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Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ramping up Pleiades 2

Last March, I alerted readers to the great news that NEH had elected to fund a second round of work on the Pleiades project. We're picking up steam.

Sean Gillies, our chief engineer, has been adding more legacy content inherited from the Classical Atlas Project. We're nearly at the half-way point, with features associated with 48 of the 102 Barrington Atlas maps now represented as Pleiades resources (you can keep score on the Pleiades Content wiki page or monitor the Pleiades news feed for announcements as new content appears). Sean's also introduced a number of improvements to the web application and the user interface, and has been blogging about our data model.

Brian Turner (my co-managing editor) and I have been getting ready to start working on adding some new content that wasn't included in the Barrington, including a number of obscure features from the so-called Peutinger map that turned up during Richard Talbert's work to prepare a new scholarly edition of the map (forthcoming from Cambridge UP). Nico Aravecchia, a Visiting Research Scholar at ISAW, has been working on new Pleiades resources for a number of poorly published and recently excavated Coptic sites in Egypt that also did not appear in the Barrington. We'll start publishing these new resources during the next month as they clear editorial review.

Meanwhile, we've been in dialog with Michael McCormick, Guoping Huang and Kelly Gibson at Harvard. They're the driving force behind the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization, with whom we're collaborating under the new grant. Our aim is to collate and share the datasets assembled by both projects and to cross-link our web applications. This will bring more accurate coordinates for many features into Pleiades, as well as a number of new features that will expand our time horizon into the middle ages. You'll get a choice of display and map interaction modes and, eventually, the ability to move back and forth between both resources. We'll keep you posted as the timeline for this portion of the work is refined.

We also aim to make things easier for early adopters to get started. We're starting to script some more screencasts to show you how to suggest changes or additions to content. We've also been planning improvements to our data portability story: our commitment to open access dictates that we make it easy for you to export our complete content for external reuse elsewhere. Making specific plans for that is on the agenda for next month as well.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to submit them as comments here. If you'd like to give Pleiades a spin, follow the instructions for requesting an account.

New blog added to Electra Atlantis

I've just added the following blog to the Electra Atlantis aggregator:
He's presently blogging about the digitization of 8th and 12th century bibles held in the library of the Lichfield Cathedral, in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England.

(Hat tip to Dot Porter, whose post at Stoa alerted me to this blog)