Friday, October 24, 2014

Open Access Week at the Homer Multitext project

This week is Open Access Week, an annual event promoting open access as a norm in scholarly work.  At Holy Cross, three members of the Homer Multitext project, Nik Churik '15, Brian Clark '15, and Melody Wauke '17, took part in a panel along with presenters from the faculty and the library staff. (Below, Brian and Melody with Nik's wristwatch in the background as the panellists are introduced in the very traditional setting of a library reading room.)

In contrast to the other speakers, the HMT members traced a connection from open access to the potential to replicate and verify scholarly work, and concluded that open access is not simply one convenient option among others, but an ethical obligation.  The audience seemed to me to struggle with this idea, despite the fact that it was a small, self-selected group already interested in the subject.

One institution that deserves recognition for taking open access very seriously is the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, where hundreds of manuscripts are being digitized, and made available on line under the terms of a Creative Commons license.  (Some of the older digitization includes black and white images only, but more recent additions offer very high quality color images.) Four of the Greek manuscripts they have already digitized include Homeric material, and thanks to the library's use of a standard open license, we will be including them in future releases of the Homer Mutlitext's archive. The processor-intensive conversion of the images to the zoomable format we use in our citable image service is underway, and you can now look at the first of the Munich manuscripts on our test site.  If the manuscript photography we have already published has awakened your interest in the various prose paraphrases and metrical summaries of the Iliad they include, you will no doubt enjoy the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek's Codex Graecus 88 as well.