Robin Bond, a semi-retired Classics lecturer from Canterbury, has spent his life translating and directing ancient Greek theatre. Over the years he has amassed a series of his own translations of all the Greek plays we know of, in verse, created specifically to be staged, as well as studied.

He could have published these as a volume, a small run from an academic press that would have been the culmination of a career (not that his career is over by a long stretch, you’d have to physically restrain him from teaching, directing and studying). This could have sat in academic libraries, and influenced classics students for years to come, if they bought it. Libraries already have copies of all of these already — different translations, translated for different purposes, and even editions in the original Greek. In these lean times for library acquisitions sales might have been pretty sparse.

Instead, over lunch, I convinced Robin to send me the manuscripts, I had a book designer look over them and make them beautiful, and we have started to pop them up on our Institutional Repository. The first play we have put up is Antigone, by Sophocles. We will have them all up by Open Access Week (October) this year. They are all published with a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY).

I’m hoping that something will happen. Sitting on the repository is useful, but they are just raw material. Content. I’m hoping that someone will make a lovely web page for them, or include them in a course, realising that they are free for anyone to use. I really hope that someone will stage one of these, using these as the text to work from, because that’s what they were originally for. What I most want though, is someone uses them for something that we haven’t even thought of. That a school picks one up, and turns it into a musical. Or animates one. Or projects it into space on a laser beam for aliens. Actually, I might do that.

Here’s an arduino library to create the Morse code — so now all I need is the laser…

Anton Angelo is the Repository Manager at the University of Canterbury Library, and a member of the NZCommons editorial board.

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