I’m not sure how many folks are aware of the Suda On Line (a.k.a. SOL), but it has been a huge project for quite a few folks for the past 16 or so years. Long before the concept of ‘crowdsourcing’ existed, and long before Wikipedia existed, a discussion on the Classics list bore fruit and resulted in the online translation of the Suda. Just t’other day, long-time denizen of said list Jim O’Donnell pointed us to the final paragraph of the page about the history of the project:
A translation of the last of the Suda’s 31000+ entries was submitted to the database on July 21, 2014 and vetted the next day. This milestone is very gratifying, but the work of the project is far from over. As mentioned above, one of the founding principles of the project is that the process of improving and annotating our translations will go on indefinitely. Much important work remains to be done. We are also constantly thinking of ways to improve SOL’s infrastructure and to add new tools and features. If you are interested in helping us with the continuing betterment of SOL, please read about how you can register as an editor and/or contact the managing editors.
Indeed, the project was a pioneer in the field of Digital Humanities, and Anne Mahoney wrote an informative piece for Digital Humanities Quarterly about it back in 2009: Tachypaedia Byzantina: The Suda On Line as Collaborative Encyclopedia. Both the history and AM’s article give a rather brief view of how it all came together. If you want to follow the flurry of emails (yes, yours truly was involved … back in my grad student days) to see what a difficult birth it was, check out another page at the SOL: How the SOL was born. If you do read it, I do want to go on record as saying — even though I argued vigorously for it at the time — that I’m extremely happy that we didn’t settle on PDF as a format for the project. We should also pause and remember the many people who were there at the start who aren’t with us today … Ross Scaife, Don Fowler, and James Butrica (if I’ve left some out, please drop me a line).