Los Angeles Times: Using artificial intelligence, researchers are teaching a computer to read the Vatican’s secret archives. “The archives’ heavily laden shelves stretch 53 miles down dimly lighted corridors and are packed with papal correspondence dating to the 8th century and penned by the likes of Mary Queen of Scots and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The only problem: There is so much of it. More than 1,000 scholars are let in annually to scour the shelves, but much has yet to be read, let alone inventoried, digitized or translated. Which is why one IT professor in Rome decided it was time to let algorithms loose in the hallowed halls of the Vatican, using artificial intelligence software taught to read medieval Latin.”
British Library: Anglo-Saxon charters online. “In anticipation of the British Library’s major Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition, which opens on 19 October, we are delighted to have added the vast majority of our Anglo-Saxon single-sheet charters to our Digitised Manuscripts site. A full list of the 203 charters currently available can be downloaded here; we plan to add the remaining 8 charters in due course.” This article has a good overview of what Anglo-Saxon charters are if you aren’t familiar.
Heritage Daily: The Digital Corpus Of Literary Papyri (DCLP), A New Digital Tool For Researching Ancient Literature, Is Now Available.. “Scholars from Heidelberg University and New York University (USA) spearheaded the development of the newly released open-access database, which offers information about and transcripts of Greek and Latin texts preserved on fragments of papyri, but also, for example, on ceramic shards or wooden tablets…. The database is accessible to anyone and currently has information on nearly 15,000 fragments of ancient works. Approximately 1,000 of these entries include the corresponding Greek or Latin texts.”
The Parker Library: Access to Matthew Parker’s library to be made widely accessible online in 2018!. “The oldest surviving illustrated Latin Gospel book, known as the Gospels of St. Augustine (MS 286) can soon be seen by anyone with an internet connection. On the 10th of January, 2018, this codex, along with a further 555 medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from the Parker Library will no longer require an institutional site license to access Parker on the Web.”
The Natural History Museum in London has digitized its oldest book and put it online. “The Museum’s Library and Archives has digitised its oldest book, Historia Naturalis, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The Museum’s copy is one of only 100 first editions. It was published in 1469, barely 30 years after the invention of the printing press – and about 1,400 years after it was compiled. Its author is Roman philosopher and scholar Gaius Plinius Secundus, commonly known as Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79).” Obviously I can’t read a word of it as it’s Latin, but man, it’s a beautiful book.
A new open access journal is available: Journal of Classics Teaching. “Now online and open access the Journal of Classics Teaching (JCT) aims to be the leading journal for teachers of Latin, ancient Greek, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History internationally. JCT covers the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors and welcomes articles and short book reviews of interest to Classics teachers.”
The British Library has an exciting digitizing project set for the summer. “Starting this summer the British Library will collaborate with another major research library on an exciting new project to enhance access to and promote 800 pre-1200 Latin manuscripts, half of which are held by the British Library.” And they’re hiring for it!