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CFP: Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference: 14-16 November 2014

Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference: 14-16 November 2014

Call for Proposals

Bucknell University, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will host its first annual international digital scholarship conference. The theme of the conference is “Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research” with the goal of gathering a broad community of scholar-practitioners engaged in collaborative digital scholarship in research and teaching.

This conference will bring together a broad community of scholar-practitioners engaged in collaborative digital scholarship in research and teaching. We encourage presentations that emphasize forms of collaboration: between institutions of higher education; across disciplines; between faculty, librarians, and technologists; and between faculty and students. We welcome contributions from scholars, educators, technologists, librarians, administrators, and students who use digital tools and methods, and encourage submissions from emerging and established scholar-practitioners alike, including those who are new to digital collaboration.

Submission topics may include but are not limited to: engaging with space and place; creating innovative teaching and learning environments; perspectives on implications for the individual’s own research and pedagogy within the institutional landscape, etc.

Presentations may take the form of short papers, project demos, electronic posters, panel discussions, or lightning talks.

For more information about submitting a presentation proposal, please go to the Bucknell Digital Initiatives website: . The deadline for proposals is August 1, 2014.

If you have questions or would like more information about the submission process, please email conference coordinator Diane Jakacki:

Bucknell is a private liberal arts university located alongside the historic Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. At Bucknell “Digital Scholarship” is defined as any scholarly activity that makes extensive use of one or more of the new possibilities for teaching and research opened up by the unique affordances of digital media. These include, but are not limited to, new forms of collaboration, new forms of publication, and new methods for visualizing and analyzing data.

Mellon Grant Interim Report 2013

Dickinson College received a $700,000 grant in December 2012 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for use over approximately four years to support faculty and curricular development in the digital humanities. The Mellon Foundation provided project funding to support the following: 1) a one-course reassigned time for the faculty chair of a digital humanities advisory board to guide the initiative; 2) a postdoctoral teaching fellowship to help introduce the latest digital technologies, link Dickinson’s efforts to a larger community of scholars, and assist our Library and Information Systems (LIS) staff in defining needed future capabilities; 3) competitive internal grants for faculty to incubate significant expansion of existing digital projects and/or pilot the use of new tools in teaching and research, including providing student-faculty research opportunities; 4) an intensive program to better train undergraduate students for robust collaboration with faculty on complex digital projects; 5) a virtual “digital studio” to provide accessibility, visibility, and outreach for the best work being done at Dickinson in this field, 6) workshops with representatives of all humanities departments and with key all-college committees to enhance their capacity to support and evaluate digital work in the humanities and across the curriculum; and 7) work toward defining learning outcomes expected for Dickinson students with regard to digital humanities skills.

Here are some excerpts of the report prepared for the Mellon Foundation on activities completed in the first year of the grant, prepared by Cheryl Kremer:

1. Digital Humanities Advisory Committee

Over the past year we successfully established a Digital Humanities Advisory Committee (DHAC), which is the key planning committee for this initiative. DHAC has been meeting regularly to guide and oversee all of the aspects of the project. The committee was convened in the spring of 2013, has developed guidelines for awarding grants from the Digital Humanities Fund, and has been actively awarding these grants since the spring of 2013.
The committee is comprised of five faculty members: Chris Francese, Professor of Classical Studies (who will be Chair from 2013-2015); B. Ashton Nichols, Professor of English Language and Literature and the Walter E. Beach ’56 Distinguished Chair in Sustainability Studies; Susan Rose, Director of Community Studies Center and the Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology; Matthew Pinsker, Associate Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History; and Siobhan K. Phillips, Assistant Professor of English. Also serving on the committee are five administrators who have a strong interest in and connection to digital humanities work on campus: Patricia Pehlman, Director of Academic Technology; Jim Gerencser, College Archivist; Todd Bryant, LIS Language Program Administrator; Ryan Burke, Web Programmer; and Matt Kochis, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities.

2. Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow

Our second goal for this grant was to create a new post-doctoral fellowship position in digital humanities at Dickinson. We conducted a successful search and hired Matthew Kochis to fill this position. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tulsa in May 2013 and began his work at Dickinson in July 2013. Matt has strong skills in digitization, XML, database design, and project management—all of which proved to be crucial to fostering digital humanities projects. He trained students to work with faculty to create usable XML documents, to digitize documents with ABBYY Finereader, to organize image assets using appropriate and current metadata standards, to implement effective workflows using the Basecamp application, and generally to manage projects more efficiently.

Our post-doc taught a course entitled Writing for Digital Media (ENGL 212) in the spring semester of 2014. He also met individually with many faculty members and students to assist in the development of a wide variety of digital humanities projects. Additionally, he designed and ran our first Digital Humanities Boot Camp—a training program for students interested in digital humanities that was held in January 2014. The successful Digital Humanities Boot Camp occupied much of Matt’s time in November and December of 2013 and January 2014. (For additional details, see item 4 below.) We are pleased to report that Matt Kochis was offered and accepted a tenure-track position at another institution, starting in fall 2014. A search for his replacement recently concluded with the hiring of Elyse Graham.

3. Digital Humanities Fund

The third major aspect of this grant involves awarding internal grants to support Dickinson faculty members interested in beginning or advancing their digital humanities efforts. The two main categories of support thus far have been: 1) summer student-faculty collaborative research pairings in which teams of one faculty member and one student work full time on a project for eight weeks, and 2) student research assistantships that assist one faculty member for approximately eight hours per week for either 14 or 28 week periods. The following is a list of grants awarded to Dickinson faculty members through our Digital Humanities Fund over the past year, the vast majority of which have involved students in substantive ways:

Art and Art History
• Melinda Schlitt – reassigned time to assist Prof. Chris Francese by annotating visual images for the first multimedia edition of Vergil’s Aeneid (to begin summer 2014)

• Christofilis Maggidis – rental of 3-D archaeological 3-D digitizing equipment for use in documentation of finds and architectural remains at Mycenae, Greece

Classical Studies
• Chris Francese
– student assistant to help create a new digitization of Allen & Greenough’s Latin Grammar to provide unprecedented ease of access and navigability for this basic resource for classicists
– student assistant for a new digitization of T.D. Goodell’s School Grammar of Attic Greek in sharable XML forma, to do the same for this resource
– student summer research assistant to help with the creation of the first multimedia edition of Vergil’s Aeneid (to begin summer 2014) with audio recordings, extensive image assets, and notes. (The audience for this project is AP Latin students (approximately 7,000/year) and others in colleges and universities.
– consultant to help develop a database of Vergilian vocabulary to be used in the Aeneid edition, based on a new digitization and editing of Frieze’s Vergilian Dictionary

• Wendy Moffat – student assistant to help with a curated exhibit based on and database of 2,000 images of letters, photos, maps, and ephemera from 24 archives and personal collections around the country relating to her forthcoming book entitled A Disbelief in Obstacles: Three Prophetic Americans and the Great War

• Sarah McGaughey – student assistant to help create foreign language instructional materials to be used with Mixxer, the Dickinson-based social networking website for connecting students in foreign language courses with native speakers abroad who are studying English

• Emily Pawley – reassigned time and student assistants to help develop a new online museum of Dickinson’s history, currently called the Dickinsonia Project
• Karl Qualls – student assistant to help develop a website on Russian-American émigrés, centered around oral history materials and interviews with Prince Gagarin
• Matthew Pinsker
– student assistant and faculty consultant to help develop a multimedia edition of Abraham Lincoln’s writings: 25 Lincoln podcasts by Prof. Todd Wronski (Theatre and Dance), providing teachers and students with a unique set of audio transcripts for teachable Lincoln documents. Filmmaker Lance Warren from the Gilder Lehrman Institute helped film and produce 25 short videos of Pinsker conducting close readings of these same featured Lincoln documents. These videos are now a focal point of the new website entitled “Lincoln’s Writings: The Multi-Media Edition” which launched in on July 7, 2013 and was named one of the “Best of the Humanities Web” by NEH EDSITEMENT in November 2013. (See
– student assistant to help digitize approximately 4,000 page image files from period sources such as Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and selected nineteenth-century books. Nearly 400 of these scanned images have since been edited and published at House Divided’s online Research Engine, with plans to post several hundred more in the coming months. (See
– two student researchers to help with the successful “Understanding Lincoln” open online course in summer 2013, which had 750 total participants including 100 tuition-paying graduate students. (See Materials from these student assistants and selected course participants were then featured in a special exhibition hosted by the Google Cultural Institute to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address (See

