Last month DCC benefited from an outstanding day of consulting with Rafael Alvarado, Associate Director of the SHANTI program at the University of Virginia, as well a lecturer in Anthropology and Media Studies there. A career digital humanist, he has divided his time between building software and organizations that support the scholarly use of technology and studying digital technology as a cultural form. His consulting business is called Ontoligent Design (Twitter @ontoligent), and his blog is called The Transducer.
Some of his key recommendations were to make DCC a citable scholarly resource, in conformity with widely accepted standards of citation in digital humanities; to consider making use of comments by readers; to make the site more friendly to tablet devices like the iPad; to create print and e-book versions of all commentaries; and to continue making innovative use of geographical tools to enhance the reader experience. As a sort of promissory note to follow up on some of his excellent suggestions, I have written a new lead “about” text, that I think concisely expresses what is different and important about our project. Certain aspects of this are in the future, but not that far in the future:
DCC publishes scholarly commentaries on classical texts intended to provide an effective reading and learning experience for classicists at all levels of experience. Though they are born digital, the commentaries will also be available in print and e-book formats. In contrast to other projects that conceive of classical texts as a database, or foreground hypertext—focusing on chunking or linking the text—DCC aims at a readerly approach, and one firmly grounded in the needs of readers, teachers, and students. Texts are presented in a clean, readable format, with custom-authored notes, specially selected images and maps, and original audio and video content. Core vocabulary lists of the most common Latin and Greek words are provided, and all words not in the core lists are fully and accurately defined in running vocabulary lists that accompany each section of text. DCC commentaries are citable scholarly resources, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Many thanks to Raf for his insightful critique and help in framing the central ideas behind the project. In other news, Prof. Ariana Traill of the University of the Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has joined the editorial board. Prof. Traill is planning to work with some of her students in laying the groundwork for a future edition of the Advanced Placement selections from the Aeneid. Eric Casey of Sweet Briar College has agreed to take on substantial editing duties for our forthcoming Greek commentaries (see below). To recognize the large amount of work this represents we decided to split the editorial board along the lines of what the Bryn Mawr Classical Review does, into Senior and Associate Editors, with Eric and me as senior.