CO 71.1 [Fall 1993], pp. 21-24: CD-ROM discussed; TLG and PHICD-ROM disks of Greek and Latin texts; text-search utilities; Pandora,Searcher, Pharos, LBase, Patrologia Latina,JPROGS' Roman Gods, Roman Technology, Theseus & theMinotaur, The Travels of Odysseus; Videotape Proposal; LATIN-Le-mail discussion group
Many of us now get anxious to hear that phrase spoken about one of ourold favorite musical albums (the ones that we already have in at least twoother formats--33, 45, or 78-rpm records and 8-track, cassette, or reel-to-reeltapes). Well, in this case, I'd like to talk about the crossover of compactdiscs from the world of music into the world of computers.
Music CDs have been around long enough now to be considered mainstream;they are pretty much taken for granted by both teenagers and radio DJs.Main of you may be familiar with the fact that a compact disc can easilyhold as much music as a full, two-sided album from the old days--and thensome. In fact, it can hold as much as 74 minutes of high-quality, digitizedaudio.
What you may not have been aware of is that, since the music on a CD isdigitized, it is the electronic equivalent of a computer disk. When musicCDs established a standardized format for production and became widely accepted,the cost of production went down dramatically, and this paved the way forthe crossover of CDs into the computer world. (Many people don't realizethat the earliest Apple II computers actually used cassette tapes for recordingdata before the floppy disk standards were set.) The computer equivalentof 74 minutes of sound is 660 megabytes of data--the same as 825 low-density3 1/2-inch floppy disks or 16 40-megabyte hard disks! This may give yousome idea of the complexity of digitized sound (whether it's music or voice).
The ROM part of CD-ROM stands for "read-only memory." This merelymeans that the data has been permanently imprinted on the disk. You cannotadd new data to it, and you cannot inadvertently erase any of it either.
Since CD-ROM disks are most noteworthy for their capacity to store largeamounts of data, they have been used mostly as repositories for referencematerials like encyclopedias and dictionaries. Because standardized formatshave been established for CD-ROM disks, it is possible for them to be usedwith different computer types (IBM or Macintosh, most notably) as long asthere is an appropriate "front end" or accessing program for theparticular computer you want to use.
In my last column I gave a fairly detailed description of Perseus 1.0 (seeCO 70.3 [Spring 1993]: 106-7), which is published on a CD-ROM disk, withan optional, accompanying videodisc. Perseus has a Macintosh/HyperCard "frontend," so that it can only be used on Macintosh computers at this point.However, I do understand that the editors and publisher are seriously lookinginto the feasibility of creating an IBM/Windows version of Perseus. Theyare trying to assess the demand for this, so let them know if you have astrong need for it. Contact Mary Coleman, Yale University Press, 92A YaleStation, New Haven, CT 06520; tel. 203-432-0912.
The earliest, large development project applying CD-ROM technology inthe Classics was the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG). The creation of theTLG began in 1972--long before CDs became the medium of choice for large-scaledatabases. Now, many grants later and still under the tutelage of its founder,Theodore Bruner, the TLG has accomplished its task of collecting in electronicform the entire body of ancient Greek literature from Homer to AD 600. Itcontains over 60 million words and 3,000 authors (truly a Herculean task!),and the work continues nonetheless. The current phase of the project aimsto make it all the way up to the fall of Constantinople in AD 1453.
The TLG CD-ROM disk is licensed for five years (institutions $850, individuals$500), so that it can be updated regularly. For more information, contactThesaurus Linguae Graecae, Univ. of California, Irvine, CA 92717; tel. 714-856-7031.
Originally, the only easy way to access, search, and excerpt material fromthe TLG disk was by means of the specially designed Ibycus computer. TheIbycus had grown up almost as a sibling to the electronic TLG. David Packard,a member of one of the founding families of the Hewlett-Packard computercompany, is a classicist with a strong faculty for computer applications.He created the Ibycus computer as a machine dedicated specifically to workingwith classical languages, complete with a Greek/Roman alphabet wordprocessorand a text-search tool for the TLG built in. Because of the limited marketfor such a machine and the rapidly declining prices of other personal computersand multilingual wordprocessors, attention has shifted away from the Ibycusto more standardized computer tools.
