OSCE Abstract

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Proposal for Methods Network Workgroup/workshop

Gabriel Bodard and Juan Garcés

(This was the abstract for the OSCE Programme workshop held in September 2006, preserved here for archival purposes.)

This workgroup will explore the possibilities, requirements for, and repercussions of a new generation of digital critical editions of Greek and Latin texts which will be made available under an open license such as Creative Commons or GPL. This topic broaches many technological, legal, and administrative issues, and the workgroup participants will be selected for their interest and/or expertise in these areas. As an overall background consideration, we shall keep in mind the question of how such editions advance classical philology as a whole, both in terms of the internal value to the subject itself, and in terms of outreach, interdisciplinarity, and the value of philology to the wider world outside the academy.

The technological questions to be discussed at this event will include: the status of open critical editions within a repository or distributed collection of texts; the need for and requirements of a registry to bind together and provide referencing mechanisms for such texts (the Canonical Texts Services protocols being prototyped at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC are an obvious candidate for such a function); the authoritative status of this class of edition, whether edited by a single philologist or in collaborative, 'Wiki' fashion; the role of eScience and grid applications in the creation and delivery of the editions.

Legal issues largely revolve around the question of copyright: what copyright status should the open source data behind open critical editions have? Attribution is clearly desirable, but the automatic granting of permission to modify and build upon scholarly work is also essential. There are also copyright questions regarding the classical texts upon which such editions are based: what is the status of a recently published critical edition or a text or manuscript, notice of which needs to be taken by any scholar working on a new edition?

Administrative questions posed by open critical editions include: issues of workflow and collaboration (of which the Stoa Consortium has considerable experience, for example through the Suda Online project); protocols for publication and reuse of source data: a genealogy of reuse and citation could be generated using a technology such as (or analogous with) CVS, or a system of passive link-back generating an automatic citation index through a web search engine. Issues of peer review and both pre- and post-publication validation of scholarship will also be adressed by the group.