January 18, 2020

Nothing Gets Lost in Translation in the Perseus Digital Library

From Tufts Now:

Tucked away in the basement of Eaton Hall at Tufts University is the office for the Perseus Digital Library. As its name suggests, it’s an online library. The office is home to its editor-in-chief, Gregory Crane, a professor of classical studies and an adjunct professor of computer science.

If you’re thinking that’s an unusual combination of professional disciplines, you’re right. But this blend is precisely what makes the Perseus Digital Library unique.

Its mission is to “help make the full record for humanity as intellectually accessible as possible to every human being, providing information adapted to as many linguistic and cultural backgrounds as possible.”

What that means in practice is that if, for example, you’re reading The Iliad or The Odyssey in Crane’s class and don’t happen to know ancient Greek, you can still study the original texts and compare them with the English translations, because the library contains the digital versions and offers web-friendly tools to read them. This allows for a greater cultural understanding of the literature, and a surprisingly immersive reading experience as well.

“We’re the only people thinking in a certain way about language,” Crane said. “We have this niche that we’re the only ones exploring.” That may be part of the reason why he and the Perseus Digital Library recently won from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) a grant that is (with matching funds) worth $425,000.

Read the Complete Article/Interview

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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