Help the SDL!

Advance our understanding of the Greco-Roman World!
Contribute to the Scaife Digital Library — improve existing materials and to create new ones!

If you want to understand the present and invent the future then FREE THE PAST!

Everyone can make a difference! Read the sources more closely yourself, learn something for your own enjoyment and at the same time enhance what is available to everyone else!

Translate that text! Only a fraction of billions of words surviving Greek and Latin — no more than 5 or 10% — has been translated into modern languages such as English. The idea of Europe was invented in Greek and then in Latin and developed over thousands of years — but currently less than ⅓ of 1 percent of all US college graduates enroll in a class of Greek or Latin. Help the other 99.6% understand much of what made Europe and the Americas so that they can help decide where they want to go! MARIE-CLAIRE, Suda Online, HMT

What does that word really mean? We have been studying Greek and Latin but how well do we really understand either the languages or the cultures that they represent? Open content lexica and grammars for Classical Greek, Latin, and Arabic are available, along with commentaries with thousands of notes on Classical Greek and Latin texts. And wholly new instruments such as parallel corpora that align source texts with modern translations allow us to detect patterns of meaning in ways that were never before possible. You can help and learn more about Greek, Latin and thousands of years of cultural history as you do it.

Who/what/where is that? Wikipedia provides broad coverage for many ancient topics but the reference works available in the SDL contain direct citations into the primary sources that general resources such as Wikpedia often leave out. The Smith Biographical and Geographical Dictionaries contain fundamental information about more than 30,000 people and places. All of these reference works contain written citations to the primary sources upon which they are based. Many of these citations have been converted to machine actionable links but the automated programs are never perfect. Check the citations that are there — how do they relate to the text as it stands? What citations were missed — you might be surprised at the range of sources that we do have. And are there important sources that should be cited?

Fix that text! Help us add more text — not only can you correct errors in OCR-generated text in front of you but you can create training data that can improve the performance of OCR on millions of words in a similar font or genre! And correcting OCR output allows you to learn how to type Classical Greek accurately and quickly!

Decode that manuscript! OCR software can do a lot with well printed books but it can’t do much with manuscripts or inscriptions, papyri or even early printed books. Adopt a text, read it carefully, share what you find and make that document visible in a digital word centuries or thousands of years after chisel met stone or stylus met parchment! Start with something simple — and then see if you can become a palaeographer and decode the short hand of writers who lived in world long vanished.

More carefully structured text! Digital texts don’t just use italics and bold — they can precisely describe their contents, making them easier for readers to understand and supporting more sophisticated forms of analysis. Join the Athenaeus Project to see what ancient audiences had read and to trace a network that connects tens of thousands of passages from almost a thousand years of Greek. Become a scholarly CSI force and help reconstruct sources that survive only because they are quoted, paraphrased or mentioned!

Where is that place? Is that Alexandria the one in Virginia, the city in Egypt — or one of many other cities that Alexander planted around the Middle East? Help us generate accurate maps of the places in our sources to help others understand what they are reading and to support new ways of understanding how ancient authors conceptualized their world!

Who is that person? Which Caesar is that, anyway? Is that the famous Cleopatra or one of her many namesakes? And help us distinguish the several Alexanders of Macedon from their descendant, the famous conqueror!
What does that word mean? Help reinvent our understanding of Greek and Latin! You can tell us which word sense in one many many dictionaries a particular passage intends us to understand — and you can learn a lot about Greek and Latin! Or you can help line up Greek and Latin words with their corresponding words in modern translations — and you can help not only read more closely but build parallel texts, one of the most important tools in the modern arsenal to help research and to support the next reader!

What is going on in that sentence? Students of Greek and Latin since Cicero and Erasmus have quailed as their teachers asked them “what is that form? and on what does it depend?” You can record your answers for generations of readers to come – and you can contribute to Greek and Latin Treebanks — our closest equivalent to the Genomic databases of Biology!

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