However, David Packard and the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) continueto produce new electronic tools for the classicist. They released theirfirst CD-ROM Demonstration Disk #1 in 1987. That disk was prepared fromtexts gathered, entered, and edited by PHI and CCAT (the Center for theComputer Analysis of Texts at the University of Pennsylvania). They havecontinued to update the amount of text stored and now publish two separatedisks (#5--Latin & #6--Greek Documentary). These materials are designedto complement the TLG CD-ROM.
The Latin CD-ROM disk contains nearly all classical Latin literary textsthrough AD 200, together with a few later texts (Servius, Prophyry, Zeno,Justinian). It also includes several versions of the Bible (the Septuagint,Hebrew Bible, Coptic New Testament, Latin Vulgate, King James and RSV Bibles).The Greek Documentary disk includes papyri prepared at Duke University,with assistance from the University of Michigan, and inscriptions preparedat Cornell, Ohio State, and the Institute for Advanced Study.
Both disks are distributed by a license agreement which can cover eithera one-year ($40 each) or three-year ($100 each) period. This way the publisherscan make updates available on a continual basis. For more information, contactthe Packard Humanities Institute, 302 Second St. #201, Los Altos, CA 94022;tel. 415-948-0150.
Neither the TLG nor the PHI disks are specific to any computer type.It all depends on the text-search program you use to read them, and thereare good text-searchers for both IBM and Macintosh computers. These programscan also be used to extract passages in various wordprocessor formats forinclusion in scholarly articles or student handouts (within the limits ofcopyright law).
The most commonly used text search program for the Macintosh-based classicistis called Pandora. It was developed at Harvard by Elli Mylonas, who is alsothe managing editor of the Perseus program. It has been updated to version2.5 and has proved very reliable over time. It costs $50 and is publishedby both Scholars Press (PO Box 15288, Atlanta, GA 30333) and Intellimation(PO Box 219, Santa Barbara, CA 93116).
In the IBM world, Randall Smith has been keeping CD-ROM disks accessibleto the classicist, first with his Searcher program ($15) for DOS and nowwith his new Pharos program ($50) for Windows. For more information, contactthe author (RSmith1@cc.swarthmore.edu) or Dan Thibodeau (Humanities ComputingFacility, 4421 South Hall, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106.
One more IBM-based text search tool which is used generally in the languagefield is called LBase. It can be used with electronic text in Hebrew, Aramaic,Coptic, and other languages, as well as English, Greek, and Latin. The programcosts $245 and is published by Silver Mountain Software, 7246 CloverglenDr., Dallas, TX 75249; tel. 214-709-6364.
If you can't get enough textual material for your own appetite and moneyis no object, have I got the software for you!
The Patrologia Latina Database is a complete electronic version of the classic19th-century collection of texts edited by the ecclesiastical publisher,Jacques-Paul Migne. It covers over a millenium of work by the "Latinfathers," from Tertullian in AD 200 through Innocent III in 1216, usingSGML code to expedite accessibility. (The PLD is also available in magnetictape form.) IBM-compatible text retrieval software is included, and it requires2MB of RAM for operation. The entire set can be yours for $50,000 (sitelicense)! Each of four parts can be purchased separately for $14,500 a piece.For more information, contact Chadwick-Healey Inc., 1101 King St., Alexandria,VA 22314; tel. 800-752-0515.
There were at least ten different computer-related presentations at theACL Institute in Boulder this year! This was a big jump over the usual twoor three. Is it a sign that Classics teachers are now getting into computersin a big way? I'm not sure. But it certainly did make for difficult planning.We actually had to have two full, concurrent sessions of computer workshops(four topics each). Jim Chapman (Univ. of Kentucky) impressed a large plenarysession with a practical demonstration on "Using Perseus in the MythologyClassroom," complete with slick graphics and bit-mapped photos transmittedfrom his small Macintosh PowerBook computer, a CD-ROM drive, and a portableLCD projection panel, all of which fit neatly into a medium-size carryingcase.
