Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

OA to oldest edition of Homer's Iliad

Amy Hackney Blackwell, Robot Scans Ancient Manuscript in 3-D, Wired, June 5, 2007.  (Thanks to Ross Scaife.)  Excerpt:

After a thousand years stuck on a dusty library shelf, the oldest copy of Homer's Iliad is about to go into digital circulation.

A team of scholars traveled to a medieval library in Venice to create an ultra-precise 3-D copy of the ancient manuscript -- complete with every wrinkle, rip and imperfection -- using a laser scanner mounted on a robot arm.

A high-resolution, 3-D copy of the entire 645-page parchment book, plus a searchable transcription, will be made available online under a Creative Commons license....

The Venetus A [manuscript] is handwritten and contains ligatures and abbreviations that boggle most text-recognition software. So, this summer a group of graduate and undergraduate students of Greek will gather at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., to produce XML transcriptions of the text. Eventually, their work will be posted online for anyone to search, as part of the Homer Multitext Project.