Ancient History Magazine: Review

Ancient History, published by Karwansaray based in the Netherlands, was added to the Exact Editions platform during October 2017. The bi-monthly magazine makes excellent use of commissioned images to complement original articles and bring the ancient world to life; this format translates beautifully to the Exact Editions platform which exactly replicates the original print version. The preservation of the magazine’s format is a very important factor for researchers and readers as it maintains the intended structure, style and visual content of the publication.

Each issue of Ancient History revolves around a specific theme, with the most recent at time of writing focusing on health and healing in antiquity. The articles are written to an academic standard with contributions from professors, research fellows and experts in the field, often discussing the latest scholarship. The entries are generally a few pages long and serve as informative and accessible introductions to the topic, suited to all levels of study. These short articles are supplemented with suggestions for further reading making the magazine a great starting point for introductory learning.

Beyond the featured theme of each issue there are also special features on niche topics of interest, for example a close examination of Rome’s Seven Hills and how that geographical feature contributed to the city’s identity. These articles cover rarely discussed topics which could inspire a new line of research at university level, or enlighten a student who is struggling to find literature surrounding their special interest. Again, for any readers wishing to explore the material further, each article comes with very useful recommended reading. Ancient History even include reviews of the books recommended in each issue so that students can be sure of the relevance and quality of the literature.

The informative Ancient History magazine is enhanced by the fluid Exact Editions platform, with technical features such as fully searchable pages and issues, access to the complete archive and shareable pages by social media and unique URLS. The advantages of being able to search every page, issue and the entire archive by keyword are manifold; however, the feature really comes into its own when searching for an obscure reference. For example see the image below, in which I searched for Apollonius and found he was mentioned in Issue 4 & Issue 5.

1-Gopz03knyTJ8_36Ocsje_w (1)

Search results for ‘Apollonius’ drawn from the archived issues of Ancient History

Once the user has found the articles mentioning Apollonius, they may wish to save or share the page for future use. This can be done in several ways, either by bookmarking the unique URL, sharing the article via social media or email, or by saving the page as a PDF file. This guarantees an easy way of citing sources for essays and making use of the online magazine as a classroom resource. All of these options can be seen on the bottom toolbar of the image below.

a2100-1yiy8wufjskdstdpgidxxkq

A double page spread. Note the menu beneath the page image with options for social sharing

Overall, Ancient History offers an excellent resource for libraries looking to provide their readers with academic material covering the ancient world. The content of the magazine is written to a high standard by experts in their respective fields, accompanied by wonderful, educational imagery. The short, succinct articles offer a superb entry point for students, especially with the additional recommended reading which points readers in the right direction for future research. The technical features of the Exact Editions platform complement the subject material of Ancient History very usefully, offering a variety of shortcuts and additional features which provide a level of versatility above and beyond the print version.

Ancient History is now available on Web, iOS and Android platforms for institutions: https://institutions.exacteditions.com/ancient-history

Advertisements

Bye Bye the eBook reader?

Personanondata finds an in interesting YouTube ‘concept’ for an Apple eBook reader.

The movie shows an iPod which fits into a folding tablet device which opens out to give two reading pages. Cute. I slot my iPod into a Bose speaker system, why shouldnt I slot my iPod into an eBook tablet?

But this vision of the book-specific hardware is all wrong. Yesterday Apple launched its eBook reader the iPhone. The hardware-specific eBook reader was and is a mirage. The eBook reader that matters is the humble familiar web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera — you take your pick). Steve Jobs says that the iPhone is the best iPod ever. Its also the best eBook reader ever. The best phone, the best music player and the best eBook reader ever. All in one package, which does the phone and email as well. The iPhone will read Exact Editions digital magazines, but we still need photographic proof of that.

Google Book Search wasnt the first, but its method shows that digital editions will be page based (five years ago that was NOT obvious). All print pages will be web pages. Are becoming web pages. Once that equivalence is accepted its all down to the software which has to work within a web browser (preferably not Flash — which the iPhone does not support) and to the databases which run libraries and subscription services. Pages matter. Libraries matter. Databases matter most of all. eBooks dont… They really dont, they are just collections of web pages.

Print lives on the web (1)

There is a view that the web is such a potent and direly competitive medium that newspapers, magazines, books will not be able to meet the challenge. As though these wonderful cultural artefacts will be replaced by something else……. whatever that may be.

We think this gloom is misplaced. Print thrives on the web, and so far from being dead it gets a second life when relaunched as a digital edition and a searchable resource.

And its all too easy to underestimate the amazing cultural and social attachment we have to these systems of communication.

As an instance of the unreasonable love of newspapers and newspaper culture, consider Scott Walker, assistant managing editor of the The Birmingham News, Birmingham Alabama, who has re-engineered a coin-operated newspaper box so that it now sits in his living room and displays on an LCD the current front pages of his favourite newspapers.

We think its time that some devotee of magazines, took a leaf from Scott Walker’s book and made the real coffee-table magazine. Manolis Kelaidis is already building the book with circuitry which hyperlinks.

Hat tip to Martin Stabe.