The Institute was also the occasion for the American release of a newset of Macintosh programs for the Classics, developed in England by JPROGSSoftware. The author of the programs, Julian Morgan, gave a presentationwhich explained the state of computer usage in British schools and detailedhis efforts to help other Latin teachers evaluate and effectively use softwarein their classes. He has written four HyperCard-based programs on classicalmythology and technology. The software makes extensive use of animationand other graphics to narrate the stories of Odysseus, Theseus, and mostof the common Roman gods, as well as demonstrating the workings of commonRoman inventions like the aqueduct, the arch, and the spear-catapult. Therehas really been nothing like this for the Classics yet. If the responseof teachers at the ACL Institute is any indication, students will surelyenjoy using these programs to help them bring these myths to life and understandhow Roman technology changed the world.
There is a series of four quizzes on each disk which give students (andtheir teachers) a chance to find out how well the information is being absorbed.Scores are temporarily saved on disk and can be printed out by either theteacher or the student. Teachers who are familiar with HyperCard can evenchange the quiz questions and answers, if they like. The four programs are:The Travels of Odysseus, Theseus and the Minotaur, Roman Gods, and RomanTechnology. They will be published in the U.S. by Centaur Systems and distributedby the ACL's Teaching Materials and Resource Center (TMRC). Site licensesfor each program cost $95. Contact the ACL-TMRC, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH45056.
I apologize for my brief note about the 1993 Software Directory for theClassics in my last column. In my haste to get the notice out, I neglectedto provide the contact information for it. At that time the cost had notyet been set, so I can now add that onto the source listing.
Like the old Survey of Latin Instructional Software, the new, more comprehensiveSoftware Directory for the Classics is published by the ACL's Teaching Materialsand Resource Center (TMRC), Miami Univ., Oxford, OH 45056. The cost is $10($8 for ACL members), plus $3.70 for shipping and handling.
Last year I mentioned in this column that the ACL Committee on EducationalComputer Applications (CECA) was trying to ascertain the level of interestand potential input for production of a videotape on the use of computersin the classroom. We have gotten many positive responses affirming the needfor such a video. Many teachers would like to see instructive models andsample scenarios which will help them envision possible applications intheir own classes. Several good examples have been suggested, particularlyin the Chicago area, where we presented workshops at the Illinois ClassicalConference and the ACTFL Convention last fall. But we still have need formore. If you or a Classics teacher you know is making effective use of computersin the classroom and would be willing to be filmed in action, please letme know as soon as possible. If your school would like to do the filming(for a media/communications class project?), all the better. We are puttingtogether a detailed proposal before we look into funding sources. Your helpis greatly appreciated.
The new electronic discussion groups, or E-groups, must be a lot easierto administer (via list servers) than the old bulletin board systems (BBS)since they seem to be multiplying rapidly throughout every branch of academia.In either form they can be valuable opportunities to spread news fast andto get immediate feedback on simple questions or major issues in the field.
In my last column I mentioned the CLASSICS E-group based at the Universityof Washington (CO 70.2 [Spring 1993]: 109). Now Kevin Berland has announcedthe formation of LATIN-L, a new E-group for anyone interested in Latin.Its Bitnet and Internet addresses are:
To subscribe, send an E-mail message to the list server address of yourchoice containing the single line:
subscribe Latin-L "your name"
with your own full name (not your E-mail address) and no quotes.
According to Berland, the new group is "a forum for people interestedin classical Latin, medieval Latin, and Neo-Latin. The languages of choiceare Latin (of course) and whatever vulgar languages you feel comfortableusing. Please be prepared to translate on request. The field is open--nameyour topic!" For more information, contact Kevin Berland directly (firstname.lastname@example.orgOR email@example.com).
I should caution anyone who hasn't tried out an E-group yet to be preparedfor a bundle of E-mail. You will need to keep a close eye on your E-mailbox and regularly delete unnecessary items to make sure that your allottedspace doesn't fill up. There are ways to remove your name temporarily fromthe distribution list, which can be useful if you expect to be out of townor otherwise detained. Consider yourself warned!