The Perseus WWW Frequently Asked Questions List

This list is a summary of the most frequently asked questions received by the Perseus webmaster. If the answer to your question is not here, please e-mail us.

  • What is the Perseus Digital Library?

    The Perseus Digital Library, founded as and still often known as the Perseus Project, is an evolving digital library of resources for the study of the humanities. We are funded to perform research on developing tools to provide users with improved access to various types of materials. Past work has focused on building and linking together collections. Current work considers ways of developing and refining tools for presentation of the materials in the Perseus DL. We are primarily a research project, although we do incorporate services for our audience.

    Perseus was named for the mythological Greek hero who explored the limits of the world known to him. Our name reflects our origins as a project focused on the student of Ancient Greece. Since our founding, the project has, like our hero, moved beyond our initial sphere into many areas of the Digital Humanities. The core of our collections and research remains pre-modern studies and languages.

    For more on who we are and what we do, see the About Perseus page and our list of publications.

  • Is this site free?

    Currently, we offer access to materials free of charge. Some items are not freely available, such as certain copyrighted images, noted below.

    As noted elsewhere, we are not funded to provide services, but to do research on how people use these materials and how use may be improved or refined. We offer no warranty on use, as outlined here.

    Although portions of the data may be derived from public domain materials, the Perseus Project has created tools and structure to link this data to the remainder of the library. Please see copyright information for more on rights and right holders, and consider supporting Perseus with a donation.

    May I reuse, copy, or print things I find in Perseus?

    Many of our texts are based on public domain editions, but a subset of texts are offered under agreement with rights holders. If you have any questions as to whether a work found in Perseus is in the public domain, we ask that you contact us via email (see below).

    Images in Perseus are held under permissions agreements with rights holders. In most cases, these are museums or institutions. Under no circumstance may an image from Perseus be reused without express written consent from the appropriate rights holder, excepting cases where the image is clearly derived from a public domain source (such as a book page).

    Please do not use a robot or script to scrape materials from Perseus. We have download packages of public domain materials available for this purpose, as well as tools and services. If you choose to capture materials another way, you will likely capture restricted items and endanger our ability to keep the Perseus Digital Library in operation.

    If you have questions about these policies, please contact the Perseus Webmaster via the links at the top of the page.

  • Where do I start?

    There are many ways of accessing the materials in the Perseus Digital Library. In fact, there is more than one way of getting to the core content of the digital library.

    Multiple ways of getting to core Perseus contents.
    (Or, there's more than one way to slay a Gorgon!)
    Which one best suits your particular needs? The answer to that question typically depends on the type of information you require.
    We created a Quick Start Guide for the most common types of searches. For more information, read on.

  • How do I find something in Perseus? What types of searches can I do?

    The Perseus Digital Library contains a wealth of information but new users may have trouble navigating the variety of searches and tools. We at the project are committed to providing resources and tools to use these resources to as many people as possible. We are not, however, a research service and we cannot answer specific questions or perform customized searches for information. We encourage users to continue to make use of local libraries and librarians when doing research projects.

    We suggest that you start with the Perseus lookup tool. The lookup tool is a map to the contents of Perseus: its results point you to the subject areas in which you will find information about your search topic. It is a guide to information within Perseus; you the user must decide which type of information suits your interest, but be aware that for certain types of inquiries, you may need another tool. The input box for the lookup tool is beneath the "Search" icon on the home page next to the banner image and on every other page in the same general location. You need only type your query in the input box and click the "Search," or the "return" or "enter" key.

    Other areas to explore, the Quick Start Guide, Searching Help, Texts Help, and Starting Points.

  • Why don't you have ... ?

    Looking for a particular text, work, author, image, or related information?

    Perseus started with a limited initial focus, and we have relied on research funds and the support of our host institution Tufts University to maintain and expand our collections. Some of our collections were testbeds for our research, and are neither comprehensive nor complete. We welcome suggestions for new additions to Perseus and log these for future reference, but we cannot immediately add new materials to our collections. Please email us via the links at the top of the page.

