Newswise — When Google recently touted its digitization efforts involving millions of books in hundreds of languages, it made reference to a project that Furman University classics professor Christopher Blackwell has worked on for several years.

Both Google’s official blog and Inside Google Books in recent weeks have cited and linked to information or images of the Venetus A published via the Homer Multitext.

For several years, Blackwell has worked on the Homer Multitext project as part of a team put together by Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies to photograph and digitize the Venetus A. The 10th century manuscript is the oldest existing copy of Homer’s Iliad.

The idea was to make this precious manuscript —kept in a library in Venice, Italy —widely available online and to present it in a historical framework.

The Furman professor was pleased that Google used the work of the Homer Multitext project to try to broaden support for the growing field of digital humanities research.

The Homer Multitext project (HMT) is the first of its kind in Homeric studies. According to the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, the project offers free access to a library of texts and images, a machine-interface to that library and its indices, and the tools “to allow readers to discover and engage with the Homeric tradition.”

Last fall Blackwell received a grant from the National Science Foundation to work with libraries in the United States and abroad to develop new technologies for organizing and analyzing digital images of artifacts such as Byzantine and Medieval manuscripts. The project also supports the work of Furman undergraduates.

This summer the professor’s digital conservation work with a variety of old manuscripts has taken him from a cathedral in England to a library in Spain. Furman classics majors Susannah Morris and Andrew Corley, both members of the Class of 2012, are working this summer to analyze and publish data from these digitization efforts thanks to funding from the NSF and Harvard University.

Go to to read the Google blog post. Go to to read more about the HMT.


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