A Benedictine monk is helping to save ancient manuscripts in Syria and Iraq–Aleteia

“Meanwhile, in Iraq, a Dominican priest, Najeeb Michaeel (in photo, center, with Fr. Stewart at left), had already established a center for digitization of Christian manuscripts in the Christian village of Qaraqosh. HMML helped him digitize thousands of Syriac, Arabic, and Armenian manuscripts. In 2014, after the Islamic State group took over Mosul, Michaeel (who is now the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul) took the precaution of moving the precious manuscripts out of Qaraqosh, even though it was not expected that ISIS would move eastward of Mosul. But they did.

Along with the gruesome treatment ISIS meted out to “infidels” and the destruction it incurred upon places like the Mosul Museum and the ancient city of Palmyra, they also destroyed major manuscript collections in Mosul, “leaving behind only the digital images and a handful of severely damaged volumes,” Fr. Stewart said. “Most collections outside of Mosul, however, had been saved: moved at the last minute, or successfully concealed. This was the case at Mar Behnam Monastery, where some 500 manuscripts were hidden behind a false wall and never discovered during the two-year occupation of the monastery by ISIS. When the monks returned to their now wrecked and defaced monastery, where ISIS had blown up the shrines of the saints to whom the monastery was dedicated, they found the manuscripts intact, safe in their hiding place, a still-beating heart in the battered and bruised body of the cloister.”

Today, HMML has a growing digitized collection of more than 250,000 handwritten books and 50 million handwritten pages. The work is vitally important to helping scholars gain a deeper understanding of ancient cultures, Fr. Stewart said….”

A Sustainable and Open Access Knowledge Organization Model to Preserve Cultural Heritage and Language Diversity

Abstract:  This paper proposes a new collaborative and inclusive model for Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS) for sustaining cultural heritage and language diversity. It is based on contributions of end-users as well as scientific and scholarly communities from across borders, languages, nations, continents, and disciplines. It consists in collecting knowledge about all worldwide translations of one original work and sharing that data through a digital and interactive global knowledge map. Collected translations are processed in order to build multilingual parallel corpora for a large number of under-resourced languages as well as to highlight the transnational circulation of knowledge. Building such corpora is vital in preserving and expanding linguistic and traditional diversity. Our first experiment was conducted on the world-famous and well-traveled American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by the American author Mark Twain. This paper reports on 10 parallel corpora that are now sentence-aligned pairs of English with Basque (an European under-resourced language), Bulgarian, Dutch, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Ukrainian, processed out of 30 collected translations.

Portico announces the trigger of 3 Open Access titles from Veruscript

“I’m pleased to share the news that the Portico archive now hosts the content from three open access e-journals published by Veruscript: Cambridge Journal of Eurasian Studies, Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism Studies, and Veruscript Functional Nanomaterials.

Veruscript ceased operations in May 2019 and these three journals were no longer hosted by any online platform; therefore, they have “triggered” and are available to the community via the Portico archive. These titles were originally published under an open access license, and will remain open access through Portico….”

Protecting Books From Harm With Controlled Digital Lending | Internet Archive Blogs

” “Digitizing a collection and storing it under existing standards ensures that there is always a backed-up copy somewhere. During and after any disaster, the user would never lose access and the government would not have to reinvest to rebuild collections.” Controlled Digital Lending–the digital equivalent of traditional library lending–is a model that achieves these purposes.

For libraries with fewer resources, CDL can also be a tool to maximize public dollars and improve access. Once a library determines that its community no longer has a need for a certain CDL book (or as many copies as owned), the extra copies can be shared with libraries that never had access and would never have access without collaborative efforts….”

Building for the Long Term: Why Business Strategies are Needed for Community-Owned Infrastructure – The Scholarly Kitchen

“We are beginning to see the first practical implementations of open source tools, steps toward the research community attempting to reclaim scholarly communications from the commercial interests which have dominated it for the last half century or so. Community-led projects have taken on an increased urgency after the recent spate of acquisitions of essential infrastructure by commercial interests (bepress, as one example, is now a cog in Elsevier’s research workflow strategy). The goals here are both laudable and achievable, but when we think about scholarly communications, we must take the long-term view. Our strategies must be aimed toward permanence and preservation – of systems that will be self-sustaining and stand the test of time — rather than just hoping more support will come along once the initial grant runs out. Are there ways we can help these efforts succeed?

Over the last decade, a clear picture has emerged from the research community. What they want from their system of scholarly communications includes openness, transparency, and expanded access to research outputs including, but not limited to, the final published paper. The drive toward open infrastructure is meant to level the playing field and do away with lock-in to any individual company. What remains unclear is how to make these things happen and who is going to pay for them. Library budgets are already strained to the limit, funders don’t seem to be offering large increases in financial support, and researchers are objecting to seeing their research funds diverted to paying publishing costs….”

Building for the Long Term: Why Business Strategies are Needed for Community-Owned Infrastructure – The Scholarly Kitchen

“We are beginning to see the first practical implementations of open source tools, steps toward the research community attempting to reclaim scholarly communications from the commercial interests which have dominated it for the last half century or so. Community-led projects have taken on an increased urgency after the recent spate of acquisitions of essential infrastructure by commercial interests (bepress, as one example, is now a cog in Elsevier’s research workflow strategy). The goals here are both laudable and achievable, but when we think about scholarly communications, we must take the long-term view. Our strategies must be aimed toward permanence and preservation – of systems that will be self-sustaining and stand the test of time — rather than just hoping more support will come along once the initial grant runs out. Are there ways we can help these efforts succeed?

Over the last decade, a clear picture has emerged from the research community. What they want from their system of scholarly communications includes openness, transparency, and expanded access to research outputs including, but not limited to, the final published paper. The drive toward open infrastructure is meant to level the playing field and do away with lock-in to any individual company. What remains unclear is how to make these things happen and who is going to pay for them. Library budgets are already strained to the limit, funders don’t seem to be offering large increases in financial support, and researchers are objecting to seeing their research funds diverted to paying publishing costs….”

As technology like AI propels us into the future, it can also play an important role in preserving our past – Microsoft on the Issues

“Our new AI for Cultural Heritage program will use artificial intelligence to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. It will build on recent work we’ve pursued using various aspect of AI in each of these areas, such as:

  • Work in New York , where we have collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to explore ways in which AI can make The Met’s Open Access collection accessible, discoverable and useful to the 3.9 billion internet-connected people worldwide.
  • Work in Paris at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, where we have partnered with two French companies, HoloForge Interactive and Iconem, to create an entirely new museum experience with mixed reality and AI that paid homage to Mont-Saint-Michel, a French cultural icon off the coast of Normandy.
  • And in southwestern Mexico, where we’re engaged as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve languages around the world to capture and translate Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomiusing AI to make them more accessible to people around the world….”

flashPub

“We focus on making micropubs visibile, citable, and usable in compelling research narratives that engage the community and inspire new lines of inquiry….

We will never charge subscription fees or APCs for academic users. All researchers are welcome to publish!…

All content is deposited in leading public repositories, ensuring your contributions are preserved and acessible forever….

Our peer review system balances the benefits of open review and the value of traditional review. It’s fast, easy, and to the point….”