    The Perseus Catalog is a resource that we hope will assist our audience in finding and discovering more texts and resources, particularly those pertaining to the Ancient Greco-Roman world and other pre-modern cultures. The catalog is designed to assist users in locating public domain editions of works, including the thousands of open access scanned books hosted across multiple projects.

    We are working with partners and collaborators from around the world to increase the availability of public domain humanities materials and are strongly committed to open source and open access.

  • May I contribute my translation or commentary?

    At present, we do not have the staff or resources to comprehensively edit and markup materials sent to us for inclusion in Perseus, even if the rights to such materials are not in question.

    Our colleagues at the Perseids Project have are working on a platform that we hope will enable Perseus to incorporate user contributions at scale. Perseids is already in use in classrooms and we look forward to a broader implementation. We are also working with others across the digital humanities towards tools and services that will enable Perseus to grow into a fuller, user-driven resource.

  • Where do I report a problem or error?

    Please contact us through the Perseus webmaster via the email link at the top of page.

    Please provide a link to the page or section in which the error or problem may be found. We rely on our users to bring these to our attention, and welcome all reports. These will be logged and investigated. In the case of variant readings, Perseus follows the original print edition of the on-line text.

    Keep in mind that due to the nature of the collection, there may be disputed points of translation, variant textual readings, stylistic differences, archaisms, and out of date information found in the works in the collection. Perseus authored only a tiny fraction of the materials within the digital library.

    In some cases, we have entered older source materials which may contain outdated information which has been superseded by recent research. Always check the publication date on materials. We have made an effort to provide as many materials as possible, and in doing so, we have had to rely on older, public domain sources.

  • What is the (Greek/Latin/English) translation of this phrase?

    If you are a Greek or Latin novice and trying to translate a word or phrase, check our Quick Start Guide.

    Unfortunately, the Perseus Project does not have the staff or resources to perform custom translation services. Many common phrases may be found via a quick WWW search.
    If you are learning Greek and/or Latin, you may wish to visit the forum page at Textkit - Greek and Latin Learning Tools.

  • Will you help me with my project or paper?

    Perseus is not a research service and we do not have the staff or resources to fulfill all of the requests we receive for assistance. We will gladly assist our users in searching the Perseus Digital Library, but we cannot answer specific research questions or direct you to relevant sites or bibliography.

  • How can I download a complete text file?

    Our copyright agreements with the publishers of our texts do not permit us to offer full text downloading for all works in Perseus at this time. Texts for which XML downloads are available are indicated as such by a creative commons license and links to download options. You will find these in the center of a text viewing page, below the main focus text. We do not offer other formats for texts at this time.

  • Why does some text appear to be missing?

    There is a known issue with certain texts that have different numbering systems. For instance, Cicero's Pro Caelio (For Marcus Caelius), has two ways of viewing the text: text: section: chapter or text: section. If you are viewing this by text/section and are reading section 42, you'll see this:

    [42] quam ob rem si quem forte inveneritis qui aspernetur oculis pulchritudinem rerum, non odore ullo, non tactu, non sapore capiatur, excludat auribus omnem suavitatem, huic homini ego fortasse et pauci deos propitios, plerique autem iratos putabunt.
    But there is another paragraph in this section (reading "ergo haec deserta ... contempsisse videatur.") Because section 42 begins in chapter 17 and ends in chapter 18, the second part of the section, the part that appears in chapter 18, is completely missing. The solution is to view the work under the other chunking scheme (in this case, by clicking "chapter" in text: chapter: section). This is particularly troublesome because most readers may not know there is any text dropping out of the display. We are working on ways of improving this, perhaps we will have to disable the incorrect options. (Note a search on the missing text will find it, but this is not a particularly helpful solution unless you know the text is there to begin with.)

document created: 1/12/98
document last revised: 20 May, 2016