The Epigraphy.info community held its third meeting in Vienna, Austria at the end of May 2019. The following short report has been published in anticipation of a fuller report of the meeting, now in preparation.
Epigraphy.info – A Collaborative Environment for Digital Epigraphy
Epigraphy.info is an international open community that brings together epigraphers, projects, and institutions (such as AIEGL, EDH, EDR, and Trismegistos) to pursue a collaborative environment for digital epigraphy that will facilitate scholarly communication and interaction. The purpose of Epigraphy.info is not to replace existing digital resources but to serve as a hub for a fruitful exchange of epigraphic data and digital solutions that will benefit all epigraphers.
Several factors contributed to the genesis of Epigraphy.info, but the initial impulse was provided by the anticipated end to the funding of the Epigraphic Database Heidelberg in 2020. So far, three epigraphy.info workshop sessions have been held (Heidelberg, March 21st-23rd, 2018; Zadar, December 14th – 16th 2018; Vienna, May 30th – June 1st 2019), and the fourth is scheduled to take place in Hamburg in February 19th – 21st 2020. The workshops have been used to explore and define the goals and methodology of the community. Major initiatives to come out of those workshops include: developing best practices to facilitate access to the ever- growing number of individual online epigraphic databases and projects, as well as finding ways to preserve “dead” (static and/or moribund) digital publications. Additional issues addressed in the workshops include: guidelines, standards, and best practices; services for citation, revision, and exchange; financial support; and legal concerns.
In sum, the Epigraphy.info community works to gather and enhance the many existing epigraphic efforts, and serves as a landing point for digital tools, practices and methodologies for managing collections of inscriptions. The community supports the principles of open access and free sharing, as long as due referencing rules are observed. Notes and reports from every workshop are shared online at the Epigraphy.info website so that anyone who is interested can follow the activities of the community. The community is open to all researchers, students and enthusiasts, to all institutions and projects: indeed, all are welcome and encouraged to contribute to its activities. For more information please visit http://epigraphy.info/ or send an email to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Vienna Meeting Highlights:
At the recently completed Vienna meeting, participants agreed upon a number of concrete actions. Working groups were established to advance four key initiatives in advance of the Hamburg meeting:
● Recommending next steps to improve the availability and completeness of descriptive vocabularies and specifications for epigraphic Linked Data;
● Developing user profiles and scenarios for future epigraphic “systems of systems”;
● Preparing a draft “statement on handling of unpublished inscriptions”;
● Interacting with individual projects to assure that all existing digital epigraphic texts and metadata become available via stable URIs under open-access license in EpiDoc format.
With regard to community administration, a general mailing list was established; procedures for the election and service of committee members were ratified; and working groups were constituted to conduct social media outreach activities, organize task tracking, and prepare a full report from the meeting (forthcoming). The following committee members were elected to one-year terms: Andrea Mannocci (Pisa), Chiara Cenati (Vienna), Tom Elliott (New York), M. Cristina de la Escosura (Zaragoza), Tom Gheldof (Leuven), and Vincent Razanajao (Bordeaux).
● Epigraphy.info: http://epigraphy.info/
● Heidelberg, March 21st-23rd, 2018: http://doi.org/10.11588/heidok.00024397
● Zadar, December 14th – 16th 2018: http://doi.org/10.11588/heidok.00026330
● Vienna, May 30th – June 1st 2019: http://epigraphy.info/workshop_3.html