Friday, November 16, 2007

Open Knowledge Foundation Notes Pleiades

Yesterday, Sean pointed out that the Open Knowledge Foundation has been stalking Pleiades (in the best possible way). Most recently (on Monday), Rufus Pollock had nice things to say about how we're releasing our data. Thanks! It's as useful to get praise for specific aspects of our approach as it is to get criticism; it helps us keep tabs on what not to change.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We Built It and the Coin People Came

Over at the American Numismatic Society, Sebastian Heath and his colleagues have been working on a new search interface to the ANS Collection Database. It's a friend of Pleiades.

Sebastian explains:

users can plot the location of the cities that issued [coins] on the basis of geospatial data drawn automatically from Pleiades .... An example is, a coin issued by the Lycian city of Xanthos. By clicking on the ‘[show map]’ link a user sees an embedded map from Google as well as a link to the Pleiades source. It is important to stress that the process by which the ANS incorporates Pleiades data is entirely open. We draw upon the Atom/GeoRSS feed at to populate our database of geographic entities.

They've hooked up all the mints in Lycia and Cyrenaica, pretty much the limits of our online content at present:

The age of Pleiades interoperability has begun. Thanks ANS! Sean and I have been looking forward to this day for a long time.

Epigraphy Unveiled

It's been a true pleasure over the past few days to watch a public display of collaborative epigraphic text editing unfold over at Current Epigraphy. If you've ever wondered how experts work together to try to sort out problematic aspects of ancient inscribed documents, this is a rare glimpse into a process usually conducted privately at one's home institution, via email or at conferences.

Does this exchange mark the dawn of digital epigraphy as something more than static online publication?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

TEI P5 Hits the Streets, What's EpiDoc Doing?

That substantial seismic WHOMP! you felt last Friday was the 1.0 release of the Text Encoding Initiative, version P5 making its official entry into the light of day. A hearty congratulations to the editors, the TEI Technical Council, and everyone else who worked so hard to make this major revision a reality.

As a sizable percentage of my legions of readers will know, the TEI underpins the work of the EpiDoc Community, which aims to provide guidance and tools for the XML markup of ancient primary sources -- especially documentary ones -- preserved in inscriptions, on papyri and the like. Right now, EpiDoc depends on the previous (P4) version of the TEI, but incorporates a number of P5 structures that are especially useful (or economical) for our needs. We'll hold at this point until sometime at least in mid-2008, when we'll look at revising EpiDoc to full P5 compliance. This delay recognizes that key members of the community will be pretty busy in the meantime on a number of projects that shouldn't be slowed down for a major revision.

A particularly important current project in this regard is the conversion of the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (description somewhat out of date) to full EpiDoc conformance. This conversion underpins an effort to establish better interoperability with the Advanced Papyrological Information System and the Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis der griechischen Papyrusurkunden Ägyptens. This APIS/Duke/HGV work is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and it's driving major improvements to the EpiDoc Guidelines and software tools.

There's also an interesting, and rapidly growing, list of other EpiDoc projects.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Methodological approaches to Historical GIS

A session just announced for the 2008 meeting of the Association of American Geographers (April 15-19, 2008 in Boston):
The emergence of Historical GIS projects over the last decade has provided us with a variety of datasets and data models to use in our research. In some cases the HGIS projects are focused on providing a basic infrastructure for the historical geography of a particular region, in other cases the HGIS projects developed innovative tools for spatiotemporal analysis. This session will focus on practical approaches to Historical GIS with four case studies: first, how to develop applications for the study of change over time that makes use of existing Historical GIS data. Second, the representation of historical enumeration districts and how to use and interpret measures of spatial segregation. Third, the examination of cartographic uncertainty in georeferencing ancient maps. And fourth, an examination of the structural content of both Print Historical Atlases and Historical GIS.
You can also read the full panel description for Methodological approaches to Historical GIS, complete with individual paper abstracts.

The Mark Twain Project

I'll point in admiration at the Mark Twain Project, released in beta today. I stumbled across this little quote from a letter of October 1865, in a mere 10 minutes of browsing:
P. S. You had better shove this in the stove—for if we strike a bargain I don’t want any absurd “literary remains” & “unpublished letters of Mark Twain” published after I am planted.

Oh, well.