Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bringing the Frontier to the Center: Empires and Nomads from Achaemenid Persia to Tang China

a lecture, presented by:

Wu Xin
Visiting Research Scholar
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

This paper presents a comparative consideration of the ideological strategies used by Achaemenid and the Tang empires to manage relations with their subjects living in Central Asia and on the Central to Eastern Eurasian steppe. For both empires, the nomadic communities to the north were an especially important constituency that was complicated by strong dynastic hereditary ties. In each case, a conscious program specifically addressing this complex and mobile community was developed and was expressed through the official language (text and images) of the imperial court. An exploration of those programs reveals striking parallels in their approach to maintaining imperial control and cooperation.

Monday, 6:00 pm
November 30, 2009

Lecture Hall
ISAW Building
15 East 84th Street
New York, NY 10028

this event is free and open to the public

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bridging Institutional Repository and Bibliographic Management

As an institution, ISAW has an interest in disseminating, preserving and promoting the research products and publications of its faculty, research staff, students, affiliates and collaborators. Our parent institution, NYU, has made a commitment to the persistent dissemination of such materials when voluntarily contributed to its Faculty Digital Archive (FDA). We'll use the FDA as a locus for materials that fit well into DSpace (with which the FDA is realized) and that aren't rights-constrained. But we also need mechanisms for developing and publishing the whole bibliographic story of a particular faculty member, research group, project or conference with links from the individual entries to digital copies wherever they may be (e.g., the FDA, JSTOR, Internet Archive, Google Books). For this function, we like Zotero. Atop Zotero's robust and ubiquitous feed documents, we can build interoperability with our website and other tools and venues in a way that is also completely visible to commercial and third-party search and discovery tools.

There will be a number of iterations necessary to reach a fully robust solution, but we're already taking some of the first steps.

As an early experiment with the FDA, we had a student assistant input all of my boss's articles in PDF format, along with descriptive metadata (see: Roger Bagnall's Publications). The default metadata schema in the FDA wasn't a perfect fit for journal article citations, but the FDA staff is now working with us to extend the schema to meet our needs. We're using the Zotero data model as a guide.

Given that the metadata in this collection is the only structured dataset around for Roger's articles, I wanted to be able to get it all back out to use for other things. The FDA does provide web feeds, but (unlike Zotero) these aren't comprehensive for a given context and don't incorporate all the metadata fields. But we can use FDA's OAI-PMH interface to get the full metadata with a query like:

where "hdl_2451_28115" is the identifier for the "Roger Bagnall's Publications" container I linked to above. (Special thanks to Ekaterina Pechekhonova on the NYU Digital Library team, who helped me with syntax).

As a further experiment, I wrote an XSL transform to convert the OAI-PMH XML document into the RDF XML Zotero can import. There are a couple of inelegant hacks in the transform (mainly to get at substrings within single fields), but I'm still happy with the results. The import into Zotero went smoothly:

Next steps: move this to a shared Zotero library so Roger, a student assistant and members of our digital projects team can collaborate to enter the rest of the publications (books, book sections, etc.) and fix any errors in the article records. Then we'll look at the process for using that metadata (via another transform) to help us populate the FDA. We'll also start working on parsing and aggregating Zotero's feeds for use on our website (in Roger's online profile and aggregated with other affiliates' feeds to provide a "recent publications" section).

We're also experimenting with Zotero for the bibliography of our Pleiades project (a collaborative online gazetteer of the Greek and Roman world), and as a component in a potential replacement for the Checklist of Editions of Greek, Latin, Demotic and Coptic Papyri, Ostraca and Tablets. On a more personal level, I've taken to doing all my bookmarking with Zotero and have set up a folder in my library (with associated feed) so that colleagues can following what I'm citing on a daily basis.