French and Italian
• Nicoletta Marini-Maio – student assistant to help develop an online, open-access peer-reviewed journal project entitled “Gender/Sexuality/Italy”

Middle East Studies/Political Science
• Ed Webb – student assistants to help modify the video game “Civilization” for use in teaching the Spain/Aztec empire and the colonization of Africa

• Greg Wilder – summer student assistant to help validate the boundaries of the Isomer Project’s capacity for machine musical analysis, model representation, and algorithmic transformation, using advanced machine-learning techniques

Religion/Judaic Studies
• Andrea Lieber – student assistant to help digitize information about a Jewish cemetery in Harrisburg,

• Maria Rubin – travel to develop content for her “Russian Rooms” multimedia authentic Russian language materials for educational use

• Susan Rose – student assistant for summer and academic year to help develop a comprehensive digital resource regarding the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, including the digitization and annotation of school records in the National Archives. Many thousands of files have been digitized, annotated, and made available, with many more to come. (See

The following are faculty professional development projects in the digital humanities that were also funded by the grant:

Classical Studies
• Chris Francese and Matt Kochis – to attend THATCamp in Harrisburg (Oct. 25-26, 2013)

• Karl Qualls – to attend THATCamp in Pittsburgh (October 5-6, 2013)

Spanish and Portuguese
• Abraham Quintanar
– to attend the 48th Annual Congress for Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo Michigan for a workshop session on specific .RDF standards for MESA, a collation of medievalists who are posting digital texts in a specific, searchable format (May 8-12, 2013)
– to attend a workshop at Brown University entitled “Taking TEI Further: Teaching with TEI” (August 21-23, 2013)

4. Digital Humanities Boot Camp Program

Our first “Digital Humanities Boot Camp” was held from January 6 – 17, 2014 to provide advanced training for students interested in working with faculty on digital humanities projects. A total of 17 students participated. They were Santiago Princ (Computer Science), Barrett Ziegler (Russian Studies), Chloe Miller (Archaeology/Anthropology), Frank Vitale (History), Laura Colleluori (Theatre Arts/Italian Studies), Zha Xueyin (History/Sociology), Colin Tripp (English/Creative Writing), Rachel Schilling (English/German), Allison Charles (English/Creative Writing), Max Rubinstein (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Rachel Kruchten (Psychology), Ashieda McKoy (Political Science/Creative Writing), Amy Hudock (undeclared), Benjamin West (Archaeology), Xiang Wei (undeclared), Caio Santos Rodrigues (Psychology), and Jaime Phillips (Environmental Science).

Matt Kochis, our Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, mapped this project’s curriculum and coordinated the boot camp’s day-to-day operations. After five days of online tutorials, students gathered on campus to be guided in the creation of sample digital projects and briefed on digital humanities methods and principles. The training focused on GIS, Drupal, WordPress, Adobe Photoshop, Audacity, and iMovie. Topics of sample projects ranged from Three Mile Island to the history of African-American students at the college. One student created a multimedia Drupal site called “Invasion from the Front Lines,” which detailed his grandfather’s World War II experience. A digital poster session, held on January 27, 2014 allowed students to present their work and connect with faculty members. The program received a strong positive response from student participants, with 26 applications received, and we expect to see even greater demand next year. As a result of the boot camp experience, some student participants have already linked with faculty members for summer projects and other future work in digital humanities.

