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University of Oklahoma Awarded Mellon Foundation Grant for the Development of Digital Latin Library

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

7-23-14

Contact: Jana Smith, Director, Strategic Communications for R&D, (405) 325-1322, jana.smith@ou.edu

NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma has been awarded a $572,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the development of a digital library of Latin texts of all eras. The Digital Latin Library—a Linked Open Data resource—represents a significant collaborative effort to advance access to these texts. The Society for Classical Studies (formerly the American Philological Association), the Medieval Academy of America and the Renaissance Society of America endorsed this project.

“I am excited about hosting this project at the University of Oklahoma because it is consistent with the high value we place on humanities scholarship, and because it will enhance scholarly endeavors on an international scale. The project will complement and derive substantial benefit from other digital initiatives, particularly with regard to Open Access Data, and greatly enhance the collaborative culture across the University and beyond with our external partners,” said University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren.

Samuel J. Huskey, OU Department of Classics and Letters and principal investigator on the project, will collaborate with June Abbas, OU School of Library and Information Studies, and Chris Weaver, OU School of Computer Science. External collaborators on the grant include New York University, St. Louis University and Duke University. The Digital Latin Library has two components: The Digital Latin

Library and the Library of Digital Latin Texts. The Mellon grant funds the first year of this three-year project.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for OU and its burgeoning digital humanities community. It shows what can happen when professors and students from different disciplines work together as a team. I am grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its support and to all of the people at OU who helped bring this project here.” 

The Digital Latin Library will provide a single point of access to texts and resources for reading and working with them, e.g., images of inscriptions and manuscripts, reference works, tools for analysis, etc. The Library of Digital Latin Texts will provide resources and support for the production of new scholarship and educational materials. A number of interfaces will facilitate activities such as reading and annotating texts, textual or visual analysis and collaborative learning and scholarship.

Some will use the Digital Latin Library’s space for private study or teaching, others will use it to produce new critical editions and commentaries. Users will have the option of submitting new critical editions and commentaries for publication in the Library of Digital Latin Texts, which will have three series: classical, medieval and neo-Latin texts. All publications will be peer-reviewed and endorsed by one or more of the three learned societies affiliated with the Library. The Library of Digital Latin Texts may be the boldest part of this entire project, since it will be a major step forward for textual criticism and critical editions.

The goal for the first year of this project is to assemble the content management system for the library component of the Digital Latin Library, complete a user behavior study to optimize resources for different classes of user, develop and test a version of the visualization environment for texts in the Library of Digital Latin Texts, and produce a number of scholarly and educational materials on the development and use of born-digital critical edition. For more information about this project, please contact Samuel J. Huskey at huskey@ou.edu.

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