activities of the Institute.”

ICS Digital (and our colleagues elsewhere in SAS and the University of London) are not a development lab or a Web-hosting service with the capacity to serve as a repository for digital projects and resources that need sustainable archiving and maintenance. The projects we support directly—such as the EpiDoc digital epigraphy community (and EFES publication platform), the Pelagios Network of linked places, SNAP:DRGN person-data standards, Prosopography of the Byzantine World / Connecting Late Antiquities—are through participation in editorial boards, providing a venue for collaboration and community building, or institutional imprimatur. We run or host workshops, working groups and online seminars, contribute to funding applications and new projects, and welcome visiting fellows or academic visitors to the ICS to consult and work on their project plans.

Screenshot of the Digital Classicist Wiki front page

ICS Publications also contribute to the production and dissemination of open access academic content, which is essential in all scholarship, but especially so in digital research, principally through the publication of open access versions of several BICS Supplements, in collaboration with University of London Press. We are also actively exploring the area of “born-digital” supplements, namely digital corpora or other resources with functionality (such as search function, interactive display or dynamic content) that would not be possible on paper or an online PDF copy of a book.

The most important digital classics resources that the ICS have a commitment to support and host are:

  • Blog.stoa.org – The Stoa Blog for Digital Classics was set up by Ross Scaife at the University of Kentucky in 2003; in 2005 it also became the official blog of the Digital Classicist. For the decade or so since Dr Scaife’s death in 2008, a few of his friends and colleagues have endeavoured to keep the blog active and online, posting announcements (conferences, jobs, calls for papers, publications), and also encouraging its use as a forum for discussion. It has been the home of a few position papers, pre-press drafts, and at least two articles whose authors decided not to seek traditional publication, and that are therefore cited as published here. An editorial board now further develops this side of the Stoa blog, as a recognised venue for short-form and less-formal publications in and around digital classics and adjacent areas of interest, including digital humanities, cultural heritage, archaeology and world history. In addition to reporting particularly relevant announcements and tables of contents, we especially encourage the posting of opinion pieces, short discussions, reviews, pre-press papers or abstracts, draft presentations for comment, reports, and other original academic or para-academic content.
  • Digital Classicist Wiki – The ICS now hosts the Digital Classicist Wiki, a community-edited database of information, questions and commentary on projects, tools, methods and other resources relating to the digital or quantitative study of the ancient world. The site includes nearly 3000 pages edited by 250 registered users, and receives frequent, if irregular, contributions as well as an organized monthly editing sprint, when editors gather to improve the coverage of specific themes. Since the site moved to its new home at the ICS in 2020, a larger editorial board has been convened, with a brief to manage engagement and strategy for the Wiki. Currently Hannah Hungerford, a masters student at KCL, is undertaking a placement funded by the Roman Society, to work on improving the connections between the DC Wiki and library catalogues and review venues, helping to set up links in both directions.
  • Current Epigraphy – The Current Epigraphy news and events blog (ISSN 1754-0909) posts announcements, news, publications, reports and reviews relating to the study of Greek and Roman inscriptions, and related topics from the ancient world (including beyond the Mediterranean). In addition to a focus on epigraphy, four of the five lead editors of the site are active developers in the EpiDoc community, and so the blog is especially well-served with digital epigraphy, digital humanities, and TEI XML news and content.

These sites are all venues for publication and discussion, and resources for discovering tools, projects and methods in Digital (and conventional) Classics. We always welcome collaboration and proposals for future projects, or suggestions for items to post or review on either of the blogs or in the Wiki.