5. Virtual Digital Studio

The chair of the Digital Humanities Advisory Committee created a web presence for the digital humanities initiative at Dickinson, consistent with the virtual “digital studio” concept presented in our original proposal. This site may be viewed at

6. Workshops for Faculty

We also conducted several very well-received workshops on the topic of digital humanities for faculty committees and departments. First, on December 17, 2013, Todd Presner, Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of California Los Angeles and Chair of their Digital Humanities Program, presented a workshop for Dickinson’s Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) to help them develop guidelines for assessing the use of digital technology in research and pedagogy as part of the faculty evaluation process. Seven tenured faculty members of FPC attended (from the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, History, American Studies, Music, and Biology), two other faculty members from the Information Technology Services Committee (from the Departments of History and Religion), in addition to the Provost and Associate Provost.

Second, Prof. Jeffrey McClurken from the University of Mary Washington presented a full-day workshop concerning the use of digital humanities in teaching and research to a group of 27 faculty members from humanities and humanistic social science disciplines and 11 other administrators on January 10, 2014. McClurken recently received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia for Teaching with Technology. Faculty who attended his workshop represented the Departments of American Studies, Classical Studies, English, French and Italian, German, History, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Sociology, Spanish and Portuguese, Theatre and Dance, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Administrators represented Library and Information Services, Academic Affairs, and College Advancement.

7. Defining Learning Outcomes

The January 2014 workshop conducted by Jeffrey McClurken (described above) represented a first step toward defining learning outcomes for Dickinson students with regard to digital humanities skills. At the conclusion of that workshop, faculty participants were encouraged by the Provost to return to their departments to discuss the possibility of convening smaller workshops to work more intensively on specific learning outcomes relevant to their department. We have agreed to provide internal funds (as cost sharing) for three to four departmental workshops, and plans are underway for several to occur in summer 2014.

8. Plans and Goals for Upcoming Year

Major activities planned for next year include completing the search for a replacement of our postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities, with a July 1, 2014 start date. In summer 2014 we will also be conducting several study groups for humanities and humanistic social sciences departments that are interested in defining department-specific student learning outcomes related to digital humanities. In the fall of 2014 we will be offering a workshop for the members of the college’s Research and Development committee concerning the evaluation of digital humanities scholarship. We will conduct our second Digital Humanities Boot Camp in January 2015. The Digital Humanities Advisory Committee will continue to meet throughout the year to review and award additional grants to faculty for related digital humanities scholarly projects and professional development activities, as well as summer and academic-year student collaborators and assistants to help in the development of their projects.

We are profoundly grateful to the Mellon Foundation for support of this comprehensive initiative in the digital humanities at Dickinson. As this interim report indicates, this grant has initiated a great deal of creativity and successful collaboration in its first year. It has created many new opportunities for humanities and humanistic social science faculty and students to create useful digital resources. All of this activity has generated a genuine sense of excitement among faculty and students, and we expect to continue to work diligently to leverage the Mellon Foundation’s generous support to continue vigorous growth in new projects, initiative, and collaboration in the year ahead.

Tech Talk Tuesday April 15 Free Pizza

The ITS (Information Technology and Services) committee invites students who are interested in digital literacy at Dickinson to a lunchtime discussion with the committee on Tuesday, April 15, 12-1:00, Rabinowitz Reading Room, (second floor, Waidner library). Join us for pizza and conversation about your experiences and interests in the college’s evolving digital environment.  For more information contact Prof. Donaldson (, ex 1228)

Job: Mellon Postodoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at Dickinson College

image: flickr user cthoyes

image: flickr user cthoyes

With generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dickinson College invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in Digital Humanities in the academic year 2014-15, with the potential for an additional year of support. The Fellow will work as a catalyst for faculty innovation by planning, promoting, and implementing strategies to encourage faculty discourse about pedagogy, e-learning tools, and the integration of digital media into teaching and scholarship. The postdoctoral fellowship is an academic appointment reporting to the Dean of the College through the faculty chair of the Digital Humanities Advisory Committee, but the Fellow will be housed alongside the Instructional Technology staff in the Library and Information Services division.

Job Summary/Basic Function:

The Fellow will a) teach one or two courses each year within his or her area of academic research; b) guide arts, humanities, and humanistic social science faculty in the use of digital tools for curricular and research purposes, and help them develop digital humanities projects; and c) work with LIS staff to train students in the January Digital Humanities Boot Camp to use digital tools and technologies in order to prepare them for significant student-faculty research collaborations. The Fellow will be eligible for the internal grants for pedagogical innovation, as well as standard faculty support for travel and professional development. The salary will be $50,000 plus benefits. Dickinson College is a private, highly selective, liberal arts college located within two hours of major research institutions and metropolitan areas.

