First Version of the Scaife Digital Library Viewer goes live: building the future while remembering a friend

Gregory Crane
March 15, 2018
Leipzig, Germany

I am pleased to announce the first release of the Scaife Digital Library Viewer, a reading environment for source texts that follow the Canonical Text Services (CTS) data model. Our initial focus is on pre-modern sources, but the underlying approach applies to source texts of all periods. CTS provides a framework within which we can cite particular words in particular versions of particular texts — whether a version is a papyrus, manuscript, or a critical edition, whether versions of that text derive from a single lost original (as is the case for many ancient Greek and Latin texts) or the text itself appears in many versions, each of which has comparable authority (as is the case for many medieval sources). For those interested in more information, James Tauber, lead developer for this release, will present the Scaife Digital Library Viewer online on April 26 at 5 pm CEST as part of Sunoikisis Digital Classics. The presentation will be recorded and available, along with any other course materials, on the SunoikisisDC website after the class itself.

The Scaife Digital Library builds upon the Capitains suite of tools for creating and managing CTS-compliant textual data, developed by Bridget Almas, then one of the two leaders of the Perseids Project, and now at the Alpheios Project (http://alpheios.net/), and by Thibault Clérice, then a member of the Alexander von Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at Leipzig (and now at the École nationale des chartes). James Tauber, leader of Eldarion, a web development company as well as a long-time student of, and developer for, Biblical Greek, oversaw the development of the Scaife Digital Library as an open-source, customizable reading environment. In memory of Ross and what he stood for, the release is intended to empower the community to take charge and carry work forward. And, of course, the code is open and available on Github. Ross would not have had it any other way.

Ross Scaife (1960-2008) was a pioneer in reinventing the study of Greco-Roman culture to exploit the possibilities of a digital age. He was among the first — if not the first — to get tenure for a purely digital publication, Diotima: Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World, a project that he and Suzanne Bonefas launched in 1995 (the same year that David A. Smith, now an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Northeastern, established the first web presence for Perseus). Ross was a colleague and he was a friend, whom we mourn still and will always miss. We lost him on March 15, 2008 and it is with fond memory that we announce the first version of the Scaife Digital Library in his honor, on March 15, 2018, ten years later.

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