It seems that even as technical knowledge expands the horizon of man's thought and activity, his autonomy as an individual, his ability to resist the growing apparatus of mass manipulation, his power of imagination, his independent judgment appear to be reduced. Advance in technical facilities for enlightenment is accompanied by a process of dehumanization. Thus progress threatens to nullify the very goal it is supposed to realize – the idea of man." (Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason, pp. v–vi)
Hephaistos Text is a launching pad for experimental projects directed towards a future of open, democratic, and community–driven scholarship in classics and related disciplines.
In a time of exciting possibilities for technology in the humanities, there is an insufficient understanding of the precarious position in which digital scholarship lies. There are two directions for administers of information to take in today's digital age – to move towards open systems or toward closed ones. It is the stance of Hephaistos Text that free and open scholarship is the more viable and ethically satisfying of the two avenues for the discipline of classics to take, within and without the internet. Since good communication is fundamental in fulfilling the promise of free and open scholarship, central to Hephaistos Text are its venues for collaborative research and meaningful dialog. If academia is serious about peer–review, transparency, the dissemination of truth, and human freedom, it must place principles of free scholarship at the center of its production of knowledge.
Hephaistos Text takes its cue in large part from the free and open source software (FOSS) movement, which has spearheaded revolutionary approaches to the development of information and knowledge. In brief, information is free and open when it can be used, studied, modified, and distributed without restriction. If you have ever used the Firefox web browser or Wikipedia, you have benefited from FOSS software and collaborative development systems. For more information, see the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative.
This website is administered entirely with free and open software. The same applies for Hephaistos Text's content, which is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution License. This means that all of its content may be freely distributed and modified as long as Hephaistos Text is acknowledged. The motivation behind Creative Commons licenses is to maximize the dissemination of information as well as users' freedom with it.
It is the express ambition of Hephaistos Text to lend greater credence to the claim that the advancement of knowledge leads to the advancement of freedom for all.