Minimum Qualifications:

The Fellow must normally have received the PhD by July 1, 2014, and within the last four years, and not have held a tenure-track position. Candidates should be conducting research that requires demonstrated expertise in the use of Digital Humanities in their scholarly field.

Annotating with Poetry Genius and House Divided

David Foster Wallace's annotated copy of Don Delillo's Players, from the Harry Ransom Research Center in Austin, TX.

David Foster Wallace’s annotated copy of Don Delillo’s Players, from the Harry Ransom Research Center in Austin, TX.

From scribbled marginalia  to full-scale scholarly treatises that gobble the works on which they comment, text annotation is one of the most basic and diverse activities of the humanities. Its purposes embrace the intensely personal, the didactic, and the evangelical. It serves all kinds of communities, from the classroom to the law court, from the synagogue to the university research library.

The movement of text annotation to an online environment is still very much a work in progress. There are many platforms attempting to marry original text and a stream of added comments, some attractive and functional, some awkward. Crowd-sourced annotation is being tried in many corners, and sometimes it catches on (check out the remarkable wiki commentaries on the novels of Thomas Pynchon), sometimes they build it and nobody comes.

Rap Genius and its sister sites Poetry Genius and Education Genius are the most exciting recent entrants into this field. What distinguishes these sites is first the astonishing ease and flexibility of the interface. The mere selecting of a chunk of text allows one to add not just a typed comment but audio, video, links to parallel passages, embedded tweets, virtually anything digital. The other good thing about the Genius sites is the way they tap into existing communities of fans, readers, teachers, and students. Education Genius is well-funded by venture capital and has a staff that talks directly to teachers, works to make the site useful to students, and builds bridges with other sites and institutions.

A case in point is the emerging collaboration of Education Genius with Dickinson’s House Divided Project. An annotated version of Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 autobiographical sketch is now available at Poetry Genius, and represents the beginning of partnership between the House Divided Project and the Genius platform spearheaded by Dickinson College student Will Nelligan (’14). There is a general annotated guide to the sketch, which was originally written for a Pennsylvania newspaper when Lincoln was a presidential candidate, and also a version especially designed as an open Common Core platform. This is in keeping with the  strong educational outreach of House Divided and its director, Associate Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History Matthew Pinsker.

There is an audio recording of the sketch in the voice of Lincoln as recreated by Todd Wronski, part of a larger multimedia edition of Lincoln’s writings being undertaken by House Divided. In the Genius platform clicking on different colored text brings up an annotation. Here is one with an embedded video player. Note that annotations are fully “social,” in that one can give them a thumbs up or down, share in various ways, and leave a comment on the comment.

Clicking on different colored text brings up the annotation, in this case one with an embedded video player.

Clicking on different colored text brings up the annotation, in this case one with an embedded video player.

Some annotations simply add contextual information. Others, like the one above, hint at an interpretation, as a teacher might, in an attempt to get the reader thinking beyond the surface of the text. Others amount to polite essay prompts:

Lincoln Genius Screenshot 2

One can easily create an account and start annotating.

Lincoln Genius Screenshot  3

House Divided’s annotations often take the form of questions.

The idea of annotating with questions, in addition to statements, is a fine one, helpful to teachers and students alike. Note also the ability to brand annotations with the House Divided logo, which marks them as more authoritative and “verified.” The folks at Poetry Genius understand the power of reputation, and unobtrusively include it in the platform in a variety of ways.

The ease of annotation—one can sign up for an account in a moment and fire away—makes this platform well-suited to “class-sourcing,” the adding of content by students under academic supervision, and in fact that is how these particular annotations were created. High quality content created collaboratively for a well-defined audience in an attractive, open, and flexible format: digital humanities doesn’t get much better than that.

