Biblical (Digital) Humanities

Biblicalhumanities.org is

a community of computer scientists, Bible scholars, and digital humanists collaborating to create open digital resources for biblical studies. Our emphasis is on open resources for biblical languages, such as morphologically tagged texts, treebanks, and lexicons. We hope that these resources will be used widely for teaching, research, and resources used to read and study the Bible.

The initiative sponsors the B-Greek and B-Hebrew forums, but I had missed the memo that these were connected to the larger Biblicalhumanities.org entity. The website provides a selective but helpful dashboard of current resources.

For a couple additional resource lists see “Online Research” and the Christian Institute for Digital Humanities.

HT: AWOL

A history and future of Google Books

Google Books logoScott Rosenberg has an interesting essay that traces the rise, development and possible future of Google Books and, to a lesser extent, similar efforts like Internet Archive and HathiTrust. Rosenberg’s narrative is largely one of decreasing momentum. He comments,

There are plenty of other explanations for the dampening of Google’s ardor [for Google Books]: The bad taste left from the lawsuits. The rise of shiny and exciting new ventures with more immediate payoffs. And also: the dawning realization that Scanning All The Books, however useful, might not change the world in any fundamental way.

But, interesting possibilities definitely remain on the horizon. While it remains to be seen what of those materialize, Google Books still provides a useful tool in its own niche area.

For the balance of Rosenberg’s discussion, see his original essay.

Digital notekeeping

Michael Hyatt has a good discussion of digital notekeeping tools, a.k.a. “Evernote alternatives.” As even the nomenclature might suggest, Michael opts for Evernote.

I used Evernote for quite some time too but transitioned several months back to OneNote. I haven’t ever gotten particularly sold on Apple devices, so Apple-only alternatives were out by default.

While I enjoyed Evernote, their limiting their “Free” plan to sync with two devices was the main impetus for me to look for a change. Microsoft OneNote iconI already had OneNote at the Office and via an Office 365 University subscription at home. Plus, OneNote has both iOS and Android apps, as well as a web version, so it was a logical option.

(N.B.: Windows 10 comes by default with the OneNote app installed in a lighter version. But, that version doesn’t seem to allow files to be attached to notes, edited, and resaved immediately in the same note. The file has to be saved elsewhere and then moved back into the note, a workaround about which I wasn’t particularly crazy.)

Over the years, I’d accumulated quite a lot of data in Evernote. So, I was glad to see Microsoft’s Evernote to OneNote importer. Michael’s experience with importing notes was “a complete and utter mess,” but for me, things actually went quite smoothly.

OneNote has also gotten supported by a fairly convenient web clipper. Evernote’s web clipper might be slightly nicer in the abstract, but OneNote’s is definitely close behind. As with Evernote, OneNote also allows for emailing notes into a notebook.

Borrowing a page from the Franklin-Covey book, I’ve taken to setting up my OneNote notebooks in one tab per month. Then, I create a blank page numbered with the date out of that month and use the “subpage” feature to organize notes for that day underneath that main note. Tabs for months other than last month, this month, and next month get moved into an archival notebook for the year.

Very large OneNote notebooks do sometimes seem to have issues syncing to mobile devices. But, in the main, my experience with OneNote has been quite pleasant. It doesn’t have the tagging features that Evernote does, but OneNote’s search function has generally been quite sufficient so that I haven’t found myself wishing for greater tagging functionality. So, if you’ve been looking for a digital notekeeping tool and haven’t yet given OneNote a test run, you may want to give it a try.

Trial versions of Biblical Studies software

Software that supports biblical and theological scholarship can be pricey, and shifting from one platform to another or working with multiple ones can be even more so. In that context, “try before you buy” is a helpful principle, and Mark Hoffman has helpfully collected links to trial versions for several of the major options.  Subsequent discussion on that post has noted a couple more besides.

Niese’s and Loeb’s Josephuses

All seven volume’s of Niese’s edition of Josephus’s works are available online. Most are available on Internet Archive in both black-and-white and full color. But, for volumes 2 and 5, one has to go to the black-and-white text only scans on Google Books:

Several of the Loeb series volumes are aggregated on Loebolus: