7.0052 Electronic Liddell-Scott-Jones? (1/96)

Sun, 13 Jun 1993 16:34:04 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0052. Sunday, 13 Jun 1993.

Date: Thu, 10 Jun 93 10:20:48 EDT
From: crane@ikaros.harvard.edu (gregory crane)
Subject: electronic LSJ Greek-English Lexicon

The following summarizes current plans to put the Liddell-Scott-Jones,
the standard Greek-English lexicon, on-line. We are especially anxious
to hear how non-specialists in classics with a present or possible
interest in Greek might respond. We have developed morphological analysis
software so that if you were reading a Greek text on-line, you could
select a word, get its possible morphological analyses and dictionary
entries and then look them up in a dictionary. At present, we have the
intermediate Liddell Scott Lexicon on-line in Perseus 1.0. Putting the
"Great Scott" big dictionary on-line would make it possible to do
a lot more. (We take it for granted that we will provide outline views
of dictionary entries and use filters to help people navigate larger
entries. The e-LSJ should be easier to use than the print versions of
its smaller teaching counterparts.)

It is very important that non-specialists in classics who might nevertheless
benefit from such a tool speak up. The classicists who review for NEH have
a hard time taking anyone very seriously besides other professional
classicists, and we cannot document too well the uses to which historians
of science or religion, philosophers, linguists and other might put this


At the end of the summer, we plan to support a proposal to
the NEH to place on-line the ninth edition of the Liddell
Scott Jones Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ-9). This lexicon
contains more than 100,000 entries and 500,000 citations.
First, published in 1940, LSJ-9 remains the most important
printed tool for the student of Greek language. LSJ-9 will
appear in the Perseus database, but we are anxious that LSJ-9
be available from other sources as well, on both CD ROM and
via network (e.g., GOPHER, WAIS). Our goal will be to make
this tool accessible to every student of Greek, from the
second year language student to the professional classicist.

In addition, we are collaborating with Oxford University
Press to produce an on-line version of the forthcoming,
updatedLSJ supplement that is compatible with the electronic
LSJ-9. OUP intends to publish a CD ROM that incorporates
both LSJ-9 and the forthcoming supplement. The scholar
working with the electronic supplement and LSJ-9 would, in a
effect, have a seamless new edition of the lexicon that
automatically interweave the two.

Between 1843 and 1897, Henry George Liddell supervised eight
editions of the lexicon. The ninth edition was not
completely published until 1940. Once we have placed the
lexicon in a reasonably structured electronic format, the
editors of LSJ will be able to publish new editions on a
regular basis for the first time since Liddell's death in

Furthermore, the electronic LSJ will stimulate the study of
Greek language in many ways. It will be possible to cross-
reference the LSJ head-words with smaller, more specialized
lexicographic entries. New lexica on medical terminology or
religious language placed in the same electronic environment
as LSJ can be much more prominent and readily accessible,
since the user looking for the LSJ definition of a term could
simultaneously be informed if other sources contain
references to that entry. There are many scholars who will
devote portions of their time to the study of Greek language
if they can bring the results of their work quickly before
many students of classical Greece. In addition, visual
databases on ancient Greece have already begun to appear
(Perseus 2.0, for example, will contain more than 30,000
images). New lexicographic work will be able to include not
only words but drawings and pictures -- a major step forward
for many topics.

The electronic LSJ will, of course, do things that its
printed counterpart cannot and will support readers of Greek
at many levels. Users will thus be able to go from a
reference in LSJ to the full text in the TLG or other
appropriate Greek databases. The morphological information
in LSJ will also allow new types of searching in the TLG:
e.g., asking for FE/RW would also retrieve OI)/SW and
H)/NEGKON. Conversely, users working with the TLG could go
from any form to its dictionary entry: e.g., confronted with
H)/NEGKON, one could learn that this was a form of FE/RW.
The system would even make it easier to identify the probable
definition, searching for entries that cite "Homer" or
"Tragedy," or simply letting the user view an outline of the
entry (six columns for FE/RW).

Comments and reactions are welcome. A draft copy of the proposal
ready by mid June and will be sent to anyone who is interested
in what we are planning to do.

Gregory Crane
Tufts University
Dept of Classics
Eaton Hall
Medford MA 02155