To echo and inflect Dot Porter’s emarks on the release of Archimedes Palimpsest project, the value of the project goes beyond its rich content and technical accomplishments — because of its mode of distribution, the project stands as an exemplar of genuine Open Source Scholarship. So often, as for example in the case of the Open Knowledge Initiative and the Open Archives Initiative, the will to openness is directed toward the finished products of scholarship — e-prints and syllabi — and not to the raw materials that make such research possible. (Not to diminsh the efforts of the two organizations!)
Beyond scholarly communication there are two less overt resources that make scholarship possible, and which for the most part remain closed to those who do not belong to elite research organizations (e.g. universities): (1) direct access to experts in the field, and (2) access to raw data and primary sources. The former may perhaps be opened by new forms of collaboration mediated by social software; the latter, however, have remained jealously guarded by the scholars who acquired them, or whose institutions own them. Archaelogists and art historians are familiar with this situation — real research requires keys to collections, keys which are not given to just anyone. These resources are the “Intel inside” for humanistic research, the capital that drives the production of scholarly communication.
Perhaps the Archimedes Palimpsest project will show the way to a different model for providing access to the scholarly capital.