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Abstract | Two Thousand Years of Scholarly Apps

This paper first looks at how ancient scholars exploited the technology of writing to add functions — or, in more contemporary term, “apps” — to otherwise linear texts. Examples, with special emphasis on manuscript evidence, from fields as remote as astronomy, geography, chronology and grammar suggest that modern distinctions of “literary” and “scientific” scholarship can mask important practices, language and habits of thought shared across these scholarly domains.

In the second part of the paper, I draw on this reading of ancient scholars’ work to consider how digital technologies offer can similarly incorporate apps in editions of ancient texts. The paper is accompanied by software offering interactive access to digital editions of ancient scholarship.

About Neel Smith

Neel Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Classics at the College of the Holy Cross where he teaches a wide range of courses in ancient languages, archaeology and ancient science. For more than twenty-five years, he has explored the implications of new information technologies for humanists, including work on the Perseus Project, and for the past ten years as a co-architect of the Homer Multitext project. As faculty advisor to the Holy Cross Manuscripts, Inscriptions and Documents Club since its foundation in 2012, he has been a frequent co-author with undergraduate colleagues on topics growing out of the club's research.

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