I am delighted to say that Jeremy Dean of Education Genius will be visiting Dickinson on April 17, 2014 to speak with a group of faculty and students about text annotation and to further develop this collaboration between the Genius sites and Dickinson College. If you would like further information about this event please contact me (

–Chris Francese


Digital Bootcamp Prepares Students for a Future that’s Already Swirling around Us

student and professor chat in front of a laptop computer in an open meeting room

Ashieda McKoy ’14 (left) and Assistant Professor of History Emily Pawley discuss McKoy’s project: a timeline of the African-American student experience at Dickinson. Photo by Carl Socolow ’77.

by Tony Moore 

The digital age is thoroughly upon us, and students eager to tackle it recently took part in Dickinson’s Digital Bootcamp, where they got their hands on some shiny new tools.


The first of its kind geared toward undergraduate students, the boot camp offered students a full-speed-ahead regimen of ArchGIS mapping, Drupal and WordPress site management and media development focused on Audacity, podcasts and iMovie work. All over the course of three months. Wait, check that.

“It usually takes 15 to 16 weeks just to get a taste of what it’s about,” said Matt Kochis, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, who mapped the project’s curriculum and ran the boot camp’s day-to-day operations. “The online and on-campus portion of it was about two weeks. The actual work—they did it in five days’ time.”

Funded by a Mellon Foundation grant and part of Dickinson’s ongoing efforts in the digital humanities, the Digital Bootcamp enrolled 17 students (of 26 applicants), among them Frank Vitale ’16.

“When I applied for the Digital Bootcamp, I was hoping to expand upon skills I’d learned during my time as an intern for the college archive’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School project,” said the history major. “It did that and more, and I walked away with greater technical know-how for using a lot of powerful digital tools.”


After two weeks of instruction focused on building a sample digital project (an approach Professor of Classical Languages Christopher Francese, who helped spearhead the boot camp, described as “less yak, more hack”), students were set loose to create. And create they did, with multimedia projects emerging on topics ranging from Dickinson’s Kade House to Three Mile Island to a timeline of the history of African-American students at the college.

Vitale created a deeply personal project—a multimedia Drupal site called Invasion From the Front Lines, which detailed his grandfather’s World War II experience.

“From the time my father was young, my grandfather told the family that he was a typist during the war and had never left Paris,” Vitale said. “We’ve discovered he was on the front lines for the majority of the European theater and received five Bronze Stars for his bravery during the conflict. Needless to say, this came as a shock to all of us, even my grandmother, and uncovering this history was an incredibly moving process.”

The Digital Bootcamp ended with a digital poster session, which Francese had hoped would function as a job fair, facilitating future collaboration between students and faculty members. And it looks like it worked.

“Bootcamp students will be helping me research and design exhibits for a new online museum of Dickinson’s history, currently called the Dickinsonia Project,” said Emily Pawley, assistant professor of history, who notes that some of the student projects from the Bootcamp might themselves be incorporated into the Dickinsonia Project.

Already looking ahead to next year, Francese said that faculty members have a queue of projects ready for future Bootcampers to tackle, and he sees this need propelling both faculty and student interest. If this year’s success is any indication, though, he might have more campers than he knows what to do with. Which is a good thing.

After the Digital Humanities Advisory Committee breathed life into the Digital Bootcamp, and Francese and Kochis got it off the ground, the program was additionally facilitated by Daniel Plekhov ’14 and Michael D’Aprix ’14—both of whom took on ArcGIS and online mapping duties. Also on board was the Waidner-Spahr Library’s Don Sailer ’09, digital projects consultant, who worked with students on Photoshop, iMovie and Audacity and assisted Kochis with teaching Drupal and WordPress.


See a selection of this year’s Digital Bootcamp projects (all students are from the class of 2016, unless otherwise noted):

Frank Vitale’s Invasion From the Front Lines

Barrett Ziegler’s Place and Identity: Stories of Russian Citizens in the United States

Ashieda McKoy ’14’s Digital Timeline: Dickinson’s African-American Student History

Santiago Princ and Rachel Schilling’s Department of German Kade House site

Jaime Phillips’s maps and timeline of the Joseph Priestley Award at Dickinson

Published on the Dickinson website Feb. 14, 2014

Review: Logeion app

The Logeion app. The University of Chicago, 2013. iTunes. Free.

Reviewed by Daniel Plekhov, Dickinson College (

iTunes previewLogeion

The Logeion mobile application aims to provide a one-stop look up for Greek and Latin dictionary entries. Like its parent website, also developed at the University of Chicago, it collects and presents a wide range of valuable reference materials.

The Perseus Digital Library provided several lexica:

  • Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon
  • Liddell and Scott’s Intermediate Greek Lexicon
  • Autenrieth’s Homeric Dictionary
  • Slater’s Lexicon to Pindar
  • Lewis and Short’s Latin-English Lexicon
  • Lewis’ Elementary Latin Dictionary

Logeion gives entries from each of these on a single page under the relevant headwords, streamlining the process of looking up definitions. But it also adds to the corpus of digitized lexica. As of the latest update, new material accessible from the mobile application includes:

  • The Diccionario Griego-Español Project (DGE), a brand new Greek dictionary
  • DuCange’s massive dictionary of Medieval Latin
  • Basiswoordenlijst Latijn (BWL), a Latin dictionary that include examples of Latin words in context, illustrating their most common uses.

LaNe, the Latin-Dutch  dictionary accessible from the Logeion website, is not currently available from the mobile application. DuCange, the reference work for medieval and late Latin, while available on the mobile application, is not provided in its full-text version as on the Logeion website. Even so the Logeion app is an unparalleled resource for students of Greek and Latin, and serves a wide range of specializations within Classics. The ease and simplicity of its interface ensures that despite the daunting amount of material even beginning students of Classics will benefit. And crucially the mobile platform allows users to access all these fantastic resources without an internet connection.

The search field is at the top left in landscape view on an iPad

The search field is at the top left in landscape view on an iPad

I tested this application on both an iPhone 4 (running iOS 7.0.4) and an iPad. The most important distinction between the two is that the iPhone application  allows only for portrait view, while the iPad allows for both portrait and landscape. The landscape view is more attractive and efficient than the portrait view, as it allows the menu to be visible alongside the content. The iPhone also does not allow for the word wheel. In what follows I will discuss the application as experienced from the landscape view on an iPad.

The Greek keyboard is easily enabled.

The Greek keyboard is easily enabled.On opening, the program defaults to an entry for the Latin word lux. At the top left is the search field. From here the user may type in words in Latin or Greek, using the Modern Greek keyboard, which must be enabled. Transliteration is not supported (as it is on the website), but enabling the Greek keyboard is easy, and the application has a help section with detailed instructions for doing so. Greek words may be typed in without accents, which would be difficult and tedious to type, especially on a mobile device. The word ἄνθρωπος had to be typed in fully, but other words are more quickly recognized by the application, which begins to provide results from the third letter.

Something that was at first confusing was that ἄνθρωπος was given twice, the first capitalized and the second not. Reading the help section explained this: proper nouns are included alongside nouns and verbs in the search results. Even so, it would be helpful if from these search results one could view some information about each result. As it is, clicking on any result immediately takes one to the full entry entry, and to get back to the previous results it is necessary to fully retype the search .

Once on the noun ἄνθρωπος, the menu on the left gives a scrollable word wheel of words alphabetically before and after ἄνθρωπος. The word wheel is not continuous and infinite, however, and to navigate to more than twenty words away you can scroll up the twentieth word and select that as the new entry, thus generating a new word wheel range. It would have been nice I think to have a full word wheel from which I could have scrolled as far as I needed. This may be more pertinent in cases where the search is for a very commonly used stem or verb from which derive many entries, such as νομίζω. Being able to continuously scroll through all the entries would be helpful in these cases.

The word wheel

The word wheel

Alongside the word wheel is further information about the entry. At the top is the frequency, ranked along a scale that groups words by their frequency across all texts, in increments of 150 words. A number is given as well as a red line, making it instantly and very clear how often the word is used.

Frequency informaiton

Frequency informaiton

Below that is a list of authors in whose works this word appears. This is given in addition to the examples from the corpus which are included at the bottom of word entries, when available.

List of the authors in which the word appears most frequently

List of the authors in which the word appears most frequently

Below the list of authors is a list of collocations. This is a valuable piece of information to have apart from the dictionary entries. Collocations are often given within the dense block of text for each word entry, and having them separate allows for quick reference.

Common collocations

Common collocations

Below the word wheel and the additional information comes a list of introductory Greek or Latin textbooks in which the headword appears, if it happens to. At the time of this review, the textbooks referenced were:

  • H & Q (Greek: An Intesive Course, by Hardy Hansen and Gerald M. Quinn)
  • JACT (Reading Greek: Grammar and Exercises, by Joint Association of Classical Teachers)
  • LTRG (Learn to Read Greek, by Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russel)
  • LTRL (Learn to Read Latin, by Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russel)
  • Mastro (Introduction to Attic Greek, by Donald Mastronarde)
  • Wheelock (Wheelock’s Latin, by Frederic M. Wheelock and Richard A. Lafleur)

The user can easily navigate between textbooks simply by clicking on them, which will provide the entry in the textbook, as well as where it can be found.

Textbooks in which the word occurs

Textbooks in which the word occurs

In the bottom left corner is an information link that provides tips on how to use the application and explanation of its various functions.

Within the actual word entry, the first information given is always the “ShortDef,” which provides the most basic definition(s) of the headword. Following that is the entry for that word in all the available reference materials. At the end of the dictionary entries, examples from the corpus in which this word is used is also provided.

For anyone who has ever had to work with multiple dictionaries and texts open at the same time, being able to simply scroll and access so much information with the simple swipe of a finger from a single device is truly appreciated. I have no doubt that the application will continue to be added to, both in regards to content as well as usability.

Elements of the application that I would wish to be added is a way to bookmark certain entries, or perhaps create a favorites section for choice words. As it stands now, however, the Logeion mobile application represents a crowning achievement for the digital classics, and a tool that I envision having great use for students and educators alike.

–Daniel Plekhov

Carlisle Indian Industrial School project update

College Archivist James Gerencser passes on this note on the progress and reception of Carlisle Indian Industrial School digital humanities project.

black and white photo of hundreds of school students sitting in rows in front a school building

Carlisle Indian Industrial School, date unknown

The CIIS project received some attention recently, and comments and questions from new visitors to the project’s website have been rolling in ever since. The interest was sparked by a short article in the online publication “Indian Country Today.” Rick Kearns, author of the piece, spoke with the project’s three co-directors back in December 2013, and he felt that a wide audience would be excited to learn about this new online resource. The article was posted on January 10, alerting an interested user community to our activities just as a team of interns arrived in Washington, DC to scan more documents (roughly 16,700 of them) at the U.S. National Archives.

As links to the article were shared by colleagues across the country via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, we were pleased to see the high level of interest and enthusiasm for the project. In just the first week after the article appeared, the site registered 1655 visitors, while it had recorded only 337 visitors over the previous month.

Even more exciting than the general buzz, however, was this blog post by Larry Cebula, Associate Professor of History at Eastern Washington University. Dr. Cebula took some time to explore our website and discovered Lulu O’Hara, a student from Washington who was a member of the Spokane Tribe. In his post, Dr. Cebula used Lulu to demonstrate, in a very simple and straightforward way, how a researcher could examine the contents of a student’s digitized file and piece together a story of her time at the school. He then went a bit further by connecting Lulu to other materials available online, including a photograph on Flickr featuring Lulu’s school class from before she attended Carlisle, and a portion of an oral history included in a National Park Service educator’s guide.

Dr. Cebula’s post provides a great example of the potential for the project, demonstrating to users how a little additional searching can help turn a few interesting items into a larger story. For as much information as we plan to make readily available via the Carlisle Indian School website, we do not want people ever to assume that this is all there is to the story of the school, or to the stories of the 10,000 students who attended the school. Too often students and other researchers fail to take the next important steps to build upon what fragments of documentation they uncover, but Dr. Cebula shows how valuable and rich the stories can become with some additional effort. In the coming years, we look forward to assisting a broad public in bringing these stories to light.

–Jim Gerencser