Rafael Alvarado and the future of DCC

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.

Stephen Nimis of Miami University of Ohio, who has produced a series of print-on-demand commentaries on Greek texts with Evan Hayes (the latest being some Plutarch), has offered us all his content to use to re-make in our format, and has offered to help create printed versions of our existing content through his distribution system. The first Nimis-Hayes commentary we will take on will be Lucian’s True History, which Prof. Casey will edit. Susan Stephens of Stanford has a well-advanced digital edition of Callimachus’ Aetia that ran into some technical problems, and she has agreed to let us put it in our series, with her continued help. This is a very exciting collaboration, with outstanding content that should raise the profile of DCC. Another very welcome addition will be Bret Mulligan’s edition of Nepos’ Life of Hannibal, which is largely done but in need of final editing and equipping with vocabulary lists and maps. So that makes three new commentaries, basic content largely complete, that we will try to equip with the various DCC enhancements this spring and summer. We are growing, and I am very pleased to see DCC developing as a kind of aggregator and editor of high quality online classical commentary.
–Chris Francese

2 thoughts on “Rafael Alvarado and the future of DCC

  1. Hi Chris, How about a direct link to your FACEBOOK presence here. And make the FACEBOOK group more interactive with DCC too.

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