REPORT ON THE AMERICAN PHILOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION'S 1969
SUMMER INSTITUTE IN COMPUTER APPLICATIONS TO CLASSICAL STUDIES
The final report to the National Endowment for the Humanities of
the APA (now SCS) Summer Institute in Computer Applications to
Classical Studies, held at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign in 1969, and in which I was a participant,
appears below. Directors of the Institute were the late Nathan
Greenberg of Oberlin College, and John Bateman of the University
of Illinois. The Summer Institute was a seminal experience in the
development of digital methods in the Classics, starting with simply
putting as much Greek and Latin literature in digital form as we could
(mostly on IBM punched cards! I personally punched the texts of the
complete Homeric Hymns and Hesiod's Theogony and
Works and Days, all in capital letters and with no accents,
because that's all the punched cards could record).
The participants in the Summer Institute varied widely in
experience and interests, and visiting lecturers were equally varied.
Introduction was made to programming languages that were important at
the time (FORTRAN, PL/I, SNOBOL), and to statistics, linguistics, and
various concepts for deriving information from and about the digitized
texts. Many projects got their start or got a boost from participation
in the Summer Institute, whereas others were well under way.
Father Roberto Busa, S.J. of Gallarate, Italy, was close to completing
his massive Index Thomisticus, an index to the complete works
of Thomas Aquinas. David W. Packard, who now heads the Packard
Humanities Institute, was developing his Ibycus Machine, a computer
specifically designed to aid in the study and publication of research
in Classics. My own book, Traditional Themes
and the Homeric Hymns was prepared using an Ibycus system at
Logoi Systems in Hanover, New Hampshire. Stephen V.F. Waite, founder
of Logoi Systems, was also curator of one of the first libraries of
machine-readable Classical texts, all contributed by volunteers like
myself and participants in the Summer Institute. Projects done
by other participants are described in the Report.
On July 20, 1969, we took time to watch the moon landing, sitting
with the rest of the university community on the floor of the UIUC
gymnasium, watching on the big screen as the Eagle landed and Neil
Armstrong became the first human to walk on the Moon.
The complete report of the Summer Institute to the National Endowment
for the Humanities, which provided a grant to help fund the project,
is reproduced below.