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The Archimedes Project (2002-2004)

The Archimedes Project of the MAx Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin has created a testbed for developing and exploring model interactive environments for the history of mechanics. It also serves as a proof-of-concept project for open digital libraries for topics in the history of science designed to integrate research and knowledge dissemination in new ways. The project was funded by the "Digital Libraries Initiative Phase 2" program of the National Science Foundation and was a joint endeavor of

  • the Classics Department at Harvard University,
  • the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science ( MPIWG) in Berlin,
  • the English Department at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and
  • the Perseus Project at Tufts University.

It also engaged a wider network of scholars supported in particular by the "Programme International de Coopération Scientifique" (PICS). Numerous treatises on mechanics as well as other forms of documentation of mechanical knowledge and practices constitute the project corpus.
Ongoing research at the MPIWG on the long-term development of mental models of mechanical thinking and their manifestation in technical terminologies, inferences of practitioners, engineers, and scientists plays an important role in the testbed design. The testbed also requires a powerful, linguistically based information technology for handling the variety of languages occurring in the source materials.
Source documents are being prepared with tools such as automatic morphological analysis of Latin, Greek and Italian, and semantic linking of sources to general and technical, modern and historical dictionaries and reference works.

1. The institutional context of the Archimedes Project

The Archimedes Project deals with the entire tradition of mechanical knowledge that is so closely associated with the name of Archimedes and his achievements. The Archimedes Project is a proof-of-concept endeavor for an open digital research library in the history of science that proposes to combine research and dissemination in a new way. It closely integrates scholarly work and technical developments.

The project would not have been possible without the tight collaboration of American and European partners who have not only invested previous experience in this project, but who also share a commitment to open access without which the vision of an open digital research library would be impossible to accomplish. The Archimedes Project is a joint endeavor of

  • the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin,
  • the Classics Department at Harvard University,
  • the English Department at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and
  • the Perseus Project at Tufts University.

The project is being executed within a wider network of scholarly cooperation including the Programme International de Coopération Scientifique (PICS) . It is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States in the framework of the NSF-DFG International Digital Library Initiative.

The German principal investigators of the project are:

  • Jürgen Renn (MPIWG)
  • Peter Damerow (MPIWG)
  • Urs Schoepflin (MPIWG).

The US principal investigators of the project are:

  • Mark Schiefsky (Harvard University)
  • Jeffrey Rydberg-Cox (Univ. of Missouri)
  • Gregory Crane (Tufts University).

The project staff includes Brian Fuchs (MPIWG), Malcolm D. Hyman (Harvard), Elaheh Kheirandish (Harvard), Peter McLaughlin (MPIWG), Marcus Popplow (MPIWG), Markus Schnöpf (MPIWG), David Smith (Perseus Project).

Biographies of Archimedes authors
Collection of the Archimedes project

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