Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mediterranean Ceramics Reference Stability Report, Number 7

The MCRSR first appeared in October, 2007. For the seventh installment I am making one addition, no. 18, Roman Amphorae: a digital resource from the United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Data Service's Archaeological Data Service. Astute readers will note that the URL I use re-directs to a interstitial page that asks for compliance with a Copyright and Liability Statement and with a Common Access Agreement. I don't usually use redirects but in this case I do because the publication explicitly asks that citation be only to this URL. It is helpful when sites specify a citation form so that I am happy to comply. But see below for comments on an unfortunate side effect of the site enforcing compliance in this way. In general, however, this is an excellent resource that is highly recommended to anyone interested in the topic. There is much to say about the high quality of the scholarly content but for now I'll keep myself to just a few technically-oriented comments.

First, the title of the work gives me an opportunity to highlight a personal bugaboo of mine. Many digital resources qualify themselves by prepending "electronic" to their titles. This is a misnomer as electricity is only one component of their storage and transmission. Plastics, light, magnetism, etc. are all involved so "digital" is a better term. But this is a somewhat petty observation that doesn't apply here so I'll move on quickly.

About that compliance page, it seems to come at a high cost. If one clicks past the page and makes one's way to the entry for Africana 1 Picolo amphoras, you can read the phrase "Production is attested at Ariana near Carthage...". Try searching for it in Google and you won't find anything. I don't think this can be due to the format of the URL for that particular page - - because Google usually handles such strings with no problem. Rather, I'm guessing that any links to this page first run the Google spider through the compliance page and that interferes with indexing. Regardless of cause, the result is that these superb pages are not discoverable via search engines. That is unfortunate. And having read both the Copyright and Liability statement and the Common Access Agreement, they did not strike me as so unique as to require this intrusion. To put it another way, what benefit is worth that cost?

Readers may be aware that the AHDS' funding will soon run out. Fortunately, as announced on its website, ADS funding will continue. It will be interesting to see if the published URLs of ADS resources change.

There has been one significant change for the previously listed URLs. The JSTOR link to Robinson's Agora V is now Unfortunately, the previous URL,, no longer works. And to compound the issue, the new URL takes one to a login page that does not indicate the title of the linked work. This is an unexpected situation that I hope results from temporary errors. One reason to think they are temporary is that there are "old style" URLs that do redirect to the new and improved URL format. For example, remains usable.

1. Walters' Catalogue of the Roman Pottery in the Departments of Antiquities, British Museum from Google Books:

2. Robinson's Agora V from JSTOR:, previously

3. Lattara 6:

4. K. Greene's AJA article on Early Roman lead glazed pottery:

5. Heath and Tekkök, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Pottery at Ilion (Troia):

6. Vessel from Çatalhoyuk (via Flickr):

7. A Late Minoan III Pyxis from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

8. An undocumented ARS Hayes 70 bowl from the dealer Classical Numismatics Group:

9. Fifteenth Century Mosque Lamp from Jerusalem now in the British Museum:

10. The Perseus Project Vase Catalog:

11. Wikimedia Commons Image of a Greek Geometric Skyphos in the Louvre:

12. Sagalassos from Pleiades:

13. Inscribed pot from Aphrodisias (HTML):

14. Inscribed pot from Aphrodisias (XML):

15. Hellenistic lamp from Assos, Turkey at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:

16. Open Context record for Halaf period jar from Domuztepe, Turkey:

17. Abbasid Ceramics from the Museum With No Frontiers:

18. Roman Amphorae: a digital resource:

1 comment:

John Muccigrosso said...

Regarding the ADS site, great resource, poor acronym.

Or am I the only one whose web-browser filter (PithHelmet) is suspicious of sites with "ads" in their URL's?

(Obviously I made a new rule for this site in PithHelmet, but still...)