How Digital Format Effects Scholarship for ORBIS

From the first glance of the ORBIS website from Stanford University, I was very impressed by how interactive and detailed all the information was displayed on the page. It is a big map of the Roman world that’s purpose is to create a travel route between many cities in an easy way that shows cost and most efficient routes between different sites in the Roman world. Finding the most efficient route and the cost of travel takes into consideration the season or month you are traveling, the priority of either cheapest, fastest, or shortest route, the network mode by land, river or sea, and the speed of transportation mode. The map itself can be manipulated by the researcher to have terrain, sites, names, paths, and regions shown on the map all at once, or one at a time to give a more detailed look at each source of information. There are many different places marked on the map that individually can give information about that city’s network, flow, site details, and routes to and from that location to another location on the map. Each city also has the option to show a cartogram that “reconfigures the network by expressing the cost between the center and all other sites” (ORBIS). The map also has the ability to zoom in and out to get a closer look at each site and where it is located compared to others. This map on the ORBIS website has a very impressive digital format that allows a researcher or student to get in-depth detail on every different site in the Roman World with tons of information that is easily accessible. This is a website that has the ability to give more information in clearer detail than any analog format could because of the digital map and all the ways it can be manipulated to fit research. Because research is made easier and the information is abundant, this greatly affects scholarship because it is beneficial for students and researchers to have visual information and be interactive with difficult concepts. This project would be different in analog format because “analog technology is an older one and has been used for decades. It is cheap too but the problem with analog signals is that there is a limitation on the size of the data that can be transmitted at any given point of time.” In recent years as digital technology and scholarship has taken off, “many improvements and new techniques have been introduced.” Also, “digital signal as compared to analog gives us more options as it can be easily computed and manipulated by software.” Overall, the use of the digital format opens up more opportunities for scholarship in ways that are more interactive for learning with the magnitude of information made available. As discussed in class, digital scholarship is a form of knowledge that is being used much more frequently for students and researchers in schools all over the nation because of its accessibility and its wide range of information. And in regards to the ORBIS website of the Roman world, “new forms of scholarship and teaching are now taking shape and contributing to our understanding of the past” (AHA).